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.
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>
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.
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.
Happy hump day, everyone!