Originally uploaded by shamrox

This tree sits in front of my in-laws home. It has garnered some local fame, what with a pine tree spontaneously shooting out of a well-groomed shrub. It is a fascinating little firecracker over which suburbia can marvel.

For me, it is an excellent symbol of my experience in marrying cross-culturally. I spent the last five days at my in-laws, just the babe and I. It was the first time I'd ever been without my husband running interference with his parents, and his grandmother, who has electric purple hair and likes to spank you on the butt when she's speaking to you.

Every conversation was translated from Korean to rudimentary English for me, or from English to Korean for John's grandma. Sometimes doors opened on me without anyone so much as knocking. Sometimes my sarcasm fell flat. Some moments were just so full of confusion and we had to concede which we were going to abide by that day -- "American style" or "Korean style."

Just like this Tree/Bush, we are always deciding in our intercultural unit what we are going to be on any particular day, and where, if any, the two can live harmoniously and where we agree that the two are just so disparate, it seems impossible they can coexist.

But after awhile, we look at the Tree/Bush long enough and it sort of normalizes itself. And eventually, with a lot of patient cultivation, one can almost manage to see the beauty in it.