Goodbye, Fyodor

â??Love must be given before it can be receivedâ? – Korean proverb

This is from an illustrated book of Korean proverbs that a friend gave me. I still have the book, but he is no longer among us, as he lost his battle with cancer last year. I am sad that I didnâ??t find out earlier, sad that I didnâ??t keep in touch more, so sad that such a bright and smart person with an amazing sense of humor and such positive outlook on life had to leave before their time.

Joon was not my closest friend, and Iâ??ve seen him in person a couple times at most, and we knew each other through work and we talked remotely, by phone or more often email. Somehow I do remember him and our conversations really vividly, and one of the last emails I got from him was about our first meeting and lunch we had in K-town that he seemed to remember so well and loved the food so much.

When I had â??Mandookookâ? in NY, it was the first time in 21 yrs. It was yum. I went to have one in LA after but it wasnâ??t as good asâ?¦ My father in law is from Kaisung (just north of DMZ), so he loves it. He took me to a Mandokook place in Seoul right before I got married which was 21 yrs ago… Sean probably doesnâ??t know what is the secret to a successful marriage. It is not love. It is â??Yes, Tanya. You are right and I am wrongâ? Do tell him…
– from Joonâ??s email that still makes me smile

Joon was Korean, but he loved Russian culture so much, and knew so much about it, perhaps even more that I did. We adopted a nickname Fyodor for him, and thatâ??s what I wanted to say to him: Goodbye Fyodor, and I (along with so many people that knew you and admired your amazing character) will keep a bright memory of you.

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