Jun Dishes

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Confronting

Wishlist

Mama, that boy has girls’ shoes on.”

“No dear, that is a girl.”

“But she has no hair, like a boy.”

“Because she is also sick like you and she lost her hair. And you will lose yours too, like her one day, because that’s what will happen.”

“But Mama, I don’t want to lose all my hair.”

~

How is a mother to respond to such a plea?

And what of the angst, when this child pleas with her mother and father that she doesn’t want to feel the cold and relentless prick of a needle in her arm? That pain and discomfort, all too familiar now, as she endures such steps in this many years’ journey that has just begun. This little girl, so charming and so smart, as smart as a slap to the face of reality that so many lives have changed overnight. Because, that’s what really happens when cancer hits close to home. Maybe you have cancer now, or your spouse or child, or you had it or know someone who did, however close or far the relationship. Maybe I’m just late to writing about cancer, but as much of a challenge it is, it brings together people who truly care about people. People.

We lose people in the news headlines every day it seems, that it’s an everyday occurrence that social media is filled with loss every day. And then the countless lives lost that don’t even make it to the ugly pretty news. Lives that are never even mentioned but are lost all the same.

And somehow you forget or maybe overlook the little victories, about people who live and survive, like a beautiful little girl who is taking well to the chemotherapy and eating and enjoying all the things children are supposed to enjoy. She may look different on the outside but she is the same spritely and joyous soul in a little body. Davy and I got to spend some time last week with Noah’s friend, Farah. She is just short of two months into treatment for leukemia. I’ve written about her before, and her parents Houda and Daan and baby sister Lynah.

Last week was emotional but we had fun that night with Farah in our presence. It was so very special. We did not bring Noah with us. One day when it’s possible we will.

But Davy and I saw Farah and she was as sweet and girly as ever, her eyes twinkled as always. She was her coy self and talkative in spurts, when I sat with her. We had blankets beneath us. We laughed, trying to get a video up on the iPad, because she wanted to show me something in English because she knows it is a language I speak.

Farah’s spirit sparkles and she is still everything good and right with the world, though her little body has been through many changes from head to toe already. And I wished I could take away as many daily dilemnas and pains as I could for Farah, as a mother and as a friend to Houda.

I say Houda is one strong woman. No matter how weak Houda may think she’s being at times. But she should never think herself weak. Houda keeps it together and she lets go when she has to. There is no shame in that. You must cry and lose your shit, in life, because it keeps you balanced and human and honest. But it takes a strong person to keep that balance. And I think Houda is really cool. That’s a rarity these days, sadly. But it makes you cherish it when you find it.

Since we last saw Farah, Houda and Daan have had to make the tough decision to cut her hair very short, because she started losing it at an alarming rate.

~

Since we were all last together, there has been one word that’s been stuck in my head because Houda kept using it in conversation. Confronting.

Confronting, as it relates to seeing your child go through drastic and sometimes overnight changes, and to be able to handle that kind of change. How you handle it truly shows what you are made of as an adult, as a parent.

Confronting. It’s actually the perfect word, and maybe often not used enough. Because sometimes shocking isn’t the right word but we use it, because I feel like I can’t use confronting because what I feel is not the same as Houda’s. But we are both mothers so I know well where Houda is. And she’s so honest about it it’s something to truly respect.

It must be indeed confronting. And maybe lonely. Because how many parents do you know in your immediate and one degree of separation’s away radius, whose child was just diagnosed with cancer?

Confronting. Even though you may tell your child, during chemotherapy, that this will inevitably happen. Maybe that conversation happened just a week ago, and it’s a most difficult reality to swallow for everyone. But I truly appreciate Houda entrusting me with her family. I try to balance what is customary here with who I am as a person.

Since then I’ve been wearing half my clothes inside-out some days, because so much has happened while my brain is trying to catch up with it all. Davy has since the last blog basically changed “bosses” at the Port of Ghent, where he’s a heavy machinery dockworker. So there’s a whole new hierarchy of authority for me to get to know, as “a docker’s wife.”

And Noah, he deserves all the love and attention he gets from those who love him, as he should.

The Little Shop

Noah takes very seriously his “little shop” where he parks his stroller outside and tends to business selling me croissants and cakes. He grows by leaps and bounds faster than my iPhone can capture, but I try. He is unabashedly wiser than his years but frolicking his childhood away. We have much to be thankful for every day, but especially cognizant of Thanksgiving coming up…

Memory

Noah also takes seriously indulging my mother in New York, when we all Skype after school. Lately we’ve been playing some of Noah’s simplest games and it gets pretty intense and very funny watching the whole thing unfold. There’s lots of love  not to be taken for granted at this pace of life we all fall into place in. We hope to, in the future, Skype with Farah, as both she and Noah both have already agreed happily to a date.

And…

Wishlist

This

This is a photo of love and support sent from many parts of the world to be donated to the children’s cancer ward of UZ Gent, the hospital where Farah is currently receiving her care and treatment. Cancer has far too many faces.

At first Davy and I were piling boxes into the dining room but then the boxes transformed into just outpouring of love. Even the always cynical Davy was touched by the immediate response from so many of you. It’s right there in our personal space, it can’t be missed.

Thank you to everyone who has given their words of wisdom and love and support, and those who were able to give through the Farah’s World wishlist and fund. Your cash donations will be matched and the wishlist fulfilled. I had no idea what to expect, and the boxes of love keep coming.

It’s not really done here. Fundraising and donations, mostly because civil and social functions in Belgium are well-funded. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need, even at basic humanitarian levels just to bring smiles to children’s faces. I struggle with riding the line between who I am and stopping myself because “it’s not really done here.” Because I don’t want to change too much while adjusting to life here. Since starting the wishlist of animal blankets, I have talked to parents and grandparents and friends and fans who have all been touched, in some way.

Thank you. For whatever your reason for being kind today, it has made a difference in someone’s day. That’s a good thing, still, that nobody can take away.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

Fuck Cancer Says This Cat Lady

SushiMac

I actually started writing this blog over two weeks ago on October 20th, and it’s right there in the fancy history-tracking feature on this thing.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 1.56.13 AM

I just didn’t feel much like finishing it, or blogging at all for that matter, since.

I made revision after revision and just couldn’t bring myself to publish any of it, and not because I had a hard time admitting I was officially a cat lady. It was because shortly after finishing what I thought was a great blog, I received some very shocking news and it shook me to my core. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like this. And I’ve been struggling with lots of emotions these last few weeks, both bad and good and the fifty shades of moods in between.

This blog was supposed to be about Sushi, our “new” family cat, who coincidentally sat right next to me when I started typing.

SushiMac

It’s become “our thing.” Every time I sit down with my Mac, Sushi curls up right next to me. He’s nestled up against me right now.

We adopted him from a small family-run shelter close to our home just three short weeks ago (though it feels much longer)…

And yes, we named our cat Sushi.

~

I’m blogging about a cat, therefore I am a cat lady. That’s how it works, right?

~

Then there’s sushi the food, not our cat, as in the sushi that has been flying off my bamboo mats at Rice House and into many homes in our town of Evergem, and other towns both near and far. There’s also the sushi that was made under my guidance and instruction, at the very first sushi workshop Rice House hosted nearly a month ago. I meant to blog about all of this sooner, but my heart just wasn’t in it.

My husband Davy and I had no idea what to expect when we created the sushi workshop event, and booked space enough for at least ten potential students, at our town’s community center (conveniently located just right across the street from Rice House). Would ten people in our tiny town be willing to come out on a Monday night, let alone pay to learn how to make sushi? Would the event be a flop?

Well…

I’m so glad we had such a great turnout…

Group

Because present on that night,

was a doctor, hairdresser, and pastry chef baker,

OtherHalf

oh, and also among the group,

George.

George

October 12, 2015

George turned out to be the evening’s rockstar, and he held his own and really did roll some tasty maki. I can tell you this first-hand because I sampled some.

And come May, Rice House turns two years old and it really has evolved like a motherfucker.

Hard work can actually pay off. A lot of times, it really can. Legally. Sometimes illegally too. Because…

Don’t knock shit until you’ve tried shit.

~

But we all know there are things that happen in life, that have nothing to do with how hard you work. Or even whether or not you are a good person. I’m talking about cancer.

FUCKING FUCK YOU, CANCER, YOU FUCKING FUCKFACE FUCKHOLE FUCKWAD FUCKING FUCKER, CANCER.

Unfair to everyone it touches, but especially unfair to young children. You don’t have to be a parent to feel this. You just have to be human.

Parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their child will survive childhood. Children shouldn’t have to worry about chemotherapy or needles or why they’re losing their hair, or why they can’t just sleep in their own bed every night like they used to. It’s just not fair.

Yet there is one child in my life (and Davy’s) in particular, Farah, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. She’s the eldest of two bright and beautiful daughters, of our friends Houda and Daan. And when I say recently, I mean it’s been a month since diagnosis.

My body literally went numb when I was told by Houda, because it was the last thing I’d expected to hear…because what kind of sick fuck actually sits around waiting to hear news like this?

Just like that, Farah’s life is now forever changed, as are Houda’s and Daan’s, and baby Lynah’s too though she’s too young to grasp any of this. And in turn, mine and Davy’s too. Because it’s not the cousin of a friend of a coworker’s child in some wide degree of separation who is sick. It’s closer. And when it’s closer, it hurts that much more.

Noah is yet still too young to understand how sick Farah is, and I have not gone into depth with him because he is not yet even four. But neither is Farah. They’re the same age, and born the same month. Fast friends. But cancer gives zero fucks. It never has.

I waited as long as I could to tell Noah. But he ended up beating me to it, as Fall Break approached, asking me if we were still going to Farah’s house for another family playdate during vakantie (vacation). Because Noah forgets nothing, and he knew very well that we had plans coming up with Farah’s family.

In response I asked him a question. Had he seen Farah in school recently, and he answered no. So I told Noah, simply, that Farah would not be returning to school for a while because she was very sick, and in fact we wouldn’t be able to go to her house either during the break because she needed to rest and get better. I asked him if he’d like to maybe draw a pretty picture for Farah, to make her smile.

He answered quickly in a clear and somewhat serious tone, “Yes mama, I want to draw a picture for Farah and buy her a pink flower because pink is her favorite color.”

And it is. It struck me like a slap in the face that he knew that, or that he even remembered that. Pink. Farah’s favorite color.

FarahNoahAugust, 2015

She was head-to-toe in pink the last time we had her over for a playdate at our home, see-sawing and carefree in the summer’s breeze. She’d even asked specifically for the pink fork and knife from our Ikea kiddie cutlery, when we all sat down for lunch that day… Noah has since asked again when he can bring Farah that pink flower, and I’ve answered that her doctor must say it’s okay for her to have visitors and, “Farah’s mama will tell us when.”

The thing is, I thought Davy had been lucky in a sense, as he’s never actually been this close to fucking cancer. I admit I envied him just a little, because I’ve lost loved ones to cancer. But then I saw how news of Farah shook Davy, badly, and I once again realized that there is no luck when it comes to caring. Or cancer. No rhyme or reason either.

I also realized that I’ve been living in some Belgian bubble these last five years, untouched by what cancer can do. Because this is the first time, since I moved to Belgium, that news like this has hit me about someone close to me. That bubble has now been burst.

Needless to say, I haven’t quite been myself since receiving Farah’s news. I’ve been throwing myself into all sorts of extra work and projects, even staying off Twitter to some degree which is quite epic, trying to cope with the constant flood of emotions. Anger and sadness, frustration and fear, and…wow, even some guilt, all of these to varying degrees. And often all of them in the same day, on any given day as of late.

So I Googled what I could possibly be doing for Farah, and Daan and Houda, and even Lynah. I really wanted to do right by them, and be there for them, all of them. I mean…every parent out there knows that this phenomenon of finding a child who gets along fabulously with your child and who also happens to have cool ass parents that become real friends, just doesn’t occur often enough.

So I did as Google instructed and Davy and I offered, gently, food and favors and specific services…anything that we might be able to do for them that might help, that might free up their time so they can have more of it with their two little girls. But to be honest, it was also because there was this overwhelming sense that I should be doing something other than feeling sorry. And then I made myself feel like shit, feeling selfish for making this about me in any way, because doing something for our friends would somehow make me feel better about all of it? And was I stepping on someone else’s toes? Was this not how Belgians behaved? Was I just being the crazy American again?

And so I struggled, and even avoided, finishing this blog about well, my cat. I felt stupid. I felt frivolous, writing a blog about a cat, and about sushi. How could I put out something so silly when there were bigger things happening around me?

~

But before Sushi or the sushi workshop ever happened, there was still our little Noah. And Davy. And me.

In September, our little family of three, spent half a day with Ann De Wulf, a warm and gifted photographer who was sent to our home by Libelle Magazine, to accompany an interview conducted by one of their editors, Karolien Joniaux. The article was to be about my life here, as an expat, and all its ramifications and comparisons to the U.S., cultural and otherwise.

MeNoah

September 28, 2015

Ann made us all feel comfortable, as we should have felt in our own home, and at Rice House. She made it easy to pose for hours in front of a camera like we did it on the regular. And Noah’s behavior spoke volumes of Ann’s warmth, and the two quickly became buddies by day’s end.

NoahAnn

By the time we wrapped up, Noah and Davy were exhausted, each taking up their own couch and napping while I snapped photos of them in anticipation of a future blog. None of us knew anything yet of Farah’s condition. I suppose ignorance can indeed provide some degree of bliss.

PostPhotoShoot

Part of me wishes I could just go back to September, before we ever had a cat or put on a sushi workshop or found out about Farah, because I feel like life has been racing along faster than usual. Flying by even, and I can’t seem to slow it down. But I do know that life must go on. And this is something I realized in a big way, this past week, after meeting up for one long drink with Farah’s mom.

After weeks of chatting and text message novels back and forth between our busy schedules, Houda and I were finally able to get together, and just…talk.

It was Houda’s first real time away from Farah in over a month, and she wanted to hear all about how Noah and Sushi were doing.

They’re doing heartwarmingly great by the way…

NoahSushi

Just this afternoon, on my lap, a favorite spot now for both Noah and Sushi

And Houda wanted to know how Rice House was going and how I felt about the Libelle article, which had just come out the day before. I had a million questions I wanted to ask Houda, but I stopped myself. I lived in the moment, sipping my drink slowly, and letting the conversation just flow like it always had between us.

We did of course eventually talk about Farah, and how she’s thankfully taking well to treatment yet beginning to lose some of her hair after a month’s worth of chemotherapy. We talked about her youngest baby girl Lynah, and her husband Daan (who is soon to become Davy’s gym buddy, something Houda and I are equally enthusiastic about), and about their work and time off for Farah, and countless other bullet points. But mostly we talked about Sushi and sushi and Libelle, and sex and gossiped some too. Because that’s what girlfriends do right?

We ended up also talking about what it’s like to be a strong and opinionated woman of color living in Belgium, because this was in fact a topic covered in the Libelle article. Houda actually grew up here and I just got here in comparison, but the colors of our skin make us stand out. We can’t help that. But we can control what people come to know us by, and remember us by. I’m grateful to have found a friend in Houda. I thought I was a strong woman, but she inspires me to be stronger somehow.

But what struck me most while we were talking about some of the more unpleasant details around Farah’s hospital stays, was that Houda stressed repeatedly how much better their circumstances were than that of other families in the children’s ward. And that the hospital is fantastic in all they do, and the Belgian healthcare system leaves little to pay for out-of-pocket,  but that there are still families in great need. Because we all know how everything can cost a little yet add up to a lot. And so with Houda’s blessing I’ll be setting up a small wishlist (Update: Now Final: Farah’s World) on Amazon UK, for anyone who cares to or can gift an item of comfort, going to Farah and other children at the hospital, fighting the tough fight against whatever disease taking hold of their little bodies… All gifts will be collected and delivered to the Children’s Cancer Ward at UZ Gent Hospital.

If you would like to donate a smaller amount, to be matched by me and my husband Davy, please use the “Donate” button on the bottom right of this blog. We are hoping to collect all items from the wishlist for this cause.

~

So it turns out the best thing I could actually do, and that I did, was just being there. Meanwhile all the while I thought I was doing nothing. But what I had done was kept the lines of communication open to remind Houda and Daan that our friendship would always be there. And it will be.

And with Houda’s and Daan’s permission, I’ve finally let it all out, and allowed myself to finish this blog which has turned out to be the length of multiple blogs. If you would like to leave a message of support and understanding for Farah’s family in the comments or share you experiences, please do, but please don’t pass judgements or question anyone else’s intent.

I can’t wait for Noah and Farah to be reunited, and see how much they’ve both grown since this summer.

SweetHug

I’ve said time and time again that Farah is absolutely one of the smartest and most delightful little girls to have crossed Noah’s path, and I look forward to snapping photos again in awe of her playfulness once again.

Thanks for staying with me while I worked through this.

Always dishing,

Jun

Being Jun Malkovich, Kinda

Ducks

The plan was really simple this morning.

My husband Davy and I, along with Noah, would have breakfast then go to Supra Bazar nearby (think smaller-scale rural Target store) to get a new bulb for the lamp in our aquarium and a sun shield for Noah’s side of the car. Then we were going to check out the fresh sushi station at a Carrefour nearby (think Food Emporium), in the name of Rice House research, and also to do some grocery shopping before returning home at which time I’d make lunch before Noah napped and Davy would prepare to go work the “afternoon shift.”

Easy breezy.

Now 12 hours later I sit here and I feel like a month has passed because it was not a simple morning at all.

Welcome to my brain…

Sure, we had breakfast and got to the Supra Bazar this morning, but they didn’t have the lamp we needed for our aquarium. But they did have a Bumba sun shield. Side Note: Davy scoffed and swore on his life before Noah was born, that he’d never ever get a “kiddie” sun shield for our car and well he did today.

We then had to stop at yet another store to get the lamp we needed, and by then Noah was getting hungry and tired. We trudged on, getting stuck in traffic because of construction on one side of the road and a fatal car accident on the other. We counted our blessings because we had just missed it.

Then we got stopped a little later by two fucking ducks. Two ducks, literally fucking, in the middle of a major road. Alas, I failed to capture the actual fornication because my iPhone was buried in my bag. But I did manage to catch the ducks waddling their walk of shame back over the barrier and into the canal from whence they came.

Ducks

When we finally got to the Carrefour, housing the alleged fresh sushi station, there was no fresh sushi to be found.

But we did find these vacuum-sealed things with expiration dates on them…

Sushi

I didn’t even know sushi could have an expiration date of a week from now. I haven’t seen sushi with an expiration date on it since sad airport shops of yore. Alas, we didn’t purchase any of the sushi and we asked an employee which Carrefour location had the “fresh sushi station” and it turns out we were in the wrong town. So we decided we’d cut our losses and just have a non-sushi lunch. Noah needed to eat. I needed to eat. Davy had to leave for work sooner than we wanted to. So we chose ‘t Koffieboontje, The Little Coffee Bean, which we’d eaten lunch at once before, which also happens to be right next the failed Carrefour expedition.

I still wanted to check out the fresh sushi station, but the vacuum-sealed stuff called sushi at the last place confirmed what I already knew. Rice House would be filling a need outside of the city of Ghent., Ghent-proper…fresh sushi with no expiration date.

So Davy and Noah and I ate our lunch and just as we were about to leave, Noah scooted off his highchair too quickly and the back of his head met the corner of the dining table. I’m sure he saw stars because I saw some too, and I scooped him up and cradled him as he wailed like ten thousand firetrucks. Davy turned purple and started sweating, but grabbed wet towels from someone behind the counter, and used them as compresses against Noah’s bleeding head. Noah clung to me like my clothes do after getting caught in the rain in the summer time. His tears soaked through to my shoulder.

Everybody felt bad for him. I cried inside but cooed outside.

The bleeding stopped before Noah’s crying did, but a sweet lollipop gesture bought us some silence. We left hurriedly, but not before Noah turned back waving at everyone with a “Da-da” goodbye. Davy and I knew he was okay but we scrambled. Side Note: Thank you to the ladies at ‘t Koffieeboontje for being so compassionate!

Some medical attention and lots of hugs and kisses and candy later, minus some locks of hair, Noah was back home and mostly unaware of the bandages on his head.

Noah's Head

Our family physician also paid a house visit and Noah was deemed healthy and sound, despite some diarrhea from the candy earlier. Note to self: Less candy next time. And that was my morning.

So with Davy at work and Noah napping, I left home once again leaving Noah with his Opi. I had a stove to accept delivery of, at Rice House. My new industrial gas range was coming in today amidst the chaos.

I named her Suzy.

Suzy the Stove.

Suzy

 

 

Can you see me?

She barely fit through the front door, Suzy, the front door to Rice House which once had temporary signage next to it which has been stolen. Who steals temporary signage?!

Boooo.

Then Noah had another poop explosion.

Davy’s just come home from work and tells me that there was a suicide attempt at work today, at the Port of Ghent. Not an employee. A civilian.

It’s been an odd day.

Today was a Being Jun Malkovich kinda day.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Sushi Delivery Drama

MeMomz

Today’s my mother’s birthday and she’ll never read this but I’m saying Happy Birthday to her anyway.

I ordered her some sushi for her birthday, like I do every birthday since I’ve been living in Belgium, because my mother loves sushi. My family loves sushi and sashimi and all things raw fish. It’s in our Korean blood.

So I ordered the sushi early today, via telephone, from AAA Ichiban Sushi on Orchard Street in Manhattan. It was my first time ordering with them. I couldn’t place my order online because sites like Seamless don’t take international credit cards online. So I phoned my order in and it was to be delivered to my grandmother’s apartment at lunchtime.

Why to my grandmother’s apartment?

I should have known to confirm the time with my mother first, because every year on her birthday we go through what’s known as sushi delivery drama. My mother knows every year on her birthday to expect sushi from me yet it’s always a hassle each delivery. Things like this drive me even crazier from so far away than they ever did when I was living in New York.

The thing is…

My grandma’s Alzheimer’s is winning the race and she rarely has her wits about her. She can no longer do basic things for herself and the doctors have said that there’s nothing more they can do for my grandma’s heart and lungs. She has a nurse for 12 hours a day in two shifts and either my momz or my aunt must be with my grandma at all times. My grandma’s physical and mental condition has gotten to the point that she believes she’s being killed off slowly by North Korean disguised as nurses and doctors. She even refuses help from my uncle because she will not show him her “privates.” She could be living in a care facility but my family will hear nothing of it.

It’s heartbreaking yet my grandma has breakthrough moments where she is crystal clear in the present. On Skype the other night she told me she wished she could cook my favorite noodles for me. She remembered!

But back to sushi drama…

Sushi Delivery Drama 1: The first year, in 2011, I’d sent my mother sushi as a surprise but I did tell her to expect something “in the mail” forgetting my mother doesn’t answer the door to anyone unless they’re announced in advance. Since my dad passed away in 2004, my mother’s picked up more irrational fears than she’s ever before. So when the sushi delivery guy got to her place, my momz refused to open the door. I had to call her and tell her to let the delivery guy in, while the delivery guy was on the other side of the door from her. When she finally let him in, she grabbed her jacket and headed to my grandma’s (her mother’s) apartment to share the sushi with. They live within the same apartment complex on the Lower East Side. My mother told me she’d never eat the sushi without my grandma. It was the first year they were widows together, after my grandfather passed away the year before. I’d ordered extra sushi knowing my mother probably wouldn’t eat it alone. It was sweet, my momz and grandma.

Sushi Delivery Drama 2: The next year, 2012, I had the sushi delivered directly to my grandma’s house thinking I was ahead of the curve. But it turned out I ordered it for too early and I had to push the delivery time. The restaurant was very nice about it because I explained that I was calling form Belgium to send my mother sushi for her birthday and I was having a hard time organizing it. And then when the delivery guy finally got to my grandmother’s place there were problems with the intercom system and again I had to call my mother with the sushi delivery guy on the other line. Momz had to go downstairs to let the delivery guy in but someone let him in before she got to the lobby. She eventually got her sushi.

Sushi Delivery Drama 3: Last year today, Noah was shy of turning a year old and everything seemed to be in sushi delivery order when I called my mother to confirm the time and place and that all the intercoms all work. Then I learned, through my aunt who called me to say I needed to order more sushi, that my uncle would also be there for happy birthday sushi lunch. So I called the restaurant back and they were happy to take an extra order. At first I thought it was incredibly rude how my aunt handled the situation but in the end she just wanted to make sure there was food enough for everyone. I was happy to for my mother, because it’s all about saving face and stuffing your face with sushi!

Sushi Delivery Drama 4: Today, I ordered my mother’s sushi to be delivered to my grandmother’s apartment at lunchtime because I thought for sure my grandma would be home. She is in no condition to be anywhere but resting in the hospital bed set-up in the living room of her apartment. But it turns out my grandmother, home just a few days after being in ICU for a week, was not at home at lunchtime today. My mother, and my grandmother’s nurse Kay, had accompanied my grandmother to some doctor’s appointment in midtown! It’s freezing and brutal out in New York yet my grandmother was outside instead of resting. I only found this out after frantically calling my mother’s cellphone, to no avail because she’d left home without it, so I had to call my aunt to find out. My aunt told me to push the sushi delivery back two hours.

Two hours later my momz and grandma were not home yet. The car service they’d ordered was stuck in traffic in midtown, like that was rocket science, and I cried in frustration. My sushi order had been attempted to be delivered once and when I called with another request for postponement I felt defeated. I asked for another thirty minutes. The restaurant was gracious and said they’d try one last time to deliver my mother’s birthday sushi.

So I called my aunt and she gave me the number of my grandma’s nurse Kay. So I called Kay and she put my mother on the phone. I was so antsy about the sushi drama that I almost yelled at momz right away until I heard her say to me “Nuh-moo choo-uh” meaning it’s so cold, in Korean. Momz had been waiting outside the doctor’s office for an hour on the look-out for the car service and she was freezing. My mother was freezing on her birthday! I felt so bad for her. I almost screamed at her.

I couldn’t. None of the sushi drama was her fault, just like the sushi drama the year before that or the year before that. Except this year it looked like my mother really wasn’t getting her birthday sushi. AAA Ichiban Sushi was about to make it’s final delivery attempt. I’d never been there before yet they were so accommodating!

The thing is…

My mother is a very good daughter, in many ways to a fault. But who am I to say? She wants to do everything she can for her mother while she’s still alive on this earth. How can I argue with that?

Today I felt angry at my grandma. It lasted only a minute. It’s not her fault. It’s nobody’s fault.

Alzheimer’s sucks. Alzheimer’s fucks with you. Add a few organs failing and you’ve got my grandma. It’s a daily struggle.

But today’s my momz birthday.

All that matters is that my mother got her sushi after all, by just minutes, on a third attempt at delivery. The restaurant was so kind. I order enough for everyone to have, including Kay, because Kay’s simply becoming family.

I yelled at momz on Skype just now. I had to get it out and ask why there always had to be Happy Birthday Sushi Delivery Drama! We laughed.

Happy Birthday Umma.

Thank you AAA Ichiban Sushi!

MeMomz

Photo taken in 2010.

Always dishing,

Jun