Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mixed Emotions

For those that know me well, you know that I usually have to write or say what I'm feeling and thinking about a certain situation in order to make sense of my confusing emotions so that I can understand. The following is me trying to do that.

On Saturday, my maternal grandmother passed away.

We knew it was coming, but it doesn't make it any less upsetting. My grandma has been slowly deteriorating for about a year now from a liver disease, and towards the start of this month, she was put into hospice care. Which, is really just the beginning of the end. On Friday, my grandpa called my mom and told her that the doctor was giving my grandma only 8 hours to a few more days left. My mom bought a one-way plane ticket and flew out there (to New Mexico) that night.

The rest of us just waited.

We tried to do what we normally did. I hung out with my friends on Friday. Dad and Caulin did some scout stuff and then Caulin hung out with his friends on Saturday while my dad, Marin, and I went to dinner. But, there was definitely a different feeling during all of it. I hate waiting, especially when it's something I don't want to happen.

It was Saturday night when my mom texted my dad saying my grandma was going... "Now." My dad had figured out that he could have his phone read his texts for him out loud, and he played it over again several times. "Now." "Now." Now."

After about 15 minutes or so, my mom finally called and said my grandma had passed away. It wasn't until I was about to go to bed and was reading my scriptures and saying my prayers that I started balling. (And embarrassingly enough, this morning when I was getting set apart for a calling, I also started crying.) I have alot of mixed emotions though besides just sadness.

A part of me feels a little relieved that she is no longer in pain and that she didn't drag on in this state for a long time. A part of me is happy that she is now in a better place with my Uncle Quinn, somewhere where my grandma's been wanting to be for a long time now. A part of me, I'll admit, is jealous that she is in such a great place. A part of me is scared to see how the family dynamics both for my mom and aunt and uncle now and then the rest of us at reunions and such are going to change now that she's gone and it's just my grandpa. A part of me knows that I will see her again after this life. But a huge part of me is sad that she is gone.

I've always had this picture in my mind of how certain occasions in the future would be and who would be in those pictures. Just like my graduation from BYU, I've always imagined my whole family being with me for my master's graduation, my wedding, my first child... But now, in my mind, where I had placed my little grandma, there is now a black void. I realize this is very selfish of me. This I know, but I can't help but feel like my mind's picture is missing something. And I hate it.

I know I'll get over it, that this is all part of the grieving process, that she'll still be with me, and any other cliches people say when you don't know what to say when trying to comfort someone who is experiencing a loss. I get it, but I still don't feel any differently at the moment. Thanks, though.

My grandma was tiny, but she was a force to be reckoned. She lived a very hard life in Korea during and after the war, and some of that life we still don't know about, and what we do know might not even be true. She was basically a single mother, raising her children on her own in a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. But despite the many trials she faced throughout her life, she carried on, giving all she could and going without for her family. I have some great memories of her, some hilarious like when she used my dad's wire cutters to prune a wild rose-bush in our backyard, but I loved the advice she gave me in her broken English.

She would always tell me that I needed to keep going to school and get a good job and make lots of money and then get married. She told me she was proud of me of how smart and independent I was. She always told me I needed to be a good sister and take care of my siblings and to honor my parents. She told me to be happy.

A while back I wrote another blog post on death. My past self sure made me think. I hope I can continue to live the life my grandma would tell me she is proud of.

I'll miss you grandma.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Highlights From the Big Apple

I realize I've been back for a while, but I've been trying to formulate how I want to write my post. I had TONS of stuff happen, I took over 1000 pictures, and I loved almost every minute when I was in New York City. I wish I could have stayed longer and see more stuff and go to more places, or spend more time at others. But, this definitely was not my last trip to New York. So because I did so much stuff, I decided to just give you the best parts and stories with a few great pictures. If you want more stories or details, talk to me, and I will gladly tell you. Here are the highlights:
  • My first cab ride (from the airport to my friend's apartment) wasn't as scary as I thought, but then again the cab driver didn't know how to get there and made me call my friend 3 times for directions (cause he didn't believe me). I also couldn't understand anything he said... my 2nd (and last) cab ride was way better.
  • New Yorkers get a bad rap. They are a lot nicer than people give them credit for. Everyone I asked for directions were super helpful and way willing to tell me that I was on the Metro North railroad train not the D subway train, how to get to a certain street or place, and even drive me to the right bus stop at 4:30 in the morning since I got on the wrong bus. They are very helpful.
  • I am pretty much famous. Ok not really. But, I was on the Today show for about 3 seconds at the very beginning, and I was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (which was way fun and a very cool experience). See, I'm not lying:
  •  I took the New York TV and Movie sites bus tour, and it was so much fun. We went all over Manhattan visiting tons of famous places all in a nicely air conditioned bus, and I got to sit next to a hot, single, Australian man the whole ride. He was very nice and had an accent (He asked me if I got "some good snaps" every time I got back on the bus. This, apparently, in Australian means pictures.). It was like my dream come true: seeing my favorite movie/TV sites and sitting next to someone who was cute with an accent.
  • Top of the Rock (AWE-some), Empire State Building (freaking amazing), and the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island (pretty dang cool) had some pretty great views of the city. Very awe-inspiring and beautiful.
  • I went to the MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Met. My favorite architecturally was the Guggenheim; my favorite art-wise was the Met (although don't bother with the gift shop there cause those prices are freakin' ridiculous). The MoMa was cool, but when I went I was tired so I didn't really look around much. I'd give the MoMa a second chance next time.
  • I must have a little New Yorker in me cause I went to Time Square and I hated it. It was not fun for me. Interesting to look at as I was passing through, but I wouldn't have spent anymore time there. I know, I'm such a terrible tourist.
  • My favorite place I ate at: Sarabeth's. Their tomato soup was AMAZING. I loved it, and I thank my coworker for finding it for me and texting me the address so I could eat there. (And after going to their website, I found out they will ship you their tomato soup... ummm totally buying some!) Favorite desert I ate: Crack Pie from Momofuku's. I am so glad my friend Ashley told me about it and how I couldn't miss it. It was pretty dang tasty.
  • The two Broadway plays I went to were hilarious, and I loved every minute of them. I decided I totally could get used to going to Broadway shows all the time and seeing my favorite actors and actresses in person, live. Gosh, if only I had tons of money to go to shows all the time. I also was super excited that after the play was done I could wait by the stage door and get their autographs! I got Tony Schalhoub's autograph on my Lend Me A Tenor playbill (I wasn't fast enough, unfortunately, to get Justin Bartha's. Anthony LaPaglia is a jerk apparently and doesn't like to come out to sign autographs, so he didn't come out.), and I got Sean Hayes's, Kristin Chenowith's, and Tony Goldwyn's autographs on my Promises, Promises playbill.
  • Coolest stores: FAO Schwartz, Dylan's Candy Bar, and Bloomingdale's. My favorite store: Zabar's (the whole 2nd floor is just kitchen gadgets, bakeware, etc. They have a whole cheese department. A WHOLE DEPARTMENT! OF CHEESE!)
  • I'll admit it. Central Park is pretty dang cool, even though at one point I was going the wrong direction on a trail. You can see some interesting things and people there. I saw a few performers and singers that were great (I also saw a few in the subway stations too), and it's just really beautiful.
  • In New York, turn signals and red lights are apparently optional. Buddy the elf was right when he said the yellow ones don't stop. What's funny is, the pedestrians are just as bad. They jaywalk all over the place. Towards the end of my trip, I started doing it too. I'd look both ways and then just walk like all the real New Yorkers, walking man or not.
  • I think one of my favorite parts was all the street fairs and street markets I passed. I thought the farmer's market I walked through was awesome, and I wanted to buy something from every booth. I started formulating what dishes I could cook with the foods I passed. I think I'd really enjoy getting my groceries off the street as weird as that sounds.
  • And last but not least, my trip to New York would not be complete without a few crazy/homeless people sightings. I'm pretty sure there was a cross-dresser on one of the subway trains with me; I passed a few homeless men as I walked from my friend's apartment to the subway station in the Bronx. I even spotted this man who was either actually blind or pretending to be blind:
    The other side of his sign said, "Is anyone an albino midget?"

    But, the best story I have is the following: I went to Gray's Papaya to get one of their famous hot dogs. Now they don't have tables or anything just a ledge that's all open to the outside. Right outside the ledge is a stool. I had just finished eating my hot dog when out of the corner of my eye I see a lady who looked like she had just climbed out of a sewer... with her pants around her ankles. And guess what she does? She comes and sits on that stool. Now, her shirt was big and long enough that it covered you know the parts her pants would be covering if she were wearing them, but she smelled like she had pooped her pants (maybe that's why she wasn't wearing them properly?). I was overcome by the smell and decided right then would be an excellent time to leave. So I walked out to the street corner (which unfortunately was not that far away) waiting to make my way away from the sad, stinky lady. While I was holding my breath, another woman who was on her phone comes walking by the homeless lady, and she too was overcome by the sight and started telling whoever she was talking to on the phone about it. She exclaims, "Oh my gosh! There's this lady who sh** her pants and they're around her ankles and it smells!" However, she was so appalled by this that she kept walking past me into the street where the light had not changed and cars were coming in full force. Luckily she stopped herself and told her friend, "I almost ran into traffic!" The whole situation was funny and unique, and I even walked in the opposite direction of where I needed to go just to get away from the smell.

    And that my friends was my trip to New York City. I loved it and would love to go again. If I had lots of money I would want to live in the Upper West Side, and I would love to work for Simon and Schuster or Harper Collins (both of which I took pictures of), or really any publishing company. Who knows if it'll ever happen, but this is the concrete jungle where dreams are made (that is if Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes are to be believed), right? A gal can dream.

    P.S. I apologize for not posting many pictures in this one. Perhaps I'll have another post with a collage of pictures only. I do have 2 albums full on facebook if you want to check those out while you wait.