what’s in a name?

i picked up this book after seeing it on a note on a friend’s facebook. not that she actually mentioned this book on her fall reading list, but another girl–a mutual friend of ours–had written it in. i had never heard of the book, nor would i actually think of reading it…before now.
and i’m not sure exactly why i did pick it up. the comment made: “i echo the namesake. that book completely changed my life and how i view my parents.” written by a first generation american, born to asian parents. for whatever reason, it piqued my interest.

the namesake.

what’s behind a name…really?
what does our name say about us…if anything?

i think i found it so intriguing because fk’s parents left their home country to come to another–away from all they had ever known, away from all their family, away from all that was familiar–in order to start a new life of their own. and they had a child, a child juxtaposed between the parent’s culture and one in which he attempted to adapt as his own–not exactly his parent’s desire.
and his name.
his name that causes others to question…his identity, his nationality, his heritage.
as if one can understand whom another is by just a name.

it’s the story of gogol, his attempts to conform to one culture while at the same time distancing himself from another.
the struggle that lies within.
the questions that arise within.
the identity that is formed…within.
the distance that is felt from outside.
the disapproval that is made known from outside.
the unknown, crossed, or mixed identity that is perceived from outside.

similar paths.
enlightening me to the journey…of days past, today, and in the days ahead.

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let the celebrating begin…

after fk got home from work yesterday, we decided to open just one present each on christmas eve…saving the rest until christmas day. we both gave each other a choice and then preceded to open our selected gift–after much deliberation, of course.

my feet donned with my new slippers, fk set up the board for our battleship showdown. battleship–the electronic version–was always one of my favorite board games growing up so i decided to get it for fk for christmas. the pieces were set up, the instructions read, time to get our game on.

several games and a few “merry christmas” phone calls later, it was midnight…christmas day was here! fk loves to stay awake until the first minutes of christmas just to open gifts. we gathered them all around, taking turns opening gifts…
the ones from each other first.

then, onto the gifts from the fam [sent all the way from ‘bama], then the stockings [filled with both fk’s and jena’s gifts]…

wealth.

ironic to come across in the days preceding christmas…or maybe not.

it seems that i always feel more full, more satisfied, more secure, more happy when i am content with what i have. i can look around and see that i have it all…
i possess great wealth.
i am wealthy.
sure, there are always things i would like to have, but these things would really add nothing to my life. if i were really honest with myself, none of these things matter. none.

my wealth exists not in the tangible, but in the intangible.
my family.
my family-to-be…my fiance.
my friends–both far and near.
my health.
my shelter.
my job.
and living simply–embraced by saint benedict–which is something i should embrace.

it beckons me to remember days past. days of living simply.
traveling [pregnant] with your betrothed. maybe just the two of you. maybe no other family around. maybe you felt all alone…maybe.
having no place to stay, no shelter.
having your firstborn in the only shelter available…and having to place him in a feeding trough. was it clean, was it sanitary, was it the only thing available?
did it even matter?
knowing there was something special about this, about him…but who would believe you? a [so-called] virgin. engaged. no mention of family or of anyone’s support, save your cousin…and some shepherds. and all this talk of angels appearing.
did others doubt you? did you doubt yourself? did you think you were going crazy? did you understand? did you even comprehend the greatness that was occurring?
did you want more?
…or were you content in your wealth?

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

and even though it seems you could have not yet known the wealth your baby came to usher in, it seems as though you were content…that somehow you knew.