I brought home two foster cats, and they teach me so much

Foster kitties Yulmoo and Chapssal

About these cats

After my mom passed, I brought home two foster cats to my dad’s house. This was after I had changed all his furniture, got him a new bed, and moved back in with him. (Just for a while)

My dad spent a lot of time sleeping- which he doesn’t do often… and a lot of time drinking his sadness away. Of course, I was there with him every night- doing the same.

There was a limit to the things I can say to him. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what I could say. Sometimes, even among family- you will find that there are no words to describe your emotions. Especially when you’ve been trained to lock your emotions in for over 50 years.

Lunar New Year came and went- we prepared my late mom a meal for the holidays (Korean ancestor worshipping tradition) and on the last day of the holiday, I brought these two fuzzies home.

Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to bring two new family members to our house in a state of grief. But I believed that we learn to heal by helping others heal. My dad and I needed a sense of empathy, a support group telling us it’s okay to be… well… not okay.

None of our human family members told us this. They told us to be strong. They told us to move on. They looked at our grief as a sign of weakness- something they can just rush past when clearly that wasn’t possible for the both of us.

Yulmoo (left) / Chapssal (Right)

What I learned from these two

Lesson 1: It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.

When Yulmoo and Chapssal first came, they seemed fine. They ate, ran, and used the bathroom. But just when I thought they were adjusting, that night- they soon became agitated and scared. Chapssal (I’ll call him Chap for short) meowed the whole night, and Yulmoo (I’ll call her Yool) hid under the sofa for the whole day after.

I think sadness and fear don’t necessarily show up as we predict they will. Sometimes, we feel okay- then we find out later that we really aren’t. And that’s ok.

My dad and I were okay with the cats being so- and maybe we should let ourselves be okay with not being okay. Even if we said we would be.

Lesson 2: In time, you will learn to love and trust again.

Must have been hard for them to come out of hiding. Even as small, fearless kittens- you can’t really force them to come out of hiding. It’s something that cannot be done by force.

But when they did come out from under the couch and stop crying- they learned to resume their daily activities, even started a few fun kitty fights with each other.

They learned to trust their environment and the situation they were in. Chap and Yool gained the confidence to start being themselves again.

Lesson 3: There are better days coming.

This isn’t the end for Chap and Yool. They are going to find a better home- and a loving family. For them, coming out of their fear and sadness was just the beginning of a new story.

Sure, they won’t go back to the old, warm house and family that rescued them. But that is in the past. There are better things waiting for them, and with every passing day, that day becomes closer.

Lesson 4: We always have each other, and sometimes it doesn’t require words.

Lastly, they’re always there for each other. That’s all that matters. Though they are parted from their rescue home, they still have each other to help each other get through it.

They don’t really say much, to be honest. They just sit there watching TV together, grooming each other, and eating with each other. Sometimes- it’s just the fact that someone is there for you that counts.

My dad and I, Chap and Yool spend more and more time laughing and playing now. It’s amazing what emotional change two foster cats can bring to us. I know that we may not be their forever home- and if someone else comes along to adopt them… we might need to say goodbye.

But for now, we are going to enjoy the time given to us- and just let ourselves be who we are, and look out for each other, for all of us- just like these two do for us.

Dogs in Korea (No we don’t just eat them)

As someone who has only had a dog in Korea, I wouldn’t really know what it feels like to have a dog in a different country,

All I know is that there is an increasing number of dog friendly cafes in Korea, and being the owner of a 15kg pup, this is amazing news. Still, many places in central Seoul only accept smaller dogs. But in the outskirts of Seoul, there are places for the bigger dogs and their owners to hang out.

Today, I visited a cafe in Paju. Something about the rain and the weather made it all the more pleasant for us to enjoy the weekend.

My partner hates rainy weather. But I, on the other hand love the rain. The scent of rain and the way it matches my mood is actually pretty soothing. Especially when I have nothing to do on the weekend, rainy weather is something that makes me feel really calm.

When we first arrived, Yeondu took a short walk on her leash, went outside to pee, and came back in to play with her friends. It’s a quite common thing for people to discriminate against jindos in Korea, but this particular cafe was very jindo friendly.

Jindos have a pretty picky attitude when it comes to food, but luckily Yeondu enjoyed her drink as much as we enjoyed ours. One of our goals is to have a house with a yard and two dogs. Sometimes, coming to places like these makes it seem more like a reality.

Sometimes hanging out with dogs and their owners is the best feeling in the world. Hoping that one day I will have a house big enough to foster some strays, and make special relationships with the foster dogs’ adopted families.

Love like a Dog, Live like a Cat


Ah, the long asked question: are you a cat person or a dog person?

Cats are pretty clean, quiet, and they pee in their designated areas. Of course, they scratch up your walls and your couch so that your furniture starts looking like it belongs in a haunted house. They are whiny– and pretty talkative at times. They like to chase your legs and sit on top of warm laundry, mess up your blankets and rummage through your closet– but its all ok. You know, because they are cute.

Dogs on the other hand, are a lot of work. They need bathing, nail clipping, regular walks, training, and also a lot of attention. Bigger dogs also need a lot of food too. The costs of taking care of a dog are well similar to taking care of a tiny human (though I wouldn’t know yet) but all worth it.

The unconditional love that a dog gives to its humans is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in this world until now. They will run to you in their sleep, give you kisses like every day is their last day with you, and make you feel like you are the most precious thing in their life.

Cats are more like a roommate, I believe. They are my comfort animal and spirit animal at the same time. What I love about cats is that they don’t really give a f***. They will do what they want, when they want it, but also have the audacity to be proud of what they have done. It’s all I ever want for myself– to be so sure of my decisions, knowing that things will work out in the end. They aren’t afraid to run in times of danger, they will do what it takes to take care of themselves– and that’s what matters, right?

Unlike humans, both dogs and cats are honest.

Dogs don’t calculate in relationships, they give, love, and spread joy. They won’t manipulate or make you believe a certain thing. They are the live representation of love– I believe, and if love was an animal, it would be a dog.

Cats know what they want and how they want it. They act for themselves, and they are proud of who they are. They don’t care much about everything else, they rest, eat, and play– taking good care of themselves is the first priority in their life.

I love being around all animals, but especially in my home I find that there is so much to learn from my pets. I love them most dearly and though I cannot specifically choose whether I am a dog person or a cat person, I know for a fact that my life would be very dull without them. I hope that when my financial status becomes better, I will be able to help more animals find good homes.

I’m getting married, and I’m scared

There is always a part of me that is bubbly, fun, and full of excitement.

Then there is that bitch who is always paranoid and worried about everything there is to be worried about.

Today is a story about the paranoid one.

This weekend, my partner and I went to a wedding fair to figure out some of the details concerning our wedding next year. It was really fun and all, but there was a sense of fear when I came home.

I was scared of commitment not because I’m unhappy, no that would make more sense.

Would it make sense if I said I was scared that this happiness wouldn’t last?

Would it be strange to say that I was afraid I didn’t deserve this happiness?

Well, it was something like that. I wish someday the paranoid little bitch inside my head will learn to love me for who I am and what I have.

I really hope that I will allow myself to be happy. let myself be with healthy people who love me, without the emotional guilt.

Adopt, don’t Shop

Adopt, don’t shop is a phrase I learned only a few years ago while working as a doggy daycare teacher. It is a phrase easier said than done.

I currently have two pets, both adopted. Bori (literally translates into Barley in English), my cat, was adopted back in 2016 during the darkest years of my life. Yeondu (literally translates into Light Green in English), my dog, was adopted in 2021.

There are a few reasons that people hesitate to adopt.

Here are some misunderstood concepts of stray dogs and cats:

  1. Strays or abandoned dogs are traumatized and will never learn to trust again
  2. Adopting at a later stage in life decreases affection towards its owner
  3. Stray animals were abandoned for a reason
  4. “Pure-bred” pets are cuter and easier to domesticate

After spending so many amazing years with my pets, I have learned that strays and rescues are not always what people think they are. They are as sweet and affectionate as any other pet from the kennel or pet store, and sometimes even better!

There are also many perks to having mixed breed pets, such as:

  1. Saving a life
  2. Less genetic health concerns
  3. Costs less money to adopt
  4. Amazing community
  5. Helps fight puppy mills and illegal breeding

Many breeds of dogs were made by humans to fulfill our greed. Working as a doggy daycare teacher, I also realized that many of those animals suffer from genetic diseases. When it comes to bringing in a new furry family member, I would strongly advise adopting a pet. Not only is it less expensive, but it also comes with a special community of warm-hearted people.

As time goes by, I realize that having a pet is more than just being around cute animals. It requires responsibility, empathy, and a lot of patience. I don’t know how many more years I will have with these two. But one thing I am sure of is that they have changed me for the better.