Another hike with another hodgepodge of friends and new faces. This hike reaffirmed my fear of heights and I wondered if it’ll ever go away. Here’s a small recap. Kudos to So Myung Choi.


In This Corner of the World

Related image

A beautifully crafted film with lovable characters and tender colors in the backdrop of war. Growing up, I learned a very one-sided narrative of the wars. The thing is every story has more than one. It’s made up of everyone involved recognized or not. This movie painted the life of one ordinary girl growing up during these war-ridden times. The difficulties and tragedies faced from her perspective. Someone who didn’t really get a say in whether she wanted a war or not. Nevertheless, breathed in and through it. Her life was filled with the mundane, sincere laughter, awkward moments, hard work, romantic frustrations, heavy guilt and sorrow, fear under the shower of bombs, delayed tears and incredible imagination. The beauty of this film for me was the hope. It reminded me of the verse in Romans 5 …

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character hope.

Give it a watch.

Pachinko . Min Jin Lee

I didn’t have any idea what this book was going to be about when I saw it on a friend’s instagram. I knew the word “Pachinko” to be a sort of pinball machine as I saw in my recent travels to Osaka. I’m glad I picked this one up.

The story shares the stories of a family and the lives of the people connected with this family. You see the cultural transformations of the times through the generations of this family. You see the unspoken thoughts and emotions the characters possessed throughout their lives. What I really enjoyed about it was being able to get a better grasp at what life was like for the Korean people during the times of Japanese colonialism and what it was like for Koreans to live in Japan in the aftermath. Helped me sympathize with a group of people that I have misunderstood most of my life.

Recommended read.

Mountains for Days

Almost a year later, back at Jirisan. A stark difference from the previous year where it was filled with sunshine and clear skies. Made it perfect to view the sunset and peruse the night sky for shooting stars. This year however, proved to be filled with trials that really made it the most mentally difficult hike personally. Granted it was sunny and a tad windy in the beginning, it started off with a light and happy note. As we progressed to the top, the weather decided to play some not so fun games as it sent down rain, snow and yes hail. At this, immediately, I got upset with God. The easiest one to blame when weather seems to go astray. “What’s the deal?! My goodness. Cut us some slack will ya?!,” was my reaction. Not proud of it, but I was tired of it. Every hike or trip I’ve gone on this year failed miserably in the weather department making the journeys less enjoyable. And by this point I had had it. I trudged along with my mind’s misery to the top yet trying to be as encouraging as possible for my friends who braved along. After a few painstaking hours of hiking in the awful conditions, we made it to the top with yet another disappointing view. Tired, cold and hungry, we eat our meal and try to stay as warm as possible. Around 7pm, we attempt to watch the sunset to meet yet another disappointment. Couldn’t see a darn thing. The tipping point was the splitting headache that came into full force soon after. All I wanted was to pull my brain out so it would stop hurting. With the help of some prayers and what I cynically believe the more beneficial tylenols, the headache slowly subsided and I was able to somewhat function. Then of course, sleep. Sleep did not come easily that night as I had to switch from one position to the next on the hard wooden floor with a lingering headache. So yeah, what’s the deal?

Went into thinking mode. This thought came across my mind. You stopped asking. Became too accustomed to receiving free passes on “minor” things like good weather and good health. A habit created to simply expect things from god without ever asking. I stopped asking. Somewhere along the way, my thank you’s became too repetitive and rehearsed with no heartfelt intention. true appreciation lost. Finding the need to rediscover the heart behind the thanksgiving. Relearning how to genuinely ask again.

A note. The following day was absolutely gorgeous. The time spent at the top was also quite worth it. Realizing that faith is what will take me through all sorts of weather life will throw at me.