Sunday, November 22, 2009

i just got back from my parents' place in nj after attending a large family dinner for my grandma. she flew in from alaska a few weeks ago and has been bouncing around the homes of relative-to-relative since but her stay is finally over and she's leaving back to anchorage in a couple of hours at 5am. she usually comes to ny once a year with my grandpa since four out of six of their children (including my dad) live here, but now he's gotten too old to travel so this is the first time she's making the trip out alone.

it was really so great to see her the past few weeks. i grew up with my grandma as a kid in alaska and i've always really loved her. she's definitely a strong matriarch and raised her five sons and daughter through a lot of hardship and difficult times. i feel like her generation of korean women just had to be tough yet at the same time a great wife, mother, money maker and patriot.

it's not a family event for our clan if there isn't lots of booze and a korean card game called "go-stop (고스톱)" going on---it honestly really isn't. i'm determined to learn how to play this card game because they always have a great time playing and it will be my in at family gatherings. honestly, being gay and in the closet to my family and extended family is not the easiest thing. as a kid i coped with this by being extremely quiet and just waiting for the night to be over. i remember when my parents would say, "okay get your stuff together because we're going home," the voice in my head would be screaming "about fucking time." these feelings for my family has made me miss most gatherings by choice if i can manage to get out of it and my sister has made me realize that that's not cool. an elongated avoidance of the subjects of girlfriends, marriage and other uncomfortable things has made me a completer stranger to everyone in my extended family and that upsets me.

anyway, here's a few pics of my lovely grandma enjoying a good game of go-stop (고스톱). the first is of her, my grandfather and aunt in front of the white house during what i think looks like the seventies but am not sure.

ALSO, if there is anyone in nyc who knows how to place this and is willing to teach me, that would be awesome.


  1. I appreciate the intimate honesty of this post. In my own way I can relate to the strained family relationship, and the avoidance of certain topics.

  2. i just came on to tell u hot hot ur look in ur profile pic, but was so moved by your post.

    i remember being a kid and having similar feelings-of being shut down and wanting to be alone as a way of avoiding.

    so many missed opportunities to be connected to people because it was more painful to be honest.

    thank you so much for posting...

  3. hehehe.

    grandma's are awesome.

    when i was in boys dorm. she would come over sometimes and bring snacks for me and my brother.

    i appreciate that and have a great respect for her.

    my mom and her have a soso relationship. which is a bit troubling.

  4. You silly boy... I know how to play Go-Stop. I'll teach you next weekend.

    BTW, I like this new pic of you. Or maybe it's the orange cap... :-)

  5. love the granny pics. i love grandmothers!

  6. an aside here, but i was just struck at how amazing it is that people your gramdmother's age are sitting on the floor with such good posture.

    american's that age would never sit on the floor, and if they did they could never get up.

    i'm really impressed...