A Chapter from my new book Searching for Seoul- CHAPTER: IOWA

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hana, Sara, and David! Congratulations, Floyd and Mary! In the picture, three neighbor kids, freckled, blond and Velcro-sneakered, stand beneath the sign they’ve taped to our new mom and dad’s garage door.

Beneath this photo, is one of the three of us; transplants with similar blunt haircuts and coordinating seersucker outfits, sitting in the back of a brown Crown Victoria Station Wagon (later we dubbed her, Miss Vicky). The back seat has been turned down to create a kind of playpen in the rear of the car so that the three of us can sit together. There are toys everywhere. In the photo, I’m pressing a plastic phone the size of my head to my ear, my little brother looks caught, in the lens of the camera and my sister sits, holding a doll in her lap.

Looking at the photo now, I think we look a little stunned, as though we’re suspending our belief, terrified that we could wake-up at any moment to discover that all this–the toys, the smiling, teary adults–are a figment of our imaginations. But when we awake the next morning, the three of us stretched-out on mom and dad’s king-sized bed, it is all still true. (READ the rest of the chapter on my website hanahawley.com

 

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photo by Kelcy Gatson on Unsplash

 

 

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Hanako and Jiro are Facing Some Big Changes…

Head on over to http://www.hanahawley.com to read the latest about Hanako and Jiro’s adventures in Japan. A lot has happened since we caught up with them last. How will these changes impact their relationship? Chapters 22 and 23 are up. Click the link to read.

Hanako and Jiro in Japan

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Photo by Royji Iwata on Unsplash

 

The One About Mehwedge (cue the priest in The Princess Bride)

Hanako despised the way their conversations entered a freefall of chaotic words and too tender feelings. The way they could pick apart each other’s sentences like birds pecking at nearly bare bones. At these moments, Hanako often felt as though she would rather die than admit she could have said or done things differently.

Read More at Hanako and Jiro in Japan on hanahawley.com20900555_10159242825260486_1449717507173538304_o

Sister Theresa (Part III): Last Place

In Korea, I discovered the root of the insecurities that have dogged my steps far too often, thwarting my attempts to step confidently into who I am. I talk about this in part III of my Searching for Seoul Blog. “Sister Theresa (Part III): Last Place”.

Excerpt: A tiny seed of resentment sprouts. I see my awkward grade-school self, my insecure teenage self; nothing I did ever good enough, done fast enough. http://www.hanahawley.com

 

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Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash

 

 

CH 14 STRESS-INDUCING KINDNESS

When you’re too old to shop Forever 21 but too young to give-up trendy clothes…

Chapter 14 of Hanako and Jiro’s Adventures in Japan is about aging and kindness. Read the full story at http://www.hanahawley.com

(Excerpt): The fluorescent lights, the pulsing music, the bright yellow bags: all of it for the benefit of the forever twenty-one and under set whose skin miraculously looks brighter under the punishingly harsh lights, whose feet have danced club floors to the music piping through the store’s speakers, and for whom the plastic shopping bags will swing with freedom about their slim legs as they leave the incubator of youth in an hour’s time.

 

Hanako and Jiro in Japan: CH 13 Fortune Cookie Wisdom​ (Jiro)

When the older gentleman enters the room, everyone stands and bows deeply. Jiro follows suit, but Mr. Saito quickly reaches for his hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Jiro-san,” he says. And there is something at once elegant and sharp about the slender man’s eyes, a hint of humor, at the corners of his mouth that Jiro likes instantly.

Read more about Hanako and Jiro’s adventures in Japan at HanaHawley.com

 

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Photo by Ana Grave for Unsplash

 

SEARCHING FOR SEOUL: Sister Theresa

She is a girl playing dress-up in a nun’s habit. A rainbow-tailed unicorn, disguised as a workhorse.

She runs toward me with her arms outstretched and I am four, five, and six–my stubby legs propelling me forward until I am swathed in the dove-grey of her skirt, a child with her heart broken, a lost thing without a mom or dad. (Read the FULL STORY) at Hanahawley.com

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Photo by me, Daegu, South Korea at White Lily Baby Home