Monday, January 27, 2020

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Already forgotten,
to forever stay rotten.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

One-syllable life,
I need my pulse hyped.
Decision to incision,
no sneezing on that vision.
No more crumbs in bed,
dump that thing instead.
Private. Dining. Room.
Unclench, and feel that drench.
Color outside the line,
snap outside the frame.
Stir until it splashes,
rock a clean fade.
Beard.
Weird.
Feared.
Bleared.
Coughing into the pillow,
now everybody say wayo.
I am always watching the same movies on repeat.

...is that because things in my life feel like they’re on repeat too?
I felt a little bit of that.

Monday, January 20, 2020

"If you make a plan, life never works out that way. Look around us. Did these people think, 'Let's all spend the night in a gym?' But look now. Everyone's sleeping on the floor, us included. That's why people shouldn't make plans. With no plan, nothing can go wrong."

Said by the character Park Dong-Ik in the movie Parasite.
"Shin never became a novelist, but he named his first successful business, a company that marketed chewing gum, Lotte after Charlotte, the female character in Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel 'The Sorrows of Young Werther.' Mr. Shin was especially proud of the name Lotte, calling it 'the best choice in my life.'"

From the January 19, 2020 NYT Article: ‘Chewing Gum Tycoon’ of Lotte Group, Shin Kyuk-ho, Dies at 98. By Choe Sang-Hun.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

People know.
People, no!
You know that scene in Beaches when CC Bloom bangs on her radiators so her super turns up the heat?

I think I've thought about her doing that literally every time I lay eyes on a radiator here in NYC. And this has been since I first watched it as a kid.
"Dear CC, we're spending summer at our beach house. It's very peaceful here. I get to ride horses and think a lot."

Said by Hillary in the movie Beaches.
Wash your hands x 100.
We’re not just talking like, next to the dumpster at piggly wiggly?

Say by RuPaul in the podcast RuPaul: What’s the Tee ft. Michelle Visage. Episode 238.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Other fish to fry,
other beans to boil.
Other cabbage to cook,
another thought to toil.
The past few weeks or so.
















Descend.
Defend.
Demand.
Dreamland.
"I'm making spaghetti. You'd better come home soon."

Said by the character Eun Ho on the Netflix Korean drama: Romance Is a Book. Season 1, Episode 11.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Well hello there, 2020.

I know you sound fancy and all, but you're just another year, aren't you? Just the next number in a sequence that we'll use to keep track of all the stuff in the following 12 months? I don't know, I guess there's a bit of futuristic romanticism to your name, like the plot of an old sci-fi movie finally coming to life. But in the same way you're just another basic bitch year.

Or maybe not? That's why I'm trying to think of ways to amp you up a notch to make you better than 2019.

To start, I definitely want to have more fun in 2020, because it feels like I spent way too much time in my head last year. The thing is, 2019 was definitely hard. Life really does work in cycles, because much like exactly ten years ago at the beginning of 2009, where I found myself unemployed after having been laid off from my job, 2019 started off in a similar way.

I had lost my job in November of 2018 after the NYC office I worked at was suddenly closed by our parent company in Europe. Losing that job was fine because the environment I worked in was not good. It was an eye-opening experience of a type of work culture that had my jaw dropping on a regular basis, and one that I never wish to be in again. So when I lost that job, I accepted it as a chapter of my life closing, and told myself I'd be fine, and that a new chapter at a new job would soon be starting. I had been in this situation of being jobless before, so I dusted off the old resume and got to it. But little did I know that the next chapter to come would not be at a job, but instead, a really long stretch of unemployment.

I started my job search in high spirits that month. I was super enthusiastic about all of the places I was applying to, and was just excited about everything. Thinking about the possibilities of where I would end up and how I could contribute to wherever that was kept me energized and eager. But then a full month passed by with nothing. Then two. This was where I found myself at the start of 2019, and I reassured myself by saying okay it's still only been a short time that I've been looking. Plus, it was just the holiday season, so I'll be totally fine and something will happen soon. But then I hit my three month mark of unemployment. And then four. Even with what I thought was a pretty decent work history and resume, I wasn't getting the amount of responses or leads I thought I would.

I would say by the fifth month of earnestly looking and trying so fucking hard with absolutely no results, I hit an emotional low point. I felt so lost. I felt scared about my future. I started to believe that these companies who had no interest in hiring me were right, and that maybe I had no value to offer them, or any company at that matter. While I had been unemployed at other previous stages of my life, something about this one felt different. To begin, it was longer than any of those other times had ever been. And the optimism and whatever-everything-will-work-out attitude I had in my twenties and earlier thirties seemed gone. Instead, everything was replaced by panic and this fear of feeling like I had no control over my life. Five months is a long time to go while still trying to pay all my bills and stay afloat. And going through everything as a single person with no one to really rely on and have as support made everything feel so much more isolating. I began to question everything about my life to an obsession, and all of the choices I had made to get to this point. Is this where I was at 36? All I wanted was a job to wake up and go to. Why did this seem so unattainable?

Month six of being unemployed came and passed. Then month seven. At this point, I had gone on my fair share of interviews. Either I kept missing the mark in some way or there was always some other reason, because none of these places wanted to hire me. But during this time, there was something else I unexpectedly gleaned. It was something I had never really thought about when getting interviewed at jobs before. It was like the opportunity to speak with different people at a wide range of companies had me noticing people's personalities a lot more, and I started to especially pick up on things like if the interviewer seemed sort of miserable. It happened more than once.

The journey of a long job search has a lot of highs and a lot of lows. The lows had some real dark points. I honestly just didn't understand so much of what my reality was at that time, where bitterness hardened up like candy and I often found myself taking big bites out of it. I also wasn't telling everyone I knew that I lost my job and found myself unemployed again, (because it's definitely happened more than once since ten years ago). It was a struggle to pay bills and just get through stuff. I tried to keep busy by pitching food stories here and there but I didn't have much success at that either. The amount of self-reflection I was doing at this point was no joke. I took a long hard look at a lot of things in my life. I mean, I had the time to so why not just go all the way, right? The highs came in a few forms, mostly through just realizing some stuff. Things like, "actually, you know what? I'll aways be okay," or "things aren't so bad." And then there were even those moments where I wasn't sure how I'd get through something. But then I would, and I would be fine. It made me realize I was taking care of business as best I could, so who gives a shit.

Then month eight came and went. But when nine started, it did so with a bang. That's when I applied to a food company with a name that immediately caught my eye, and is when everything changed.

Two years ago at one of my big Yoon family gatherings, with my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins, something in our usual, large seafood spread caught my eye. It was the salmon sashimi. Its color was so different. It had been a while since we had salmon from Alaska, and I didn't remember it looking like that.

The thing is, my family has deep roots in Alaska, and I grew up eating wild-caught salmon all the time from the 3rd to 7th grade. That's when I used to live there as a kid with my parents and two sisters. I have so many fond memories of eating my grandma's home cooked salmon in Anchorage, and only with my rice because it was that good. I still ate salmon as an adult here in New York, and I guess got so used to the stuff I found here at restaurants that I didn't even think it was different from what I remembered having in Alaska.

But then on that dining room table of my cousin's house, I saw this salmon from Alaska that one of my relatives had sent. It had this deep red color that sparked a whole bunch of something in my head. I didn't understand what about it caught my eye, but I sure did enjoy eating it. Because I couldn't figure out why it made me feel the way I did, it continued to cross my mind every now and then.

On the ninth month of unemployed life, I was able to have my first interview at this food company. This was the place with a name that had me thinking how interesting. It was a video interview with the founder that I took from my living room desk, and I was genuinely excited. When I began to tell him about having lived in Alaska when I was younger, I also told him about my dad and his parents and 5 siblings all moving there in the 70s from South Korea.

In 1975, my great-uncle had a hamburger place in Homer, Alaska. He had emigrated there from Korea years earlier and worked in the fish canneries before eventually opening up his own business. He then sponsored his sister, which is my grandma, and her family, being my grandpa, dad, 5 aunts and uncles, to immigrate to America. Homer is where they all first settled in at to begin their American story. My grandpa and eldest uncle also worked in the fish canneries there for a while. Years later, everyone in the family would eventually move on to build new lives down in Anchorage or in New York City, but Homer holds a special place in my family's history.

When I mentioned Homer to the founder of this company I was applying to during my interview, his response had me shooketh. He proceeded to tell me he was born and raised in Homer, Alaska. Seriously.

To make a long story never end, that auspicious moment was followed by so many other wonderful things, and it all resulted in my finally landing a new job! And from the get-go, something about this one gave me a really good feeling.

The company sells wild-caught and sustainable salmon from Alaska, along with other fish and seafood species that are wild-caught and sustainable from the state. Working here has been great in so many ways, so much so that I don't even think about those nine long months of my tortuous job search. I'm so happy with where I am now that ain't nobody got time to look back like that! Along with the people, one of the greatest things about my company is having a work day that's centered around salmon from Alaska. I mean, I have access to eating it daily, have meetings about it throughout the day, and am pretty much thinking about it all the time! But okay, what's got to be my absolute favorite thing are those days when all I'm doing is writing about it. My job is to write about Alaskan salmon. I could have never imagined this during those hard nine months. Like, wow.

Constantly being around the salmon I had as a kid has brought back so many memories. I remember that its color wasn't orange with marbled lines of fat, but a deep red with a lean texture. I also remember how delicious it is and how much I loved eating it. The difference in flavor compared to any other salmon is just there to me. I see it and can't ever go back to anything else again. And that mystery of thinking about the salmon from my family function two years ago? Well, now that everything's been cleared up, it doesn't even cross my mind.

So 2019 came and went, and so will 2020. And from now on, for any year of my life I ever look back on, I’ll think, yeah I was fine that year.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The current soundtrack of living in NYC includes a lot of coughing and sneezing.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Invisible. An afterthought.

What even am I?

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

I had a perfect train day today. Well, at least half of one on my commute home that is.

I can't even remember when I started calling it this, but I gave the label perfect train day to those odd days when every subway I'd have to take would somehow magically show up the moment I got to the platform. This used to mean it would happen both in the morning and evening in simpler times when I didn't live in my current place and getting to wherever I worked only required taking a single subway line. But since I have to take 3 subway lines to get to my office now, perfect train days seem pretty much impossible. There's no way this could happen to six different trains in a single day of commuting. However, it did happen on my way home. The G, 7 train and D train all pulled into each station the moment I got there and I even managed to snag a seat every time. Sure, I worked a little late today and left my office at 8pm so that was probably why I got seats, but the timing still all matched up! It's been a while since I've had a perfect train day in any shape or form, so it made me pretty happy and was the highlight of my evening. It was a nice little reminder that it does still exist! Yes, exciting stuff going on here, folks.