Blue Bayou

Justin Chon always seems to know how to punch me deep in the gut.
The first film of his I saw, about Korean youth from around the world. Korea had feared they were losing touch with their heritage and so hosted a camp in Korea for them. While being an almost version of Breakfast Club with an all Korean cast, it also featured a girl who had been adopted. Ironically, she finds out her Korean name and it is the same as mine. I resonated with her character pretty strongly.
The next film of his I saw, Gook, about a Korean just trying to survive in L.A. during the 92′ L.A. Riots. In which Koreans were huge victims.
This film, about a young man who was adopted at the age of 3, suddenly attracts the attention of the local police, and then I.C.E. and it is found out his naturalization was botched and he faces deportation. A story most people probably remember from right after Trump became president. And sadly, not an uncommon story, just one that is never told. And to be honest, something I had a lot of fear about after he became president. Even though I had complete faith my parents did everything right, I.C.E. was looking for loopholes just to kick people out. And while this character’s story was kind of unique, this film is an example of how terrifying it is for people of colour living in America. It is also a powerful example of how much trauma is involved in someone who has been adopted. And how difficult it is for them to talk about.
And honestly, this film painted a picture of a lot of things I had felt and not known how to put words to.

Den’venture – Epilogue

But Seriously..

It wasn’t all bad.

Recap:

1. I ate a Denver Omlette. (1.5. With Colorado Green Chili on it.)

2. I went to Red Rocks Amphitheater

3 (?). I didn’t eat Rocky Mountain Oysters, but I did eat Oysters in the Rocky Mountains.

4. I went to Union Station.

5. I drank (alot of) locally brewed beer.

6. I ate Colorado beef.

7. I went to the Tattered Cover book store (sort of..)

8. Selfie at “The Best View of Denver” spot. (Which was a lie…)

9. 5280 miles above sea-level. I found survival oxygen (multiple flavors).

10. I survived the Denver Airport.

Den’venture – End

Parting Shots

The gamble of staying in a hotel… At 3 in the morning, the high volume, verbal altercation of two lovers. Woman screaming at man, man yelling at woman. They are clearly having their spat right outside my ear. I’m fairly certain I hear someone telling someone that they need to leave. I am hopeful that it is a hotel staff member and then there is quiet. I am still awake an hour later when there is a knock at the door. Not our door. The door next down, and the calm voice of a man asking if he can please come back in. He asks twice before the door is finally opened, and there is quiet again.

On the fear of something going wrong, or maybe a lack of sleep, we arrived at the airport much earlier than we had planned. And while the Denver airport was unfamiliar to all of us, the sight of a line of people spanning one check-in counter, all the way to the extreme farthest check-in counter, seemed a little peculiar. We were directed past all the line of people and quickly checked ourselves in and further directed upstairs to go through security. We wiped our brows and headed up stairs, away from the line of people. As we rounded the corner and found ourselves able to look over the balcony to the security check gates our heads spun. The room was jammed! We followed the signs for security and as they took us back downstairs, we slowly began to understand that we were to join the ungodly long line. We followed it along, rounding one corner and walking from one check-in counter, all the way to the extreme farthest check-in counter, and then around that corner. We eventually reached the end, and packed in. Along the way the line was forced into 3 separate S loopies. The kind of bits in a line that make you walk back and forth 3-4 times, making eye contact with the same people 3-4 times, before allowing you to continue on.

And to be honest, getting through security wasn’t the time consuming process, it was getting to security.

Once through, we ran downstairs and hopped the tram to the C gates, our wild, yet successful guess as to our departure gate. We wiped the sweat from our brows and took a breath. First order of business, Mom needed coffee.

First coffee shop, another ungodly, PTSD inducing line. Second coffee shop, a line, but a manageable line, to reach the front to discover they don’t have her coffee. Third coffee shop, smooth sailing, until we finally sit, remove our masks, take sips of our coffees, and discover they had not made the coffee she ordered.

By this time Dad was hungry and feeling dubious of most of the restaurants we had passed for either being take-out only, or risking a line longer than we want to deal with. He managed to find a place close to coffee shop three, he got a table, and we seemed to be in business. This is, of course, before coffee shop three has bungled Mom’s coffee order. While Dad waited for us, Mom noticed the restaurant swivel the board out front and realized that as it had just struck 10:30, the restaurant had officially stopped serving breakfast.

We ate there anyway.

(Side bungle): While running around, I happened to notice the airport’s version of Denver’s famous bookstore the Tattered Cover Bookstore. The day before we had passed the original location and had missed going in and perusing by some 5 minutes. I found this to be my chance. Thinking better of buying a book and having to haul it all the way home, I asked if I could have a bookmark. Some proof and memorabilia that I had been. The cashiers were happy to give me one. I thanked them and ran out to catch up with Mom and Dad. When I pulled it out to show Mom, I looked it over twice before fully coming to the realization that it was complete advertisement and that nowhere on either side of the bookmark did it even say the name of the bookstore..

The plane ride was a short eternity. In front of us sat three, clearly drunk girls who yelled jovial stories and cackled with laughter. Mom yelled, “SHHHH!!” I yelled, “can you be a little more quiet please!” All to no avail. They were literally too loud to hear me yelling at them right between the seats. Dad said, “don’t you have your headphones?” …not the point, Dad…

As we began our descent, as expected, all the ticking time bomb kiddies began to yowl. Particularly some couple seats behind us. And I do feel bad, I can actually remember when I was that kid and how much the pressure hurt my ears. This poor man, who boarded the plane with a double wide stroller of two tots, and no partner. One child yowled and yowled and continually cried, “I want my mommy!”

Seattle was cold, wet, familiar. It took a little, but we eventually got our bags back. A smidge longer than 20 minutes and I made Mom go and demand our free miles for exceeding their 20 minute promise. She asked politely, and we got our vouchers. We bustled to the shuttle pick-up/drop-off zone and set about hailing the shuttle to get to our car.

4 tries and 3 different phones to confirm that the number Dad had was not working. 2 phones attempting to call the hotel that employs the shuttle, and currently housed our car. 1 answered phone at the hotel to tell us that their shuttle wasn’t running until 4. 1 check of the watch to let us know that it was 3. We would not be getting shuttle service to our car.

We bustled over to the taxi pick-up/drop-off zone. Eye contact and a nod, and a taxi driver began loading our bags into his trunk. As he closed the trunk he asked where we were headed. Dad told him. He gave Dad a slightly exasperated look and asked why we weren’t just getting the free shuttle.

When we finally got to our car it was pouring down with rain. We began off, and in typical Dad fashion, he turned. Of course, once committed, it is realized that it is the wrong way. Google assisted in getting us back on track, and we finally really were on our way.

And really, for as shit as it all was, for waking up and heading out at 8:30, and not getting home until 6:00, it could always have been worse. I routinely try to remind myself that I really could have something to complain about. And Dad falls back into the familiarity of driving his own car. He and Mom begin speaking softly in the front seats. And I stare out over the city. A city I understand without having to squint or try to focus. Its just there. It makes sense. I am back down on the ground, I can breathe, this is rain, but up there, straight ahead, blue skies and home.

And, of course, doughnuts while we wait for the ferry.

Den’venture – Day 4

More Than Meets the Eye

Having been in Denver for 4 days now, we decided to actually go into town and see the city. Being a Sunday and a home game day, the city was filled with the bright orange colours of the Denver Broncos. Short of dressing dogs and babies up as pumpkins, I am not sure I have seen so many people so proudly wearing such a loud shade of orange.

Once outside the three story open air mall, full of the typical mall type stores, we walked a bit of the main downtown street. Wide enough for foot traffic on either side, two public transport lanes, and a strip in between for whatever manages to take up residence there. Various food carts, simple tables and chairs, one block boasted a mini botanical garden. Along the way, restaurants and shops you’d expect to find on a downtown street. Busy enough to stay in business, but not eye catching enough to snare a tourist’s attention or money. At each cross street the waft of warm garbage and dirty socks. Here and there, tall important buildings covered in glass windows, blasting sunlight down to illuminate even the darkest corners.

We reached the end of the road and came to the fabled Millennium Bridge. It was wide and passed over the rail tracks, and mother stubbed her toe marveling the sights. And then we were across it. I turned back, not sure if I had missed something or not. No, a short 50 paces or so and one is across. But across is like a whole different place.

Descend the steps from the bridge and the surrounding buildings are close enough to provide enough shade to breathe. While reaching the cross street still provides the warm garbage and dirty sock stink, across that cross street is all green. A vast park of green grass. Not recently mowed, but lush despite the arid heat. Curving sidewalk embraces the soft domes and flats of grass, and eventually lead to another bridge. This one narrow and long, wooden slats that thump with each foot step, the whole structure seeming to bob and sway a little the further across you go. Below a river, rushing in some areas, gurgling in others, ducks paddling around among the algae.

Across that and you must walk left, or right. This street is quieter, but still full of life. Restaurants with outdoor seating spilling into the street, tent overhead and generous misting machines spraying customers like vegetables in a super market. We find a brewery and sit for a beer. And on the way back we get icecream.

30 mile drive to reach our dinner reservations. No longer in Denver, we found ourselves in Boulder. A smaller, cute, but clearly college town. The sprawling brick university buildings settled in the heart of the town. We went to the main street, an older part of the town. The street was not so much a street, as a walkway down along the shops. Giant fountain areas, sculptures, casual seating here and there, large areas for street performers. While all the signs stated no skateboards, no bikes, no smoking, no dogs, all the shops and seating areas had large bowls of water for dogs. Various random shops catering to, I’m not sure whom. And restaurants, all held up by the hustle and bustle of baby faced college kids. Never once was I carded.

We drove home in the dark. It wasn’t quiet, but seeing a city by its lights alone, is like tasting a soup without all the chunky bits in it. You simply get the deep flavor of what the soup actually is. The city at night, is vast and small all at once. It is large stadiums, and small apartment buildings. It is lights at the very top of a tower building, and lights along the rail of an apartment balcony. It is humble restaurants, and big chain stores. It is the familiar, and it is the unique. It was something a little bit different, but not to wild, and not to crazy.

Den’venture – Day 3

Brick Castles, Deep Woods, and Wood Fired Pizzas

Somewhere beyond the city, past the towering buildings and rushing traffic. Somewhere within the hills and down the winding roads. Somewhere past the fluffy trees, and dark, dangling berries. Somewhere through the woods, and just across the creek. There was a castle. We could only just see it through the trees, over the ogre bridge. The water wheel was spinning, and the birds were singing. We could have been spying on some strange fairy tale.

That was where my brother was going to get married.

This was not the proper way to reach the castle. This was the trouble making, rogue route. This was creeping up on the back side and catching young ladies playing a delicate game of badminton, or croquet route. This was the sneak your boyfriend in the back way route. No ogres guarded this bridge.

There were also a lot of dark holes in big walls. The kinds of holes that you can’t see in without the aid of a flashlight. The kinds of holes that one laughs and yells into during the day, and desperately avoids during the night. The kinds of holes that seem darker once you realize you are in a cellphone dead zone, and you’re on a trail called Lair o’ the Bear. What bears might be out to get you if you’re not paying enough attention?

We saw no bears.

Having sufficiently covered ourselves in dust and depleted ourselves of water, we drove back out of the hills and along the winding roads. We drove into the rushing traffic, towards the towering buildings. We found ourselves in a small town, where we ordered beer, wings, and wood fired pizza.

Den’venture – Day 2

Those Red Red Rocks

Today, our mission was to get to the Red Rocks. A renown place for its hosting of concert performances by famous musicians dating back to… I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really paying attention in the “hall of fame.” The day started off decent enough. Woke up, took a shower, the clouds had lifted and I could see, well, not mountains per se, but there were certainly hills out there, and we were off to see some of what Colorado has to offer. First stop, hot coffee, to wake up the mind and the bones.

Second stop, into the next coffee shop, as one had dumped their entire coffee over in the car just as we were hitting the open road.

We reached the small town of Morrison, with its two lane road and boasting of its exciting Ciderfest. Tomorrow… Once through the town we began to see red rocks. Google navigator indicated that we were close. Signs teased that if we took this turn we would reach our destination.

There was a lot of barking and breaking and missed turns, but eventually we parked.

The rocks were indeed red, jutting out of the earth at extreme angles like wrecked ships on the coastline. At a point you think, you’re looking at rocks… And then you think, goddam that Mother Nature, this is breathtaking. And I don’t mean the walking uphill part, though there was a lot of that.

More extraordinary than the mind boggling feat of Mother Nature, was the famous Amphitheater. Set into one of the giant hills. Bleacher seats reaching so high, as to emulate a basketball court. Stairs on either side, quite possibly the inspiration for the song Stairway to Heaven. It felt like the most epic conquest once reaching the top. And you turn and can see the entire world over the top of the stage. City, lake, hills, and beyond. And then you see the half a dozen folks utilizing the death trap bleachers as their playground for some Strong Man training session. We silently thanked the MC, or whoever was speaking into the mic, for kicking everyone out of the seating area as they were setting up for a show. We no longer had to feel both awestruck, and like a pile of shit, for sitting on our asses while these athletic miracles of men (and women) ran up and down these steps like a puppy with a new toy. We headed down the stairs and I told one Strong Man trainee to keep up the good work as we passed.

To fully embrace Rome, we decided to walk a short loop. It was lovely, and hot, and the red sand got in my shoes, and some of us thought we were going to die. Not really, but it is always best to plan your rigorous outdoor activities at exactly the heat of the day. My shirt was disgusting, it was actually disgusting. And it was white.

But, we saw the giant red rock named Froggy. Which quite looked like it had little toadstools on it. We saw a Donkey Deer, which looked like a regular deer, save for its jumbo sized ears. And we logged a lot of steps, and a lot of pictures.

And good exercise deserves good food. We met brother and fiancé at a little seafood restaurant near where they live. Fiancé knew all the people, and we were pretty hooked up. Lots of oysters, as it was an Oyster House.

I finally had a Negroni, which, *shrugs* not my tops, but if its good enough for Tony, its good enough for me. Although, next drink, I just went with a straight Gin and Tonic. And capped it all off with Budino and Peach and Blueberry Crisp.

Or rather, I thought we had capped it off.

Apparently the real cap was my brother and I going home with 3+ mosquito bites each. Really Denver?

Den’venture – Day 1

And we Danced atop the Clouds

If there is one thing I have come to realize, it is that Covid has caused people to forget how to be Human. It is almost as if being told to keep our distance from others, forced to hide our one form of non-verbal emotions, scared to even breathe around other people for so long, has caused us to forget how to evwn be around other people.

At the beginning of the movie Love Actually, the viewer is bombarded with images of picturesque airport scenes. Scenes of reunited lovers, of grandchildren seeing grandparents, old friends coming together… Everything an aiport isn’t. Even more so now. It feels as though people don’t even see other people. Lines exist just to patronize impatient caffeine cravers. 6 ft apart shortens to be however long a phone charger chord is. Masks are suggestions, simple barriers between hand and sustenance…

We arrived in Denver and the first thing I noticed, was that there were no mountains. Where the Eff were these supposed beautiful mountains? I don’t actually know what I had been expecting. Green trees? Snow capped mountains? Hip open-minded city dwellers?

Fields. Clouds. Cars that relied on other people’s e.s.p. to know they wanted to switch lanes.

A dubious first start. A little unimpressed…

We met with my brother, proud to show us his new home. We went for a short walk about the neighborhood. So many dogs. Bicyclists who ride at the speed of sound, and somehow just hope you have e.s.p. enough to jump out of their way as they pass. And crickets. Unseen, but by the sounds of them, they are the size of large squirrels.

The evening was topped with a much needed beer at the old English style tavern Bull and Bush (it is as inappropriate as only the English can be.) Dinner of large slabs of meat, washed down by locally brewed beer, some big golf trophy ceremony in the background, hosted by Rob Riggle (shrugs), and a toast to we know not what, but we were all together to have it.

Den’venture Prefunk

Dog tails, Cocktails, and Thai Food

Really, the adventure didn’t get started until practically tomorrow.

A quick trip to the ferry to get to Seattle, dad opted for a snack of French Assassin Fries. Leery, we were fortunate that the icecream machine was broken, barring mom from getting a sundae, and instead forcing her to get a throat soothing milkshake. And while the fries were screaming-napalm-hot-out-of-the-basket, nobody died.

We reached Seattle sometime after work, but anymore, when isn’t it busy on the streets. We had dinner at a new Thai place down the street from Aunty’s. As it is a vacation, I got the Ro’se cocktail. Some fancy drink of gin and rose syrup and something else, with a healthy sprinkling of rose petals atop. It actually tasted quite nice. A bit like a lovely, earthy lemonade.

It was dark by the time we drove to the hotel. Downtown Seattle. Not the destination, just the beginning. But I forget how bright big cities are. The bright headlights on the freeways, the ever illuminated sky high buildings, the flashing lights of signs advertising who knows what, the Franz bread sign lit like a sexy, Vegas attraction. I forget people live like this.

I remember a cemetery near my childhood home. A small thing, just right off the street. It somehow reminded me of one of the cemeteries in the original Legend of Zelda game. Out in front was a large torch. I always remember being flabbergasted that it was always lit. While, now I understand the symbolism of the eternal flame, I couldn’t imagine a light that never goes out. What a small town girl mentality. In the real world there are lights that are so bright they could snuff a candle out.

Outside, the silence is broken by the rushing sound of sleepless traffic. The big city river that never stops flowing. Over head, the occasional rumble of an airplane passing over. Noise. Lights, and noise… But, it is a reminder, that outside those curtains, the world is still alive.

Amy Tan: Unintended Mamoir

Her mother told her she didn’t have to get married if she didn’t want to, but she had to get a good job, and be successful, so that if she got married and wasn’t happy, she could easily leave. Amy Tan grew up hating her mother. Like most Chinese mothers, they put pressure on their children to be successful. Amy’s parents were adament to raise her and her brothers as American though, and the pressures put on them were not a typical American thing. But it was different for Amy and her brothers. She said her mother wasn’t a Tiger Mom, she was a Suicidal Mom. If you wont do what I say, I might as well kill myself. It wasn’t until the fear that her mother might be dying, much later into Amy’s adulthood, that their relationship changed. Amy finally took the time to get to really know her mother, and through that, she became a writer.
Like other writers I’ve posted about, writing was almost a way for Amy to make sense of things. Her first book, The Joy Luck Club, while fiction, was inspired by her mother’s life in China, as well as her own life in America, and the bridging of the gap between. She faced a lot of criticism about the book, for things like the broken English, and suicidal concubines, by Americans who probably had never seen Chinese people as more than just stereotypes. What Amy Tan did with The Joy Luck Club was bring to light the China that her mother and grandmother before her lived through. It also brought to light the modern day Chinese-American experience. Things, admittedly, and shamefully, invisible to most Americans. When Amy was in elementary school, on her birthday, she was terribly afraid her mother would bring Chinese food to the school. She was immensely relieved when her mother brought cupcakes.
Amy struggled with a lot of loss, and anger growing up. She grappled with fighting the expectations of her Chinese mother, and of being a successful writer and suddenly having literary expectations thrust on her. All through her books, I think, she was able to make sense of and process a lot of her own life. At the end of the documentary, you see her on her back deck, bird feeders everywhere. She has taken up art again and has beautiful and detailed renditions of various birds. Birds, I think, perhaps almost symbolic for her, for their absolute, weightless sense of freedom.

When I first speak to someone, they will generally automatically assume I am a bitch. And I mean, well… But it’s mostly just my voice. Sometimes I’ll get snappy patients that tell me I need to watch my tone of voice. I tell them that I was born with this tone of voice. It’s a low, soothing tone I like to call RBV, or Resting Bitch Voice. It’s the same voice for everything. This is my bitch voice, my empathetic voice, my bedroom voice… I just like to keep people guessing…

The Problem with Mental Health

A woman named Ellen Baxter goes to a mental institution to visit her mother. What she sees startles her. Her mother sits in a wheelchair, her speech is incredibly slurred, and she is clearly, heavily over medicated.

This was a moment described in an episode of the podcast Invisibilia, from NPR. This is the stereotypical example everyone thinks of when they hear “mental institution.” People drooling, with their heads tilted awkwardly to the side, eyes glazed over. It is a scary thought. This sort of image is the reason “mental institutions” have such a negative and frightening stigma.

But I work in a psych unit, and it’s not like that. My patients don’t drool, and they don’t have glazed over eyes.

This episode of the podcast is dedicated to the idea of solving problems. It begins with a family of a million girls, and the horrible, but inevitable issue of drain hair. And how they managed to find a solution to vastly easier drain cleaning. It is just a quick example of the innovation and ability to solve even the most obscure problems. But at about the 6 minute 15 second mark of the episode, we get to the meat of the matter. We hear Ellen Baxter’s story.

Ellen actually ran from home, and her mentally ill mother the first chance she got. She went to college and became a psych major. Influenced by her visit to the institution where her mother was, she made it her mission to find a more humane way to treat mental illness. She put herself through the experience most people would be too afraid to do. She fakes a mental illness and gets checked into an institution. While most people are probably suddenly hearing the Eagles song Hotel California, Ellen only stayed for one week. One week was enough time for her to see and understand that there really wasn’t any useful therapy provided to the patients. When asked what the patients did all day then, Ellen answered that they watched TV, they stared out the window, and they waited for the bell to ring. The bell that tells them it’s medication time, that tells them it’s snack time… She said she could “almost see the humanity of the people evaporating.”

And the more I thought about this description, the more I realized it actually sounded uncomfortably close to the day-to-day of the unit I work on.

I graduated college with a bachelors in Psychology also. I think I also had a deep seeded desire to help people. To help find a way to guide them through their most personal struggles. I am not a nurse, so I can’t give my patients medications. So I have to work twice a hard to find ways to help them through their crisis. Whether it is a cup of double bagged chamomile tea to help ease their anxiety, a warm blanket to ease their fear, a shower to burn off some steam, or just someone to talk to. I had decided a long time ago that the most important thing was to see each person as an individual rather than a patient, to remember that they are at possibly the lowest point of their lives, and to remember that, for some of them, this is the first time they will have someone who is there to support, and listen to them. And if I can’t do anything else for them, I can certainly listen to them, and to remind them that they are still worthy of someone’s attention.

Ellen Baxter sat down and did some research to find a place where “dependent and disabled people were not thrown away.” What she finds is a town in Belgium called Geel.

This town has an extraordinary way of dealing with its mentally ill population. They are taken into the homes of the towns folk and cared for. The obvious question that burned on Ellen’s mind, and probably many many others was, isn’t it a burden?

Every single host family she asked said, “no.” Apparently this tradition had gone back all the way to the 1300’s. For the towns folk, this way of life is just normal. The mentally ill of the town are treated as any other member of the town. And while hosting some of these individuals can be difficult at times, they do not see it as being any more difficult than dealing with an outburst by someone who is not deemed mentally ill.

What made these towns folk so different in their treatment of the mentally ill, is simple acceptance. They do not see mental illness as something than needs fixing. The host mother allows her boarder to nervously twist the buttons off his shirt, and each night she would sew them back on. While this seems tedious, she is not burdened by doing it. This is just an aspect of who this man is, and she accepts it. The man who hallucinates lions coming out of the walls, his host mother would simply chase the lions away, and the man feels relief.

While it’s easy to imagine how this method with the mentally ill could fail in so many ways, somehow it is managing to work. Maybe allowing each mentally ill person to remember that they are human has some benefits.

It is certainly something I see less and less on my own unit. I see it less in the community as a whole. Mental health has such a negative stigma, it is treated as almost a death sentence. While individuals gain the label of “mentally ill,” along with it seems to hang the label “doomed,” and society turns its back on them. It breaks my heart to see how little funding there is for mental health resources, how alone people suffering from mental illness feel, and how scared they are to seek help.

I think what makes a town like Geel so successful is that the mentally ill aren’t taken somewhere to be hidden like a stain from society, they aren’t taken somewhere with the expectation of walking out the doors “fixed,” they are taken somewhere to be supported and treated as a human.


These were only my thoughts on the first half of the podcast. There is a whole other half hour continuing Ellen’s mission for the humane treatment of the mentally ill.

Here is a link to the full podcast episode. The Problem with the Solution.


Here is a link from NPR exploring the episode deeper, with links and resources.

https://www.npr.org/2016/07/01/483859375/explore-the-episode


Here is a link to an article written by Angus Chen for NPR on the town of Geel and this boarding program, titled For Centuries a Small Town has Embraced Strangers with Mental Illness.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/07/01/484083305/for-centuries-a-small-town-has-embraced-strangers-with-mental-illness

Beasts of no Nation

I’ve wanted to watch this since it came out. I’m kind of sad it took me so long. It’s certainly not a pick-me-up film, but after a crummy day, it is what I needed. Not because it was tragic and someones life is worse than mine. But because this was an absolutely beautifully done film.
In a setting we cant even imagine growing up in, a young boy innocently tries to sell a tv set with no screen, for food rations. He is then thrown head long into the bowels of war. A grittier war than we typically imagine. We see his very childhood stripped away from him. He is handed a machete and a gun and told to kill.
It sounds like a simplistic story, and maybe it is. But this story was about the journey this boy takes. And the fear and the loss and the breaking of his spirit, that you feel with him. The moment he finds his mother, and she doesn’t even recognize him. And in that moment, the final loss of purpose within him. Where does one go from there, when civil war has ravaged your country? Where is home then?