let the light in

sarah suk // 석혜리

new website

the day has come. i’ve finally made my own website!

this blog will always have a special place in my heart as my longest standing blog to date. well done, blog. you survived, though i know i made you suffer through some long periods of silence. may you now rest in peace.

for the rest of you who are still around, come visit me at sarahsuk.com. thank you for reading!

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on healing

I call them good days and bad days, but really they’re more like hours, sometimes minutes. A good day for two hours and then a bad day for the next seven. Good for thirty minutes, bad for forty-five.

My good days feel like this: Hope like honey melting on my tongue. I breathe and I feel my lungs fill with air instead of water. Laughing feels easier and so does getting out of bed. I don’t feel like myself exactly, but I feel more familiar, like I’m recognizing myself again. The present feels tender, but when I hold it in my hands like this, I can feel its heartbeat flutter in my palms and I understand that this is what it is to be alive.

The bad days are like this: My world starts shrinking and it doesn’t stop until every star has been squeezed out of the sky and all that’s left is me and my broken mind. I’m trapped on a train that only goes in circles and every mirror I look into shows me someone I don’t know. The past is the sun and today is its shadow. I know I can fight this sinking feeling, flip it on its head and turn it all around, but I am too tired to try again.

Isn’t that one of the worst parts? When you become so exhausted you stop caring. You stop saying I love you to the people you love, not because you don’t anymore, but because your heart is so fractured it’s hard to connect even the truest of words. You want to be someone better, but you can only be who you are right now and that makes you hate yourself. But maybe that is the secret to healing. You can only be who you are right now so instead of beating yourself up for it, be kind to your bruises. Let yourself be.

I was under the impression that healing meant every day would be better than the last until one day, I would emerge good as new, but it turns out healing is not so linear. Healing is good days and bad days, falling into the same pits over and over again, and somehow finding enough thread of compassion to climb your way out one more time. The more you keep catching these threads, the more the good days begin to outnumber the bad instead of the other way around.

This is who I want to be: When it feels like a fist is closing around the sky and crushing every star, I want to be someone who closes her eyes and sees the sunrise in her mind. Even if it feels like a lie to remember something so far from reach, I want to remember that the real lie is that the light is gone for good, and the truth is that yesterday is the shadow and today is the rising sun.

osaka dessert tour

back in september, i went on a trip to kyoto and osaka. going into the trip, i was wildly excited to visit kyoto, a city that everyone (and by everyone, i mean my sister and two other people) said i would fall in love with. and fall in love i did! but more on that another time. this blog post is about osaka, which i had been more curious than excited about, simply because i didn’t know much about it. but i was in for a sweet (wink wink) surprise: the city was full of delicious, amazing, drool worthy desserts.

i’ve been wanting to write this blog post for awhile so here it is, finally! my ~top three favourite dessert places in osaka~ (also the only three dessert places we had time for, but i hope this doesn’t make my list any less legit).

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number one: CREMIA SOFT SERVE

i first heard about this soft serve from a simon and martina youtube video. the video is literally called ‘the best soft serve ice cream’ so of course i wanted to try it. we got this at a place called SOFTCREAM LAND SWEDEN. honestly, 10 points right there for a place called softcream land. how magical is that? not as magical as the actual soft serve, let me tell you. it was unlike any soft serve i’ve had before. made with fresh cream from hokkaido, it is creamy, rich, refreshing, and beautiful. and it doesn’t end there. the cone is the most amazing sugar cookie cone i’ve ever had. the official cremia website calls it ‘langue de chat’ which, upon googling, i discovered is a cookie in the shape of a cat tongue (hence the name). whatever it is, it’s delicious. we loved it so much, we went out of our way twice to get it and would have gone again if we had an extra day!

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number two: UNCLE RIKURO’S CHEESECAKE

there’s a lot of hype around japanese cheesecake and i can see why. it’s soft, fluffy, and in the case of this shop, there’s a friendly looking man named uncle rikuro smiling at you from the top of the cake. i mean, what’s not to like? there are raisins at the bottom which i didn’t expect, but also didn’t mind. i’m also really into sharing whole circular foods (for example, pizzas, pies, giant cookies, etc), so i enjoyed the experience of this maybe more than the cake itself. also, we couldn’t finish the whole thing in one sitting so we got to enjoy the leftovers the following day which was just as good! you can find it on tripadvisor here.

number three: WORLD’S SECOND BEST FRESHLY BAKED MELON-PAN ICE CREAM

can we just take a moment to appreciate the name of this place? and before you ask me what the world’s first best freshly baked melon-pan ice cream is, i looked it up and couldn’t find it so your guess is as good as mine. so what is melon pan? melon pan is a sweet bun that looks like a melon. this one has ice cream on the inside, and also this pleasant little biscuit. the bun is toasty warm and the ice cream is cold (as ice cream should be) and it’s the most interesting, delightful combo. this was actually my favourite dessert of the three because i love bread and i love ice cream and now i love melon pan ice cream. a must try! you can find it on yelp here.

despite the fact that i just wrote an entire blog post about dessert, i’m not a huge sweet tooth. that’s why i loved these desserts; they’re light, refreshing, and sweet but not too sweet. if you’re like me, maybe you’ll enjoy these things too!

camano beach

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flipping rocks, looking for crabs

new instagram!

so by now we all know that i’m way better at blogging about how bad i am at blogging than i am at actually blogging. i re-evaluated the social media goals that i made at the beginning of 2017 and was disappointed, but not entirely surprised, to find that i haven’t been consistent at all with the blog and the vlog (what vlog? yes exactly). one day i do hope to get a better grasp on these social media platforms, but for now, for today, i have started a different project: a new instagram account! you can follow along @sarahaelisuk

starting a public instagram page has been something i’ve wanted to do for while now. but what kind of content did i want to post? i played with the idea of making one to showcase my film photos. or possibly an instagram dedicated entirely to my love of korean shaved ice (bingsu). or maybe a page to document my writing journey which is really what i want to build a platform around. i finally settled on a writing and reading page, with the occasional photo of a good looking bingsu. i hope that this will further inspire me to take more photos, write more words and connect with more people in the process. and of course to eat more bingsu.

light horizontal

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when stringing words together, choose your thread wisely. sometimes it can be even more important than the words themselves. so go on; bead your poetry on strings of grass so they can glisten there like morning dew, appearing in the night but only seen with the rising sun. hang your words on spider webs, on christmas tree branches, on each string of your guitar making every song sing sweeter. thread it on your laundry lines and watch them wave with the wind. the words you wear around your neck feel like coarse rope rubbing at your collarbone with each step, or maybe- – – they feel like a necktie, looped on by the hands of a loved one, sterling silver, the lightest of chains not meant to ensnare but to highlight. it catches the sun. the words beam. i string my words on light horizontal and your alphabet dances in the dust.

i used to write poetry

photos | niagara falls, ontario

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you’ve never been one to shout from the rooftops. for some people, joy rises like a hot air balloon released from its hold and if they don’t scream, they might die. but for you, joy pools downward, making oceans at your feet, wrinkling your toes. you’re aging in your happiness. it’s a silent wading in the water but we can hear it all the way from here.

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one of my favourite places in korea is beneath yanghwa bridge. i only went once and it was by accident. i had just finished a roll of film and i regretted not bringing more because it was golden hour and the light was unreal. there were men fishing, skateboarders, dog walkers, people sitting on benches waiting for something, maybe waiting for nothing. sometimes when i think about this place i want to cry, but i’m not sure why this is. it was really beautiful.

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sometimes she still feels like someone pulled the plug in the tub right in the middle of her bath and when the water went down the drain, she went right along with it and has been stuck there ever since. she’s not there anymore but sometimes still she wakes up in the middle of the night and worries about who will blow out the candles while she’s gone.

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my favourite cafe in vancouver sells ginger cookies in the shape of totoro (his stomach is shortbread). i don’t love the taste of this cookie, but i do love totoro so sometimes when i go there i’ll buy one for myself and it always feels like a treat.

swimming lessons

how to ride the currents of time
and not get pulled in by its ferocious riptides?

a lesson on dishwashers

on the last day of 2016, i slept over at a friend’s house after a new years party (new years parties for me = eating guacamole and counting down to midnight, 40% in anticipation for the new year and 60% in anticipation to put on my pyjamas and go to bed). after the party, my friend farisia and i were cleaning up and loading the dishes into the dishwasher. she turns to me and we have the following conversation:

farisia: i don’t have a dishwasher at my house. do you know how to use this?
me: no, we use the one at my house as a drying rack. but i’m sure we can figure it out.
farisia: -holds up liquid soap- we just fill it with this, right?
me: is that the right one?
farisia: -reading- it says ‘dishwashing soap’
me: ok! pour it in!
farisia: -pouring- is this enough?
me: maybe some more?

we get the dishwasher going, congratulate ourselves and go upstairs to put on our pyjamas and sleep (the moment i’ve been waiting for since 11:30 PM). before getting into bed, farisia goes downstairs to get some water and a few seconds later i hear her voice call up from the kitchen. “um…. sarah???”

so i go downstairs and i see this:

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WHAT THE ??? WHAT ???

so as it turns out, liquid dish soap for sink washing is not meant to go in the dishwasher. ever. there’s special soap for dishwashers, people! special! soap!! it was around 130 AM at this point and farisia and i were on our knees, scooping up soap suds with our hands and crying on the inside. at one moment, we just paused to stare as bubbles seeped out of the dishwasher in a never ending gurgle of horror, saying, “it’s not stopping.” -thirty seconds later- “yep still going.” -thirty more seconds later- “yeah this isn’t ending is it?”

after half an hour of damage control, we decided to just let the dishwasher monster keep on foaming at the mouth and get it all out of its system. we lay a big towel down on the kitchen floor, went to bed and let the cycle run. in the morning, the monster was finally quiet, the soap stream finally run out. we cleaned up the remaining mess and pondered over the significance of our new year beginning in such a peculiar fashion. the takeaway? it’s going to be a year of unexpected surprises and deep cleansing, new experiences and humble learning. also, i’m going to do dishes by hand for the rest of my life. it’s safer that way.

twenty seventeen / a digital age

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chilliwack // 

dear blog, i know this will probably hurt your feelings, but i was 98% certain that my last blog post (in september 2016) would be my last one ever. but i’m back! (silence) in the interest of becoming better at online documentation and sharing with the world at large, i have made it my goal to blog at least twice a month. (more silence) i’m sorry that you probably have separation anxiety now because i keep abandoning you for long stretches of time. i completely understand your silent treatment. you probably don’t believe me when i say all this, but i promise, this isn’t just another new years resolution that i forget about after a week. (…) i really will try my best!

dear youtube, you’ve probably forgotten what i look like by now, but this year i’m going to try to revive my vlog. (sorry who are you again?) hey come on, it hasn’t been that long. remember this video i posted last october? the highlight video of my niece’s first birthday? (oh yeah that was pretty adorable)

i will try to post at least five vlogs this year! i was originally going to say one vlog a month, but i’ll be more realistic. (yeah ok) ok?? five!

dear twitter, my new online friend. to be honest, i never thought we would be friends, but it’s a new year and i’m sure i have something to learn from you (for any other twitter users out there, you can find and follow me here). i hope you can help me connect with the wider online community, particularly the writing and publishing community.

– the photo of the mountain was taken in chilliwack where my writing group had a reunion/belated christmas party. it was a magical day with a magical view and at night, the stars were so clear. when i arrived back in vancouver, i looked up and was disappointed to see that the stars looked like faded white out smudges you had to squint to see. the stars are brighter in chilliwack i thought. but that’s not really true. stars are stars and they are as bright as they are. it’s just that sometimes you have a clearer view.

i’m not the most online-savvy person, maybe partially because i feel like the online world is the faded star version of the offline world. you have to squint to see the light. but just as stars are stars, humans are humans, and if i can find my way to a clearer view, maybe i’ll also find a way to connect deeper with the people behind the computers and widen my scope. so here’s to 2017, an increasingly digital age in which i will try to live as i’ve always longed to live: in embrace and in learning. see you soon!