Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Dear Mother

There is one thing that makes my mother happy. She cannot throw anything away especially those objects that she considers good or expensive. The other day she told me that what ever she treasures, she would only give it to her children. There are kitchen appliances, dishes, clothes...

She long ago learned that my brother and sister were givers but would not take what she wanted to give away. So I take them, big bundles at a time. It made her so happy that her unwanted treasure is not to be wasted.

One time I found a dress I made that my aunt admired so I gave it to her. After the dress was worn out, she gave my mother bundle of used clothes and my old dress was in it, and that bundle was given to me. I smiled and threw that dress away.

The other day she asked me if I am enjoying a special expensive shirt she gave me several years ago. I did not even remember what it was or what I did with it. I said something like, I must have shown it to Henna and maybe she liked it.

The problem is I cannot throw things away either. So things sit at our home for years until I am forced to eliminate it in order to make room. This is small price to pay for my mother's satisfaction. And sometimes I do find treasures in them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Thousand Eleven

When Patricia McCann sent her Christmas greetings I wrote this up. I need to collect some photos... Once I get it done, I will send it out on e-mails.

Dear Family and Friends

I would like to give you recap of 2011 for our family. On January Henna and Andrija bought our home in Chicago after 5 years in attempt to sell the house. We were more than happy that our home went to our own family. The agony in trying to sell a home in unsaleable time is gloriously over.

Those of us in Chicago area gathered at Henna and Aki's (Andrija's nick name) new home and had our annual Thanksgiving. Both Seth and Christian graduated from college in May. Christian is freelancing several jobs including museum work. Seth has moved to San Francisco area in California. He is hoping to find a job there.

Mateo Alexander Neill-Colovic was born on August 15th making us more than proud grand parents. Mateo will grow up in a home that his mom grew up in and for us so many years of wonderful memories will linger.

Five years ago we bought an old house in Goshen thinking that the sale of our Chicago home will give us renovating possibilities. This year we were able to remodel our kitchen completely. We never expected it would be five years but it was well worth the wait.

Elizabeth decided to finish the last two years of high school in Chicago so that she can go to University of Illinois nursing school located in downtown Chicago. So Tom and I became grand parents and empty nesters in August of 2011. Henna and Aki, went from carefree young couple to having a new born, a teenager, and two lively dogs.

Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New you ponder on the Lord!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Long Long Drive

I never thought that I would be commuting such a long distance. It seems like I am going to Peru Indiana quite regularly, at least for the month of December. Two hours one that is a long distance. I must pack an over nighter just in case I am shut in Peru by the weather. One day I will look back at these days and say "I can't believe that I did that. Those were the days of youth"

I had some emotional roller coaster for the last two months. For the month of October and November Kroger had no work for me. That happens when your duty is to fill other's vacations, illness, maternity leaves etc. No one planned surgeries, pregnancies or had vacations. And I started to look for a job that I could rely on. That did not pan out.

Yet strangely enough, Kroger would call me for emergency situations enough times to cover my schedule. It would go like this, "JaeHi, xxxx is very sick today, could you open the store in South Bend by 8 am?" I look at the clock and it is 7 am. This would have been very unwelcome phone call when one has a secure job. Under my new circumstances, I was happy to get such phone calls.

One day I invited couple of my painting friends to lunch. I had to cancel that at the last minute. I was more than disappointed yet my friends understood. So I spent the last two months where my life was suspended waiting these phone calls. It is rather funny. When I am in a situation of "unemployment" such interruption of my life was eagerly accepted.

Couple of days ago I got a schedule for the whole month of December just as I have gotten before the two months interruption. So I am employed for one month. My supervisor tells me that my schedule should be "regular" from now on. I take that statement with a grain of salt.

During these times I realized that I really love working with people. I also pondered that I may have to get back into work force full time. If I had a full time slot at one of Kroger stores, I would be secure for life. I avoided full time offers again and again because my health did not allow me. Winter times are hard. I am under the weather the whole season.

I started to exercise even when everything in me did not want to. I started ten days ago. To my amazement I am able to. I have to work towards working full time one day just because part time is just not as safe.

Friday, November 11, 2011


My work hours at Kroger is dwindling. They have too many floaters for the needs of the pharmacy. As I am seeking another employment my heart is filled with sadness. I have gotten to love the people I work with, mostly technicians, and also Linda, my supervisor and boss, and Bob my senior pharmacist. The thought of leaving the relationships I have developed is sad.

This morning I woke up early. I would eat a good breakfast and be at interview 15 minutes early. To my misfortune my GPS stopped working. Somehow I seem to have a missing link in my brain when it comes to directions. I make a wrong turn & I am lost.

I am following my Google map I exited IN-331 and I am to go 6.2 miles. Within a mile the road is closed due to construction. My GPS is not working. I gave myself enough time so that I could be there at 8:45 AM (15 minutes early).

As I turned in the direction where I am to go I started to be really concerned. Can I really find the store and already it is 8:45AM. I decided to call Tom and let him direct me. Oh technology! What would I do without technology. I am following Tom's instruction...."Stop Tom, this road is closed also, construction! So Tom is re-routing me. So many stop lights... I'll be late and I hate to start with a bad impression. Tom I am going less than 20 miles an hour, I'll be late for sure... I stopped to call the two supervisors I am to meet. They were fine. They said that I was only about 15 minutes away. I am perspiring now and it is already 9AM.

So 20 minutes later I meet the two supervisors of the store. I feel that my interview went well. I go home and I feel I can rest for a bit.


By the next Tuesday 11/14/11 I was told by the HR that I was not selected.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bend in the Road

This must be one of those unknown bend in the road. My seemingly secure job has come to a screeching halt. Somehow Kroger has gotten too many floating pharmacists that there are not enough jobs for all of us. Reluctantly I surf the internet looking for another job. Life comes to a stand still. Throw out any consideration of taking few days off for pleasure. Throw out the careless desire to buy things to improve the old house we have not done anything to for the last 5 years...

I wonder what will wait for me. I wonder how this will plan out in the big picture...

Monday, October 3, 2011

What do I want to be When I grow up

That is a funny question. Here I am a grandmother yet I am thinking of this. Being a pharmacist is very physical and mental job, so my mind wonders, what can I do? There must be easier way to make a living....

Pumpkin Vine Trail

Yesterday I took a walk in a beautiful pumpkin vine trail. Whenever sadness wells up in me I want to take a walk in nature enveloped in God's beauty. I was weeping. My heart ached for the disappointment I caused my father. In my probing of myself I realized as a small child watching my father always studying. I did not know him during his successful days. I knew he so desperately wanted to be able to provide for the family. He was always studying and that is all the memory I have. As I saw him I made a vow that I will someday become successful so he can be satisfied. I will be what he never became. I will someday meet all his needs so he can rest. I will be his pride so he himself can be elevated. So much of my sadness came because I was not these things for him. At this moment I realized that vow could never have fulfilled. I cannot fulfill anyone's yearning, desire, and longing. I lifted up this vow to God.

I spent all my life trying to fulfill all the vows I made that my parents and grandfather wished for me and from me. Oh my mother. She saw the whole world and it's misery because of her marriage into a poor family with so many in-laws she had to take care of and serve. All her longings and wishes she verbalized to me. Her deep desire for me to succeed one day so I would not have to work at home; cooking and cleaning was for servant girls. This was the life she knew and grew up in. Somehow I must not repeat such a low status. She hated the fact that my father was so generous or foolish with money, wasting it all on his family (his mother, father, and so many siblings and their children). I grew up seeing my father through her eyes and never felt much love for him. Dear father I wish I saw you through my own eyes, a person who tried so hard to make things better for us. Dear mother, you still hurt. I wish I could take all your pain away ... but that is beyond me. I will continue to be your sounding board, hear all your pain in life, and you always feel better afterwards.

And my grandfather. He told me over and over... one day I will fulfill the proud heritage of Kim clan, or is it Kim Dynasty. He told me that daughters will do well in this family. For some reason sons have not done well he said. And I cried. I tried so hard to fulfill his yearning; to elevate the Kim family to the status of kings but this wish was too lofty for me. I was not that daughter that will bring the Kim family up to king's status. I did not have the innate ability to achieve such a grand scale. I lived my life to fulfill the deep hole my elders had. I have failed each of their dreams and again I gave each vow I made to God. I am just a simple person with not too much capability.

I am sorry my children. When my focus should have been you as I was raising you, I was filled with urgency that all the wishes of my parents and grandfather so longed to see in me somehow gets taken care of. The funny thing is those vows I made for my parents and grandfather has become my own and did not even realize where it came from.

Dear kids, I love you so much. I love you for who you are. I pray for you that you may find peace in life. You are all grown already and I pray that your path will lead you to God. I love you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


It was 1993.Our family made a memorable trip to Guatemala. Ana and Mario invited us. They became a Christian few years ago. We were very much involved in bringing them up in Christian life. We saw them often and became close friends. Mario had injury at work and was no longer able to provide for his family. They moved back to Guatemala.

When we landed in the airport of Guatemala city, we walked down the steps to the concrete outdoors with dust flying from planes landing. As we entered the building, it did not seem less dustier than outside.

As we stood in the building we realized that no one was there to greet us. There was no familiar face waiting for us. Tom had told Mario the date we would arrive and that was all. We looked out to the street where cars were buzzing around. They all looked like junk yard, rusted, old cars that somehow got revived. The air was dense with car exhaust. None of us spoke Spanish and we did not have Mario's phone number or his address. I imagined us being stranded here at the air port not being able to get connected with Mario. It was sickening feeling. Tom said, well, if all else fails, we can call dad. He should have Mario's address & phone no.

Maybe it was one hour wait. It was the longest one hour. We saw him running towards us. We were so happy to see him. We struggled with our luggage to his car. To our dismay it was a small Volkswagen beetle. There were 6 of us plus luggage. He offered to run two trips. I don't remember how we did it. We managed to squeeze in and made in one trip. It felt like the small car could burst.

The next four days were a whirlwind. I could not believe that we could have fit in so many activities. Mario's dad was a fireman. We rented a van. I still remember to rent the van for one week, the cost was almost $700. Car rental was done mainly by Americans and it seemed they figured that Americans could afford any fee they charged.

We drove through the town. There were potholes everywhere. It was expected that your tire would blow once a week. Well. as expected we had a flat tire within days, but repair cost was only $2.00. The city was heavy in pollution. I could feel my lungs longing for fresh air. As soon as we exited the Guatemala city, I was keenly aware of wonderful and fresh air.

One day a group of church members took us out to eat. We were special. It was not everyday that an American family visited the local church in Guatemala. There must have been twenty of us. After a meal, the waiter made a bee line to Tom. He was the only white man at the whole table. So Tom paid the bill. And wherever we went it was the same. Yet everything seemed to be so inexpensive that it was really OK.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time Stops

I am a grandma now. Henna and I decided that I will be called "Nona" or is it "Noni"? I already forgot. It doesn't matter! I hold him in my arms and time stops. And sweet peace envelops me.

I remember when my children were infants. Each time, as I held my baby, time stopped. I had no worry. There were no future to worry about, there were no past to correct,...just the present and that was all that mattered. It was my adorable little baby and me and the whole world revolved around us. I had perfect peace.

My grandson, Mateo Alexander, a beautiful little boy is here. As I hold him, the same magic occurred. I am a grandma now.

But while I hold this little boy, time stops...the whole world exist so that I can enjoy this little one. Little Mateo I love you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What a Day

Monday (3/7/11) was a normal day. It was very busy in the pharmacy as usual. I was starting to feel that I am getting too old for this job that seems to increase in volume all the time. I am on my feet most of the work day and very often I do not have any breaks. It was nearing 9pm. I was looking forward to wrapping things up and going home. The last thing I had expected that day nor any day was that a customer would get so venomous towards me that she would wait in her car in the dark and empty parking lot with intention of bodily harm.

One last customer came in. She wanted her Vicodin (pain killer) and Keflex (Antibiotic) which was called in by her physician. I had reviewed her profile and realized that she was 5 days too early for Vicodin. I told her that I need a conversation with her doctor. She started to batter me in words and demanded that I fill her Vicodin. The names she called me was fearful. I offered her Keflex which I had filled for her.

I called her doctor's office at 9pm (for her sake..I knew no one was there). She rolled her eyes and called on her cell phone and left a message for her doctor for immediate call back. To my amazement the MD called her right back. I asked her in hand motion to give me the phone so I can discuss the situation with him and fill her prescription. She handed me the phone. He did not realize that the phone was transferred to me and before I could speak, he was in the midst of yelling at her calling her many names....I realized that this was more than common patient & doctor relationship. I pulled the phone arm distance and spoke as I brought it closer to my ears. "Dr. M... this is the pharmacist...." He told me "Do not fill the prescription for her." I handed the phone back to her only to realize they were continuing a tense conversation and she was crying now. Once she hung up the phone, all her hatred was transferred to me.

She demanded that I transfer the prescription which I attempted very meekly. CVS did not accept the transfer. They did not want her. Walgreens took the prescription but did not want to fill it without MD consent. Meanwhile we were getting plenty of threats from this woman. I felt so lucky that my technician stayed beyond her hours to stay with me. The woman left.

About 20 minutes later one of the store staff came by and told us that this woman was still in the parking lot waiting. We called the security guard and he moved our cars to the front of the store. The guard told us that when she saw him walk towards our cars, she drove off. We asked him to escort us anyway and he did.

As I was getting into my car I looked around. As I was driving home I looked back expecting to see someone following me. I came home safe and sound to a loving family.