February 23, Late Valentine’s Day

My mom sent me a lovely Valentine’s package with chocolate for me and the roommates as well.

Freshman was delighted and touched to see her name written in English on her goody bag. The three of us also ate Twinkie’s to commemorate my long running gag that the corgi and the hostess cake look exactly the same.

My mom had also included some of the 50+ prints she had made for New Year’s cards (Costco Photo Center has good and bad points) and I reached out to my previous co-teachers for their addresses.

C was first to respond, followed by S and then G. H texted me back a bit later and we ended up chatting back and forth for a few hours. You may be wondering, who’s H? And not without good reason.

H was the pregnant coworker I had for the beginning and end of fall semester for grades 3 and 5. You may recall G was her substitute for the majority of her maternity leave, with a brief appearance by Toupee Sub whose most memorable scene was a short moment away from class in which all the students asked me if he was pooping since he had been gone for awhile.

I haven’t seen H since January 2020 but she texted me during the spring semester to tell me she came into the office to submit taxes and also tell the VP I shouldn’t have to desk warm (apparently G and S commented this to him to which makes me laugh) and then late last year to tell me she wasn’t coming back to school due to her second pregnancy (!).

“I asked the VP where you were but he said you didn’t renew. I won’t be back because I’m pregnant again so we’ll miss each other!”

Our time together was brief but I really enjoyed it and thus she made it to “Abigail’s VIP New Year Card” list. She told me to stop by her house next time I’m in Seoul so I can meet her baby(ies) and she’ll make me some delicious food.

It got me thinking though. Even though I’m an immigrant and a non-native speaker, I have a community. Completely of my own doing.

My community in Atlanta was my relatives and ice skating friends; Florida is my hometown so my community is rooted in it being the place I grew up.

Once again I marvel at and am thankful for the surprisingly large community I’ve been able to amass here. Some days life is so easy I almost can’t believe I’m in a foreign country.

Shall I confess a small secret? When I make a wish, I usually wish for a happy life. I have it and seems so simple once in hand. And yet, the journey there is perilous.

I’ve had many highs and lows, and certainly there are many more to come, but to be happy is such a precious thing. Light and delicate like a fresh macaron.

There has been a time in my past where I felt like I was at the bottom of a giant well, a huge column of water pressing me down and the pin point of light far above me continuously growing smaller.

To now be in the field, under the sun and pulling buckets of water from the same well that previously trapped me to nourish my garden, is a wonderful thing.

I’m just grateful. For the good and the bad. For the promise of the future and the perilousness of the past. For dreams and plans and everything in between.

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