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  • Lynn Kim Do

    Lynn Kim Do

    there's nothing to hide and no one to hide from, especially yourself



    In the 24 years that I've lived on this earth with about 18 of those years actively interacting with people other than my mom, my dad, and my two brothers, I've realized something—how unrealistic the socially constructed view on friendship is and how that has affected me, brainwashed me.


    
I always had these ceiling-high expectations on friendships built from what attachments I couldn't fulfill from moving from place to place, year after year. Sometimes only a few months in between. But I never stopped trying. Every where I went, I made a new best friend and then I would lose them the moment we picked up our suitcases in the middle of the night, climb into the backseat of a minivan, and drive to another state. Gain, lose, gain, lose again. The media didn't help either. I watched Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and then Seinfeld, Friends, and then New Girl and How I Met Your Mother. These people, non-blood relatives, knew each other for decades, ride and died for one another, no questions asked, was there for one another through their best and their worst, meddled in every situation, and knew their friends more than their friends knew themselves. I wanted that. 

    At 10 years old, I break up with my first boyfriend. We never kiss. We never even hold hands. He asks me out, I like him enough, and he is sweet. The only people that know are my best friend—Vanessa, my boyfriend, and I. Several weeks after we break up and as I was trying to figure out my own feelings as a 10 year old dumpee, my best friend reveals her own fond feelings for him. So, I play cupid and make them an item. Why? Because my friendship meant more to me than a pubescent relationship that lasted all of 6 days that no one knew existed. Shortly after their relationship begins, it ends. She replaces me with the New Girl who just moved into the same apartment complex we all live at. 

    At 12 years old, my best friend is a Chinese girl I share every single class with. We speak almost every night: hours on AIM as we strategically draft away messages and hours on the phone on topics like boys, homework, and how much she hates her father and how I wish mine is around more. I get a second boyfriend. He gives me my first kiss. I call my best friend and tell her.  She says, “I wish I can be happy for you. But I can’t.” I am confused. “I like him, too.” I am stuck. My friendship begins to deteriorate. I assign the cause of deterioration to my boyfriend and break up with him. My best friend and I pick up where we leave off. We don’t stay friends very long after I move to another state. 

    At 14 years old, I am freshman and obtain the title—The New Girl In School. Double whammy. I sit quietly in Italian class and a senior begins to divulge each problem she has with a very specific boy. I listen. I listen because her story is intriguing, quintessential to “the” high school experience. I listen because she is literally just word-vomitting right into my ear and I can’t move out of this seat. I listen because she is nice to me. I think we’ll be best friends. (Spoiler: We still are.) I make two more friends in Biology class the same year. They copy my homework. In return, we go to one of their homes to take 10-sec self-timer pics (the selfies before the term “selfie”) and discuss school politics and who is on whose Top 8s. One tells me that she threatens to call DYFS on her dad. I learn what DYFYS is. One day, I tell them I can’t hang out because my Italian Class best friend and I are going on an adventure after school. The next day, I come to class and they ignore me. The following day, I sit there quietly self-loathing, still hoping it will blow over. The day after that, I find a picture of us three—ripped up, my head torn out of the image, and pieces stapled all over. I think we’re done for good.  

    At 17 years old, I meet my new best friend over sushi and scary stories. She is 20. We are inseparable. She teaches me how to stay up until 3am on a school night, drink J├Ągermeister, smoke hookah, give birthday lapdances, and climb roofs with only one functioning arm. Her parents become my parents. My mom is her mom. We speak every day. We join the same gym. I hold surprise birthdays for her. She takes me to NYC for mine. Our group of 6-10 people is destructive (yet respectful) everywhere we go, usually at a hookah lounge. I am convinced that we will be best friends forever, sitting on rocking chairs on a porch of a nursing home in Florida, cursing at our grandkids, with white overgrown hair. 4 years later, her father gets sick, again. She is 24 and I am 21. We are different now. We have a fight. We never recover. In fact, we never speak again. At 22 years old, I speak to her again at her father’s funeral.  

    At 21 years old, I am preventing my very inebriated best friend from getting arrested for peeing in a very public street. I hold him up while another zips up his pants. He threatens to burn me with his cigarette. And then he pushes me. I lose a best friend that night as I pick up my dignity from the ground.  

    At 23 years old, I learn that loss can come in a package. I lose three of my oldest and closest best friends. Two share the same blood as I, and one of which, I swore did, too. Family can be hard to run from. Memories play a large part. Time, too. Facebook albums littered with titles like “The birds and bees....and the BIG O.”—sushi, while taking selfies, while having important conversations like losing one’s virginity to “swimming in fishbowls 0.o”—sneaking into clubs, underage, while using the same ID, and doing fishbowl-stands. Through thick and then, we said. Always and forever, we signed in every birthday card, congratulation card, and Facebook post. Decades of crucial development watched and carried by three and then four young women. And then I learn, too, that family is a term people say often but words are generally just words. Always and forever are just that—words. Movement can tear people apart. As I sprint up the metaphorical ladder of life, they look up at me several steps below and ask me to slow down. My legs kept moving and they disguise our differences with bullshit and complaints. Voices of negativity or lack of voice, overall, quickly replaces the tones of from previous years. We dress up shit with tutus and lipstick but, in the end, it still smells like shit. I stop going to New Jersey. They never come to New York. I try to call her. She forges lies to allow her to sleep better at night. A decade old friendship at 24 years old feels like a lifetime but ask me again when I’m 50 years old. Even shit gets old and become compost for something greater.  

    At 24 years old, my best friend commits suicide. I also find out that he’s been lying about our platonic relationship to countless amount of people. Threesomes, he said. Ex-girlfriend, he said. I am betrayed. But anger is useless when it’s directed at someone who is no longer there. The anger can only be directed right back to myself.  Forgive, forgive. Forgive. The ultimate loss.  

    So, there is it: a thematic pattern of scars that I have decided shall stop. Well, hope that it will stop. I lick the wounds that are still here, that occasional gush from fresh stitches, and gracefully wear. Here is personal history, so I can make it just that—history


    Photo by Daniela Spector

    . May 31, 2016 .

    Street Talk | THE BULLSHIT IN "BFF"

    . May 31, 2016 .



    In the 24 years that I've lived on this earth with about 18 of those years actively interacting with people other than my mom, my dad, and my two brothers, I've realized something—how unrealistic the socially constructed view on friendship is and how that has affected me, brainwashed me.


    
I always had these ceiling-high expectations on friendships built from what attachments I couldn't fulfill from moving from place to place, year after year. Sometimes only a few months in between. But I never stopped trying. Every where I went, I made a new best friend and then I would lose them the moment we picked up our suitcases in the middle of the night, climb into the backseat of a minivan, and drive to another state. Gain, lose, gain, lose again. The media didn't help either. I watched Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and then Seinfeld, Friends, and then New Girl and How I Met Your Mother. These people, non-blood relatives, knew each other for decades, ride and died for one another, no questions asked, was there for one another through their best and their worst, meddled in every situation, and knew their friends more than their friends knew themselves. I wanted that. 

    At 10 years old, I break up with my first boyfriend. We never kiss. We never even hold hands. He asks me out, I like him enough, and he is sweet. The only people that know are my best friend—Vanessa, my boyfriend, and I. Several weeks after we break up and as I was trying to figure out my own feelings as a 10 year old dumpee, my best friend reveals her own fond feelings for him. So, I play cupid and make them an item. Why? Because my friendship meant more to me than a pubescent relationship that lasted all of 6 days that no one knew existed. Shortly after their relationship begins, it ends. She replaces me with the New Girl who just moved into the same apartment complex we all live at. 

    At 12 years old, my best friend is a Chinese girl I share every single class with. We speak almost every night: hours on AIM as we strategically draft away messages and hours on the phone on topics like boys, homework, and how much she hates her father and how I wish mine is around more. I get a second boyfriend. He gives me my first kiss. I call my best friend and tell her.  She says, “I wish I can be happy for you. But I can’t.” I am confused. “I like him, too.” I am stuck. My friendship begins to deteriorate. I assign the cause of deterioration to my boyfriend and break up with him. My best friend and I pick up where we leave off. We don’t stay friends very long after I move to another state. 

    At 14 years old, I am freshman and obtain the title—The New Girl In School. Double whammy. I sit quietly in Italian class and a senior begins to divulge each problem she has with a very specific boy. I listen. I listen because her story is intriguing, quintessential to “the” high school experience. I listen because she is literally just word-vomitting right into my ear and I can’t move out of this seat. I listen because she is nice to me. I think we’ll be best friends. (Spoiler: We still are.) I make two more friends in Biology class the same year. They copy my homework. In return, we go to one of their homes to take 10-sec self-timer pics (the selfies before the term “selfie”) and discuss school politics and who is on whose Top 8s. One tells me that she threatens to call DYFS on her dad. I learn what DYFYS is. One day, I tell them I can’t hang out because my Italian Class best friend and I are going on an adventure after school. The next day, I come to class and they ignore me. The following day, I sit there quietly self-loathing, still hoping it will blow over. The day after that, I find a picture of us three—ripped up, my head torn out of the image, and pieces stapled all over. I think we’re done for good.  

    At 17 years old, I meet my new best friend over sushi and scary stories. She is 20. We are inseparable. She teaches me how to stay up until 3am on a school night, drink J├Ągermeister, smoke hookah, give birthday lapdances, and climb roofs with only one functioning arm. Her parents become my parents. My mom is her mom. We speak every day. We join the same gym. I hold surprise birthdays for her. She takes me to NYC for mine. Our group of 6-10 people is destructive (yet respectful) everywhere we go, usually at a hookah lounge. I am convinced that we will be best friends forever, sitting on rocking chairs on a porch of a nursing home in Florida, cursing at our grandkids, with white overgrown hair. 4 years later, her father gets sick, again. She is 24 and I am 21. We are different now. We have a fight. We never recover. In fact, we never speak again. At 22 years old, I speak to her again at her father’s funeral.  

    At 21 years old, I am preventing my very inebriated best friend from getting arrested for peeing in a very public street. I hold him up while another zips up his pants. He threatens to burn me with his cigarette. And then he pushes me. I lose a best friend that night as I pick up my dignity from the ground.  

    At 23 years old, I learn that loss can come in a package. I lose three of my oldest and closest best friends. Two share the same blood as I, and one of which, I swore did, too. Family can be hard to run from. Memories play a large part. Time, too. Facebook albums littered with titles like “The birds and bees....and the BIG O.”—sushi, while taking selfies, while having important conversations like losing one’s virginity to “swimming in fishbowls 0.o”—sneaking into clubs, underage, while using the same ID, and doing fishbowl-stands. Through thick and then, we said. Always and forever, we signed in every birthday card, congratulation card, and Facebook post. Decades of crucial development watched and carried by three and then four young women. And then I learn, too, that family is a term people say often but words are generally just words. Always and forever are just that—words. Movement can tear people apart. As I sprint up the metaphorical ladder of life, they look up at me several steps below and ask me to slow down. My legs kept moving and they disguise our differences with bullshit and complaints. Voices of negativity or lack of voice, overall, quickly replaces the tones of from previous years. We dress up shit with tutus and lipstick but, in the end, it still smells like shit. I stop going to New Jersey. They never come to New York. I try to call her. She forges lies to allow her to sleep better at night. A decade old friendship at 24 years old feels like a lifetime but ask me again when I’m 50 years old. Even shit gets old and become compost for something greater.  

    At 24 years old, my best friend commits suicide. I also find out that he’s been lying about our platonic relationship to countless amount of people. Threesomes, he said. Ex-girlfriend, he said. I am betrayed. But anger is useless when it’s directed at someone who is no longer there. The anger can only be directed right back to myself.  Forgive, forgive. Forgive. The ultimate loss.  

    So, there is it: a thematic pattern of scars that I have decided shall stop. Well, hope that it will stop. I lick the wounds that are still here, that occasional gush from fresh stitches, and gracefully wear. Here is personal history, so I can make it just that—history


    Photo by Daniela Spector

    . May 26, 2016 .




    That may have also been the last time I took any advice from my mother. Okay, that is a lie, of course, because her many years of life-living proved very helpful during my dramatic break-ups and my once-a-month food poisoning holistic healing. And as life would have it, she is right once again.

    Matchy-matchy is in, ladies and neckbreakers. And you know what they say—“Your mother is always right." I’ve teamed up with Daily Mail to give you 4 simple steps to achieve this matchy-matchy trend also known as Monochrome for the Spring/Summer. With three colors in mind—red, blue, and nude, you’ll be sure to find a color that resonates with your soul. Just make sure you dance a lot.


    Video with the help of Thaya, Laura, and, of course, Daily Mail






    . May 25, 2016 .













    So form a repulsion to the current repetitive and soul-sucking life you lead. Enter the world of madness. And aim for the dream you want.





    . May 21, 2016 .





        
    But if you're always moving, you won't appreciate the static, the movement, or anything for that matter. Do both. Be static. Be motion. 

    Top - Motel Rocks // This Way Skirt -C/MEO Collective c/o Fashion Bunker // Boots - Dr. Martens // Bag - Daniella Lehavi 
    Photos by Gita






    . May 19, 2016 .




    Right as the plane lands, a strange mixture of relief and plundering sadness sinks into the back of my abdomen. Sickness sits in the front. With age come peculiar and new body changes that include but are not limited to motion sickness, lactose intolerance, and not being able to take 5 tequila shots at 1am without consequences. I’m still coming to terms with that. I wiggle my way down the narrow aisle as I profusely curse under my breath directing any annoyance towards people who are taking more than 2 minutes to grab their bag and go. Unless, of course, you are old. Your wisdom in age has granted you the Lynn Do pardon. Stepping out of the plane, I take a split second to take a deep breath. The cold air stings my lungs, so much that it becomes pleasant. Yup, I’m home.

    Only a few hours ago, I was in a city that was at least 30 degrees warmer. I was in a city that the sea and the mountains share. I was in a city that was filled with people who spoke a completely different language from me but was willing to communicate with me in facial expressions and beer clinks. Mai and I were constantly on the move; living out of hotel rooms we barely spent time in except when our faces landed on the pillow until daybreak. We got lost without wifi. We woke up at the crack of dawn to explore. We waited hours for coffee. We stood at the top of two cities. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    Now, I am sitting on my own bed staring out the window into my neighbors’ homes that I have been unapologetically studying since I first moved in January.  I feel my sheets, the ones I clumsily bought at TJ Maxx. I hate them. I look at the books on my shelves, most of them unread. I get up. I make a new home for my souvenirs on my bookshelf. I separate the gifts, I take out all my dirty laundry, I water my plants, I smell the Colombian coffee one more time before I put it in the cupboard, and I remember.

    I remember what Colombia has given me. Colombia gave me in irrevocable sense of inspiration that I can call all mine. Their art drips with rebellion all while maintaining a graceful core. A new sense of creative renewal that can not be captured in images or tangible things. Yes, I have brought it home with me. The painting I bought of the Old City before I even made my way into it foreshadowed the moment I fell in love with the clock tower. Colombia gave me the ability to trust. From the moment I booked the trip to the moment I was there, native Colombians and my dear friends at home have warned me, were convinced, of the imminent danger that I was bound to endure. Filling my heart with fear, with their greatest intentions, of course. Call it luck, call it lies, call it anything you want, but I never had an overwhelming sense of danger. The world was kind to us, especially to two young women who knew next to no Spanish. Colombia also provided me an escape. A temporary escape from my reality at home. Naturally, the reality at home becomes heightened during the last few hours in Colombia. Dichotomies will do that to you. But I remind myself that this is, too, a blessing. As sad as I am, I am, unexpectedly, just as eager, too. I’m excited to confront the changes and see how the lessons I am gaining as I contemplate in my room, in this precious yet very hard silence, at this very moment, on my own, play out in my life. And I realize...

    I travel not to leave forever. I travel to come home.


    . May 16, 2016 .



         




    If Bogota is their New York City, then Cartagena is their Miami. Except...that's not quite accurate. Cartagena has an intensely rich culture and a mind-blowing history. Cartagena is the city where slave trade began and was the biggest importer of slaves. I, among many tourists and locals, walked on the gorgeous cobblestone that use to be the center of the slave auctions. From the indigenous to the African descendants running away to create their own freedom deep in the mountains, the history here is undoubtedly so complicated in many ways but have also contributed to the beautiful culture that now thrives there. So what to do? I mean, there's so many but if you have two days (or more!), these are four things that you must do in Cartagena.







    There is so much to do in the cobble stone, colored-buidings, and vibrant 6-mile walled in town known as Old City. I can, honestly, spend an entire day here and never get bored. Artwork, hand-crafted goods, and delicious street food is around every single corner. Music and performances, from free-styling rappers to mimes will stop you just to give you a private show. Don't forget to tip them! Some of the best restaurants are within Old City, stumble into one and try it out for yourself. At night, rooftop parties are a must. If that's not your style, play dominos with the local and drink wine outdoors to watch the festivities around you. And if people watching is also a sport to you, then this is people watching heaven.






    If you're feeling a bit ballsy, why don't you spend half a day with a local. Drink their beers, dance to their music, eat what they eat, and just really have an authentic Cartagena experience. Choose wisely and be smart. One of our City tour guides was kind enough to take us near his home to meet his friends and drink couple beers with him. Another friend of mine went salsa dancing with some 80-year-old locals and had a blast! Don't shy away from locals, they're genuine and beautiful people. But, again, be smart about it. Never go alone. Always look at your beverage while it's being poured and never leave it alone. Always, ALWAYS, have a back-up plan and an escape route.




     



    You will kick yourself in the butt if you don't spend a day at one of Islas Del Rosario or The Islands Of Rosario. For less than $70, you can take a trip to one of the gorgeous island off of Cartagena and it includes a delicious and authentic seafood lunch. This is the true beach experience. I enjoyed one of the best pina coladas of my life. Mud massages, snorkeling, jet-skis, and many other activities are all available to you at some of the most reasonable prices I've ever seen. Do yourself a favor, and go!









    Do you know the expression, "Shop until you drop?" This building use to hold prison cells in the 1700s. Now the 23 little dungeons are boutiques and businesses that sell local goods and a ton of great accessories, art, and traditional pieces that are up for good haggle and a shopper's must-go.  And if you're asking if I walked away with some stuff...did you even need to ask?

    Black Forest Top - Minnow Bathers // High Up Genuine Suede Shorts - Tobi  // Black Slip Ons - The Fifth Label // Hippy Clutch - Save My Bag 
    For more clothing ideas, here are some Tobi favorites: Dresses, Crop Tops, Rompers, Jumpsuits, Skirts, Bodysuits
    Photos by Mai Nguyen & Lynn Kim Do 
    . May 14, 2016 .







    I travel like I flirt. "I'd stay but I must go."





    Romwe Maxi dress
    . May 13, 2016 .



        



    Bogota is not Colombia's most popular destination with Medellin and Cartagena pulling most of the tourism. Don't let the ignorant international world do the comparing for you. Bogota is absolutely beautiful. This underrated city has over 7 million inhabitants, which is a hell of a lot considering New York City has over 8 million. So let me help you, whether I've visually persuaded you (scroll, scroll, scroll) or you have a connecting flight in Bogota and need a couple things to do, here are four things you MUST do in this culturally rich city.





    If you can book a half-day city tour, absolutely do it. Walk by the government buildings, the same center where Pablo Escobar stepped foot in. Your mind will widen and knowledge will fill in indulgently as they spill politics, scandals, wonder, and insight behind Colombia as a country and Bogota as the center of it all. The buildings have history and soul. And if you'd like, buy some corn from the ladies at the square and feed the pigeons. Take a photo of the pigeons eating from your hand! Don't forget to stop and shop handcrafted (literally being crafted right in front of you) goods and yes, haggle, haggle, haggle. Always suggest 50-70% of the price that they ask for as suggested by our tour guides. But don't worry if you pay full price because the pesos to a dollar conversion is so cheap. I spent only $400 the entire 5 day trip. Yes, you heard me correctly. I suggest a half-day city tour because you must take time to explore on your own, get lost (reasonably), and maybe run into a llama.






          





         




    For the cost of FUH-REE nighty-nine, you can take a two and a half graffiti tour around Bogota's City Center. Yes, you heard that correctly. Coming from graffiti's capital, New York City, I didn't think I could see any better. Boy, was I wrong! The graffiti tour was by far my favorite part of the entire trip. I was and still am inspired by the minds behind this often dangerous artistic venture. Colombia is the only country that legalized and now regulates graffiti. In fact, the country has decided that graffiti is a cultural practice, not a criminal one. The street artists and the community have an unwritten code, an unwritten sense of respect. Bogota Graffiti is the company that lead us around the city, step by step, and introduced us to some of the most popular and opinionated artists in the world. I encourage you, beg you, to take the chance to take the tour and open your mind up to the graffiti world.








    You can not leave Bogota without visiting the Museo Del Oro also known as the Gold Museum. It's hard to believe that they just put that much gold all at one place. Yes, I did consider how I could possibly steal a piece home (okay...I'm just kidding, kinda.) Walk through it just to say you did and definitely take the time to stand in the enclosed Shaman room. It is quite an immersive experience. The other museum I would highly recommend is Museo Botero. It has work from Picasso to, of course, one of the most respected Colombian artist today, Botero. With over 100 pieces he had personally donated, the museum is a humorous yet clever yet heart-pulling yet awing experience all in one. The two story building is gorgeous with a fountain that is too pretty to look at and a back patio that is connected to a cafe with the best chicken wrap and thirst-quenching beers.





         






    Last but not least, take a cable car ride up the Monserrate Hill for one of the most riveting views of the city. The greatest part about this hill is that it isn't succumbed by tourism tacky get-ups. A church rests on this hill and next to it are several restaurants. We arrived up the hill during sunset and had a French dinner. When we walked out, we were absolutely stunned by the evening view. The view is magical. When I was up there, I felt small, proud to be alive, hanging out several thousand feet from the buzzing city below me. And yes, the air is much thinner there so don't freak out. It will go away. Just enjoy the amazing view in front of you and all around you.

    Photos by Lynn Kim Do, a stranger, and a self-timer (lol).



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