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.
Just do what I can do now, and there is no more.
지금 이 순간의 행복
여보시게나 사람 사는 것 별거없네
인생 뭐 있나
살아 있음에 감사하며
탐하지도 저버리지도 않은 삶
꽃 볼 수 있고
아기의 옹얼거림 들을 수 있으면
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.