25 Words.

September 19, 2008

On September 19, my big brother, Jonathan Kyung Tae Han, was born at Alexian Brothers Hospital through caesarean section, because his head was too big.

On October 4, Jonathan was snuck into Mom’s delivery room via Dad’s blue jacket, and from that day on, he had a new title: Oppah.

Dad took Oppah fishing for the first time at Los Banos Creek Reservoir; Dad plunked in a line, and Oppah pulled up a rainbow trout.

At Sea Cliff Beach, Oppah was lost and Mom thought the ocean carried him away, but two women, holding his hand, brought him howling back.

One day, at Grandma’s Fish n Chips store, Oppah found scissors and thought it’d be a great idea to give each other really short haircuts …

Post fights, we were always found hugging – not because we were sorry but because that was Mom and Dad’s punishment (we did some angry hugging).

Sound asleep at four in the morning to hearing Oppah’s, “Letitia, c’mon, let’s play Nintendo,” to secretly playing Nintendo with the volume at one bar.

Oppah played “We’re Late for the Party” with Lindsay and me twice – a game where we’d frantically pack a suitcase and run across the street.

On Saturday mornings, Oppah made my bowl of cereal for me and woke me up early to watch morning cartoons with him before piano lessons.

Dad had two spanking sticks; he told Oppah to pick his first, and Oppah picked the bigger one, to spare me (or so he thought).

The brother who caught spiders and froze them in glass tubes to chase me around with also killed the spiders in my room for me.

When I ran for Vice President at school and began shaking during my speech, I saw Oppah sitting up taller so I could see him.

Whenever we had “Free Dress Days,” no uniform, incentive days at school, Oppah let me borrow his ultra cool clothes: baggy jeans and Gecko shirts.

By far the best summer of our childhood, playing outside with the neighborhood kids – Lindsay, Rudy, Corey, Binh, Thai, and others – from morning ‘til nightfall.

After arguing with Oppah, I kicked the bathroom wall and, to my dismay, the drywall gave way; he laughed and patched it up for me.

Oppah was the one home with me that January 8 night, and he was the one who kept watch at my window for any danger.

My science teacher stopped me after class and asked if it was my brother who gave a black eye to a bully twice his height.

This year was especially difficult, but Oppah’d take me to sit and cry in his room, and he’d tell me about Job’s fortitude in trials.

Oppah faced a number of heartbreaking disappointments this year; but despite personal disappointments, he always entered into my joys as if they were his own.

We went camping, and in the middle of the night, I asked Oppah to paddle me out on the canoe with our dog; he did.

After grandpa’s “near death” and hospitalization, Oppah drove with Dad down to Southern California to visit me and swung me around while he hugged me.

While we were backpacking out, we lost our way and only had one chocolate bar left; he broke it and gave me the bigger piece.

Oppah called, and we talked for hours; he shared about the woman on the plane who encouraged him with Saul-Paul’s life and prayed for him.

Oppah came to San Diego for a business trip; after we ate dinner with his coworkers, he gave me spending money (everything in his wallet).

We argued as I was driving him home; it was really my fault, but like always (and I mean always), he was first to apologize.

At Grandpa’s funeral, Oppah was the one who gave me a tissue and hugged me as I cried while Rachael read Psalm 23 in Korean.

That’s my Oppah. That’s the kind of brother God has blessed me with for the past 25 (minus 1) years. I love you, Oppah Koppah!

(“25 Words” was inspired by Abraham Piper’s website, 22 Words.)


6 Responses to “25 Words.”

  1. Derek Wong Says:

    That’s a pretty great post. Short and rather insightful into someone I’m pretty sure I’ll never meet. I sure read it anyways!

  2. simp1ysteph Says:

    tia, your memory never fails to amaze me.

  3. tia Says:

    haha, just for the record: 1983-1986 are memories my parents shared with me. i was too young to know ;]

    the other stuff isn’t so bad if you think of it in terms of grades (e.g., first grade, second grade, etc.) :]

  4. cathiekimn Says:

    loved this. :]

  5. e Says:

    this was a really nice post…made me smile…

  6. courtneychow Says:

    I loved reading this. It was a little window into your world. 🙂

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