Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

These were my favorite passages from such a tear jerker. What an emotional rollercoaster going through loosing your mother from cancer.

“I didn’t have the tools then to question the beginnings of my complicated desire for whiteness. In Eugene, I was one of just a few mixed-race kids at my school and most people thought of me as Asian. I felt awkward and undesirable, and no one ever complimented my appearance. In Seoul, most Koreans assumed I was Caucasian, until my mother stood beside me and they could see the half of her fused to me, and I made sense. Suddenly, my “exotic” look was something to be celebrated.”

“was by sheer coincidence I’d wound up in Philadelphia. Like many a kid trapped in a small city, I felt bored and then suffocated. By the time I was in high school, the desire for independence trailing a convoy of insidious hormones had transformed me from a child who couldn’t bear to sleep without her mother into a teenager who couldn’t stand her touch. Every time she picked a ball of lint off my sweater or pressed her hand between my shoulder blades to keep me from slouching or rubbed her fingers on my forehead to ward off wrinkles, it felt like a hot iron puckering against my skin. Somehow, as if overnight, every simple suggestion made me feel like I was overheating, and my resentment and sensitivity grew and grew until they bubbled up and exploded and in an instant, uncontrollably, I’d rip my body away and scream, “Stop touching me!” “Can’t you ever leave me alone?” “Maybe I want wrinkles. Maybe I want reminders that I’ve lived my life.”

“My mother rarely saw doctors, committed to the idea that ailments passed of their own accord. She felt Americans were overly cautious and overly medicated and had instilled this belief in me from a young age, so much so that when Peter got food poisoning from a bad can of tuna and his mother suggested I take him to urgent care, I actually had to stifle a laugh. In my household, there was nothing to do for food poisoning except throw it up. Food poisoning was a rite of passage. You couldn’t expect to eat well without taking a few risks, and we suffered the consequences twice a year. For my mother to see a doctor, something had to be fairly serious, but I never considered it could be something lethal. Eunmi had died of colon cancer just two years before. It seemed impossible that my mother could get cancer too, like lightning striking twice. Nevertheless, I began to suspect my parents were keeping a secret from me.”

I remember growing up and we really didn’t go to the doctors much unless it was a really bad sickness. I mean, I do think some of it depends on socioeconomic as well. Sometimes, we just didn’t have any disposable income to spend it on going to the doctors.

“On our second round I admitted I was entertaining the idea of moving to New York, fully aware that I was now speaking as a sort of character, mentally disavowing the information I’d learned only an hour before. I realized that any plans I might have had were now null and void, that I’d probably have to move back to Eugene to be there for my mother’s treatment. I was delirious with secrecy. It was against my nature to withhold such monumental information, but it felt entirely inappropriate to bring it up to someone I knew only marginally, and I was afraid if I even said the words out loud I’d start crying.”

“My mother had either finally given up, conceding in her efforts to try to shape me into something I didn’t want to be, or she had moved on to subtler tactics, realizing it was unlikely that I’d last another year in this mess before I discovered she’d been right all along. Or maybe the three thousand miles between us had made it so she was just happy to be with me. Or maybe she’d finally accepted that I’d forged my own path and found someone who loved me wholly, and believed at last that I would end up all right.”

“Mom’s afraid you two will fight if you come,” my father admitted later. “She knows she has to put all her focus into getting better.” I assumed the seven years I’d lived away from home had healed the wounds between us, that the strain built up in my teenage years had been forgotten. My mother had found ample space in the three thousand miles between Eugene and Philadelphia to relax her authority, and for my part, free to explore my creative impulses without constant critique, I came to appreciate all the labors she performed, their ends made apparent only in her absence. Now we were closer than ever, but my father’s admission revealed there were memories of which my mother could not let go.

“three, Nami Emo had dubbed me the “Famous Bad Girl.” Running into things headfirst was my specialty. Wooden swings, door frames, chair legs, metal bleachers on the Fourth of July. I still have a dent in the center of my skull from the first time I ran headfirst into the corner of our glass-top kitchen table. If there was a kid at the party who was crying, it was guaranteed to be me. For many years, I suspected my parents might have been exaggerating or that they were ill prepared for the realities of a child’s temperament, but I have slowly come to accept, based on the unanimous recollection of multiple relatives, that I was a pretty rotten kid.”

“Observing Colette made me question my mother’s dreams. Her lack of purpose seemed more and more an oddity, suspect, even anti-feminist. That my care played such a principal role in her life was a vocation I naively condemned, rebuffing the intensive, invisible labor as the errand work of a housewife who’d neglected to develop a passion or a practical skill set. It wasn’t until years later, after I left for college, that I began to understand what it meant to make a home and just how much I had taken mine for granted. But as a teenager newly obsessed with my own search for a calling, I found it impossible to imagine a meaningful life without a career or at least a supplemental passion, a hobby. Why did her interests and ambitions never seem to bubble up to the surface? Could she truly be content as only a homemaker? I began to interrogate and analyze her skill set. I suggested possible outlets—courses at the university in interior design or fashion; maybe she could start a restaurant.”

“Stop shaking your leg; you’ll shake the luck out.” “What if I don’t want to go to college?” I said brazenly, wrenching away from her grasp. I shoveled a spoonful of the scalding mixed rice into my mouth, lobbing it around with my tongue, creating an air pocket that let out the steam. My mother looked around the restaurant nervously, as if I had just pledged faith to a satanic commune. I watched her try to collect herself.

“I don’t care if you don’t want to go to college. You have to go to college.” “You don’t know me at all,” I said. “This weird thing—is the thing that I love.”

“I yearned for my mother to speak to me but tried to appear stoic, knowing full well my constitution was much weaker than hers. She seemed unfazed by our distance right up until the day I packed to leave for Bryn Mawr, when at last the silence was broken. “When I was your age I would have died for a mom who bought me nice clothes,” she said.”

“My father hovered over us, unsure of his place in it all, searching for a reason why a kid like me could wind up so miserable. “I had an abortion after you because you were such a terrible child!” Her grip went slack and she shifted her weight off me to leave the room. She let out a little cluck, the kind of sound let out when you think something is a real shame, like passing a dilapidated building with beautiful architecture. There it was. It was almost comical how she could have withheld a secret so impressive my entire life, only to hurl it at such a moment. I knew there was no way I was truly to blame for the abortion. That she had said it just to hurt me as I had hurt her in so many monstrous configurations. More than anything, I was just shocked she had withheld something so monumental. I envied and feared my mother’s ability to keep matters private, as every secret I tried to hold close ate away at me. She possessed a rare talent for keeping secrets, even from us. She did not need anyone. She could surprise you with how little she needed you. All those years she instructed me to save 10 percent of myself like she did, I never knew it meant she had also been keeping a part of herself from me too.”

“Dark Matter This could be my chance, I thought, to make amends for everything. For all the burdens I’d imposed as a hyperactive child, for all the vitriol I’d spewed as a tortured teen. For hiding in department stores, throwing tantrums in public, destroying her favorite objects. For stealing the car, coming home on mushrooms, drunk driving into a ditch. I would radiate joy and positivity and it would cure her. I would wear whatever she wanted, complete every chore without protest. I would learn to cook for her—all the things she loved to eat, and I would singlehandedly keep her from withering away. I would repay her for all the debts I’d accrued. I would be everything she ever needed. I would make her sorry for ever not wanting me to be there. I would be the perfect daughter.”

“Though my mother and I hadn’t parted on good terms, once a month, huge boxes would arrive, reminders I was never far from her mind. Sweet honey-puffed rice, twenty-four packs of individually wrapped seasoned seaweed, microwavable rice, shrimp crackers, boxes of Pepero, and cups of Shin ramen I would subsist on for weeks on end in an effort to avoid the dining hall. She sent clothing steamers, lint rollers, BB creams, packages of socks. A new “this is nice brand” skirt she’d found on sale at T. J. Maxx. The cowboy boots arrived in one of these packages after my parents had vacationed in Mexico. When I slipped them on I discovered they’d already been broken in. My mother had worn them around the house for a week, smoothing the hard edges in two pairs of socks for an hour every day, molding the flat sole with the bottom of her feet, wearing in the stiffness, breaking the tough leather to spare me all discomfort.”

“I stood before the full-length mirror in my dorm room and scanned myself for errors, scouring my outfit for snags and loose threads. I tried to see myself through my mother’s shrewd eye, pinpoint the parts of me she’d pick apart. I wanted to impress her, to demonstrate how much I’d grown and how I could thrive without her. I wanted to return an adult.”

“My mother prepared for our reunions in her own way, marinating short rib two days before my arrival. She filled the fridge with my favorite side dishes and bought my favorite radish kimchi weeks in advance, leaving it out on the counter for a day so it was extra fermented and tart by the time I got home. Tender short rib, soused in sesame oil, sweet syrup, and soda and caramelized in the pan, filled the kitchen with a rich, smoky scent. My mother rinsed fresh red-leaf lettuce and set it on the glass-top coffee table in front of me, then brought the banchan. Hard-boiled soy-sauce eggs sliced in half, crunchy bean sprouts flavored with scallions and sesame oil, doenjang jjigae with extra broth, and chonggak kimchi, perfectly soured.”

“That night, lying beside her, I remembered how when I was a child I would slip my cold feet between my mother’s thighs to warm them. How she’d shiver and whisper that she would always suffer to bring me comfort, that that was how you knew someone really loved you. I remembered the boots she’d broken in so that by the time I got them I could go on unbothered, without harm.”

“A predictably troubled adolescence followed, culminating in his arrest, rehab and, a handful of relapses thereafter while he worked as an exterminator in his early twenties. It was his fortuitous move abroad that ultimately saved him. If this were my father’s memoir, it’d probably be titled The Greatest Used Car Salesman in the World. More than thirty years later, nothing excites him more than talking about his years on the military base, working his way through the ranks of the company in Misawa, Heidelberg, and Seoul. For a man who came from nothing, life as a used car salesman abroad was a most glamorous calling.”

“The same mirror where I’d watched her apply cream after cream to preserve her taut, flawless skin. The same mirror where I’d find her trying on outfit after outfit, runway walking with perfect posture, examining herself with pride, posing with a new purse or leather jacket. The mirror where she lingered in all her vanity. In the mirror now there was someone unrecognizable and out of her control. Someone strange and undesirable. She started to cry. I crouched down beside her and wrapped my arms around her shaking body. I wanted to cry with her, at this image I too did not recognize, this giant physical manifestation of evil that had entered our lives. But instead I felt my body stiffen, my heart harden, my feelings freeze over. An internal voice commanded, “Do not break down. If you cry, it’s acknowledging danger. If you cry, she will not stop.” So instead, I swallowed and steadied my voice, not just to comfort her with a white lie but to truly force myself into believing it. “It’s just hair, Umma,” I said. “It will grow back.”

“There was something in my face that other people deciphered as a thing displaced from its origin, like I was some kind of alien or exotic fruit. “What are you, then?” was the last thing I wanted to be asked at twelve because it established that I stuck out, that I was unrecognizable, that I didn’t belong. Until then, I’d always been proud of being half Korean, but suddenly I feared it’d become my defining feature and so I began to efface it. I asked my mother to stop packing me lunches so I could tag along with the popular kids and eat at the shops off campus. Once, I was so petrified that a girl would judge what I ordered at a coffee shop that I ordered the exact same thing as her, a plain bagel with cream cheese and a semisweet hot chocolate, blandness incarnate, a combination I never would have chosen myself. I stopped posing with the peace sign in photos, fearing I looked like an Asian tourist. When my peers started dating, I developed a complex that the only reason someone would like me was if they had yellow fever, and if they didn’t like me, I tortured myself over whether it was because of the crude jokes boys in my class would make about Asians having sideways pussies and loving you long time.”

“The next morning, Kye was in the kitchen cooking jatjuk, a pine nut porridge my mother used to make for me when I was sick. I remembered her telling me that families make jatjuk for the ill because it’s easy to digest and full of nutrients, and that it was a rare treat because pine nuts were so expensive. I recalled its thick, creamy texture and comforting, nutty flavor as I watched the porridge thicken in the pot. Kye stirred slowly with a wooden spoon.”

“This obsession with my mother’s caloric intake killed my own appetite. Since I’d been in Eugene, I’d lost ten pounds. The little flap of belly my mother always pinched at had disappeared and my hair began to fall out in large chunks in the shower from the stress. In a perverse way I was glad for it. My own weight loss made me feel tied to her. I wanted to embody a physical warning—that if she began to disappear, I would disappear too.”

“She batted her eyelashes and pushed her newly shaved head toward my mother, who reached out her hand and ran it along the stubble. I waited for my mother to scold her the way she would have if I had done such a thing, or recoil the way Eunmi had when I brought up the idea three years ago, but instead, she was moved. “Oh, Unni,” she said, tears in her eyes as the two embraced and Kye brought her back to bed.”

“My mother changed a lot after Eunmi died. Once an obsessive, avid collector, she let go of the compulsion and began to take up new hobbies, to spend time with new people. She enrolled in a small art class with a few of her Korean friends. Once a week she would send me photos of whatever she was working on through Kakao messenger. At first they were really bad. One pencil sketch of Julia in which she resembled a stout sausage with extremities was particularly comical, but after a few weeks, she got better. I was thrilled my mother had finally discovered a way to express herself, depicting small objects from her daily life, knickknacks at home, a tassel, a teapot, engrossed in perfecting something so deceptively simple as the shading of an egg. For Christmas, she painted a card for me with pale yellow and lavender flowers, their stems a watery sea green. “This is a special card I made. My first made card to you,” she wrote inside.”

“I could tell my father was not ready for my mother to give up on treatment. It felt like he was waiting for me to protest, for the two of us to band together and encourage her to continue. But it was hard not to feel like the chemo had already stolen the last shreds of my mother’s dignity, and that if there was more to take, it would find it. Since receiving her diagnosis, she’d trusted us to make many of her decisions for her, to be her advocates, to plead with nurses and doctors, to question medications on her behalf. But I knew because of Eunmi that if two rounds of chemotherapy hadn’t made a dent in her cancer, it was her wish to discontinue treatment. It felt like a decision I had to honor. My mother took the phone from my father. In a voice that was soft but resolute, she told me she wanted us all to take a trip to Korea. Her condition felt stable, and though the doctor had advised them against it, it felt like a time to choose living over dying. She wanted the chance to say goodbye to her country and to her older sister.”

“Seong Young and my father returned, our pretty young doctor filing in behind them. I was shocked by the amount of time the doctor spent with us in Korea. In Oregon, I couldn’t recall seeing a doctor for more than a minute before they rushed off to another room and left the nurses in charge. Here, our doctor seemed genuinely interested in helping us, had even held my mother’s hand when we first arrived. Though she seemed to know quite a bit of English, she was always apologizing for her inability to speak it well. She informed us that my mother had gone into septic shock. That her blood pressure was dangerously low and she would likely have to be moved to a ventilator to stay alive.”

“It used to be so clear to me, the difference between living and dying. My mother and I had always agreed that we’d rather end our lives than live on as vegetables. But now that we had to confront it, the shreds of physical autonomy torn more ragged every day, the divide had blurred. She was bedridden, unable to walk on her own, her bowels no longer moving. She ate through a bag dripped through her arm and now she could no longer breathe without a machine. It was getting harder every day to say that this was really living.”

“We had gone out on a limb, traveling to Korea against the doctor’s orders. We had tried to plan something that was worth fighting for, and yet every day had wound up worse than the last. We had tried to choose living over dying and it had turned out to be a horrible mistake. We drank another round, tried to let it wash us over.”

“I walked down the hall and slipped out onto the fire escape, a concrete landing enclosed by tan metal bars. I sat and rested my feet on a step. Peter was on vacation with his family for the weekend in Martha’s Vineyard, where it was early morning. “We have to get married,” I said. Honestly, I’d never thought too much about getting married. Since I was a teenager I’d always enjoyed dating and being in love, but most of my thoughts about the future revolved around making it in a rock band. That fantasy alone kept me occupied for a good ten years. I didn’t know the names of necklines or silhouettes, species of flowers or cuts of diamonds. In no corner of my mind was there even a vague notion of how I’d like to wear my hair or what color the linens might be. What I did know for certain was that my mom had opinions enough for both of us. In fact, the only thing I’d always known was that if I ever did get married, my mother would be the one who made sure it was perfect. If she wasn’t there, I was guaranteed to spend the day wondering what she would’ve thought. If the table settings looked cheap, if the flower arrangements were middling, if my makeup was too heavy or my dress unflattering. It’d be impossible to feel beautiful without her approval. If she wasn’t there, I knew I was destined to be a joyless bride.”

“I knew my mom appreciated Kye’s generosity and was giving in to the charade to make her happy, but I’d always been proud of her resistance to spiritual conformity and I was sorry to see it surrendered. My mother had never practiced religion, even when it separated her from an already meager Korean community in a small town, even when her sister asked her to on her deathbed. I loved that she did not fear god. I loved that she believed in reincarnation, the idea that after all this she could start anew. When I asked her what she’d want to come back as, she always told me she’d like to return as a tree. It was a strange and comforting answer, that rather than something grand and heroic, my mother preferred to return to life as something humble and still. “Did you accept Jesus into your heart?” I asked. “Ya, I guess so,” she said.”

“No, I don’t think it’s too much. Better for pictures.” There was no one in the world that was ever as critical or could make me feel as hideous as my mother, but there was no one, not even Peter, who ever made me feel as beautiful. Deep down I always believed her. That no one would tell me the truth if my hair looked sloppy or if my makeup was overdone. I kept waiting for her to fix what I could not see, but she offered no critique. She just smiled, half in and half out of consciousness, maybe too medicated now to tell the difference. Or maybe deep down she knew what was best, that small criticisms weren’t worth it anymore. —

“The following days were quiet. It had felt almost as if the wedding would either miraculously cure my mother of her disease or she would just disappear entirely into the air like a balloon. But after the celebration, there we all were again: same illness, same symptoms, same drugs, same quiet house. My father started planning a trip for us to go wine tasting in Napa, a thinly veiled guise to keep up momentum. If we always had something to look forward to, we could trick this disease. Not now, cancer, there’s a wedding! And then a tasting in Napa! Then an anniversary, a birthday. Come back when we’re not so busy. Such diversions began to seem unrealistic. I spent most of my time lying quietly beside my mother just watching television, holding hands. There were no more walks around the house. She had less and less energy and there wasn’t much else she could manage. She slept more often, began to talk less.”

“All this time I had feared a sudden death, but now I wondered how it was even possible that my mother’s heart was still beating. It’d been days since she’d eaten or taken water. It destroyed me to think that she could just be starving to death. My father and I spent most of the time lying in silence with her body between us, watching her chest heave and struggle for breath, counting the seconds between respirations. “Sometimes I think about holding her nose,” he said. Between sobs he lowered his face to her chest. It was something that should have been shocking to hear, but wasn’t. I didn’t blame him. We hadn’t left the house in days, so afraid of what we might miss. I wondered how he could even sleep at night.”

“When he left the house to begin making funeral arrangements, I opted to stay home. I was hoping for last words, something else. Hospice told us it could happen. That the dying can hear us. That there was a possibility she could shoot back into consciousness for one last moment, look me in the eyes, and say something conclusive, a parting word. I needed to be there in case it happened. “Umma, are you there?” I whispered. “Can you hear me?” Tears began dribbling down my face and onto her pajamas. “Umma, please wake up,” I yelled, as if trying to wake her. “I’m not ready. Please, Umma. I’m not ready. Umma! Umma!” I screamed to her in her language, in my mother tongue. My first word. Hoping she’d hear her little girl calling, and like the quintessential mother who’s suddenly filled with enough otherworldly strength to lift the car and save her trapped child, she’d come back for me. She’d wake for just a moment. Open her eyes and tell me goodbye. Impart something, anything, to help me move forward, to let me know it’d all work out. Above all, I wanted so desperately for her last words not to be pain. Anything, anything at all but that. Umma! Umma!”

“The same words my mother repeated when her mother died. That Korean sob, guttural and deep and primal. The same sound I’d heard in Korean movies and soap operas, the sound my mother made crying for her mother and sister. A pained vibrato that breaks apart into staccato quarter notes, descending as if it were falling off a series of small ledges. But her eyes did not open. She didn’t move at all. She just continued to breathe, respiration lagging by the hour, the sounds of her inhalations drifting further and further apart.”

“I woke to my father’s voice calling up to me from the bottom of the stairs. “Michelle, it happened,” he whimpered. “She’s gone.”

“It was difficult to write about someone I felt I knew so well. The words were unwieldy, engorged with pretension. I wanted to uncover something special about her that only I could reveal. That she was so much more than a housewife, than a mother. That she was her own spectacular individual. Perhaps I was still sanctimoniously belittling the two roles she was ultimately most proud of, unable to accept that the same degree of fulfillment may await those who wish to nurture and love as those who seek to earn and create. Her art was the love that beat on in her loved ones, a contribution to the world that could be just as monumental as a song or a book. There could not be one without the other. Maybe I was just terrified that I might be the closest thing she had to leaving a piece of herself behind.”

“of the savory meat, devouring it, piling in spoonfuls of the buttery mash. It felt like I hadn’t eaten in years. As my father paid the bill, I sat quietly, full of food and wine, and finally let all my emotions take me. I had held in so much. I had starved myself, not just of food, but of a reckoning. I had tried to be stoic. I had tried to conceal my tears from my family and at last they were all funneling out. I could feel the entire restaurant staring as I sobbed and shook, but I didn’t care. It felt so good to release it.”

“We stood to make our way to the car and I felt my legs give out beneath me. I let myself fall into the arms of my two best friends as they rushed to support my weight. I cried all the way home, big, comically fat tears, and then I cried hot, small ones alone in my bedroom until I fell asleep.”

“I’ve just never met someone like you, as if I were a stranger from another town or an eccentric guest accompanying a mutual friend to a dinner party. It was a strange thought to hear from the mouth of the woman who had birthed and raised me, with whom I shared a home for eighteen years, someone who was half me. My mother had struggled to understand me just as I struggled to understand her. Thrown as we were on opposite sides of a fault line—generational, cultural, linguistic—we wandered lost without a reference point, each of us unintelligible to the other’s expectations, until these past few years when we had just begun to unlock the mystery, carve the psychic space to accommodate each other, appreciate the differences between us, linger in our refracted commonalities. Then, what would have been the most fruitful years of understanding were cut violently short, and I was left alone to decipher the secrets of inheritance without its key.”

“This whole trip you’ve been bartering with everyone. The taxi drivers, the guides—now it just feels like you’re trying to get food for free. It’s embarrassing.” “Your mother warned me not to let you take advantage of me.” And there it was. He had committed the unspeakable. He’d put words into the mouth of a dead woman and used them against me. I could feel the blood rushing to my face. “Oh well, there’s plenty of things Mom said about you, too, believe me,” I said. “There’s a lot of things I could say right now that I’m choosing not to.” She didn’t even like you, I wanted to say. She compared you to a broken plate. When could my mother have told him this and what could it have possibly been in reference to? The words kept circling my head. Sure, I had taken my upbringing for granted, I had lashed out at the ones who loved me the most, allowed myself to flounder in a depression I perhaps had no real right to. I had been awful then—but now? I had worked so hard the past six months to try to be the perfect daughter, to make up for the trouble I’d caused as a teenager. But the way he said it made it seem like it was the last piece of wisdom she’d imparted before shuffling off the mortal coil: Watch out for that kid; she’s out to take advantage of you. Didn’t she know I was the one who slept on the hospital couch for three weeks while Dad stayed in a bed at the apartment? Didn’t she know I changed the bedpan because he couldn’t do it without gagging? Didn’t she know I was the one swallowing my feelings while he blubbered on?

“My first word was Korean: Umma. Even as an infant, I felt the importance of my mother. She was the one I saw most, and on the dark edge of emerging consciousness I could already tell that she was mine. In fact, she was both my first and second words: Umma, then Mom. I called to her in two languages. Even then I must have known that no one would ever love me as much as she would. The journey that once filled me with such excitement now filled me with fear as I realized that this would be the first time Nami and I would speak without Eunmi or my mother or Seong Young on hand to translate. We’d have to figure out how to communicate without an intermediary.

“My salary was forty-five grand a year with benefits. I felt like a millionaire.”

“Uri umma hanguk saram, appa miguk saram,” I said. My mom Korean, my dad American. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth with an “ahhh” and nodded. She stared at me again, taking me in, as if to sift out the Korean parts. It was ironic that I, who once longed to resemble my white peers and desperately hoped my Koreanness would go unnoticed, was now absolutely terrified that this stranger in the bathhouse could not see it. “Your mom is Korean and your dad is American,” she repeated in Korean. She began speaking quickly and I was no longer able to keep up. I mimicked the Korean mumbles of understanding, wanting so badly to keep up the charade, pretending to understand long enough to catch a glimpse of a word I recognized, but eventually she asked a question I failed to comprehend, and then she too realized that there was nothing left for her to relate to. Nothing more we could share. “Yeppeuda,” she said. Pretty. Small face.

“I laughed. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’d been asked to explain it, and after years of pay-to-play DIY touring I often had a hard time believing it myself. “Well, there is a promoter that books the show, and then we get paid by the people who buy tickets.” “Ah…I see,” she said, though I had a feeling she didn’t. “Well, I really wish I could see your concert but I’ll be going back to China before then. Nami says her and my dad are very excited.”

“Night Market and discovered what is arguably the world’s greatest noodle soup, Taiwanese beef noodle, chewy flour noodles served with hefty chunks of stewed shank and a meaty broth so rich it’s practically a gravy.”

What a rollercoaster of emotions. This was one of the saddest books I’ve ever read and I would highly recommend it for anyone who grew up with Asian parents.



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Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills

People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.


Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.

It was hell.

After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.

Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.

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