Bern it down and walk away

My blog came out of hiding for this. Since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve had an overflowing stream of consciousness. I often say nothing because I don’t even know where to begin. But right now, one thing that has become readily apparent is that all the naysayers about Bernie Sanders supporters were right.

After my first week in Korea, I knew I wanted people to visit. As time passed, that desire grew, specifically about my family. I knew I could show them pictures and videos and explain to them all that I’d seen, but that it wouldn’t quite do it justice. To be honest, what I’d seen wasn’t amazing or breathtaking, but it was wholly different than anything I was used to. Living in Korea took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to see the world in a different light. And I thought it would be great if those I knew and loved could also experience it. I’d often imagine my sister or my parents along with me, marveling at something as simple as a sign with bad English or as jarring as watching a plate of still-wriggling octopus tentacles being dipped in sesame oil and eaten. To say that it was a disappointment to hear that they would not be coming would be a supreme understatement. If there’s one thing I’ve wanted my family to do in all the years I’ve known them, it would be to get out of America and experience something they won’t soon forget. Alas, they chose not to come.

But do you know who did visit? These two awesome people:

shit yes!

That be Brenda (Kimmy’s mother) and Jack (Brenda’s man-friend).

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12 Hour Chuck Roast

Who the hell pays $21 for beef? This guy do. Three and a third pounds of premium reserve chuck roast in fact. So what am I doing with it? Braising it? Dry aging it? Smoking it? Aw hell nah, I’m slow cooking that bitch all up in here because I’m lazy as shit. Anyway, here’s what’s going down:

Baby Carrots, a baking potato, and an small yellow onion are chopped rustic style and put in the bottom of the slow cooker. The roast is put on top. Then I added 2 cups of vegetable stock along with soy and Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, dried thyme, and sea salt. I set the cooker on low and now I sit in wait. During my lunch break, I’m going to swing buy, add some more potatoes, baby carrots, onions, and some garlic. I’ll adjust as necesary..

My Dastardly Descent into Liberalism

A friend recently asked me how I, growing up and living in an extremely conservative area, came to be liberal. I think this is an interesting question, because it’s quite easy to accept a title and wear it as a badge, but then forget what leads us there in the first place. What follows is a [hopefully] brief account of what lead me to descend into pretentious, Satan-worshipping, pink lifting liberalism.

I grew up in a very conservative household. For goodness sake, I grew up in Steve “über-douche” King country. If it’s a baseline conservative position, I’ve probably held it. I’ve a vivid memory from my elementary years when my school held a mock election (for whatever reason I cannot imagine) and, as a fourth grader, I voiced my support for Bush because Clinton “wanted to allow gays in the military,” and that just wasn’t acceptable to my 10 year old mind. However, in my younger years, I didn’t realize I was conservative. I knew myself to be Christian and most of what I saw was a Christian versus anti-Christian dichotomy. Those who supported anything opposite to the moral virtues that I held wasn’t simply different in opinion, but anti-God, anti-Jesus, and anti-Salvation (in other words, people like Bill Clinton and all those gays he wanted to help were on a one way path to Hell).

In high school, my pubescent angst pushed me away from the traditions and commonly accepted “wisdom” of my family and peers. This manifested itself in subtle ways at first — the way I dressed, the music I listened to — but by the time I was a Freshman in college, I realized I still didn’t really know what the terms “conservative” and “liberal” meant. It was in my dorm lobby, during a meeting with my Christian mentor, that I confided in him that I thought I was a liberal. “Liberal,” after all, meant one who is for liberty, and I believed people should be free to make their own choices. My friend then asked me a simple question, “Are you for abortion or against abortion?” I told him that of course I was against it. “That makes you a conservative,” he said.

That statement haunted me. It felt too easy, too hasty to slap a label on me after such a casual interaction. And my angsty desire to reject commonality lingered, so I examined my beliefs. In time, I realized that the question he asked me was a vast oversimplification. Abortion was a complex subject. And by thinking through it I came to realize that even though I was morally opposed to it, I had to support its legality. For the first time in my life I considered myself pro-choice, and I came to this conclusion after examining both sides as objectively as possible. It was around this time that reason became my vehicle of thought. I established a base philosophy. All positions I took on a given subject had to meet the following two criteria: It had to be arrived at objectively and rationally, and it had to be consistent with other positions I took.

Over time, my beliefs evolved. The world wasn’t as black and white as I had once considered it. I went through a phase of not really knowing what I believed politically and philosophically, but when I did come to a conclusion, I was very adamant about it. The Bible aided me in my endeavors. Jesus didn’t seem like a conservative Republican, but that was often how he was portrayed. I remember instances of telling my parents about a position I had taken, not realizing at the time that it was very inconsistent with the conservative ideal, certain that they would agree with me because it seemed quite Biblical, but then realizing later that others didn’t see it that way.

I also had to think about what type of government I wanted. For me, it’s important to have a governing body that supports, enhances, and protects the rights of the minority. This stemmed from the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 25, where he states that what you do for the least, you do for him also. Jesus was all about helping those who needed help. He desired no material positions and even loathed the desire for more when one already had enough. It didn’t make sense to me that Christians were against marriage equality, immigration, welfare, reproductive rights, corporate regulation, etc. because Jesus wasn’t the type that seemed concerned with those things (and if he was concerned, it was certainly with those in need, not those who were not). He separated himself from government and worked with the people in it rather than trying to change government to his desires. He was about the people, not politicians. So all through college, I made a very conscious and serious effort to separate my religious views from my political leanings. Once I was able to see through the lens of legality rather than moral religiousity, my politics veered sharply to the left.

In the end, liberal and progressive ideals made more rational sense and, I thought, would bring about a better, safer, more egalitarian country that I would be proud to call my home. I didn’t choose this path to be simply different or radical. I came to embrace this ideology after much thought and deliberation. It wasn’t an overnight change either. It took years for my former beliefs to crumble under their own inconsistencies. But now that I’ve established myself as a liberal, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of just following the “platform.” I’m not perfect, but I try to change what I believe based on the evidence and rationality of the argument. I think that this is the essence of being liberal. While it’s easy to choose a belief and stick to it, a truly liberal mentality requires that one change their positions if the evidence demands it.

3 “Crazy” Stories From Korean Middle School Girls

Yesterday I had my after school class write “crazy”  stories. They were in groups of 5-7 and were told to write one sentence and pass it to the right. Each student had to write three sentences before the story could be finished. Here is what they came up with. I’ll post the pictures with a transcription below so you don’t have to fight your way through their adolescently sloppy penmanship.

Story 1-p2

A long time ago…there is a boy. He name is Sung-yeol. He married Ho-ya. Ho-ya is very ugly boy, but Sung-yeol love Ho-ya very much. “Oh, Ho-ya I love you,” Sung-yeol said. Ho-ya said, “I don’t love you!” Because Ho-ya loves other boy. Other boy’s name is Woo-hyun, but Woo-hyun is a married with man. Ho-ya kill Woo-hun’s wife because he want to marry him, but Woo-hyun didn’t love Ho-ya. Ho-ya kills Woo-hyun too. So Sung-yeol fall in love with L. But L love Lee Hyun-woo. But Lee Hyun-woo love Kim Su-hyun. So, Sung-yeol killed Kim Su-hyun and Lee Hyun. Finally Sung-yeol killed himself. Everybody died.

Story 1-p1

Once upon a time, there was crazy Steven. He is very ugly. But his family is very handsome and pretty. He is very upset. So, he wanted to die. But his wife Kimberly stopped he die. Steven realized and regretted. They danced Tango. Kimberly asks how about have plastic surgery. And he said, “Okay!” He’s plastic surgery is fail. He want to die again!!!!! Then Kimberly’s mother Brenda was stopped he die again. Steven’s dog Sasha bit Steven’s face. So, he has to plastic surgery again. But, this time he success!! His face is same as top star’s face. No more Steven thinks about die. Also, Steven was popular person in the entertainment world. Everybody was happy. Now, he is good teacher!!

Story 1-p3

Steven was hit by a big truck. He was dead, and went to Hell. Steven met Joker. Steven had dinner with Joker. The joker screamed like this, “Woooooaaaackkk!!!!” Because of that scream, everybody in Hell was surprised. Because Joker was their king. They tried to destroy Steven. Steven want to live so he defend him to use magic sword so Joker die. Joker was become an angel. Actually, Joker was Steven’s mom because Joker was gay. When he knew that, he began to find his father. He tried to get out of the hell, but he failed. Suddenly angel Joker appeared in front of him and helped him to get out of Hell. So Joker loves Steven but Steven loved butter sandwich. Also, she he loved women. So Steven fell in love with a butter sandwich. Finally, the butter sandwith was eaten by Steven…

The student that drew the picture there at the end wanted to make sure I knew that that was a picture of me eating a butter sandwich.

Together We Go

So this is what it feels like when doves cry. I again submitted to Three Minute Fiction and, yet again, I failed. I forgot about this little contest until the day before it was due, and typed this out rather quickly. The gimmick this time was something in the story had to be found. So here it is, my failed masterpiece:

Together We Go

Sister said if they find us, we’ll never see each other again. She said they’ll enslave us, either in the factories, or worse, at the pleasure houses.

“Young girls like you and me,” she said. “We’re daisies men can’t help but pick.”

I know where the gun is, and I know how to use it. If I ever see a Black Coat, I’m to get the gun and shoot her first, then turn it on myself, and she’ll do the same. “It’s better to be in Heaven together, than alone and in pain,” Sister said.

The dreams have come back recently. The Black Coats come in the rain and catch us sitting by the fire. I can smell the wood burning, it’s sweet and lingers as the doors burst open. The gun is in my hands, and I’m pulling the trigger, but what comes is nothing but misfire after misfire and Sister is gone out into the murky darkness and I’m alone, sitting in my nightgown from the time I was a child.

In the morning we take out one can of kidney beans and one can of peas. The beans we decide to share for breakfast and the peas will be our dinner. Until then, we go about our chores. I hunt for morels the way my father taught me before he died. He said they grow near decaying Elms and showed me how to identify them. What I remember is that they have a narrow leaf, so that’s what I look for. I take my time combing the forest floor, pushing away old leaves and broken twigs until I stumble upon a small patch of about a dozen. I pluck them, but leave the base so they’ll maintain their root and  return next year.

Sister and I found the cabin six months ago. We waited three days and three nights before deeming it safe to enter, but even then we only allowed ourselves to sleep in it. The cold was too much. It drove us to shelter. The moment sunlight touched our eyelids, we rose and tiptoed back into the woods and waited for the owners to return. But they never came and at first snowfall, we claimed the cabin as our own, assuming that they too, whoever they were, had been taken by the war.

In the kitchen, I soaked the morels in a bath of salt water to rid them of insects. Sister entered with her usual greeting of “It’s me.” And I answered in kind. She entered the kitchen and rinsed her hands and dried them on a towel.

“Did you think I wouldn’t notice?” she asked.

“Notice what?”

“The peas are missing,” she said.

“Are you sure? Did we put them away?”

“You took them.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Then who—”

But she turned and moved into the living room. Sister grabbed the drawer on the end table, pulled it open, and removed the gun.

“You have to do it.” she said. “I can’t.”

“We’re not doing anything.”

“We have to. Someone’s been here.”

“And they’re gone.”

There was silence then, thick and haunting. We went into the kitchen and grabbed what we could, then cautiously moved into the woods. Our feet had learned how to make little sound and fell back easily into their habit. We kept watch, moving like seasoned foresters, both knowing our strength was in being together, but fearing the day, if it ever were to come, we had to go alone.