Yuna At The Beach (Pages 21-23)

Page 21:
Mitch and Bill are their names. I know because their matching blue shirts say so. With matching mustaches, they take turns, talking to the women on the motorcycles. Yes ma’am. You can count on us. This is our station. We own this place. Yes ma’am. Best in the business. You can count on us. Yes ma’am. They are in good hands. I look at Mitch and Bill’s hands. YUCK.

Page 22:
Umma and Abba sit in the front of the truck with Mr. Mitch, who likes to talk, smile, blink, and move his hands like a magician. I sit in the back in the hole of our tire, patched up and as good as new. I am no caged chicken. I am Yuna. I ride on the back of a blackbird, swooping over the ocean.

Page 23:
Abba pays Mr. Mitch, shakes his hand and says, Thank you very much for fixing. No problem, Mr. Mitch says and pats my head. He pulls a stick of gum out of his shirt pocket and gives it to me. For good luck, he says. Thanks, I say and climb into the backseat of our car. It’s hot. The seats burn. My crayons are soft. Another minute, and they would’ve melted into goop.

Published in: on May 15, 2012 at 11:58 am  Comments (4)  

Yuna At The Beach (Pages 18-20)

Page 18:
I wrap my arms around her waist. She smells like cigarettes and puppies and grass. The engine roars. I shake like a rattle. Where are you taking me? Where is Umma? Where is Abba? 3, 2, 1, blast off. I press my face into her back to keep my head from breaking off and bouncing away.

Page 19:
I take a deep breath and laugh. Whee! I’m flying! Just like when Pablo took us down a hill on his bike. Only if he could see me now.

Page 20:
What kind of angel do you want to be? Check one:

Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Yuna At The Beach (Pages 15-17)

Page 15:
Motorcycles come down the road, roaring like lions and smoking up the air. One, two, three, four of them. The leader holds up his arm. They all slow down.

Page 16:
They stop on our side of the road, turn off their engines, and get off their motorcycles. It’s quiet. The smoke fogs the air. When they take off their helmets, I see hair. Long, brown, blond, flowing down upon their shoulders. They are not men. They are women come to save our day.

Page 17:
Flowers grow and fancy birds perch up and down their tattooed arms. You got a flat? You speak English? Don’t have a spare? It’s not too bad. Just needs a patch. Hop on. We’ll get you to a station. I’ll take you. I’ll take you. You come with me. I got the tire. Hold tight.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

In Your Face, Mommy.

After reading my 10-year-old daughter’s essay entry, I told her it was good, but it could be better, and don’t expect to win anything. Before you tsk tsk at my response, let me provide context. The previous year, she entered the same contest, poured her heart into writing an essay, and I told her it was amazing and was sure to win something. Well, she didn’t win and was very disappointed. I felt a little responsible. I shouldn’t have pumped her up. I should’ve known better; happiness hinges on expectations. With lesson learned, I kept it sober this year.

My daughter’s essay ended up winning first place in the school and second place in the region (within her age bracket). She was shocked. At pickup that afternoon, she gave me the news, her voice a medley of surprise, exhilaration, pride, happiness, and in-your-face-mommy. Being wrong can sometimes feel so right.

The Americanism Essay Contest was sponsored by the Southern Maryland District of the American Legion Auxiliary. The topic was “How I Can Show My Patriotism in My Community.” Here’s her essay:

Published in: on May 1, 2012 at 11:20 am  Comments (4)  

Yuna at the Beach (Pages 12-14)

Page 12:
We’re stuck on the side of the road. We wait, wait, and wait. For what? Spare ties to fall out of the sunny blue sky.

Page 13:
Cars zoom by. Abba waves his arms. Umma waves her arms. But no one stops to help. Everyone is racing to the ocean. A black bird lands near me. I give her my corn chips and ask for help. She takes off.

Page 14:
While Umma and Abba try to fly, I do a word search, a crossword puzzle, draw fairies, and do cartwheels, trying not to ask, When will we get there?

Published in: on April 27, 2012 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Yuna at the Beach (Pages 9-11)

Page 9:
We pass a truck full of chickens, cluck-cluck-clucking to be let free, their feathers floating in the breeze.

Page 10:
Blue Berry Pie. Hold My Breath. Fire Very Hot. Pink Lemon Hats. Go Back Home. Play The Banjo. God Forgets You.

Page 11:
Abba drives fast. Pop! Our tire goes flat.

Published in: on April 20, 2012 at 11:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Yuna at the Beach (Pages 6-8)

Page 6:

It’s still dark out. I climb into the backseat of our car and roll down the windows. The crickets still chirp. The birds aren’t awake yet to sing. Good bye, apartments. So long, sleeping neighbors. Adios, parking lot. We’re off to see the ocean.

Page 7:

The sun and moon switch places. The sky lightens. Umma puts breakfast on my lap. A paper plate covered with kimbap. Abba drives fast, and all I hear is wind blowing hard through the windows. Umma leans over to him and feeds him a piece. Her hair whips this way and that as if every strand is alive and kicking.

Page 8:

We pass fields of corn growing tall, thick and green, green, green.



Published in: on April 18, 2012 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Yuna at the Beach (Pages 3-5)

Page 3:
Abba says in America, C-A-R spells free. No wheels. No free.

Page 4:
Which car will set us free?

Page 5:
The Ford Fairlane will set us free.

Published in: on April 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yuna at the Beach (Pages 1 & 2)

Title Page:
Title Page

Page 1:
It’s summer vacation. I eat a banana and watch TV, remembering the last day of school. The big kids were singing, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks, no more math and history, summer time will set us free.” But I don’t feel free. And Miss Middleton always looked clean to me. I miss her already.

Page 2:
How does free feel? Is it like running and never getting tired? Like swimming without losing your breath? Is it like being the queen and doing whatever you want? Or is it more like flying?

Published in: on April 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm  Comments (2)  

The First Day of 2012

Let me take a break from 1974 to bring in 2012.

Out of all the holidays, new year’s day is my favorite. Our tradition includes going to my mom and dad’s house to eat rice cake soup. Eating this soup is said to bring good luck. After our meal, we do what many Koreans do for entertainment. We sing karaoke. My parents have this outdated karaoke machine, and we take turns singing oldies. Beatles, Carpenters, Paul Anka… and of course, the Village People. We laugh, dance, and just goof around. This is the holiday that makes me feel most like a kid again. When it’s time to leave, we bow down to my parents, saying, “Seh bok mahnee bah du seh yoh,” which means many new blessings to you. They then hand the grandchildren money. What’s there not to like?

The spread.

Jap Chae.


Kimchi pancakes.


Rice cake soup.

John’s tai chi demonstration.

Sophie starts off the singing.

Ellie sings.

My sister sings. She has the best singing voice.

Dad sings.

Kids bowing down for money.

From me and my family to you and yours, happy new year and many blessings for 2012.

Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 6:09 pm  Comments (4)  
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