Quarantine Hymn 2: How Great Thou Art

We’ve been learning my parents’ favorite old hymns, and making recordings for them…My mom ruined this particular song for me for all of eternity by saying she wanted us to sing it at her funeral. Thanks, Mom.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RPJPah7TqxlbUEoE8ic0fbVQnXPqFLZB/view?usp=sharing

Love Shack

During the pandemic, my daughter launched a wildly successful matchmaking service…for snails. It happened quite by accident. She found her first snail, christened him Seamus, and created a bachelor’s pad for him. But social distancing was hard on Seamus. He seemed to be pining away. My daughter was on the verge of letting him go when we found a friend for him in the garden. Seamus the snail perked right up. Sparks flew. One thing led to another. And then this happened…

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April 5

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April 17

 

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April 19

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April 25 BABIES!

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April 26

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April 27

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April 28

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April 29

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April 30 The babies are leaving the nest.

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April 30 They grow up so fast.

COVID-19 Diary

Historians have been encouraging students to keep a diary of their lives during the pandemic. When I suggested that my daughter start one, she gazed up at the ceiling for a few moments before replying in a voice riven with weariness: “What would I write? ‘Today I played NBA2K and scored 34 points for the Toronto Raptors.’ Enthralling material.

Here’s a photo diary of what she’s ACTUALLY been up to…

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Online school.

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Everyone’s been taking turns making dinner and hurting their brains trying to figure out how to accommodate this family’s radically different dietary preferences/requirements. Welcome to my world, people!!!

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Playing board games with the family. We’ve all been getting routinely crushed by the triumphant-looking gentleman to the left.

Preparing for the apocalypse:

She has NOT been traveling up and down the Eastern Seaboard to play soccer, but she HAS been participating in video chats and video compilations with her teammates.

(In case you’re wondering, that valuable roll of toilet paper was not sacrificed for the video).

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Walking the pups

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Playing badminton in the backyard

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and football…

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and wiffle ball…

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and frisbee…

Transforming Gingersnap into a future agility champ:

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To be continued…tomorrow’s diary entry will reveal her biggest project to date.

 

Higher Ground

According to my mother, the only reason she ever regretted not teaching us Korean was that we could never appreciate my dad’s sermons. I grew up hearing my dad preach every Sunday, but never understanding a word. As you might imagine, Sunday mornings were a kind of mild torture for me. I would zone out through the sermon and the endless prayers, (so very many prayers!). My only relief came whenever it would be time to sing a hymn. I knew every hymn we sang, because I’d been singing them with my family my whole life.

My mother’s fondest fantasy was that we would be the Korean Von Trapps. She even went so far as to make us matching purple crushed velvet pantsuits out of entirely unsuitable heavy curtain fabric. In her fanciful vision, we would trudge together in velvet splendor through some alpine landscape singing in close harmony not Edelweiss or Do-Re-Mi, but Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus! The closest we ever came to fulfilling my mom’s most cherished dream was during church services. My dad never remembered to turn off his microphone, and his booming voice would fill the chapel. My mother would sing the alto part to my dad’s melody in her beautiful and powerful voice. My siblings and I would play supporting roles, singing in English while the rest of the congregation sang in Korean.

For me, my inability to speak Korean was never more painful than when my grandparents came to visit us. I felt acutely that they were bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t communicate with them. On one of their occasional visits, my grandfather took his customary guest turn at the pulpit and suddenly broke out into song in the middle of his sermon. His rich a cappella voice reverberated around the small chapel and roused me from my usual Sunday morning reverie. I knew the song he was singing, because I’d sung it with my own family hundreds of times. Higher Ground connects me to my childhood, and always makes me think of my father and grandfather.

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My father preaching at my grandfather’s church in Korea.

When my friend told me she’d been doing quarantine hymn sings with her in-laws over FaceTime, I knew my parents would love this idea, and I knew Higher Ground was one of the songs we had to sing. My husband and kids learned the hymn and we made this recording for my parents:

It was such a joy to work on this song with my family. Now if only I knew how to sew! I’m sure I could rustle up some old curtains we don’t need anymore…

Dearest Yang, Pt. 3

Remember when you and Stefan taught us how to make German potato pancakes?

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Your boys knew exactly what to do and confidently got down to business.

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Whereas my kids looked a little dubious!

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They eventually got the hang of it!

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I’m pretty sure this was the first time I ever let the kids handle sharp knives!

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Thankfully, no digits were lost in pursuit of potato pancakes that evening!

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After all that hard work, the kids demolished those pancakes in the blink of an eye! I’m sure they tasted even better, because they all took part in making them.

After dinner, your boys taught my kids how to play Settlers of Catan.

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Let’s do this again when social distancing is a distant memory. We can have the party at my house this time. Maybe we’ll make Korean pancakes (pajeon)! I’ll have to get a recipe from my mom…

I miss you, and am thinking about you all the time. Please stay strong! I’ll write again tomorrow.

Love,
Adrienne