Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

Pre-Paraguay

Filed under: Just Writing — Annie at 5:06 pm on Monday, October 30, 2006

Last night we had a spectacular, high omega-3, low-sodium, low-preparation meal worth mentioning. Sliced mushrooms fried in olive oil until the natural juices came out. We tossed a half-baked salmon into the pile of mushrooms until the juices absorbed and marinated. Dropped a handful of diced garlic bits in, which made a wonderful fragrance. On the side, we made our own avocado dip with avocado, diced tomatoes, pepper, and jalapeno and ate it with bread. It was so good and filling.

Anyhow, I made a fool of myself today. I had these old scripture study books, copyright 1910, that I got from Becky, at the antique shop. I always thought they were Christian, but it turned out they were published by Watchtower. So I got excited and emailed this Mormon woman, Lisa, that I work with once a week, and told her I had something for her because, I thought, Watchtower is a Mormon publication. But I found out from her that Watchtower is Jehovah’s Witness. I got my sects mixed up. How embarrassing. But we ended up having a long talk about Mormonism, anyhow. That was neat.

I was picturing how great it’d be if she would come to our youth group on a Friday night and give a talk about Mormonism. So we would be aware of what Mormonism is about, and they could ask questions, and be challenged to know what they believe. Unless, they know so little about their own faith that they confuse doctrines. That would be bad.

After this entry I’m going to take some things over to my mother-in-law’s house. I’m excited about it, but also have some trepidation about stepping on toes, about figuring out unspoken expectations the hard way. It was hard living with my own parents, much less parents of someone else with their own set of quirks and values. I don’t even know how she would feel about me dropping stuff off and leaving it in a big pile in our room-to-be.

Last night Shin and I were reflecting on, and also mourning, this complete change that is occurring. A change of country, but also a change of home. Nothing will be waiting for us when we get back. After we return we’re moving directly into our in-laws house. We won’t have this house, or the same familiar neighborhood. Shin doesn’t even expect that we’ll be able to cook together in the same way. Church may be a stable condition, but not guaranteed since students will come and go or we may grow closer or farther with them. So these days and moments until January are already like precious memories. The only way we could really cope with being away for a year would be to tell ourselves, “We’ve moved here,” And not, “We’re here for a year and we’re coming home after.”

A long time ago I had a xanga account. A couple months in I found another xanga member whose site was called IncheonLoveMachine. Somehow, our paths crossed. We actually messaged each other the very same day. Kim, and her husband were Christian, English teachers in Korea. Back then, Shin and I thought, “Wow. Wouldn’t it be amazing to do what they’re doing? To leave the country and teach and evangelize.” Well, a year later, we’re here. What an amazing privilege. I’m sure they got there with a lot of help. We’re certainly receiving a lot of help from everyone. People using what they have and know to let us take our minds off of it. Like the real estate aspect, and storage, and how to prepare for a mission. When I think of it in that way I can’t feel isolated because our very departure is backed up. It gets me pumped up all over again.

To Live Long

Filed under: Just Writing — Annie at 5:12 pm on Friday, October 27, 2006

I’ve noticed that when I waste time, it goes fast. Whereas, when I use it well, I seem to accomplish a lot and still have time. I remember a time when Shin told me he was really, really busy, to the point where he didn’t feel he had enough time to spend with God. So he asked God to extend his time. God answered by waking him early each day, inexplicably, without an alarm clock. This happened for a week and each day he read the Bible.

I wonder. When God said something to the effect of, “If you obey my commandments you will live long and prosper…” I wonder if that also means, you will feel like you lived a long time. Versus people who feel that their lives passed before their eyes and they are still unsatisfied.

Just a thought

Items to Craigslist

Filed under: Just Writing — Annie at 2:10 pm on Friday, October 27, 2006

30″ Panasonic TV-$50
19″ CRT monitor-$30
Red Grill-$15
TV stand-$15
Retro Office Chair-$15
Repairable Electric Guitar-$10
Baby Gate-$7
Dell Keyboard-$5
File Cabinet black-Free

Interested? I can’t find the digital camera. argh. Pictures coming soon.

Letters of Love

Filed under: Just Writing — Annie at 3:37 pm on Thursday, October 19, 2006

It’s almost noon and I’ve been sitting on the rug sifting through a cedar trunk filled with memorabilia. Some date back to when I was around 6 or 7 years old. Like my preschool teacher who wrote me a letter when I moved. She said, “I love you” at the end of the letter. It’s shocking to hear that from a teacher nowadays, but I always cherished that she said that to me. I also found the program to my prom, drawings my brother made when he was little, postcards from my whimsical friend, Shahin, the program for a spelling bee where I got eliminated the first round *sigh*, birthday cards from my dad that I think my mom forced him to write…

There was also the woolly letter I earned in high school orchestra and patches for the two years I was in honor orchestra. At the time, it felt somehow inferior to a letter earned in athletics so I never bought a letterman jacket. Good thing I didn’t.

There were also a series of letters I received from two special people. Stella and William. They were brother and sister. Stella was my sister’s friend, William was her brother. William was a year or two older than me but extremely mature for his age. In the 6th grade he wrote how worried he was about the 6th graders not being ready to set an example to the younger kids.

We wrote for several years and their letters always survived my letter-burning “purges”. They always talked about walking with God, and gave me Bible verses to encourage my faith. That’s what made those letters so precious. Now I see and can categorize these as letters of encouragement. They had a great impact on me and I have this gratitude towards both of them, wherever they are. These are the kinds of letters I need to write to the youth.

There were also about four birthday cards from Dot, this lady that used to work at the antique shop. She always called me “Ann Girl” and gave me See’s chocolate. On my birthdays she would give me a card with a $20 bill inside. The messages she wrote were usually just a few words, but touching. In one of them she wrote, “Dear Ann, We knew you would grow up to be special.” *tears* She passed away probably 5 years ago. But I saw her just before she passed away.

Most of the people who affirmed me did so on rare, or annual occasions. But the culmination of these single instances over my life had a neat impact on me today. All the nice thoughts in the letter seem like they were written yesterday and that they’re still applicable. So, regardless of the fact that many of them are not in my life anymore, I feel loved!

They are strange evidences of being loved, even though I never felt it growing up. That’s been my primary issue for a long time. This leads me to an embarrassing topic that came up over my 2nd wedding anniversary. It was this idea of giving gifts. My mom called the day of our anniversary and asked if Shin got me anything. I said no, but that he prayed for me. My mom stressed that it’s important for a woman to be treated specially on those occasions, and that it becomes increasingly important the older she gets.

So that evening when Shin came home I brought it up with him. He had a notion about gift-giving that made it hard for him to be open. I thought I brought it up as a neutral discussion, but I was blind to my own bias. That led to an argument.

This was how the argument was resolved. Towards the end of the conversation I verbalized how the past two years of birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries he never got me anything. And when I said that out loud, it hit something on the nose because I started crying. So that’s how I found out my true desire about giving and receiving gifts. It really does make a woman feel special. From there the solution was easy.

The gift giving is linked with all these letters because they have to do with receiving, and processing that I am loved. I think I have a love deficiency. I know I’m loved by God and by Shin, and by my immediate family, but, there’s something that drains away the feeling and the assurance. I’ve grown much better. I used to be numb when I received genuine love, then, I was able to acknowledge when I was being loved but I was still pessimistic and distrustful. Currently, I know how to to enjoy, and accept love but I still feel I need more. Maybe I’m catching up for the many friendships that died under the love drought, for love that was taken and not returned. I look forward to the day when God patches that up completely and I’m always full. In the meantime, I’m encouraged to share love in vessels of paper and ink.

A3M Benefit Concert

Filed under: Just Writing — Annie at 6:58 pm on Monday, October 16, 2006

Yesterday afternoon at 5, Shin and I drove down to the Cerritos Performing Arts Center for an A3M event.
It was a very nice benefit dinner and concert with lots of star power and good food. Hors d’oeuvres by Crustacean, dinner and dessert by Cafe Camellia and Roy’s, and a performance by the Las Vegas group, Society of Seven with Lani Misalucha. The mc’s for the night were Cher Calvin and David Ono.

Shin and I would never have bought tickets for such a concert. But they were generously given to donors and the A3M staff by the Korean rotary club. We had second row seats for the concert!

17 people registered to be a donor that evening.

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