Inspiration New York

Remembering my sweet orange tree

I remember it was an unbearably hot summer day in Seoul when my mom and I left home for an outing. I must have been seven or eight years old. My mom explained that books would ward off the heat as we stepped inside a vast air-conditioned book store. Happily lost in the children’s chapter book section, I couldn’t wait to go home and read.

ask-02204044723z

One of the books I brought home was “My Sweet Orange Tree” (Meu pé de laranja lima) by José Mauro de Vasconcelos. It was a bittersweet story about a five year old boy with a wonderful sense of imagination, growing up in a world that would cut down his only friend and source of refuge–a tiny sweet orange tree.

I read it countless times in Korean as a child, crying into the night for little Zeze and his beloved tree. It was, in many ways, a source of refuge for me when my family moved frequently all through elementary school. The book is no longer in print in the U.S., though I would love to read it again someday.

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

“혹시나 너의 라임오렌지 나무가 무슨 일을 당한다 해도 아주 사라지는 건 아니지 않겠니? 푸른 이파리가 낙엽이 되어 떨어져도 사라지지 않고 이듬해 싹으로 다시 되살아나는 것처럼 무엇이든 사라지는 것은 없단다… 제제, 기운을 내렴. 누구라도 서로 잊지 않고 가슴속에 깊이 품고 있으면 사라지는 일은 결코 없단다.”
<나의 라임 오렌지 나무 中>

Untitled

Here is an assortment of photos from my last weekend. I met with my friend Leslie, who I hadn’t seen since I left Shanghai. The world is so, so small! We caught up over brunch and went to the Museum of City of New York.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Time spent with Emily and Chris always seems to fly by. We saw a Heidegger-inspired performance art piece das Ding! at the Swiss Institute and ate night snacks around SoHo.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Happy hump day, everyone!

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen
    February 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your favorite book. I think it would be great for my 5yr old son. I’m going to ask my cousins in Korea to find a copy for me!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      It’s sort of an odd book for kids, so maybe your son could wait a few more years to read it. 🙂

  • Reply
    katie
    February 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    now I live in a small town with no museums, so am cherishing these photos from the exhibitions, especially the miniatures. when I was little, I was so obsessed with making miniature scenes– my way of creating my own world as we also moved around a lot 🙂

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      I wish I could see the miniature scenes you created as a child! 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    My favorite book as a child would have to be anything by Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham was definitely my favorite though.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      Dr. Seuss is great. I remember wanting the green eggs to taste different from regular eggs.. 😛

  • Reply
    Angélica
    February 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    I’m not sure what Hump Day is but ehm, happy Hump Day to you to! 😉

    & That seems like a lovely weekend!
    And that book sounds really sweet, I’ll look it up! I love children’s books! I don’t think I had a favourite one? I had a lot of those Disney-books. My favourite one was the Bambi one I think? Oh and a comic book about a blue rabbit called Bobo!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Hump day = the middle of the work week! 😛

      Aw, I forgot all about Bambi~

  • Reply
    celsy sabilla
    February 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Ahhh i love the illustration on that old book you have, i always enjoy looking through old books that i had when i was little. I also like the smell of it just because it’s pretty old!

    I love those art works you’ve taken photos of, makes me wanna go for a gallery adventure. What’s a hump day??

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      I love the smell of old books, too, Celsy. 🙂 A hump day is the middle of the workweek (Wednesday).

  • Reply
    catarina
    February 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

    o meu pé de laranja lima! it’s a portuguese book, you know? 🙂 (well, wrote in portuguese – it’s from a brazilian author)
    i remember reading it too and crying at some part.

    <3

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Aw, I want to learn Portuguese and read the book in its original language! I hear it’s not too hard to learn if you know Spanish, but my Spanish is getting so rusty these days…

  • Reply
    kelly zarb
    February 8, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Great post Sewon it made me think of one of my favourite books as a child and it would have to be “Who Sank The Boat,” by Pamela Allen. My mum would read it to my sister and I all the time.

    • Reply
      Sewon
      February 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Aw, what a cute book! I like how they stand on two feet. 🙂

  • Reply
    jannese
    February 8, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I love the tiny house!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    February 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I think we can really see how we became who we are as adults by revisiting things we were so attached to as children; especially books! TY for sharing yours! The illustration is so charming 😀

    You first set of photos also make me think of spring a little! Just the colors at play! 🙂

  • Reply
    ねこちゃん
    February 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    these pictures are so warm and cozy – such a lovely atmosphere!

  • Reply
    Winnie
    February 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Sounds like a sweet little book – books you read as a kid leave such memories on you as an adult. I used to read Enid Blytons all the time and immerse myself in the world of the Famous Five. Even just thinking about them now makes me recall the smell of the books and the dreamworlds that I used to disappear into!

  • Reply
    meds
    February 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    my mother pampered us with lots of books when we were kids. I would say my favourite was Maurice Sendak’s In The Night Kitchen, where the boy became part of a cake (and luckily he got out of it). Maybe that started my weakness for all desserts 😉

  • Reply
    Sarita
    February 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    you always seem to go on the best, most interesting outings!

  • Reply
    Crystal
    February 12, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I love the illustration from that book! My favorite book from childhood was The Diverting Tale of the Radish and the Shoe by Louis Jalbert. I believe that it’s out of print now, too, but it’s about a radish and a shoe who live in a book. They are not accepted by the letters because they can’t form words so they keep to themselves, but when the book is attacked by a pair of scissors they have to come together to fix their book. I also loved Caretakers of Wonder by Cooper Edens, about the caretakers who do things like hang the stars and mend old clouds while everyone is asleep. Such a magical book! And both have beautiful illustrations.

  • Reply
    Icaro
    April 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    They’re making a movie based on this book! There’s already a 70s movie and a soap opera, and now they’re making another. I just don’t know if it’s going to be released in the U.S..

    • Reply
      Sewon
      April 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing! I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for it, but I’m a bit afraid the movie will change my memory of reading the book..

  • Reply
    Estante | Google homenageia autor de “Meu Pé de Laranja Lima” com doodle especial
    February 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

    […] de dados da Unesco). Chegou em países bem distantes daqui. Uma prova disso é esse depoimento de Sewon, uma jovem coreana contando em seu blog que esse foi o seu livro preferido de quando era criança. Reproduzo aqui para […]

  • Leave a Reply