* One week

One week ago, in 1981 I arrived on U.S. soil for the first time as a seven-month-old South Korean-born baby who was just beginning her life with her adoptive parents.  Typically a celebratory day for my family and I, a happy, special day.  This year, 2013, 4/15 was also a beautiful Patriots Day with blue skies and near perfect conditions for the Boston Marathon.

One week ago at 2:50pm EST on Boylston Street in Boston, MA hundreds of lives were tragically changed.  One week ago Martin Richard, an 8-year-old from Dorchester, MA, Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old from Medford, MA, Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University student from China, and Sean Collier, a 26-year-old from Wilmington, MA were all alive.  One week ago a nation, and really the world, was cruelly jolted by a terrible dose of reality of the post-9/11 world we now live in.  One week ago a city, the city of Boston, my home was attacked, and its often overt pride felt by its citizens was tested like it never has been before. 

Who could have imagined a week like that?

Like Kennedy's assassination was for my parents' generation and like 9/11 was for my generation, people will remember what they were doing on 4/15 when the bombings happened.  For me, 9/11 and 4/15 have vivid, similar beginnings with beautiful weather, blue skies, a happy feeling, and a phone call from my mother.  The  happy feelings I want to feel will always come with conflicting awkward, sad feelings.  9/11 is my birthday and yet two towers fell in terrorist attacks, changing the American way of life as we know it today.  4/15 is my anniversary of the day I arrived in the U.S. from my birth country of South Korea, the day I was adopted by my amazing parents and began my fortunate life here as an American and yet two bombs were detonated in terrorist attacks in my hometown of Boston, an event that will certainly change the American way of life again.

Trying times like this often drive us to relate, to commiserate, to solicit that intrinsic need of the human spirit to connect with others.  Depending on how closely affected we are, we may not necessarily take sides, but at the very least we'll have some sort of perspective on the event.  On 9/11, my father flew into NYC from Logan one hour before a similar plane he was on crashed into the first tower.  He was safe and eventually made it home late that night to Stoneham, MA where we lived at the time.  On 4/15, my parents were about to walk down to the finish line of the Marathon from the South End of Boston where they live now.  I'm thankful they had the television on before they did.  I read an article about a former Stoneham classmate of mine who was injured along with his brother last Monday.  They are recovering physically, but emotional recovery may take much longer.  Sadly my parents' friends' daughter knew one of the victims who died.  I attended Boston University for graduate school and feel extra deeply for the victim who died who was a student there, despite never knowing her personally.  My heart goes out to all of these people and their families.  In 2008, I photographed the Boston Marathon, leading a team of fellow grad student photographers throughout the entire race.  Eerie to think if I knew then what I knew now.

I can't even begin to remotely convey eloquently in words how the events of 4/15 have affected me.  However, I knew that I needed to write something for my own purposes of processing and coping.  But more importantly, for publicly acknowledging the victims' and their families to which I send all of my love and condolences from the deepest part of my heart and soul…  For thanking all of the security officials, law enforcement agencies, and police who were involved in the events that ensued after Monday and culminated in the capture of the remaining suspect, alive, so he can hopefully receive the justice he deserves, and provide answers as to why he and his brother committed such horrible crimes….  For the officials and agencies who will continue to work tirelessly on this case to determine the why and how to prevent this from happening again, because it is not over just because we 'got the guys'…..  And I also write to remind people to still find compassion and love in their hearts for their neighbor and loved ones alike.  While anger, sadness, numbness, confusion, and vigilance are more than valid and may take some time to subside in all of us, remember that those feelings will not ultimately provide healing or progression.  One day, one week, or maybe one year at a time, and we will get there.  We are Boston Strong and and one nation, indivisible.

At 2:50pm today, there will be many moments of silence around Boston and U.S. in honor of the victims of last week's tragic events.  Please, take a moment yourself to do so, close your eyes, center your heart, say a prayer.

To read some thoughtful words about the Boston Marathon bombings, please visit this blog post.  My professor at Boston University offered his daughter's perspective for reflection.

A few photos where I used to live on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, a block down from the intersection of Boylston Street.  The bottom shot is from the South End neighborhood where my family lives.


* Peaks Island Land Preserve Trail on Peaks Island, Maine

Since the month of March I have been dealing with some health problems, partly explaining my hiatus.  I came down with a nasty case of tonsillitis and strep that progressed rapidly and with no mercy.  I couldn't talk for a few days and had to have an abscess drained.  FYI, not fun!  After I healed from that, the doctor said I needed to have surgery to remove my tonsils and adenoids.  Again, FYI, not fun.  Unlike the abscess, which was just me in the doc's chair with some topical numbing agent that seemed to not be numbing at all, for the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy I would go under anesthesia.  The surgery is quick and these days they don't even use sutures, instead cauterizing the areas.  Maybe I was slightly naive about the recovery period, but I guess I didn't think it would be such a process.  I'm finally eating soft solid foods and I'm weening myself off the prescription pain medication, but still dealing with a sore throat, ear pain, and low energy.  I can talk now, but just not for long periods of time.  My family and my boyfriend Ed have been great, supporting me through the surgery and the recovery.  Now don't get me wrong, this really wasn't major surgery (and it makes me not want ANY surgery every again), but, sheesh, recovering from surgery in your mouth is rough.  In a few more weeks I should be back to normal though... and loving the simple task of chugging water like it's my job.

A couple days ago, I finally felt like leaving the house for some fresh air and an island walk.  My energy left me pretty fast and I didn't make it that far, but I was able to check out a Peaks Island Land Preserve trail with Ed.  Finally.  Sad that I had never walked it before in my years of living here on Peaks.  I even felt good enough to grab my camera and play with my new 85mm lens.  No masterpieces, but a few fun ones I thought worthy of posting.

Hope everyone is healthy themselves and enjoying the warming spring temps.  I can't wait to be back to normal, and climbing and yoga-ing!