when things are a lot
I’ve started and stopped this many times this week, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about, what I wanted to share, what are my thoughts but really, what are my feelings? But, to be honest, I don’t have anything that I can really put into words yet. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The housing crisis in Toronto. Breonna Taylor’s life. The abolition of the police. The US Election. The fishing rights of the Mi'kmaq. There is so much going on, and I truly don’t have the words right now, so: please vote, contact your elected officials, demand change, help those who need it.
My friend Olivia shared this playlist she made when she was going through a tough time. I am sometimes so in my own head that I forget there are avenues that can help one sit with their feelings, and feel them. I hope this can bring you some comfort as it has for Olivia, and for me.
Over the weekend, I had a bubbling pot of Korean instant noodles (ramyeon), a bit fancied up with veggies and an egg. I realize now that ramyeon is my ultimate comfort food. Sorry, Mom—I know it’s unhealthy. But, truly, it brings back nostalgic times of learning to boil water, ripping open a package, and after 4 minutes devouring those noodles in a salty, spicy broth. Figuring out timing was a journey, and I would sometimes cook the noodles for too long and the noodles would get … too swollen. The Korean phrase is 면이 불었어 (the noodles are swollen), and I had to call my dad to get the spelling because I couldn’t translate it to English. I detest having ramyeon with those bloated noodles. Overcooked. Without the right balance of broth and flavour soaked up into the carby strands. I can now make the best ramen to my taste, with the right level of al dente bite, and doneness of egg, veggies, and broth. All from a sodium-filled package. But, it took time to learn. It’s not that hard, but still took time. Look, I have no shame in admitting my love for ramyeon—it is such a huge part of Korean food culture. The diaspora knows. It’s just a matter of letting others know, too.
Another go-to this past week: gyeran bap. Literally: egg rice. I have no energy for cooking anything elaborate right now—I’m saving all that for processing emotions, and baking. Gyeran bap is literally a bowl of rice, and a fried egg, with some soy sauce and sesame oil. If I have kimchi, I’ll toss some on. If I have gim, I’ll crumple up that roasted seaweed on the bowl. The first thing I learned to cook with a pan: a fried egg. This is the food of my childhood. Food that I stopped being ashamed of as I grew up, and learned to love myself despite growing up within the confines of a society that views me as “other.” And, let’s be honest, as someone who is part of the supposed “Model Minority” I have it easier in many ways as I benefit from my proximity to whiteness. But, it still sucks. It also sucks that I was compelled to go back and add in the English translations for Korean words. I always find myself explaining things “of my culture” as if the Internet doesn’t exist, and one can’t find a way to look up information themselves. I have these mixed feelings, and conflicting needs of wanting people to step up and learn for themselves against my desire to share in what I know and how I’ve lived.
Recently, I finished reading Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, and it has been on my mind a lot. Friendship is important. It has always been high up on my list of important relationships. While reading it, there were so many moments tears were streaming because I related to so much of what they shared. I wholly admit that I’ve fucked up in some friendships. I’ve also experienced loss of friendships, especially as a result of my actions. They have been deep learning experiences that also shed light on what type of relationships I have, and want to work to foster. I recommend reading it, as Aminatou and Ann were able to put to words that I struggle with at times.
I would say I have a few relationships that I see as big friendships. I hope some of my close friends continue to be in my life, and maybe get to that level of big. My thirties have been an eye-opening time of how I value myself, and how I value others—and, in return, how others value me. There is no specific checklist: Okay, I shared this story, this story, this story, they know this about me, and this; I go to them for this, that, and this other situation. Ta da! We have a big friendship! No, it’s more than that. What reciprocated work goes into this relationship. When can we bend and be more flexible, and when do we need the other to bend and be more flexible. Ultimately, though, I am becoming more aware of what work I put in, and what work others put in; how drained am I, and how invigorated am I?
Haven’t been watching TV much, but been playing Mario Sunshine on the Switch (highly recommend). I’m still on my rewatch of New Girl, so maybe a dissection of that eventually. I started to watch the first thirty minutes of The Social Dilemma (I guess I lied last week when I said I wouldn’t) but then got so annoyed with the talking head interviews, and how overly simplistic the dilemma was framed (and a handful of other gripes) … that I stopped watching. Maybe it’ll make more people aware of how they use social media? But, please go into learning why things are? What you can do? What problems the people on the inside have been trying to solve and raise to the leaders of these orgs? Also, the good of social media. And, also the fostering of community. And, how those things are actually done (hint: it’s not only through social media).
Thank you for subscribing, and bearing with me while I figure out the best cadence. I am a bit of a procrastinator, but a lot of my creative juices seem to flow in the evenings. So, hey! Hi! Thankfully, you can save this to read another time.
Recipes (sorta articles)
This Is the Single Best Pot for Anyone Who Lives Alone – Eric Kim, Food52
Gyeran Bap is What’s For Lunch (or Breakfast or Dinner) When You Can’t Be Bothered – Joy Cho, Basically
Healing the Whole Family – Grace Chiang, The New York Times
Why Goodreads is bad for books – Sarah Manavis, Newstatesman
Livelihood or profit? Why an old fight over Indigenous fishing rights is heating up again in Nova Scotia – CBC (as an aside, please read up on this from multiple sources like on Instagram)