2001-12-25 - 11:19 p.m.

two christmases ago, i had one long sweeping moment the entire night as i went from house to house, visiting both of my grandmothers. they both live in the "northern chinatown" in little apartments surrounded by bright lights and busy streets.

today my brother and i went to my mother's mother's apartment. this is the grandmother that took care of me as a little kid. we ate the food that she made for us, and i can't explain it but i understand everything she says even though i know so little korean. it isn't awkward like my minnesota thanksgiving. i think that is because unlike my father, this grandmother of mine has pictures of me and keeps all the stuff i have ever made for her and knows all about me. and so i hug her freely without words.

we went to my father's mother's house. it's messier than my other grandma's place. there are also lots of blank walls and a picture of my dead grandfather on a shelf. i was really little when i was told mean things about this grandmother, but now that i am older, i cannot demonize a person who cares for living things; she has so many plants, you see, green ones.

my grandmothers are so little. they used to tower over me and now they're so much smaller than me. it was surreal, watching my mom's mom unwrap all her gifts resourcefully (with a file and some scissors) meticulously, methodically cutting the tape and sliding the boxes out of their wrapping. my brother resisted the urge to help her. she was doing this all slowly, ceremoniously, at the speed things were meant to be in.

i feel an immense sense of guilt every time i visit. i don't think of them very often and i don't buy them nicer things. so much of me feels bad, and i don't know if i should feel or not.

i don't want to feel the sort of crushing guilt that makes you die, i want the productive kind that makes you do something about it.

well ... all is full of love.

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