What's your most prized possession?

2 Stories

What's your most prized possession and why do you cherish it so much?


Image for Capturing Life in a Journal

Capturing Life in a Journal

I’m one of those old-fashioned persons who still keep a journal or diary – whatever you call it. I have quite a few ever since the first time I started writing them, which was six years ago. The popularity of Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or blogs doesn’t necessarily replace the tradition of writing a journal – at least not for me. I find the joy of holding a pen and pouring my thoughts into a notebook irreplaceable. It’s the feeling that I wouldn’t get from typing the keyboard on my laptop or smartphone.

From all the journals that I wrote, there’s one that’s always been my favorite. It’s this plain book with green fabric on the edge of the cover. There are tons of reasons why I love this particular book and a few of those reasons are presented in this piece.

- The Journal is My Identity Reflection -

The green fabric on the book cover is called Sasirangan, a traditional type of cloth of Banjar tribes in Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. The word Sasirangan is originated from traditional language of Banjar 'sirang', which means “to stitch together”. In fact, I’m half Kalimantanese (from my father side) and happen to really love green color, so I think this book perfectly reflects me and my identity. The notebook is also another form of me because everything that’s written there is everything that I am and who I want to be.

- People Behind the Journal -

What makes this book even more special is that was a graduation gift from my best friends. I don’t know where they could find such book that perfectly suits me or whether they chose that notebook because they knew I love green color or they just picked it randomly. Life isn’t that fun when you know everything, isn’t it? Even if they just chose this book randomly without putting too much thought about the meaning behind its cover and all, I would still be pleasant about it. It’s more reason for me to believe in the ‘mysterious force’ called serendipity.

- The Life Stories in the Journal -

This book signifies the new chapter of my life, where I was about to leave my nest and begin another adventurous journey in my life. The life after graduation was a real milestone for me. It was the time when I moved out from my parents’ house as well as the city that I have always loved to live in. It was the time that I had to completely depend on myself in literally everything. It was the time when I realized that life doesn’t always turn out as we expected. This is the kind of book where I wrote about things and people that really matter to me, things that I want to achieve, and things that I wish to happen to me but didn’t. This book is all about hardship, struggle, passion, dreams, and ambition.

- The Journal is My Mental Therapy -

Studies have showed us that writing a journal is a good way to reduce stress and makes us happier. I feel this benefit myself. Sometimes, when we have a problem we don’t really have anyone to talk to or some of us may not be comfortable talking about certain things with other person. In that situation, writing is a perfect tool. Releasing our emotion through writing is relieving and helps our mind to think more clearly.

I always love to write about every moment that happens in my life. I think those moments that I captured in writing could become my own time machine. It’s funny how I can go back to the happiest day of my life, or the most frustrating one just by re-reading the journal. My brain might forget some things that had happened, but those things won’t be completely forgotten because it’s written in the journal. One thing I love the most about it is because I can express whatever that comes into my mind, channel my overwhelming emotions, and be honest about what I feel, all without being judged.

And that is my prized possession until today. What’s yours?

Image for This Barbie shows how far Korean culture has come

This Barbie shows how far Korean culture has come

One of my most prized possessions would have to be this 1987 Korean Barbie, manufactured by Mattel. The Barbie is a valuable collector's item, but I enjoy it more so because it's proof of how far Korean culture and Korean women have come in the United States.

For those of you who don't know, South Korea is not the same country that it was in 1987. Through manufacturing deals and other methods, the country's economy had significantly grown by then in a phenomenon that's now referred to as the "Miracle of the Han River." And at the time that this Barbie was made, South Korea had put itself on the map for more reasons than just having a war in the 1950s, which rendered it one of the poorest countries in the world.

The Barbie isn't perfect. For one, South Koreans were not walking around in hanboks (the traditional dress you see in the Barbie wearing) all day, every day in 1987. Neither were they commonly "jugglers, acrobats, dancers and magicians," and they probably had better things to do than "fly beautiful kites shaped like dragons and fish" all day, as the back of the box puts it. There's a level of unnecessary exoticism that comes with this Barbie doll – and even today, there is no such doll that is explicitly Korean without being treated like a special edition series about world traditions.

But even so, it still makes me grin a bit when I think about the American kids who might have played with this and imagined Korean culture for a few minutes. It also makes me happy to think that Korean Americans in the late 1980s may have had some sign that they were being acknowledged in toy stores.

Plus, despite the endearingly bad romanization of words like 집 (house) and 친구 (friend) makes it fun to show to other Korean Americans!

What's your most prized possession?

Kelly Kasulis Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States of America

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