rite of passage

My dear child Jian,

Today when I got home from dropping you off at childcare, I started bawling my eyes out. I suddenly missed you so much. Last night I noticed another stye was forming and this time right in the corner of my right eye. I feel so annoyed that another stye is forming, I do. Here I am trying to get rid of the one stye that’s been doggedly sitting on my left eye since October 24th, and now. The reason why I tell you this is because I haven’t slept lately, and your Appa thinks it must be due to my immune system being low. This is despite weaning you off breastmilk so I can get more sleep, but thus far, I have lost more sleep than when I was breastfeeding you. It’s been harder. My poor beloved. You were first fine and adjusted so quickly to formula, but then you started teething and then the devastation of neither of us sleeping started. This is now about 12 days ago. To be exact our weaning off journey started on the Sunday 27th of December 2020. The last time I breastfed you was on Monday 28 December when you turned exactly 15 months. It was the most gut-wrenching experience for me. I was devastated. It felt as though the world was trying to seperate me from you. My baby, I thought I would breastfeed you for as long as you wanted. And then someone made a comment saying, ‘well are you planning to breastfeed until she is in her 20’s?’ I didn’t like hearing that, but I still listened to their advice about cutting off breastmilk. In the end I made the choice. So you can learn to sleep at childcare. So you won’t cry at childcare. So you won’t be devastated when you can’t find my breasts. I want to raise you strong, resilient, but you will always have my heart, body and soul.

And so the point I am trying to make is that I am sending you to childcare because Mummy wants to return to work. To make ends meet, yes, but more importantly, so mummy can buy a big, big house for you, with all the amazing amenities we like.

So hang in there my Poppy. You are our everything.

100 Days – 백일

I can’t believe that we just celebrated Jian’s 100 days yesterday! Our baby Jian’s 100th day Celebration (a Korean tradition). It was just over 3 months ago when we met our bundle of joy. Thanks to my beautiful friends we had a wonderful time filled with celebration, laughter and friendship. Jian’s 100 days coincided with my bestie’s birthday, so we celebrated both in their gorgeous Footscray backyard all the way through to midnight.

Back in the olden days of Korea, it was a big deal for a baby to reach 100 days. This was because a lot of babies could not make it till 100 days due to childhood diseases and thus a low mortality rate. Although we live in Australia, and Jian’s beloved grandparents are in Korea, I felt that we should still honor their tradition and celebrate it the way we can.

Happy birthday to my incredibly beautiful friend, the extraordinary Kannagi (holding Jian)

To decorate the table I got some supplies from a two-dollar gift supplies shop on Swanston Street, and my friends and I set it up. We pre-ordered a red velvet cake from Cup Cake Central, and bought all our fruit from High Point Shopping Centre. We normally shop all our fruit and veggies at the Footscray market on Saturdays as it turns out cheaper and we can buy in abundance. We eat a lot of fruit and veggies so a box of plums is nothing for our family. But for the picture, we wanted to buy some premium looking fruit which we guessed we could only find at a shopping centre. To our pleasant surprise we found Korean pear, and Korean looking apples (Fijian apples in fact) at Highpoint Shopping Centre. There is no hard and fast rule about what to include on the table, but we just incorporated what we enjoy eating!

Mangos, grapes, bananas, strawberries, apples, Korean cookies (yak-kwa 약과) and red velvet cake.

I cannot wait to celebrate Jian’s 1st birthday September this year in Korea with her grandparents and the rest of the family!

Her royal highness in a hammock ~ so lucky!

Dear Jian, Mummy and Daddy, wish you a wonderful life, better than your heart desires my most precious love! May it be a joyful dance, a long-summer breeze, an extraordinary adventure!


Go all the way

One poem that befits 2020 for me is this one by Bukowski originally called Roll the Dice but more commonly referred to as Go all the way! I discovered this poem about 10 years ago during my time studying and living in The Netherlands and since then it’s been my favourite of all and my solace during my life in Korea.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

Otherwise, don’t even start.

This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.

It could mean not eating for three or four days.

It could mean freezing on a park bench.

It could mean jail.

It could mean derision.

It could mean mockery — isolation.

Isolation is the gift.

All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.

And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.

And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

There is no other feeling like that.

You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.

You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.

It’s the only good fight there is.

Dear Jian

Welcome to this magnificent world dear earthling. I would like to thank you for choosing me as your mother in this lifetime. How precious and truly awesome ‘tis to be crossing paths again my beloved. The fact we meet again is a true testament that you and I have been given another wonderful chance to live it all over again with one another. This time, I, as your mother and you as our daughter.

Dear Jian, when I think of the order of things to write about, I find it difficult to pinpoint a single bottom or top, because of the interdependence of all things. Firstly, and most importantly I want you to realize that this earth is yours, so be kind to it. Don’t treat it as filth for it is the source of all things, and all life. From earth we all are born, and to it we shall return. So tread over it carefully, breathe through it gently and live in it consciously. As time goes on, you will realize this better on your own, and just why I started with the earth of all things.

When you first enter this Ordinary world, you quickly learn that there are rules, routines and patterns everywhere. A fantastic world yet one that is sometimes chaotic and disharmonious. But you cannot lose hope, you are the hero of your own journey. This life is said to be short and brutish, and alas, dull at times. And as you will see, it is packed with man-made everything, the volume of which might sometimes leave you feeling so abhorrently overwhelmed that you would want to escape it, or topple it’s structure altogether. But just because its been the way it is, doesn’t mean you cannot change any of it. You are the master and captain of this ship, so steer it in the direction of your choosing. How the end of your life will pan out is by large determined by your character and your choices.

There is an old Kurdish adage which says کەم بژی کەڵ بژی -kam bji kal bji—which loosely translates to live short but fully. Life is short, but so remarkably long that in one’s life one can go to the moon, and still have time left to accomplish all the things one wishes upon. Man has done it. So can you! What I am trying to say darling Jian, is live so remarkably well that when you die you have no regrets. The graveyard is full of people with songs left in them, don’t die with songs left unsung and things you wished you had done!

In life there are consequences to everything which in turn and by nature ripple throughout eternity. Every word you utter and act you undertake comes back to you in some shape or form. So be kind to others on your way. Give— don’t be afraid to give. Love—don’t be afraid to love. Dare—don’t be afraid to live life audaciously, dangerously and deliciously. You are the hero of your own life: every volume, every book, every chapter, and every page of it all, every day, and always, you are its writer. Remember that!

Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future. This life is only a door, when it closes another door opens.

Sonmi, Cloud Atlas

The reason why I talk about the hero’s journey is because it is a metaphorical story for one’s life dear Jian. That is you will go through a series of transformative steps in life. When you first start your journey you will desire to love and to be loved. And while you will be loved by many throughout it all, still, you may disappoint a few along the way. Such consequences are inevitable too. Those are the downsides. It can be likened to a seesaw. Sometimes you go up, sometimes you go down. But also like a boat at sea, constantly oscillating from side to side. During such times, the journey will be tough, but oh very worth it. You are the captain of your own destiny and as Captain, you may steer it according to your hearts desire!

My dear darling, whenever your life becomes boring and monotonous. You must embark on a new quest for a life half-lived can be poison to the soul. When you find yourself at such an intersection in life, go on a mysterious adventure, even if that means leaving your village, and the people you love and love you. Even if it means risking it all to go after your true calling. And when you are out there in the midst of all happenings, when the world feels cold, friends become strangers, and you feel lonely, maybe even disappointed at the way things turned out, sure cry it out, but don’t turn back. Continue walking! Listen hard! Look hard! There are signs everywhere, tailored specifically for you, and for you alone! It could come through the shape of a cloud on a marvelous sunny afternoon, or through a feisty storm telling you that danger lies ahead.

And as you continue your journey, you will go to lots of different places, and encounter as many faces. You will cross paths with all kinds of folks— there will be allies who will support you, and enemies who will fight against you. There will be folks who will impress you with their riches, and folks who will heal you with their saintly kindness, love, food, and magic. And there will be those who will ask for your pity. Don’t be suprised when allies turn against you, and those whom you did not expect end up helping you. I know, it is a funny thing. The way is full of surprises, but its the truth. It constantly tests you, dear hero. Just for the fun of finding out what you truly are made of. But a true hero will treat all kinds of folks just the same, never looking down on them, neither so much looking up to them to the degree of worship and sickening dependence.

A true hero will remember where she came from, all those who rendered a hand when she was down in the dungeon, and lifted her out of the darkness. And all those who in your darkest hour paid a visit, pat you on the shoulder and said, ‘you can do this my friend’. Oh, how rare are such friends! Don’t forget them, visit them even if they live over the seas and across the world.

I am confident dear Jian you will become an extraordinary person going on to do extraordinary things. Go all the way!

In the indelible words of Sir Winston Churchill:

The earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Be kind, but be fierce. You are needed now more than ever before. Take up the mantle of change. For this is your time.

Winston Churchill
Giving a fig about less

This morning I woke up like all other mornings, next to my darling daughter, Jian as we co-sleep. No my darling hubby doesn’t sleep next to us. He sleeps on the couch. Yes I am afraid he would squash our little perfect pumpkin with one of his oversized limbs. So I woke up to a cooing baby, asking for milk. I fed her, and soon she was wide awake.

My darling daughter is weird in a cute newborn way, in the sense that when she wakes to a new day, this is the first thing she does. She looks toward the window and stares straight into the streak of light that’s bravely come through from behind our bedroom curtains. Then with eyes lit up she lets out a happy baby noise as if to say ‘YAY! It’s a new day!’ She does this every morning unfailingly and I laugh at this weird phenomenon every morning unfailingly. You could say she is a morning person. Maybe she has kicked the morning person out of me. Well she has, as I can comfortably say that sleep has a different meaning these days. Nothing is as it used to be. I mean for gods sake, I don’t even sleep next to my beloved husband anymore, afraid she’d wake him up and eff up his day for work. In fact we missed each others’ embracement so much that when we finally had a window of opportunity the other evening, we went to the bed to hug each other, and guess what happened? Wait for it. Wait for it. You guessed it right. We fell asleep. But not for long of course.

After I was done feeding her and after she was done with her glorious morning routine of dancing and bobbing her little sprout of a body on our oversized bed on which she looks like an overly-sized dot—> [ • ], she went back into sleep. Although I could have done with more sleep, I got up, had my glass of morning water, put the kettle on, poured some Vietnamese coffee into the filter, put my socks on, laid the yoga mat out on the floor and went quietly into a stretching mode. Quickly poured the hot water into the coffee filter and while waiting for the brew I went to grab a book from my small pile of books in our barbie sized apartment living-room. Of all books I grabbed The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson which I’d purchased back when I was doing my legal internship in The Hague sometime February of last year.

The coffee was ready, so I had a quick sparrow-like sip of my cup of joe, grabbed my book and jumped on the stationary bike while towering over my handsome husband who was sleeping on our sofa just an inch away. The bike started making its own white noise which I presumed might not be much of a nuisance for my sleeping beauty. After a few minutes of spinning, darling daughter started making some noises, so I had to abandon my pursuit and run to her. When I arrived, I saw her putting her cute little fingers into her mouth while her eyes were still closed. She is hungry again. I lifted my super-stretchy top up and over my head like a soccer star doing a ceremony, and flopped my udder out ready for another feeding. Lying down next to her, with one hand controlling my engorged udder so it can fit in her teeny mouth and so not to block her nostrils, with the other arm stretching out from under me I held out the book I was reading moments before.

The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson, p.5

Because for me, all I want for Christmas, the new year 2020 and the next decade nothing more, nothing less other than to stay true to myself! I want to not give a fuck about more but LESS! Ultimately giving a fuck about what is true, immediate and important means living a fully-fledged life as Sadhguru says, living your bliss as Joseph Campbell says. It means never ever giving up, believing in ourselves, and going all the way, as poet Bukowski would do.

Co-sleeping with my daughter

Jian and I co-sleep just like our ancestors, and all the animals out there. We have been sleeping next to each other since her birth. I don’t believe self-soothing is for babies, I don’t believe letting a baby cry it out for 20 minutes and then attending to them (as the nurses have been recommending) I don’t believe co-sleeping will spoil them. If you mean it, don’t spoil them with toys and brand new everything, as that’s what will spoil them. I will never spoil a child, I’ve been through shit, hell, and back and I wouldn’t even know how in the first place. Okay maybe I will spoil with unconditional love… I don’t believe making a baby sleep in a seperate bed in another bedroom helps with developing their sense of independence. Mate, when I was growing up my siblings and I and every other Kurd I know slept next to each other like sardines and we all turned out more independent than night and day themselves. As such I don’t think there is anything wrong with a baby needing her mama, for comfort, for soothing, for care. It’s my job, and of course these are my beliefs. But at the end of the day I come from the middle of the east, so this suits a hillbilly like myself. But honestly, co-sleeping if done right, is not dangerous, on the contrary it allows me and the hubby to sleep through the night with one to two nightly wakes for feeding/changing. Since I speak for myself, baby Jian sleeps much much better by my side. Gladly and greatfully, both hubby and I want this

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