Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wonder of Wonders!

Today is a VERY good day!
Lemme tell you why -

When I was a missionary in Washington DC my roommates (for the majority of my mission) were the Vietnamese speaking sisters. Consequently, we got to share a lot of the cultural perks that they had because of their call. Namely spring rolls, purple sticky rice, a lovely array of stuffed animals, many beautiful moon cakes they always brought home from tracting, and many fantastic stories. See - when they went knocking on doors they would rarely get in and/or effectively communicate with who they found but their call was to serve all the Asian people in the DC area but they only spoke English and efforted Viet. It's a tough language and very few people they taught were actually Vietnamese. So it was mostly a game of charades and a lot of nodding. However, all the Asian people they came across were a lovely, gracious and respectful for the most part. So even when they didn't let them in they gave the Chis a little gift. It happened a lot to us too. Hence why I still call tracting "trick or treating". There were so many different kinds of Asian people around it was a bit hard to keep track but I got a fabulous education. There were Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Mongolian you name it - they all lived in DC and they all fell under the responsibilities of the Chis (pronounced like "cheese" - its Viet for "sister"). It was good times -

Anyways -
When we all got to go shopping on P-days we would go where the Chis could meet people too (cause it was kind of hard). So we landed in a lot of Asian commerce centers and found these adorable Korean doo-hicky shops that were like music/stationary/candy/insurance stores. I LOVED them. LOVE really - that is still a present tense condition. I loved everything in those little closet stores. The stationary, the pens, the gimicky candy and character erasers. I have been a HelloKittyphile since conception really. Those little spring loaded pencil boxes still bring me unbeknownst joy and there was enough cuteness combined with functionality to wipe me of my monthly stipend if I let myself go. The one luxury that I did allow myself was a few of the .99 cent pens. Your pen, as a missionary, is like your second companion. I grew to not just love these pens, but they became a part of me. They were adorable, original, had ink that instantly dried and smelled like fruit and were macro tips (0.38mm) and wrote so smoothly. For my handwriting they were my perfect pen. They made my day easier and always made me smile. I loved them. I really did.

When the time approached for me to come home I wasn't sure I'd find an adequate supply back home so I bought two cases of them in hopes that they would last me till I could find a store that had them again. I staged a valiant campaign when I got home to find a Korean stationary/children's clothing/BBQ /jewelery store but alas - to my dismay, nothing. After my first year home I ran out of pens and didn't know where to find them again and began another search for a pen that did it's job as well for me as my Korean ones. As an English major and someone who lives in their planner pens are very important - I use them all the time and they're one of those things that I am always very aware of. I don't know. I'm weird I suppose.

I settled on the RSVP (0.05mm) pens awhile back and they do an entirely adequate job - don't get me wrong. They keep my hair up nicely when I need them to too, but I still missed my super-awesome-nothing-like-it-ever-ever Korean pens.

Until today -

Right down the block from my work is this lovely Korean supermarket Vons thing. I decided to duck in on my lunch because my friend is having a bad week and has a weakness for these Japanese starburst candy things so I ventured in for the first time ever today looking for some to cheer her up. I didn't find any but all along the inside perimeter of this store were a number of these random tiny little kiosk stores just like in DC!!!

My heart stared racing and I frantically started looking around for a storefront with way too much pink and possibly overstuffed pillows. And there it was -

Happy Young Art America II

There - written in soft pink neon and adorned with puffy backpacks and water bottles in every adorable animal shape possible was my new favorite place. A taste of my DC home. I had found my new fount of functional adorableness and, most importantly, that my pens were just footsteps away.

The sweet girl at the counter, Lily, didn't speak a lick of English but I started talking her ear off anyway telling her how glad I was to see her and thank you owning this store and never to close and I will be a weekly visitor and if I could buy her lunch and pronounced blessings on her and her family and her family back home and any family she might have in the future - and where were the pens? The last part was achieved with mostly pantomime and some objects -

Picked up a random pen
pointed at tip
made the very small gesture with my fingers and pointed to black pen and she got it!

I love the universal language.

She showed me and it was all I could do to not give her a pick-you-up-off-the-floor-hug.
I promptly bought 5, dumped all my extra change in the "leave a penny take a penny" thing, and pretty much skipped out of the store and into a whole new world. One where I had my pens back.
Thats why today is a VERY good day.

*please forgive my not-a-scrap-of-make-up-on picture. Just focus on the pen


Rachel said...

A good pen is a marvelous thing. Everytime I clean out my bags I find at least 10 at the bottom. A girl should never be without one.

Heather said...

I agree--If you have a good pen you have a good life! I'm so excited you found your long lost love!

Liz said...

I NEED to go with you to this shop. Did I tell you I'm trying to learn Korean?

And I can always use a great pen...

Jennie said...

They make pens that have smelly ink. How cool is that?! haha YAY for DC. By the way, you have yet to actually materialize here. Hmm...I think you should do that, and soon! :D

Kim said...

Okay, I promise after this I'm all caught up on blog comments.

Can we puh-lease go on an adventure for these pens? I completely and utterly trust your pen taste after reading this.

Some people have tried to convert me to papermate pens recently... can you believe it? Those skinny blue straws with pentips attached? The nerve! ;)