Wednesday, June 25, 2014



When I was in the 7th grade, I moved from the town of Tenafly, NJ, where I was having a good ole' quintessential childhood of playing outside until dark and having crushes on the appropriate boys, to moving across the globe to Seoul, South Korea, where my parents are from. There is tons to say about what that experience was like but for brevity's sake let's just say it shook my world - in hindsight, for the better - and it became a big part of who I am. In the moment though, it was a big culture shock and for a 12 year old it was a sort of tragedy. In order to acclimate us to the Korean schools we would be attending, my parents put us in this summer program where they taught kids like us who had lived abroad and were now trying to acclimate to the motherland, how to survive it all. We learned the language and culture and I remember this all being mostly awkward and only vaguely helpful, but this is where I met Soonie, Mary and Janie. Soonie was from Utah, Mary from California and Janie was from Australia. We were all in that similar situation of becoming teenagers and having identity crisises and trying to learn how to live in this completely new world; it's not surprising that they became my lifelines during the time that I was there. 

Fast forward 18 years later, we have all kept in touch here and there and I still get to see Soonie occasionally because she lives in DC. This past weekend she came down to Richmond with her fiancé, who I had never met before, and we caught up, ate, sweated, played with the baby and ate some more. 

Saturday afternoon we went to visit the butterfly exhibit at the Lewis Botanical Gardens. It was a sweaty experience (the place where they keep the butterflies is extra warm) and it was also thrilling to see all those different kinds of butterflies fluttering around. I'm pretty sure Sloane's mind was blown. First of all, she got a butterfly stamp on her hand before we went in and she is still talking about it.  She also got to see butterflies eating pineapples and then there was a frog outside in the pond- a real life frog! You should see me and Ken when we are doing these things with her; it's hard to tell if the parents or the child is more excited. It is just so fun showing her things, you know?

Afterwards we were all so hot, we pilgramaged to the splash pad area of the gardens where water spouts were aplenty and Sloane and I got soaking wet in our regular clothes. It felt great to be dried off by the sun on our walk back to the car. 

At one point that afternoon I looked back and saw my middle school friend from Korea and her fiancé holding hands with my daughter and walking through the gardens in a city that I never imagined I would be living in, and I did some quiet marveling about how life moves forward with such vigor.  I'd like to float on these moments of marvel and keep up with being present through it all; it is thrilling.


  1. you make life look and sound so beautiful, you are a teller of stories my dear

  2. It is such a summer scene: butterfly sucking honey from flowers; pink and purple flower on the surface of pond; a frog!

  3. oh what a beautiful summer day! and i agree with the first commenter - you my friend do make life look beautiful!