after the wedding

months ago, i had watched this video of sarah kay performing a poem she’d written for and about her younger brother.


i thought it would be fitting to include in a post that i was going to write a week before the wedding. but then, it happened, in the blink of my teary eyes, my brother got married.

weddings are so different up close. from where i stood, behind the bride, i got maybe half a glimpse of the officiant but a pretty good view of my brother. it was fascinating to watch him get emotional and regain his composure as he pledged his troth.

though he’s younger than i am, he’s taken on the role as the older brother, especially as we’ve gotten older. i remember waking up one night to the sound of dinnerware colliding with the kitchen floor, and my parents shouting at each other.

i was scared out of bed and sat on the floor in the tiny hallway on the 2nd floor where our room was. i gripped the bannister, wishing and waiting for the detente, wondering if i should descend and intervene.

my brother was the one who sat beside me, doing his best to console worried little me. if he was just as alarmed and concerned, he certainly hid it well. or maybe he saw that there was enough fear from me.

the wedding was a commencement of a covenant. but it was also the culmination of phase I of my brother’s personal growth.

(disclaimer: i’m not saying that my brother getting married made him a grown up or made him grow up, or that being married makes you a more complete person — that latter part is something i gotta preach to myself at varying frequencies. what i am suggesting is that ideally, one enters marriage having reached a certain threshold of maturity. now back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

it’s kinda fun to compare mom’s not so quiet wishes for the day when her kids would “get out of my house” with her warm, almost effusive welcomes whenever my brother and sister-in-law visit. i think it’s mutual, somehow marriage has turned my brother into a bit of a mama’s boy–i mean, man.

not that he’s become a complete old fart. when he’s asked how married life is, he likes to quip, “terrible.” nevertheless, twenty-some years later, it is my brother who lamented about the near-impossibility of buying a house in new york city, and brainstormed with mom and dad about doing away with the house we live in now to build a new house.

as the married folk strategized about architecture and moving outside of new york city for retirement (but-wait-we-need-you-to-babysit-because-daycare-is-expensive) and threw around words like “mortgage,” “down payment,” “school district,” and “borrowing from 401k” , i sat and listened, feeling a little bit like the kid who got left back in three too many times.

it’ll be another undefined number of years until i’ll be able to contribute to my dormant retirement account. and nothing screams “date me!” quite like a thirty-something soon-to-be law student/aspiring public interest attorney who lives with her parents. and i wondered, even as a poor lawyer with little to no law school debt, if i’d be able to afford to live without roommates.

then i heard my brother argue for a multi-family dwelling so that i too might get in on the homeownership action, slowly but surely.

Elizabeth & Eugene's Wedding at The Swan Club in Roslyn, NY. March 8th, 2014. www.naskaras.com

Elizabeth & Eugene’s Wedding at The Swan Club in Roslyn, NY. March 8th, 2014. www.naskaras.com

the 동생 becomes the caring 오빠.

if/when mom & dad do move away, i’m sure my brother & sister-in-law wouldn’t hate having their future children’s favorite 고모 and the first attorney in the family free babysitter living next door.

pandering to hankerings

photo by brett jordan via flickr (creative commons)me want fries.

a large, freshly baked, chocolate chip cookie laden with macadamia nuts would be swell, too. but mostly, i really want french fries.

sure, i’ve got a box of thin mints and leftover ice cream cake from my mom’s birthday sitting in the freezer, and half a box of samoas. but who cares? no big deal. i want moooore something savory. and as delightful as girl scout cookies and ice cream are in their own right, neither will do it for me right now.

i just had a bowl of instant ramen, which never really satisfies even when i do crave it, am i right? especially after i’ve had real ramen. but given the rain today, i thought something soupy and noodle-y would suit, and also curb me from getting a big mac (buy one get one free until sometime later this month) with my french fry purchase.

oh yeah, the fact that a mcdonald’s is within walking distance = bad news bears.

where did this monster craving for fries even come from, i wondered to myself. is it that time of the month?

community: abed charts cycles

is it because i resumed running now that the weather’s let up and now my metabolism’s switched gears?

all of the above?

what’s fascinating is that exercise usually dulls my cravings for junk food. i’m not keen on smoothies or bananas but after i run, those are foods i want to stuff myself with.

but i wonder if quickening my metabolism has only served to stir the monster within. what it is that turns my mr. hyde-ish hankerings into more dr. jekyll-like inclinations?

yesterday as i imagined myself marching into mcdonald’s after my run, it became apparent my running would only stave off weight gain, rather than spur on weight loss. my brother suggested that i lose weight before i start law school to offset potential/likely weight gain from the sedentary nature of the academic lifestyle. he pointed out that our friend had gained 30 pounds during his 1L, though my sister-in-law pointed out that said friend also subsisted on a steady diet of pizza bagels and hot pockets.

and almost miraculously, in the course of typing this, my craving for fries has disappeared, as though the appetite were a turtle retreating into its shell. though i still would gladly welcome the aforementioned cookie.

somewhere in this confession of my hormone-and-exercise-induced hankering for french fries is a metaphor for self-control, surrender, discernment, and desires.

shall we continue the discussion in the comments?

thoughts on my homecoming anniversary

march 29, 2013

sara_bracket_updatedwe celebrated good friday on that date. appropriately enough, that was also the day that i moved back to new york. that march was madness and sadness on many levels, including georgetown’s early exit from the big dance. (what’s worse, i ask my fellow hoya alumni: losing to a #15 seed off the bat, or not making it to the tournament?).

march 29, 2014

i spend a rainy morning & afternoon at an area law school’s admitted students event. some faces are familiar as i’ve seen them at previous visits to other law schools. the law school application has more or less ended (save for being put on one school’s waitlist) and i have two weeks and two days to decide which school.


this first year back looks like my own holy saturday, except mine was stretched out for a year–and still counting. it makes me wonder what exactly Jesus was up to between his death and resurrection. one circle of friend would say that he was reclaiming dominion over the kingdom from satan, who had tempted Jesus to worship him in exchange for authority over the kingdom.

i then wonder about the forty days and forty nights Jesus fasted and walked through the wilderness. what were his conversations with the other persons of the trinity like? was his gaze always heavenward? did he see with utter clarity the joy set before him? was this fast like the midterm he took before the final exam — the cross?

wait, where am i going with all of this?

ah yes. happy homecoming anniversary to me. 365 days later, God has expanded my view of spiritual family while allowing me to reconnect with my biological family. especially with my brother having left mom & dad to cleave to another person, seemingly ordinary nights in at home are no small treasures. it would seem that my brother and i have taken turns being the only child, and that i grew up in reverse

it’s wild to imagine law school as the promised land because these next three years comprise a preparation season unto themselves…

anyway, in conclusion… to quote caedmon’s call, “looking back, i see the lead of love.” i look back at this past year and the word renaissance pops up repeatedly; this homecoming has been “same same but different” than the world race. and if this renaissance year has been this sweet, i can hardly imagine what this next year will be like.