Soon-to-be mommy

It’s March 1, 2014… Michelob and I are expecting our first child anyday now, a boy! It’s been quite a journey getting to this point- from trying to conceive (and it not being as easy as anticipated), a miscarriage in 2012, getting pregnant a month after I quit my job, and adapting to being a pregnant housewife (which I quite enjoyed).

There’s 3 other women at our church who are expecting within a 2 week window (I think there was something in the water). The first one gave birth this past Tuesday. So things are getting real. I have been praying that our son will give us a little more time (and develop more). Originally I’d prayed he’d wait until end of February (which passed), and now I’m praying next week (which will come soon). Michelob’s mom will be coming on Tuesday to help us out for about a month (thank God for wonderful MILs). I had been worried our kid would come too early and we’d be starving because no one was around to help out (I have strange worries, of course folks from church and other friends would’ve all chipped in).

We decided to have a natural birth at home. We’ve been working with Brenda (traditionalbirthservices.com) and it’s been wonderful having a holistic & caring midwife. Though I’m sure it won’t be easy , I feel good that we’ve prepared and are in good hands. I also have to thank Jenny (homegrownbirthing.info) for her wonderful childbirth & childcare classes, and Dr. Mullin (www.drlindamullin.com) for chiropractic care that relieved my lower back pains!

Everyone says that your life changes dramatically after children… I understand that in my head, but not quite in reality. I guess we will see very soon.

I’m still alive! Sorry….

I am a terrible blogger… When I first started this blog I wanted to write at least once a week. That quickly turned into once every 2 weeks, then one a month, then…. 8 months! Oops, my bad…

But in all seriousness, it’s been a rough 8 months. Lots of things happened professionally and personally. Some of it I’m comfortable sharing with the great wide virtual world, others I’m not. And honestly, sometimes I didn’t know what to say or write, afraid to give voice to some of those emotions & feelings.

Work politics, health issues, family drama, ailing grandmother, attempts to help someone who doesn’t want to help himself, terrorism and deaths around the world, pain and suffering, the darkness of sin played out…. Excitement and sorrow, emotional highs and drains, anger and frustration, resign and surrender, apathy…. Too many feelings, along with emotional fatigue.

I was reading Psalm 44 today. Like the Hebrews in Exile, I ask God why and when. Why are these things happening? When will it end?

23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
24 Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
26 Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

But I remember that God is still faithful through all of life’s darkness. He is in control and has a plan even through the “bad” things.  We have to lean into Jesus day by day, moment by moment. Through the hardships is our faith purified and cleansed. God is good, all the time, whether we see it or not.

Old Wounds….

God has been bringing to mind an old friend of mine. I’ve had a good friend since freshman year of college called M. We met during freshman orientation, since we lived in the same dorm. We bonded over Sims, even though he made one of my families polygamous. >_< Since then we’ve been really close, along with our “clique” or group of 4 other friends.

Even after college, we stayed really close. When he and another friend from our group found jobs in DC, I wanted to go there too (I did end up living & working in DC for about a year). I moved back to Atlanta, and he later moved back as well for work & school. We were inseparable, until December 2009.

M was very close to his family, in particular his father. However, his father unexpectedly passed away in December of 2009. M was devastated. His rock and cheerleader was gone, and M’s world fell apart. Our group of friends tried our best to support & console him. But M decided he didn’t want anything to do with us anymore. He cut off all ties with our close group of friends.

I tried to get to him through his mother, through other mutual friends he still talked to, through facebook stalking (though he was very good at not revealing much on facebook). However, M slowly cut off all my venues of getting to him. M moved up north for grad school in 2010, and I haven’t heard from him since.

I had a vivid dream about M last week. I dreamt that I saw him again after almost 3 years. I went to a meeting with friends. And M was at the same meeting. I tried to hide my face so that he wouldn’t see me and run away. But eventually he did see me, and got up to walk out of the big room. I got up immediately and went out a different door to try to intersect him. I ran out to him in the hallway. When I caught up, I just grabbed the front of his shirt and began to cry. M tried to stay unemotional, but I could tell there were conflicting feelings fighting inside of him.

I feel like this is probably not too far off from what would actually happen if I saw him randomly somewhere. The topic of forgiveness has been coming to mind a lot recently in relation to M. I feel like I need to continue to forgive him in my heart for leaving us. Not just once or even 20 times, but continuously remembering to forgive. Like Jesus did for us…

Old heart wounds don’t heal easily. But I still hold onto hope. I still pray for M. I learn to forgive him, over and over again. I pray that M will one day find peace that can only come from Jesus.

How Michelob & I got together… Part 3 The CONFESSION

This is my favorite part of our story… because it was so awkward, and so us.

To recap, I was a senior in college. Michelob didn’t notice me, I noticed his singing voice. But as I prepared to leave college and ATL, boys were not on my mind. Michelob & I ended up driving in a car to & from Perspectives several times, and something sparked in him.

I really wasn’t interested in boys that last semester of college. I was perfectly content taking an independent study class (about China’s environmental issues), a tropical biology course (which included a Spring break trip to Peru’s Amazon rainforest… best class EVER!), volunteering with a refugee resettlement agency in tutoring 3 teenage girls in English, taking Perspectives, and serving a Intervarsity fellowship group. I was busy, but really happy. I didn’t know where I was going after May 15, my graduation date, but I was casually looking for jobs while planning to move back in with the parents (who then lived in New York). Actually, I knew I wanted to do a summer missions trip, and ended up spending almost 3 months in China. But we’ll come back to that later.

At the same time, brewing inside Michelob was a plot… He knew I was planning to move away from Atlanta on May 15. He knew he liked me, and he knew he needed to act, and FAST!

Exactly 10 days before I graduated & moved away from Atlanta, Michelob confessed his undying love for me. Haha, just kidding. He’s not that romantic. What happened was that I was studying for a final with Michelob and a buddy of ours at Caribou, a coffee shop. The buddy knew that Michelob wanted to confess. So when we got back to campus, our friend disappeared quickly. Michelob asked if we could talk, and we went to find a place to sit down inside a student center area. We found some couches and sat down across from one another.

He said (very bluntly and with a straight unsmiling face), “I would like to get to know you better.”

I said (confused, and starting to panic), “As friends, or more than friends?”

He said (slightly flabbergasted that I needed clarification), “….as more than friends.”

I said, “I need to go pray about it. I’ll let you know before I leave.” And…. I promptly run off.

I didn’t look back to see his probably very confused face. But I can imagine what he might have looked like. >____> Confused, sad, and wondering whattheheckiswrongwiththisgirl.

Michelob still laughs at my response now, 6 whole years later. I think I did not do too badly, given that I was a total noob in the dating department. Oh, I should probably note that neither of us has had a real boyfriend or girlfriend in our life up until this point. So dating is not our forte.

Anyways, after I run off having a very confused conversation with Michelob, I proceeded to pray and ask EVERYONE about what I should do. In the course of 3 days, I shared about this episode with basically all of those closest to me: my roommates, our mutual friends, my mom, EVERYONE! I’m surprised no one laughed at me for being so confused and soliciting so many opinons.  No one told me to whether to tell him yes or no, one way or the other. So ultimately, I still had to decide (bummer for me).

Next time on How Michelob & I got together… My Decision.

How Michelob & I got together… Part 2

So when we last left off in the story, Michelob didn’t know that I existed. Ok, that’s not true, but he didn’t really look at me twice.

Things began to change in early 2002. I was in my last semester of college, taking only 2 classes (it was my favorite semester ever!), and preparing to leave Atlanta after graduating in May. I wasn’t really thinking about boys at this point. I was thinking about life beyond school– dreaming bigger and better things! Those few months were one of the few times in my life that I was perfectly content being a single woman, just pursuing God.

Since I had some extra time on my hands that semester, I decided to take a weekly class off-campus called Perspectives (www.perspectives.org). It’s a semester long course held all over the country about God’s heart for the world. Perspectives has rocked my world, literally. I always joke that Perspectives changed my life in 2 ways: 1) it opened my eyes to the world of missions and how God wants every ethnic people group to hear His story and 2) brought me a husband.

Let’s back up a little bit. During my senior year, Michelob started mentoring one of my good buds ML who was also in undergrad. I hung out with ML a lot through Intervarsity, and so Michelob & I started seeing each other more regularly on campus. Somehow I learned that Michelob was interested in missions, so I told him that he could come as a visitor to Perspectives classes with me if he wanted. He took me up on that offer.

Usually I go to Perspectives with 1-2 other girlfriends. However, (this is what I call a God-thing), the times that Michelob decided to come, ALL of my other friends were busy and couldn’t come. So I drove Michelob & I, just the 2 of us, from our school 30 minutes each way to the church where Perspectives was held. Since Perspectives was mind-blowing me, Michelob & I would have deep conversations about our thoughts from the classes.

That semester, one of our other mutual friends Davo took a class at our university, and he organized lunches with friends on the days he was there. So Michelob & I also sometimes had lunch together with a group of friends. Michelob later tells me that it was at one of these lunches that he glanced up and saw me, and thought I was “cute.”

All in all, seeing each other much more frequently, and sharing our hearts during lone car drives led Michelob to develop an interest in me. However, I was still super oblivious and didn’t think much else but what to do after May when I graduated and could move out of Atlanta.

Next episode: the CONFESSION! Stayed tuned for Part 3 of How Michelob & I got together!

Back in Hometown

I recently went back to Connecticut for friends’ wedding. Though I grew up there, I haven’t been back in quite a while. About 5+ years to be precise. Since my parents no longer live in the area, I don’t have a reason to regularly visit anymore. But it was great to visit again for the wedding and see many old friends. And of course, Michelob & I ate a lot of good food, especially since we flew in & out of Laguardia Airport, just a hop skip and jump away from Flushing, NY (aka Chinese food central).

We started our weekend by eating at Spicy & Tasty in Flushing. I’ve been to Spicy & Tasty in the past…. like 7 years ago. It’s a Sichuan Chinese restaurant with lots of spicy foods. Let’s see, from top clockwise, we ordered onchoy (空心菜, an Asian green vegetable that we cannot get in Georgia), mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐), spicy beef tendon (夫妻肺片), and dan dan noodles (担担面).

Look at this delicious mapo tofu. I wish I knew how to make a version of the dish like this.

Or that we could get onchoy (空心菜) in Georgia (somehow it was banned because it grew too wildly, or something).

In Connecticut, we knew that we needed to get some pizza. I didn’t know this, but supposedly the oldest pizza joint in the US started in New Haven. Frank Pepe’s been around since 1925 (http://www.pepespizzeria.com), and many famous folks including past presidents and Frank Sinatra all frequented this restaurant.  I’m kind of ashamed to say it, but even though I lived in Connecticut for about 10 years, I’ve never been to Pepe’s. But better late than never, right?

Look at this white clam pizza… isn’t it beautiful? I was surprised how big the pieces of clam were.

Below is a close-up. And it was just as delicious as it looked. The crust was thin & crispy (even on the bottom). The pizza was flavorful with lots of garlic and just the right amount of saltiness. Wowsers.

But we didn’t stop there. We tried two other pizzas too. The original pie with mozzarella, and also the house special with various meats, mushrooms, and onions.

I actually really enjoyed the original. Everything was just right. The meat house special was alright, but not being much of a meat-eater or onion-lover, I left most of it to Michelob and our friend to finish up.

We ended our short weekend back in Flushing before hopping on a plane to go back home. We stopped by one of our favorite xiao long bao (小笼包, Chinese soup “dumpling”) place: Joe’s Shanghai. We got the crab meat dumpling.

Look at all that soup. Deliciousness!

We tried their beef noodle soup too, which was surprisingly also very good! The beef was cooked so that it was melt-in-your-mouth and very flavorful.

Though our time in Connecticut & NY were very short (just a 2 day weekend trip), we were thankful for the time. Michelob also got to see where I grew up & went to church, so that was really cool. Thank you for friends housing us and showing us around! We hope to be back sooner than later :)

Sticking with it

I’m sucking at blogging regularly. When I first started, I had wanted to blog twice a week. And then we went on a vacation, and work got busy, and psshhaaaww…. goal went out the window.

I have this weird thing where I like to set lower expectations, so that when reality exceeds the expectations, then I’m “pleasantly” surprised. Anyone else like this?

But here’s what to expect in the near future for posts:

1. Foodie photos from our recent trips

2. How Michelob & I got together Part 2

Thanks for sticking with me!

How Michelob & I got together… Part 1

In some ways, Michelob & I had a boring dating relationship. In other ways, it’s a story of suspense and drama. I guess it just all depends on your perspective.

We attended the same church for almost 3 years before he took notice of me. The first time we met, he probably said “hi,” and I probably said “hi” back. But it wasn’t memorable. In fact, I don’t remember anything about it. (Sorry, but it’s true). Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought about him twice if I never heard him sing.

Michelob has a beautiful voice.

I’m not just exaggerating just because he’s my husband now and it’s obligatory for me to support him. REALLY! One of the church leaders calls Michelob the Asian Chris Tomlin. AND, he not only sings, but plays the guitar at the same time. I personally think he sounds like Bebo Norman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb8lRsqhxz8)- tenor, mellow, smooth, like a Lindt chocolate truffle. Ironically, he wishes he had a voice more along the lines of Derek Webb (derekwebb.com), whose voice is scratchy, slightly whiny, rough.

Anyways, so during the 2+ years I have a small crush on Michelob because he sings in front of the church about once a month. His voice melted me in a pool of oooh and ahhhh. (very descriptive, I know). Flash forward to my senior year in college. Michelob asks me to be on his worship team for one Sunday. He said he just needed someone to play keyboard; I was kind of flattered that I was asked by Asian Chris Tomlin to play with him (imagine Adele asking you to be part of her band). Michelob and I have mutual friends, but he didn’t hang out much with the college-age kids much because… he was older (in grad school at the time). It’s not cool for a grad student to hang out with younger kids, same as in high school.

Did he hear me play in his band, then instantly & passionately fell in love with me? Shnopes! He didn’t really even blink an eye at me. So I took things into my own hands. When Michelob had a birthday party at a local pizza joint, I found out and invited myself. He was surprised to see me, but welcomed me anyways (he’s a nice guy, what can I say?). But honestly, not much happened after that. I started thinking about graduation and leaving Atlanta. And he, well, I’m not sure what he thought about back then, but it sure wasn’t me!

Nothing happened until a series of fortunate happenings/coincidences (aka coinky dinks) led us to be alone in several long car rides. Alone, at night, in the romantic sketchy & bumpy streets of Atlanta. Stayed tuned for how Michelob fell for Leethebee!

Welcome!

This is my first post. Hahaha. Actually, that’s a lie. My first blog was through something called Xanga. Have you ever heard of Xanga? It was one of the early blog platforms, over 15 years ago! All the Asians were on it apparently.

Anyways, welcome to “Untraditional” Asian, where you will get my musings on life.  This blog is really more for me to chronicle life changes for family and close friends more than anything. However, whoever you may be, thank you for visiting. I hope you’ll make yourself at home.