Tuesday, January 17, 2017

the luckiest

For a couple people I know, this was their wedding song. And I know others that simply can't seem to hang with Ben Folds. But regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, it is impossible to deny that this girl is the luckiest. And there is nothing like another trip around the sun to make me feel so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life both near and far.

In spite of being busy at work, Gus managed to pull off a lovely birthday dinner---paella, Iron Horse sparkling, and my favorite cake from Freeport Bakery. Also, for the record, this is Carl Rove's favorite cake as he scarfed the leftover piece from the fridge one year---much to my utter dismay.

happy 9th birthday to me!
When I arrived home, I was greeted by J2 with "Happy Birthday mommy. We blow candles together?" So we did. And he has continued to insist that it is "our" birthday.

And the flowers ... oh, the flowers. From my dear friend, Wendy, my parents, and the littlest love of my life, J2.

A wet and windy birthday run with a couple of friends. My co-worker brought me a mocha. And a couple of my girlfriends picked me up and whisked me off to lunch on my birthday.

Rounded out birthday week with another birthday run ... this time with doughnuts, mimosas and champagne cupcakes. Thanks to my sole sisters for celebrating me! 4.0 miles. We did an extra 0.1 for good measure.

Thank you to everyone near and far who celebrated with me this past week. Each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart. I am the luckiest.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

holidays on G Street

G Street. It's like Sesame Street except without the scary puppets. These are the people in my neighborhood. And they have helped to make this place home for us.

Christmas Day we headed next door for a good old fashioned Friendsmas.

The only mishaps were perhaps me not finishing my wine and J2 lighting dessert on fire.

Delicious food, good wine, a little Wii bowling, and and the Bishops successfully pulled off another holiday. We've managed to snag invites for all major holidays this past year---Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. Score.


The day after Christmas, families with white SUVs who live on G Street were invited to Adventure Mountain for a little sledding. Just kidding anyone could go, it was just coincidence that a caravan of white SUVs was seen heading to the snow. Peter has all the good pictures, but suffice it to say we all had fun---and thankfully, the sledding mishap resulted in no lasting injuries.

And on the way home there was beer and Mexican food. I convinced Julie she clearly  needed the large beer (let's be honest it didn't take much convincing), and J1 looked at her with awe and adoration when she finished it.

With Christmas out of the way, next up was New Year's Eve. More champagne, wine and good food. You are sensing a theme, yes? Chunglunds held in until a little after 9:00, then it was jammies and snuggles. I don't think I've hit midnight since J1 was born.

We survived the holidays and the house has been un-Christmas-fied---at least the inside. Outside lights still need to come down, but I couldn't bear to have them come down on NYE. Next up, a couple of birthdays ... one being the big 4-0 for a certain Mr. Chunglund. Then it's on to baseball season. Life never stops.

Monday, January 2, 2017


I wrote this piece a couple years ago regarding my adoption. And I use the term "piece" in the loosest sense because it's really just the typical stream of consciousness from me.

Since having J2, each New Year's Day we gather at my mother-in-law's house for the traditional exchanging of bows. I love the tradition, but it's a pretty obvious reminder that I live somewhere in the space between my very white family and my Korean heritage. This year, I managed to watch YouTube videos so I could at least attempt to greet people properly. Most of the time when I speak Korean, Gus just gives me a confused look. My mother-in-law has to tie my hanbok because I continue to fail to be able to do that properly either.

I recently watched the movie Twinsters, a documentary about two adopted Korean women, who discover each other thanks to social media. Again sort of hit over the head by the racial identity stick. How the adoption experience is so incredibly personal to each of us.

Quite frankly, I never would have used the term "experience" to describe my adoption and upbringing. It was just a life. A pretty normal one at that. I wasn't the kid that always felt like something was missing from my life. At least I don't think I was. Notwithstanding the normal teenage angst that transcends race, I certainly never felt like I didn't fit into our family or our community.

In fact, while completely aware that I didn't look like everyone else, I never understood how much that meant to some people until I went to college and started getting recruited by this guy from the Korean Student Association---who I am, to this day, convinced either wanted to date me or get a copy of my political philosophy notes, or both. He sort of acted like he was doing me a favor by providing this group of people that looked like me to hang out with. It was perplexing at best. And perhaps the first time someone had expressly made the point that I was, indeed, different. To be fair, that's where I met Gus (who is not aforementioned Korean guy), so I guess he was actually doing me a favor.

When I married into a very Korean family, I again had that feeling that I truly existed in the space between. And yet, I love the tradition imparted on my children, who greet their grandparents and us daily with a bow. Race and heritage aside, Gus's family are simply really good people---a family I would choose to be part of regardless of what they or I look like (or don't look like).

And then I think, does it matter? Do I need a racial identity? Do I truly need to identify as white or Asian? Can I just be Nina B, population of 1? I mean I'm totally used to the strange looks I get when I stare blankly at someone speaking to me in Korean. I'm not offended when a person tells me that I speak good English. Because let's be honest, I do speak really good English (and I'm good at spelling). I can relate to my fellow adoptees when we joke about some guy on a bus or in line at Target, who asks you how to say "hello" in "your language." HELLO!

Perhaps I have filled the space between by creating my own race---Chunglunds population of 4. Because no matter where I came from or what I look like, this is where I belong. These are my people. This is home.

And there you have it folks. My first stream of consciousness for the New Year. May 2017 bless you with peace of mind, perspective, love, happiness, and all the things you are wishing for. May it challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and create your own space. I'll be over here. With my people.

xoxo, #ninab

one of these things is not like the other ... but she is.