NaBloPoMo day 25: Work it out

Maybe I don’t give such realistic breakup advice. On NaBloPoMo day 17, I suggested that sweating it out is better than crying it out. That’s not always true, especially if you haven’t been sleeping or eating right. I know this from first-hand experience. Tonight as I was running up and down on my step in SWEAT class (yes, it is all in caps), I lost my balance and fell backwards. I didn’t land gracefully, but I managed to pick myself up and keep going. I even managed to fight off my spontaneous tears that have been making regular appearances lately.


Sometimes you need to just work it out, and keep going. That is what I am learning day by day. I’m not sure if it is getting any easier, but I’m grateful for each new day that comes. And I have moments where I’m actually able to see the humour in all of this. I imagine it was a comical sight watching me fall on my bum in the middle of class tonight. And then there was hot pot and Google translate with my student. I still feel a bit guilty for driving her to smoke a cigarette. Only a little guilty. And I’ve been sporting a Gothic look these days, as I refuse to wear waterproof mascara. Sometimes I am able to laugh at myself. As painful as this all is, I know that in the end things will work out how they’re supposed to, and I’ll keep going.

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NaBlopoMo day 24: Morning writing

Usually, I’m a late-night blogger, but today I’m switching it up. I’m going to get some writing done, before I head to work. Lately, writing has been a chore, something that is on my to do list. Once I get into it, I enjoy it, but sometimes I don’t get to that point. When I set out on this challenge, I wanted to deviate from my random writing patterns, but then I was derailed. However, I am still writing, and that is the main point of this 30-day blogging challenge. I’m proud of myself for not throwing in the towel. The old me would have.

I am becoming a new me. I don’t know when it started, but I am changing my habits, and perspectives. I’m opening up to new possibilities. Sometimes I slip back, sometimes I am overwhelmed, but for the first time in 2 years I am thinking maybe, just maybe, my life is in the west. When I started writing this blog it was to reconcile my longing for the east, and my internal protest to living in the west. Slowly, I’m getting there. I’m connecting with people who have spent time in both worlds, I’m becoming part of the fabric of society, and not just a freelancer that sits in coffee shops.

As much as I love working for myself, and setting my own schedule, it can be isolating. It makes it harder to make connections. I don’t understand the  9 to 5 grind, and I’m not sure I want to, but I do want a taste of stability.

Well, my chariot (bus) is waiting, so I better head out. I’m going to publish now, as this is morning writing. In the afternoon, I’ll add some finishing touches.


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NaBloPoMo day 23: Writer’s block sealed with a kiss

I’ve run into Writer’s Block in disguise. I could pour my heart out, let it weep all over the page, but she’s telling me to write more, more of what makes my heart sing. In this place, I can’t remember what makes my heart sing, so I’m dealing with Writer’s Block. A few months ago, I turned to some great writers – Lamott, and 2 Goldberg’s – for some help. I’ve only cracked Bonnie Goldberg’s  Room to Write (Penguin/Putnam,1996) a few times, but never used any of the prompts. Today, that is going to change. I just opened the book to a random page, and these are the words looking up at me – Say it with a kiss. Not really what I want to think about right now, but I’m going to give it a go. A little fictional kiss.


When she was with him, she seemed to forget about the world around her. She was just there with him, soaking up his words, and memorizing the lines on his face. He had such a beautiful face when he smiled, a smile just for her. As they sat with their backs to the ocean, she watched his lips, and wondered what it would be like to feel them on hers. As these thoughts crossed her mind, she could feel herself blushing, hoping he wasn’t a mind reader. Perhaps, he was. He took her hand in his, and traced the lines on her palm, the lines of the heart and head. Was he in that moment with her? Just the two of them. She closed her eyes, and breathed in the salty, ocean air. When she opened her eyes, he was still there. Their eyes locked, and they met half-way, their lips touched softly. It was soft, warm, tender — no hesitation. They were exactly where they wanted to be.


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NaBloPoMo day 22: Time for a poem


Too fast, too slow

Not enough, too much

Time flies, time lingers on

They say, “Time heals.”

How much time do I need?

When will I stop feeling this aching inside?

What is going to fill this this void left behind?

Where am I going to find the strength?

Why can’t I just fast forward or rewind?

Time, it has its own way.



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NaBloPoMo day 21: first book of poems

LangLeavI have a confession. I’ve never been a fan of poetry. It’s too abstract and vague. By the time I think I understand a poem, the words have bled together on the page. In life there are enough uncertainties, things left undone, and reading between the lines, so when I curl up with a book, I want to escape that. I want to read a book with a beginning, middle, and end. That’s the way life is, right? Lately, I’ve been wondering if it is that simple, so I bought my first book of poetry by Lang Leav. It turns out there is a beginning, middle, and end to her Lullabies (Andrews McMeel, 2014), but she calls them Duet, Interlude, and Finale. I guess it’s not so abstract, even I can work with that.


Love (Duet). I wasn’t prepared for it. It swept over me slowly, at first a simple joy that began to stir in my heart, then it shone through my eyes, and then overflowed into my life. My days became brighter, and I felt a certain certainty. A certainty that this was right, this was equal, this was love.

Up and down (Interlude). Love had taken a hold of me, even though I couldn’t utter the words. It was undeniable, he had my heart. Even though we had 7 weeks apart, we were always connected in some way. My love kept growing stronger. When he needed me I was there….even when he didn’t. And he was there for me, too. His sweetness showed me he cared. His touch showed his love, even though he could not utter the words. We weren’t perfect, but we had honesty and respect.

Breaking (Finale). Two different worlds colliding. Hoping the other would change, hoping the other would have patience. No longer meeting half-way. Reaching out, but not connecting. Still in love, but not knowing how to move forward.


Thank you, Lang Leav, for your poems, your strands of love, loss, and hope. They have found me at a time when I need them. Each one of your poems speaks to me, letting me know that I’m not the only one who has been here.

Over My Head

I count his breaths,
in hours unslept,
against hours of him,
I have left.
With him lying there,
with him unaware,
I am out of my depth.
- Lang Leav
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NaBloPoMo day 20: Hot pot for my broken heart

hot pot 2For the past four days, I’ve been trying to move along with a little more care and love for myself. Today, for the second time this week, I indulged in a Toonie chair massage at the mall. As I sat back in the chair, I closed my eyes, ate some chocolate, and thought about the rest of my day — three more students, and then hot pot. I was looking forward to an authentic culinary experience with my Chinese student that night. Surely, it would make me forget my broken heart for a while. There wouldn’t be room for my tears among the spicy chilies, fish tofu, Chinese vegetables, and meat balls. At least, that was what I thought as I ate my chocolate, with dry eyes.

After our lesson of Christmas trees and Jingle Bells, my student began chopping cilantro, mushrooms, and a bunch of other veggies I couldn’t pronounce. I asked if I could help, and she handed me her iPad, so that I could select the music. Although I could help her with English, she was probably wise to keep me out of her kitchen. Selecting songs wasn’t much easier as most of the artists I had never heard of. I settled on some Chinese instrumental music, and my student gave me a look, and said, “This makes me want to sleep! I have Exo!” So, we listened to a Korean boy band while she prepared food, and I started taking pictures.

I wanted to document this hot pot experience….Little Sheep Hot Pot sauce, dried chilies, special oil in one side of the pot, and just water in the other half. Then she laid all the fresh ingredients on the table — Thai shrimp, meat balls, fish tofu, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, white gourd, and Beijing peanut sauce.  In our bowls, she mixed the sauce with cilantro, then put the meat in the boiling pot, and as it became ready, she grabbed it with her chopsticks, and plopped it in my bowl. Slowly, I got the hang of it, and started fishing in the hot pot by myself.  She laughed at my poor chopstick etiquette, and on more than one occasion, my mushroom fell back in the boiling water. I began to feel a blister forming on the roof of my mouth, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t remember the last time I had enjoyed eating so much. And then I did remember. It was with him.

As I peeled the shrimp, all these memories started to flood my head. All of a sudden, eating felt like a chore, and I excused myself. In the washroom, I let the tears fall, and then I took a long hard look in the mirror. My puffy eyes and mascara stained face was quite a sight. Get yourself together, I told myself. And I did, until I sat down at the table, and the tears began to silently stream down my face. My student placed the box of tissues within my reach, and asked me what was wrong. At first, I don’t think she understood. She grabbed her iPad, exclaimed,”Translate!”, and then showed me the words on the screen. The next five minutes read like this:

Turn grief into appetite.

“Will be good, will be the past.”

“You really broke up?”

“You are very good, work progresses day by day.”

“Fortunately, you don’t drink, otherwise you would drink down.”

At the end of these exchanges, she asked, “You smoke?” I shook my head. She grabbed her pink cigarette case, and a candle from the coffee table, and sat back down. She offered me a cigarette again. By this point, my tears had stopped, and I began to laugh. She lit up, and a big smile crossed her face, “You make me smoke!” I asked her, “How many have you had today?” She replied, “One with my husband, and two with you.” We both looked at each other, and I knew she’d been where I was before. I wiped my cheeks, embarrassed. “Thank you. You have a good heart.” Our eyes met, she put her second cigarette out in the ashtray,”No problem. I have happy heart. Maybe he was not good guy for you.” I thought about that for a moment, and wished that was the case, but it wasn’t. He is an amazing guy, and he made me feel special. Then she pulled me from my thoughts, offering, “You will find the best guy for you.”


To be honest, I’m not happy we’re through. I don’t want to find someone new. I haven’t accepted this break up. I still have glimmers of hope; being without him is not my reality yet. One thing I did learn tonight, over hot pot, is that despite language and cultural barriers, when it comes to matters of the heart, we can communicate with each other. We can communicate support, concern, and hope. And even though I feel alone sometimes, I’m not.


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NaBloPoMo day 19: Love & Lang Leav

I’m throwing in the towel tonight, and introducing you to the Undefinabletyper at Broken But Fixable, and Lang Leav. Both have left me inspired, helping me realize that I’m not alone, and that I will get through these tears and heartbreak. Without further ado, here is the main attraction for the night.

This is Probably the Saddest Post Ever  (It’s not really the saddest post…..go ahead and click the link!)

Lang Leav


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NaBloPoMo day 18: Christmas already?

The signs of Christmas are popping up all over town. And I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s still November, and this morning, on my way to get an eggnog latte, I was confronted by dazzling lights, white trees, and some red poinsettias. And then I noticed the kiss~me mistletoe, and remembered I don’t have anyone to kiss this year. Christmas has come too soon.

When I was young, I used to love Christmas. It was such a magical time of year. My favourite white Christmas was in Kelowna at my grandparents. I was only four, and the youngest and cutest in the family at that time. It was a perfect Christmas spent jumping on the trampoline with my uncle, taboganning with my grandpa, drinking hot chocolate with my mom, and waiting up for Santa with my aunt. The pictures from 1984 painted a beautiful blended family, like the brady bunch, and I was the only grandchild, the only neice, the only child.

After that Christmas, all the ones that followed paled in comparison. I would still leave a note for Santa, and some cookies, too, but usually the snow was missing, and an aunt or two. Then when I realized that my mom was Santa, Christmas lost its magic. I had to start making my own magic and traditions. My mom’s burlap angel on top of our Christmas tree, my stocking hanging above the mantle, and the decoration under the tree, from me to my mom, are always there. Those variables don’t change. Our Christmas dinner is never the same; over the years, it has embraced not only our family, but our friends, some of them from other countries. And there were Christmases that I was not home, and I made my Christmas wherever I was, even if I was working on that day.

Now, Christmas has come too soon. It’s stirred some wonderful memories in me, and made me melancholy. That mistletoe and those Christmas tunes aren’t doing anything for me. This year just doesn’t feel the same without my missing pieces. Christmas is coming nevertheless, and I know it will be whatever I make of it.


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NaBloPoMo day 17: Realistic breakup advice

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all these ‘uplifting’ articles listing ways to get over a breakup and move on with your life. They paint such a simple picture. They don’t look at the day after. They don’t address fresh breakups. I’m no expert, but here is my realistic breakup advice.

  1. Wear black mascara, the kind that’s not waterproof. It will remind you to stop weeping in public. When you come home, cry it off and forget your makeup remover.
  2. Ask your friends about heartbreak. Their stories are probably worse than yours. Perhaps, they already had the wedding dress.
  3. Ask questions about anything but love, and listen to the answers. Get absorbed in someone else’s life.
  4. Smile even though you are crying inside. It’ll make you feel better…..temporarily.
  5. Stop worrying about what others think of you, and dare to cry a little bit in public…. then avoid eye contact.
  6. Be prepared for some sympathetic looks from strangers. They might not know what to make of your puffy, red eyes.
  7. Eat some chocolate, and indulge in comfort food.
  8. Get some exercise. Worry about sweat getting in your eyes, and not tears falling from them.
  9. Get outside. Open your eyes to the world around you. It doesn’t stop.
  10. Put those yoga classes to the test, and practice some deep breathing.
  11. Get a beauty makeover.
  12. Remember that everything is temporary. The pain that you are feeling won’t last forever.

I’m no expert, but these are some tricks I’ve put to the test. Getting over someone you love is never easy. Moving on is never easy. After a fresh breakup you might be in a mental fog, but with this realistic advice, you might feel a little better, and still feel the sunshine through the clouds.


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NaBloPoMo day 16: still in the game

My friend looked at me blankly. Double eyelids? She wasn’t the first to ask me what double eyelids were. Truth be told, I didn’t even know what they were until I went to South Korea, and realized I had them. I had something that was highly coveted, something that women went under the knife for. The creases above my eyes….I have two of them.

Funny, this was going to be about finding my style in Korea because there were beauty standards I could not possibly live up to. Instead, this is going to be a ramble. I’m still in the game. It’s amazing how quickly things can change. Tonight I was procrastinating, and then I finally sat down and the words were coming. Then an interruption, and a hard conversation, and everything has changed. I’m writing behind a veil of tears. Tonight I wish to be anywhere but here. Tonight I wish I could turn back time. But it’s too late.

So, I am here writing because I said I would. I’m staying disciplined because I know that in the end it will be worth it. I’ll get through this. Even though my voice is shaky, it is still here, and it is mine alone. I’m a fighter, and I’ll move on, and I’ll get stronger.  That I know to be true, and that is what keeps me going, keeps me growing. Even though my eyes are like leaky faucets right now, I know tomorrow will be a bit brighter.

beach 2

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