Oct 23, 2009  •  In Art/Design, NYC

How a 3-Year-Old Views the NYC Subway

Graphic designer and illustrator Erin Jang created this wonderful poster for her nephew’s third birthday.

How adorably fun!

I have to say that I’m very impressed with the boy’s extensive list of meaningful subway stops. My custom map would be about the same size, and would include the following stops (from north to south):

175th St – George Washington Bridge (for when I need to meet my parents in Fort Lee)
96th St – Central Park West (who doesn’t love Central Park?)
 86th St (The Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Guggenheim Museum)
Columbus Circle (there are always things to do in Columbus Circle)
Fifth Ave – 53rd St (The MoMA)
42nd St – Times Square (Port Authority & Times Square)
34th St – Penn Station (my old company & the home of my beloved Knicks: Madison Square Garden)
34th St – Herald Square (K-Town)
14th St (J’s old company & my favorite places in Chelsea)
14th St – Union Square (Union Square)
Astor Pl (St. Marks Place)
Canal St (Chinatown)
Bay Ridge Ave (my babysitting charge lives here)

How about you? Which stops would your custom map include?

Oct 23, 2009  •  In Korean, Personal, Relationships

Sacrificing for Family

Last week, I was helping my mother go through some business documents at her store when her friend dropped by to visit.

“And what is your daughter doing here?”

“She’s helping me sort through these documents, make phone calls, write letters, and fill out forms.”

“What a great daughter!”

“Oh it’s nothing. She’s been doing this for us ever since she was in 2nd grade!”

What my mother said is true. When we first immigrated to the U.S., my parents painstakingly studied books, listened to cassette tapes, and even took night classes to learn English. But how could they properly learn while working 80 hours a week in an attempt to set up a new life in a new country (to which they had arrived with literally no money in their possession)…all while raising two young children?

My sister and I picked up our second language without much difficulty, and I, as the older daughter, quickly assumed the role of the translator.

I resented this while growing up, and I am ashamed to say that I still resent it at times. Not only was I required to decipher every letter that arrived at our address, I had to make phone calls, write letters, and intercede on my parents’ behalf. I have done this since elementary school.

Can you imagine being the only kid whose parents never attended parent-teacher conferences, and having to explain to your teachers that your parents can not visit because they do not speak English? (And no, I was not allowed to attend and translate on behalf of my parents.)

How about getting in heated debates with government agencies at the age of 8?

Even something as trivial as going out for dinner had the potential to become an embarrassing experience, because you just knew that your father (who always insisted on placing the order) will screw it up somehow…

The story is typical of many immigrant families. I know that I am not alone, and I am sure I had it a lot better than others.

However, I can’t deny that these circumstances force a child grow up a lot faster.

There were so many times during the course of my childhood where I could not let go and just have fun. Be a CHILD. How could I, when I had to write that letter to the New York State Department of Labor, call the phone company to ask why we had been charged an extra $30 this month, and translate for my parents a permission slip that the school had sent home with me earlier that day?

Even now, I hate the fact that my parents continue to call on me when I have my own “adult” problems to deal with.

Listening to my mother have the above conversation with her friend, my mind flashed back to bitter memories. To being forced to solve problems that should’ve rested on my parents’ shoulders. To losing time, to becoming so careworn at such a young age.

To being called in to do even more work just days after the most painful loss of my life.

“Oh it’s nothing. She’s been doing this for us ever since she was in 2nd grade!” my mother proudly exclaimed.

Nothing? NOTHING? How can you say that it’s NOTHING when —

It was then that I heard the underlying tone of my mother’s voice.

This hurts her more than it has hurt, or will ever hurt me.


Are you the children of immigrants? If so, did you have similar experiences?

Oct 19, 2009  •  In Personal, Pregnancy

The Follow-Up Visit

J and I returned to the OB’s office today to have my post-D&C follow-up.

After a brief examination, the doctor happily informed me that everything looks perfect. She said that we can try for another baby as soon as we feel ready.

“Is there anything we can do to prevent another miscarriage?”

“Unfortunately, not much at this point. I have found over the years that a surprisingly large number of women miscarry…they just don’t talk about it. The good news is that the majority of these women go on to have babies — many, HEALTHY babies. Since this is your first miscarriage, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You’re both young and healthy, and you obviously have no trouble conceiving.”

She went on to add that if I planned on trying for another baby soon, I should continue taking my pre-natal vitamins to ensure that my body will have all the nutrients it needs for another pregnancy.

“That’s it! I hope to see you guys again in a few months! (If you’re ready, that is.)”

So that was that. The pregnancy was officially labeled “a fluke,” and as much as I hate the use of such an ugly term to describe our lost child, I am beginning to accept that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I had mentioned in the private post describing the D&C (request access here) just how much I love this OB practice and the hospital to which they’re affiliated. Since I had such a hard time looking for a good OB in my area (we live in Hudson County, NJ), I’ve decided to share their information with my readers:

Women’s Health Partners
Obstetrics & Gynecology
222 Cedar Lane, Suite 204
Teaneck, NJ 07666-4312
434 Palisade Avenue
Cliffside Park, NJ 07010-2839
Devorah Catherine Daley, M.D.
Lev D. Kandinov, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
Myriam Langer, M.D.

Although both offices are located in Bergen County (not Hudson), the Cliffside Park location is a surprisingly-short 15 minute drive from my house. I have met with and been treated with doctors Daley and Langer and would recommend them to anyone. The staff is attentive and friendly, and this truly was the first OB-GYN office — even before the pregnancy — that made me feel comfortable, relaxed, and informed.

The hospital that they’re affiliated with is Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. They are a short, 10-15 minute drive from our house too and I couldn’t be happier with their services. Everyone I saw was so friendly, sympathetic, and attentive that both J and I agreed that this is the hospital we want to return to when we get pregnant again. (It also doesn’t hurt that all the rooms their new maternity ward are private suites.)

Oct 19, 2009  •  In Fonts, Funny

Comic Sans: The Most Hated Typeface in Existence?

Comic Sans. It comes bundled with every operating system. It is one of the most widely-recognized fonts since the dawn of the personal computer.

But has there ever been a typeface more hated and ridiculed than Comic Sans?

I think that the last time I saw Comic Sans in use was in an AIM conversation, circa 1998.

Via The Next Web.