Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Country Bumpkin Back in Town

For three and a half days I was lavished with great food - G-R-E-A-T Asian food - good rides, 70-degree warmth, non-stop radio Christmas music, reminisces of the old times in China, and most importantly, amazing hospitality. Like a child coming home to a family member, I didn't have to think about anything but accepting and receiving, freely and abundantly.

What a great feeling.

I have a complete new look on LA now. Just the food, the sunshine, and the diversity of people and cultures themselves are enough reasons for me to plan my next visit.

And knowing that life may be lived in a very different way - in a much slower and simpler pace and style - is encouragement itself. Not everyday needs to be mad busy, every moment filled with commitments and duties, every spoken word polished and repolished with soundingly smart intellectualism. Sitting on the beach, I don't need profound thoughts or moments of epiphanies. Just being is enough of a blessing to be thankful for.

Just being.

"Don't think too much or worry too much, May-yi," D said. "Everything is going to be ok."

"How do you know? Why do you keep saying that to me? Why do you carry such confidence in your words?" I pursued, in my usual ultra-serious, analytical style. I probably even had a tear or two in my eyes.

"Just c-h-i-l-l ... Everything is going to be ok." The smile reassured me again.

"Trust me."

Coming from Boston, the intellectual hub of the nation, I felt like nothing but a country bumpkin in LA. Since when have I become able to be marveled by a simple Korean outlet or Asian supermarket, come to tears when I had my first bite of tuna wafu-salad, or pick up and put down all the goodies in the 98-cent Japanese grocery store like a 5-year-old?

And to sing on top of my lungs with 3 other passengers in the car - one Korean, one Pilipino, and one Chinese - when Jay Chow's CD was blasted in the background? Though we had no Cash Box, karaoke-ing on-the-go while zooming down the freeway in 80 mph was a pretty darn good substitute.

And I almost went crazy when I had the first spoonful of Pink Berry frozen yogurt.

Come on, it's frozen yogurt, what's the big deal?

It's a BIG deal when it actually tastes like 養樂多 from childhood!!! Plus fresh fruit toppings piled above!

Reunion with Bluey the Dolphin or seeing his cousins at Sea World was moving as well, let alone touching them and padding them. It topped that experience in the shady, pseudo sea world in Qingdao (even though I was given a quick kiss on the cheek by the star of the show).

"I think about China all the time. ALL THE TIME. I probably talk to stint people or my discs 3 or 4 times a week here," G said.

"So you are pretty much in the loop, still," I asked.

"Oh yeah, you bet."

"You are one of the coolest M&M's I've ever met. I still remember the time when I visited your dorm room and you pulled out 2 packs of Tiger Beer underneath your bed ..."

"... and 3 bottles of spirits from the fridge right?" G laughed. "Oh, I miss the old days when I'd invite my discs over, hand them each a bottle of Tiger beer and just talk about school, life, and God."

"Or with other stinters in which the guys were smoking their lives away with cigars on the rooftop of your dorm?" I laughed too.

Good times, good times.

In our hearts, none of us perhaps have ever left China. We somehow have all left a portion of our hearts there that continues to call us back there, over and over again. Sometimes the voices are loud, sometimes barely recognizable. But they are there, unquestionable.

GC is still there, J is going back, and G may be committing to a one-year project there as well. Me? I'll be in Asia in 7 months.

Reminiscing with good, trustworthy friends from the past is one of the greatest blessings on earth. All b/c of having journeyed together through thick and thin.

It's about sticking together, not deserting each other, and always being there for one another for encouragement and edification. It's about not giving up. It's about picking the other person up when he/she falls short, and it's about receiving and accepting and forgiving and loving. Not that there isn't tension or friction along the way, but the spirit of always wanting the best of one another and the willingness to work through difficulties is what brings all of us through the journey to the very end.

Looking forward to the day to continue the journey with them.

G and D – a million thanks for the great break in LA.

梅ちゃん at 8:02:00 AM



at 11/28/06, 4:53 PM Anonymous grace said...

hoooray!!! :) i'm so glad it was refreshing. wish i could've been there!! come back soon, may...i miss you!

ps. hung out with carol a few times already...when's your next trip to sh??

at 12/4/06, 5:43 AM Anonymous johnjihoonchang said...

maybe next time we can meet up! i'm glad you enjoyed your time out here.


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