There is No Arizona

“Mom, can we move to Arizona? Let’s move to Arizona!”

I live in a world where my every thought must be actualized. Of course, not just any thought, but certain thoughts that were validated by ‘signs’.

I spent quite a big chunk of my time today searching for a small cottage, or a cabin on a small farm land. Just to satisfy my craving of becoming a farmer or anything related to farming. Aside from the real estate search that I cannot afford, I also have taken a more realistic approach. Escaping into the world of farming through a book. The Orchard by Teresa Wier is a perfect selection for this purpose. It’s a memoir of the author’s marriage to a farmer she barely knew.

Upon hearing my Arizona comment, my mom started singing a Korean song about Arizona I’ve never heard before. I laughed, and just then I spotted a cowboy hat that came with my nephew’s holiday costume placed on my yellow hoodie shirt. I put the hat on and listened to my mom’s funny Korean song about Arizona. I was actually quite stunned that there was such a song. It must have been around 70’s or 80’s when the song was written. Obviously, whoever wrote this song at that time in Korea was way ahead of time.

Then I noticed my yellow hoodie where the hat was sitting on. That hoodie is special. I bought it at the airport in Pheonix, Arizona. I was flying to Baltimore to visit my sister for a few months from Hawaii. I had no warm clothes coming from Hawaii, of course, so I purchased this yellow warm hoodie in Pheonix. On the front of the shirt said, “Desert Oasis”. I was going through the mental desert at that time(struck by another depressive episode- which was why I was going back to my family), and I desperately craved to run into an Oasis. Of course, I bought the shirt because I thought it was a sign that came for me. I thought if I just wear that shirt, I might be released from the mental torment I was feeling and my thirst will be quenched. Like a magic shirt!

That episode prolonged even after I went back to Hawaii and I suffered well into the late Spring or maybe early Summer. It had costed me yet another job, and so I was starting a new job, which would turn out to be my last job on the island. I had a very productive summer, and fall that year after I survived another episode. My job went well, and the coffee bar business kept growing, and I made many new friends from all over the globe, and I was always surrounded by my cool group of my island friends. Was it because of the magic shirt? The answer is a no. The reality was that I was having a hypomanic season. That shirt didn’t do anything for me against my belief, or childish hope. I didn’t even need that shirt when I got to the baltimore airport that winter day because my sister brought me her fluffy jacket to keep me warm.

No, it wasn’t the shirt. The shirt didn’t cure anything, or magically improved my life to the life of heavenly oasis. I have proof. The very next fall, I was down with even more intense, and stronger depressive episode. The reason this hoodie is so special to me despite its proven failure is because 1) it is yellow, my favorite color. 2) it is comfortable. 3) every time I look at this shirt, I am reminded of how sick I once were, and how God has restored me back to health. I never want to forget that.

“Mom, let’s move to Arizona! It’s a sign!”

I jokingly told mom, explaining her the meaning of the yellow hoodie where the cowboy hat was resting on.

“Don’t you do that again! Every time you talk about a sign, it drives me so nervous!”

The reason it drives her nervous is because I did once move to a far away place, far, far away from her, inspired by a shirt. Well, a cycling jersey to be more precise. I chose Kona on Big Island of Hawaii above all other options I had because of this one jersey I had for years. It said “1999 Kona Iron Man” on the front. So I moved to Kona.

I assured mom that I was only kidding. It was true. I would never again move to some random place because the shirt says so. That’s just silly.

To hear me say this is new to me. Did I just say that I am not going to put my thoughts into action? Did I just say that doing what the shirt says is silly? Did I hear that right?

I sound like a really healthy person. Like I am sane. Like I am sensible.

This is a big, big transformation.


I once really loved the song “There is no Arizona” by Jamie O’neal. I would put it on repeat for months and listen to that song compulsively until I got tired of it.

I think she was right in singing that there is no Arizona. There is no Arizona for me!

Now, this, you have to agree, was no coincidence. But coincidence or not, who cares. I sure don’t.

Not any more.

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