Happy New Year’s Eve!!! In less than 24 hours, it’ll be January 1st, 2010! Say it out loud several times and revel in the excitement of a whole, brand new year! In less than 24 hours, I’ll also be on the bus to New York City with my cousin…It’ll be a one-day express trip, because we can’t afford the exorbitant hotel fees, and my cousin practically threatened suicide if I don’t fulfill her “New Years in NYC” dream.
I’ve never spent New Years in NYC before. I’ve never spent a winter in NYC before! Supposedly, it’s gonna rain ice that day. Not really looking forward to that, but who knows? I might still be able to have fun. At least, I know for certain my cousin is gonna have fun…and this trip is all about her. Yeah, I’m amazed at my own self-sacrifice for my cousin’s happiness. The only reason I even agreed to go to NYC was to meet my bloggie friends there, but none of them could make it. I was devastated, but I now realize that it’s just part of God’s plan to kick off my 2010 dream to start.
Which brings me to Part II of my New Year Self-Reflection: Dreams and Goals.
When I asked a few people what their dreams were, they replied that they would rather not set goals, because setting such goals would inevitably lead to failure and disappointment. But I disagree. Without a vision in mind, our days will be spent wandering and aimless. It would be like a race without a finish line, a battle without a prize. At some point in our life, we’ll wonder, “What’s the point?” and give up. But the important thing in dreams is that the goal is not perfection.
Nobody is perfect. If we were, there really is no point in living anymore, because life is all about learning, experiencing, and growing. But a lot of us still struggle with that desire to attain perfection. I sure did. I wanted to be the most beautiful, most talented, most powerful, most intelligent, most popular person on earth. Maybe not explicitly, but it was certainly a very attractive and appealing idea to me. As I became lured into petty schoolgirl competition, I became absorbed into the beauty aspect of perfection, which eventually led to my eating disorder. Ironically, not only did I lose beauty, I lost everything else: my academic capability, my passion in pursuing my talents, my place in society, my friends.
So my dream for 2010 is to recover all that, starting with beauty. I want to be beautiful. But not in that physical way I once desired. I want to be beautiful human being, one who exudes beauty not in a superficial way, but from the innermost being. And notice that I emphasized “human being”. That means that I want to be beautiful, with flaws, imperfections, and all.
My dream is to be exactly the way God created me to be: beautiful. He’s given me so many blessings and gifts; it’s time for me to use them, and to share them. The year 2009 has been an amazing year because of all the blessings and love I’ve received. This 2010 year, I don’t want to just be a receiver. I want to be a giver. I want to shine, not with temporarily attractive physical qualities, but with timeless, infinite, and meaningful qualities: Love. Patience. Gentleness. Humility. Empathy. Generosity.
It’s not gonna be easy to mold these qualities into myself, because…let’s face it. I’m not loving, patient, gentle, humble, empathetic, or generous. But that’s why I need God. That’s why I’m not God, but a human being who needs His daily guidance and teachings. My goal is to make each day progressive, to grow and learn and mold myself every single day, to become more like Christ.
If that means sacrificing my personal comfort to provide my cousin a day of fun, so be it.
And if that also means spending time with other beautiful people, hell yeah!
Last night, my best friend Joanna, and her whole family came over for dinner. I’ve praised Joanna in this post, so I’ll just praise her mother this time. Her mom is actually one of my favorite person:
Look at her! A tiny woman, but with a face gleaming with sweetness and delight in the Lord! She is one of the most passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated woman I know. She never sits still in the house; she’s always out and about helping and counseling others, and everyone just loves her.
Besides Joanna and her mom, we also invited her brother, James, his fiancée, and his fiancée’s younger sister:
Here they are praying. Joanna’s mom insisted we do a little worship before eating, so we sung a few hymns too:
And then my dad preached.
My mom went all out. She made several of Jame’s favorite dish:
Pajeon, or Korean scallion pancakes.
It’s pan-fried, chock full of scallions, squid, shrimp, potatoes, and onions, with a chewy rice-flour batter.
She also made napa cabbage kimchi:
My favorite!! This dish was gone within 5 minutes. I’m not kidding!
Another napa cabbage dish:
Cabbage stewed in fermented soybean paste with dried anchovies. Not for the faint-hearted. I’ll bet if I served this to you, you’d run the other way, because it stinks.
But hey, stinky food tastes so damn good.
My mom also made Korean BBQ ribs!
Served by my brother. What is with his disgruntled expression? Doesn’t he realize that I’m giving him a few minutes of fame on my fabulous blog?
These were sticky, slightly sweet from honey and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I might ask my mom for the recipe, but she’ll probably say something like, “Oh, just this and that all together”.
The final dish my mom made was stir-fried shrimp:
I have no idea how this tastes like since I didn’t eat it. I don’t care for shrimp, and I wanted to save tummy space for the wonderful dishes Joanna’s mom made!
Joanna’s mom brought some impressive dishes as well. First, some kind of New Year noodle dish:
I’m not sure what this is called, but it’s a mix of pork, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts, cabbage, and rice noodles in a sweet and sour wasabi vinaigrette. I dominated this, despite the wasabi making my nose run. It was fantastic!
All it needed was some chopped dry-roasted peanuts. I still had fourths of this:
Joanna’s mom also brought steamed fish:
Fresh-caught fish! And when I say fresh-caught, I mean that Joanna’s uncle caught this fish himself in the sea. It was butchered, flipping and flapping, alive in Joanna’s house. Love it.
Steamed, and then topped with some kind of soy sauce-sesame oil mixture, and ready to dig in! Fresh fish is best prepared simple with minimal ingredients!
But the highlight of that evening, in my opinion, was the hand-made dumplings Joanna’s mom made:
From the filling to the dumpling wrapper, everything was made by hand. Which is probably why it’s SO FREAKING delicious.
Filled with shrimp, egg, and Chinese chives. Ooh la la.
Now, there is this Chinese tradition, in which they put a ball of dough into one single dumpling. Whoever who finds the dough-ball in the dumpling is promised great blessings in the new year. Kind of like that English tradition with the penny in the pudding, or something like that. But anyway. Guess WHO found the dough-ball?
Wa hahahaha! Oh hohohohoh! Ee Heehehehehehee!
I’m gonna be blessed! I’m gonna be blessed!
Not that I didn’t already know it, but it’s been confirmed by a ball of dough, so it’s got to be true, right?
We celebrated with glasses of wine:
Dreaming sweet dreams now! I hope all of you are dreaming sweet dreams for the new year, too!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Question of the day: What is your personal image of yourself for the 2010? What kind of person do you dream to be?
P.S. Exciting news: DC blogger meet up on January 2nd, 2010 (whoa, sounds weird to write that)!! At 1 pm, in a lovely place called Zest Bistro. If you can make it, please send me an email!