Growth in the insterstics
Fancied Strokes

Growth in the interstices

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you. And accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Parenting

Teaching Children about Nature

Thursday is our Moonbeams and Stardust-the nature class-Day. My two and a half year old girl puts on her “activity pants” and dashes out to the car. Once a week, our shoes get dirty and our faces get sunburn. Over the past two months we are taking a toddler step to get to know the mountain of Sierra Madra. Thanks to the guidance of Hop and Jessica, who have been leading Panther Ridge Farm’s Outdoor School, I am able to fulfill one of my goals as a parent: to engender a love of nature in my children.

Nature BracletUnlike many other toddlers I have seen around, mine does not usually like to be outdoors. On our first day to the class, when I told her with excitement that we were finally going to the mountain she had been talking about, she started worrying about bears. Soon she was drowning in her own tears. For the next two hours she wailed, “I don’t want to go to the mountain.” I had to reassure her again and again that bears don’t come out where the people are, but no words of mine could carb her fears. Looking back at the incident now, I think she feared the unknown, since we only looked at the mountain from a far, and she knew the bear and tigers live in the mountain.

In the next two months from the first day of Moonbeams and Stardust, my daughter has learned of how mountain smells and looks like. She always wanted to be held at first, but she walked more and more as the class went on. After seeing other kids playing with bugs, she touched a worm with her finger. Even I became braver and touched a rolly polly for the first time . Vines and seedpods became her new toys. One of my favorite memory was on a day at a creek when she trudged through water in her tennis shoes, wearing a big smile.

As she familiarized herself with the environment, she also started playing with other children in the class. I was simply delighted to see her giving a rock she found to another girl. She shared her apples with other kids in the class (even though I had to bribe her with a banana at first.) The generosity of Sierra Madre was slowing seeping into a little child’s heart.

Hop and Jessica have also taught me about relating to our environment and the community as well. During the class we sometimes take a leaf off a bush or a tree to smell and collect in the nature journal. Hop said we can also say thank you to the Black Sage bush as we take a sample. He said Black Sage was considered a sacred plant to the native Americans. He also teaches parents and children about composting, which in my opinion is the most sensible way to discard food waste. I hope one day, I will be able to set up a compost system in our house as well. Jessica is inspiring with her ingenuitive recipes using herbs from her garden and homemade flours of different kinds of grains, such as buckwheat and Taff. The snack time, prepared by Jessica and Hop is the highlight of the day for me and my girl.

In two months or so we are moving to Geneva. It already makes me sad that we have to part with such nice and resourceful people we met through the outdoor school. Hopefully we will meet likeminded people with whom we can share what Swiss mountains and lakes and offer. Nonetheless we can first be the people with whom we want to befriend.

KimyiBo Art

Time to Embrace Chaos

poetry in the subway station

Poetry in the subway station

It’s a mess again. My life. Our life.
It’s been two weeks.
Packing and unpacking and packing again.

We stayed in Korea for eight months. Snow just melted when we arrived there in March. I saw the plum blossoms as if for the first time in my life. White angels encircled us in the garden. The day before we left, first snow of the year.

I reconnected with lovely faces for the past eight months. Six years had passed but those faces stayed the same. They welcomed me with warm smile.

Beautiful and unique memories with my Hope child until Newborn Faith arrived. Hope and I did everything together: enrolling in classes, eating kimbob every other day, walking along the river, splashing in rain, playing in the local public pool, and looking at a sonogram of Faith in my belly.

Giving birth in my motherland turned out to be more satisfying than I ever imagined. The experience brought me to unexpected new relationships, among which came forth new friendships.

Into our suitcases we tried to pack only the essentials but even so, we were not allowed ample space. We had to leave our some of Hope’s favorite toys, all the pots and pans that fed us, and some clothing that we have grown attached to. Most of all, we could not pack the view of the busy street from our window, the morning light hanging on Hope’s playpen, the sound of an elevator arriving to our floor, and our dear Benjamin, our dear old rubber tree in a pot.

Hope was nervous pretty much during the entire time we were packing. Her life was disappearing, torn down, shoveled into boxes. She cried for a stretch of an hour or more. We had to accept that there is no other way to console her besides just allowing ourselves to go through this transition together. We were all sad and stressed.

Two weeks forward, we are again in our home in California. We can hear the sound of bird from the window instead of cars running on the freeway. There is a story time in the library down the street instead of an expensive private class in a huge shopping mall. We don’t have to pass by a group of smokers when we cross the street to get to the subway station. Taste of the air feels greener and cleaner here.

Everything we see, listen, feel, smell, and taste let us know we are in a new place, yet familiar.

We will have four months here before we move to Geneva. We have to unpack and pack simultaneously. I don’t know if it is something healthy to do, but that is what is given to us right now. I have to part with my teenage-through-youngadult-hood memories since we can only take 1000kg with us. Definitely not enough. Perhaps it is a good thing.

When I wake up at 4:30 AM to feed hungry Faith, I think about which boxes I should attack first: boxes of toys, books, clothes, or kitchenware? Even as I am discarding my past passions and dreams, I sense new ideas and thoughts asking for my attention. Too many things to do, not enough time and energy.

Forget coherence,
Ignore continuity

Just do what I can do now, and there is no more.

지금 이 순간의 행복
한석산

여보시게나 사람 사는 것 별거없네
인생 뭐 있나
살아 있음에 감사하며
탐하지도 저버리지도 않은 삶
꽃 볼 수 있고
아기의 옹얼거림 들을 수 있으면
사는 것이네.
그것이 우리 삶과 행복의 뿌리라네

Happiness of Now
Suk-san Han (trans. by KimyiBo)

Hey, dear stranger, there is not much to human living.
What is so big deal about life?
Thankful for the breath,
Life that is neither covetous nor indifferent.
If I can look at a flower and
hear a baby cooing,
I am living.
That is the root of our life and happiness.

Night of Korea, apartment windows
KimyiBo Art

Thanksgiving Day Motherhood Journal

There is no Thanksgiving Day here in Korea. Even if there was one, I would not have known about it in my confinement. It’s been sixty days and a few more. No outside contact. No more playground. Not even cooking.

Not to mention drawing and writing.

There are days when I just can not bring myself to cheer up enough to engage with Hope. She is pulling my pants, repeating the same question three times, but I still wouldn’t hear it. She retaliates by scratching my face, and I send her to her crib where she stays for two hours at a time.

Being together in a rectangular space with a toddler and a new born for more than 76 hours does this to us.

Without reading it anywhere, I have learned only from experience that one’s identity is only a group of activities that reinforce her understanding of who she believes she is.

Many Women who gave birth to a child for the first time say there are many things no one has told them about labor and breastfeeding. When I see a pregnant woman on the street, I want to stop her and tell her to be prepared for a identity loss. That’s because you will be engaging in a completely different set of activities from the ones you have been doing until now. You must quit it whether you like it more not.

If I could give one advice I would like to give to a mom-to-be, I would like to tell her not to make major life changes right before or after the baby arrives. Adjusting to a newborn takes a toll on one’s mental health. Why add more?

In a week we are getting out of Korea, back to the States. There will be many things I will miss about here—friends, family, food. I will not miss waking up and not looking forward to the day ahead. I will not miss living with a layer of fog over my head for more than 76 hours. I will not miss having to keep going when I don’t know where I am standing.