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March 27, 2007

Proof I am alive: I am still able to eat cake!

My neighbor, Mrs. Lee, has adopted me.

On the day she turned sixty years old, I pulled into my driveway after four hundred hours of driving and she handed me a plate with some "Korean Cake" on it. A lovely green and white cake, I don't know the flavor. It was beautiful and tasty.

She shared it with me, she said, because her husband was working and she has no children. She told me how she was alone that day, missing her family back in Korea, she is year of the pig, too. And it did not matter that we were thirty years and an entire culture apart because I understood her like I understood myself.

Mrs. Lee was lonely.

I used to feel upset and weird when the lonely would seek me out. I thought it was my broken-ness that drew them. I was tired of being broken. I wanted to be whole.

Now I choose to see that lonely folks want to feel a gust of happy, a breath of life, maybe just get some chitchat and Lord knows I have that in spades. I love life, want to eat it whole... Korean cake and all.

"Mrs. Lee? Do you want to come inside?"

"No, Julie." She calls me Julie, the same name as her bird. I have learned that to Mrs. Lee, everyone non-Asian is a Julie.

"But next weekend if you no need to go see mama," she said (I had told her my folks were in town), "we go to the Korean market? You want to see Korean market?"

"I would love to see the Korean market!" and I would. Sounds fun to me! I love Los Angeles, a city full of people from all over the far flung corners of this planet. Mrs. Lee is my new neighbor-mom, she checks in on me every day, she brings me fresh strawberries or lettuce from her garden, wants me to have her cellphone in case of emergency.

I gave her my cell phone number, too. On the post-it note I wrote, "Julie from next door." (I'll answer to anything except "shithead" ... and if said lovingly enough, I might answer to that also.)

"At Korean market, you will be very strange," she informs me. "Blonde hair. But you will like, I know it."

And I know it, too.

Crazy city.

Good Korean Cake.

Posted by laurie at March 27, 2007 11:52 AM