Dear Aunt Steph,
Thank you, oh thank you, Aunt Steph! I really, really like my new chopsticks. I love them! They’re my favorite. Now if anyone comes over, they can have any spoon or any fork they want because now I have these chopsticks. I would love it if you could come and see me with these chopsticks. So far, I’ve eaten beans, peas and rice with my chopsticks. Now, I’m eating pizza and hot dogs with them. I’d really like to go to Korea — I’m working on my chopsticks so I can be as good as you and the other Korean people. I try not to put them too far into my mouth. I don’t want to poke a hole in my neck! Then the food wouldn’t go to the right place…
I’m on vacation this week, and I really miss you, Aunt Steph. It’s been raining a lot, for 2 days. Today it was raining, but the sun came out but just for a little. And do you know what? I had wished that the sun would shine more and that the rain fairies would go more. Because Mommy and me and Simon and all of my other friends like to play outside. No more Nor’Easter stuff! And my brother is sleeping — it’s a good day for that. I’m going to play a game with Mommy. Maybe Color Train or my Dora game.
I hope you like your painting. I made it for you. It is a picture of Korea, and Massachusetts, and Florida, and Mexico and Maine. Me and you, we miss each other. We like to see each other. I love you as much as the desert misses the rain.
I am so glad you like your chopsticks! I talked to Mommy on the phone and she says you are using them all the time. They aren’t always that easy, are they! People say here that the mark of chopstick skill is being able to pick up a single bean without it slipping out. Do you think you can do that? I haven’t tried because I almost never see beans here. Which makes it kind of a dumb analogy, don’t you think? I mean, they have these kind of chewy dried beans which I see sometimes but it’s kind of like saying that the true mark of fork skill is if you can eat a Little Debbie Nutty Bar without leaving crumbs. I, in fact, possess that skill but it has less to do with forks and more to do with my affection for Nutty Bars.
I think the true mark of chopstick skill is if you can eat noodles with them. The next time you eat spaghetti, see if you can use your chopsticks. It’s really hard. Tonight I had something called bibim naenmyeon, which is delicious spicy buckwheat noodles with vegetables and fish. I am much better at it than I was a month ago, but I still make a mess. There are lots of soups with noodles in them and sometimes my noodles slip off my chopsticks and splash back into my soup. Don’t worry. It’s not embarrassing at all to splash all your friends in the face with hot soup.
Please don’t poke a hole in your neck. I like your neck just as it is.
While I’m sorry to hear that it’s been raining so much, it makes me really glad I am not there. I have a very special distaste for spring in New England. I also like to play outside. I also like to be warm and I also like not wanting to crawl into the back of a closet and die a slow, painful death. That is how spring in New England often makes me feel. But I don’t have a Dora game. Maybe that would help. Did it help you?
I really love my painting. Like, a lot. I especially like that you were able to get so many places into one painting. I mean, Korea and Mexico!? That takes skill, my friend. They are nothing alike. Maine and Florida? Talent, honey, that is talent.
I haven’t been drawing very much lately, but I have been taking lots of pictures. Remember how you asked about my students? Here is a photo of me with a few of my favorite students:
That’s Kevin and Tom up in front. They are little troublemakers, but I like them very much. They are very smart and they bring me presents. Poking his head up behind them is Mike, who is probably one of my sweetest and most polite students. And crouching down beneath them is Andy. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am in love with Andy. He is super smart, gets straight A’s, plays soccer and brings me chocolates. He is 9 and smarter than the 13-year-old who has taken this same class three times.
Now Mommy and Daddy will probably start making jokes about my tendency to date well out of my age-range and that if they’re not careful I will soon be dating your brother. But let me just state for the record that while I am certainly no Mary Kay LeTourneau, we cannot choose who we love. Love just happens, Madelyne. Always remember that.
Me and you, we do miss each other. But we have letters and soon Aunt Steph will get her ass in gear and get a freaking webcam and then we can even see each other from one side of the earth to the other. Isn’t that amazing? It will almost be like playing together except for the snuggling. I miss that most.
I miss you as much as the ocean misses the fish.
xoxo Love, Aunt Steph