Standing in the Rain since… 2009

{ *Edited to Add 1/20/2015: }

January 20, 2015

1932411_10152146705363355_1944581967_nYou know? As I watched Naoko’s touching video tribute to Cloud USA today, I was actually stunned for a minute. I thought: Has it really been five years? Really?

Seriously, it seems like it was just yesterday that Stephe was struggling to figure out how to work WordPress and I was desperately trying to figure out how to build a website. A website? You’ve got to be kidding, I thought, when I was asked if we had one of those. How the heck do you create a website? Seriously, we barely knew what a blog was at the time. But did we let that that stop us? Are you kidding? All I can say is thank God for Google. :-}

10846586_10203272570915941_2040277757_nFive years later, here we are with a vibrant Rain fan community filled with loving Cloud hearts. That’s actually amazing considering how many “Rain” fan sites/blogs/etc., we’ve seen come and go since then. There have been a lot of them. Really. So, just the fact that we are still around says a lot about this fella who calls himself “Rain.” It also probably says something about our own stubbornness too, if I’m being totally honest here. :-}

It hasn’t always been roses. It can be really tough to try to 156064_10203237777883100_7322316927598829464_npromote a foreign star who doesn’t speak very good English in a country that doesn’t even care about its own stars, much less stars from other countries. Sometimes I think we’re beating our heads against a brick wall. Especially as the years go by and Rain continues to do most of his work overseas. That’s certainly understandable, but it’s still a little disappointing for his U.S. Clouds, right?

We’ve also had our share of haters and naysayers, people who just can’t stand it if they aren’t making someone else miserable. Yes, we’ve experienced our share of that, as most people out there do. It’s disappointing and hurtful. But then a new Cloud will pop up and thank us on Facebook or Twitter, or send us a heartwarming email message that makes 10616123_10152722436056823_3306938176472571065_nus grin from ear to ear, and that’s when we know that everything we’re doing is totally worth it. Because, you know, it’s not just about Rain. It’s about his Clouds too. I’m speaking the absolute truth when I say that Cloud USA would be absolutely nothing without all of you, Clouds.

Yes, the love we’ve received from all of you has far outweighed the hate. When I think about all of the wonderful people I’ve met in the past five years, and all of the amazing experiences I’ve had since I started this adventure called Cloud USA, I can’t help but smile. So many wonderful people! So many wonderful places! So many wonderful memories! And my goodness–so much love! I look forward to having even more adventures with more of you in the future.

ADangerous Reds 2s for Rain, isn’t he doing great? Since he’s gotten out of the military, he’s already done two movies (one in the U.S. and one in China) and two TV series (one in Korea and one in China), won two style icon awards, had an incredibly sexy feature in a magazine, performed at multiple music festivals and other commercial events, and is now the new face of Yves Saint Laurent’s “Dangerous Reds” line. Wah! Does he ever stop? Wait. Of course not. After all, he’s Rain, right? I can’t wait to see what he does next, can you? :-}

 

10271484_10203921058972798_6640234675596489004_n

In closing, I’d like to say something to not just Ji-Hoon, but also to YOU—his Clouds: Twenty years from now, it won’t be the things that you did that you’ll regret the most. Instead, it will be the things that you didn’t do that will break your heart. So, don’t just sit there and mope. Make your dreams a reality by getting out there and actually doing them. That you won’t regret. I promise.

May all of you continue to experience the magic of many “Rainy” days.

Love,

Terri :-}

P.S. As for a personal update, not much has changed these past five years—well, except we’ve all gotten older, of course. :-} I’m still working at the same old job. My oldest son (Robbie) has finished audio production school and is now working to find his niche in the music industry. (Keep your fingers crossed on that one–there are no guarantees and it’s a heartless industry). My youngest son is still working and in school. He’s a hard worker too, that fella. My nephews are all grown up and are healthy and happy. They all have jobs they enjoy and my youngest nephew will start college in the fall. My parents are still here and still doing well, considering. I thank God for the many blessings in my life, for they are numerous. ♥ Later.

MeandBoys

°     °     °     °     °

{ *Edited to Add 1/19/2013: }DSCF0349

January 19, 2013

Well, Clouds.  Here it is 2013, three years after I wrote the story below.  That was a long time ago, so I thought I’d update you a little bit on the happenings in my and my family’s life since that time.

First of all, Cloud USA is still going strong.  It’s amazing, with all that has been happening in my and Stephe’s lives these past three years, that we are even still here at all. It takes a lot of work and not a little money to keep it going, as you can imagine.  But we are managing so far to make it work, because we believe that Rain is an amazingly talented artist and we really want people in our own country to know more about him.  That is our biggest motivation for keeping on here.  We hope everyone enjoys what we are doing and that we can continue to support Cloud USA for many years to come.

First more about me.  My job (outside of Cloud USA) is going well.  I received a huge promotion, and I am working very hard to make sure that my company knows that I appreciate it.  Because of my promotion, however, I don’t have the time to give Cloud USA (or anything else outside of work, for that matter) as much attention as I used to in the past, especially with regard to writing articles for our blog.  Still,  I do as much as I can, especially behind the scenes, where I can work catch-as-catch-can.

So, mostly I spend my time consulting with Stephe, other Cloud USA staffers, The Cloud and others in Rain’s world.  Then, in my spare time (HA), I work on super top-secret projects for Cloud USA and volunteer at the Chief Editor for hellokpop.com.  And somewhere in there I try to take care of myself and my family too.  🙂

And speaking of family, let me update you on them.

Alex and Ana on Halloween 2012My youngest son is finally in his third year at his university, where he is majoring in software engineering.  (That’s him and his girlfriend in the photo to the left) He is a smart young man and he is putting forth a lot of hard effort to get through his degree program.  He is even holding down an almost full-time job while doing so.  I’m very proud of him.  I think he may have about another year and a half to go, depending on how many classes he can squeeze in (and we can afford!).  We will see.

My oldest son, the musician, still hasn’t given up on his dream of being a self-supporting, working musician. He released a first album, which didn’t really go anywhere (they usually don’t), but which did give him a demo to use to start introducing himself into the Atlanta music scene.  No one will take you seriously without a portfolio.  So, that first album was important, especially since he was the one who composed, arranged and wrote most of the lyrics for most of the songs on that album. (Click the image below to visit the band’s facebook page and you can actually download his album free and hear a sample of his work.)

He is now working on a second soloKissing Strangers FB project and networking with other working musicians in Atlanta (and working two jobs to pay for the album’s recording). He has also found a music school he wants to attend when the time is right.  So is the life of an unknown, small time musician in the U.S.A.  I do believe that endless endurance and endless effort are playing a major part in his endeavor.  I’m very proud of him too.

My extended family is doing well also.  My parents are now in their mid-seventies and relatively strong and healthy.  My three nephews (two of whom still live with us) are also growing up.  My youngest nephew is driving now.  Yikes!  He is in his 3rd year of high school and doing well.  My middle nephew is working and trying to figure out what he wants to do for a living.  My oldest nephew is in the U.S. Army and is stationed at Camp Carroll, in Daegu, South Korea.  His new wife is about to join has joined him there (on 2/3/13).  They will be living there for a total of three years.  We thought it was extremely funny that I’m the one crazy about South Korea and yet it is my nephew, who we never thought would even leave Georgia, who gets to go and live there.  LOL.  (Grrr.  :-})

Although Rain has experienced some downs in this new year, we are extremely proud of the way he has picked himself up and has carried on.  Resilience.  That is another lesson we can learn from Rain and another reason why I admire him so much.

To those of you who have made it this far with Cloud USA, we thank you.  We are honored by your loyalty, awed by your spirit and truly touched by your grace.

May we have many more years together in Rain’s world.

Terri :-}

°     °     °     °     °

{ ORIGINAL POST 1/21/2010: }

Hello, lovely Clouds.  Terri here.

First of all, I’m not your typical fan-girl.  Until Rain, I had never in my life gone gaga over a celebrity of any kind.  Ever.  It’s not my nature.  It’s not my temperament.  It’s not my style.

My family is so stunned by this development that they aren’t quite sure what to do with me.  My parents think I have gone nuts (and every time they have to sign for another package from Asia, they are sure of it).  My two sons are bewildered and smilingly tolerant (because they love me, of course :-}).  My friends have been all but abandoned (except Stephe).  Yes, usually completely level-headed and focused, I now find myself watching videos of this man over and over again, sometimes in complete awe, and other times in complete bewilderment at the idea that I’m having such a startling reaction to this person.

So, what the heck happened?  What was it that blew into my life and, in just two brief months, turned this cool and collected career-woman and mother-of-two into a blushing and blathering fan-girl?  What in the world swept over me and caused me to make the life-altering decision to partner up with my best friend and start a USA (turned international) fan site for a Korean pop-star I’d barely even heard of?

Well, ladies.  Let me tell you.  It was a perfect storm.  And his name was Rain.

For the past several years, my life has been a spectacular mess.  During that time, I left an abusive/cheating spouse, started a new career, and moved four—no—five times, all the while trying to raise two young men who depend on me to be there.  Being a single mom is challenging at best, crippling at times.  So, when I piled up all of the other issues I was dealing with on top of that one…  Well, let me just say that by the time my life had settled down, in October 2009, to some kind of semi-peaceful existence, I must have been ripe and ready for sweet diversion.

Which brings me to Rain.  Sort of.

°

Let me make myself perfectly clear.  I work for a living.  My children are in the midst of getting their young-adult lives together.  I’m dealing with elderly parents.  Seriously, I’ve got a lot on my plate.  So, I usually keep my life pretty simple.  I go to work, come home, work out, check in with the parents and the kids, eat dinner and then choose an extracurricular project to focus on during the evening (used to be fiction writing, now mostly Cloud USA!).

Sometimes I even try to watch television.  I say try, because—let me be honest here—for the most part, American television sucks, especially prime-time television.  If it’s not stereotypical characters, predictable plotting, or another spin-off of Law and Order or NCIS, then it’s a reality show whose so-called stars make you want to hurl.  Or maybe a time-travel drama with a convoluted plot that asks a gazillion questions but answers, oh, maybe like five of them?  Even the few decent shows that I’ve enjoyed watching tend to drag on and on, season after season, until they make you want to nuke your television just to get some peace and quiet.

I was embarking on my fourth move in five years, from my too-expensive apartment into a cheaper condominium community, when Stephe first casually mentioned this character called Rain to me.  Believe it or not, I ignored her.  Yes, I really did.  [*Stephe here.  Yes, she really did.  Ignore me. ^@@^]

I know, I know.  Sounds unimaginable, doesn’t it?  But there was a reason for that.  You see, when I mentioned to Stephe that I wished to GOD there was something original on television, she brought up two possibilities:  Asian dramas and telenovelas (Hispanic soaps).  She was “a fan of both,” she said, and “both were delightful to watch.”  More importantly, both Asian dramas and telenovelas spotlighted some “really hot guys.”

“Hm,” I said, thinking.  :-}

Since I already had two Hispanic television stations available to me via the evil-monopolistic-cable-company-who-shall-not-be-named, I made the off-handed decision to watch the telenovelas.  I could just as easily have chosen to watch Asian dramas on the Internet.  But I didn’t.

Whenever we talked, Stephe and I would dish about the latest happenings on whatever soap we were watching at the time, visit our favorite telenovela blogs, and drool over Hispanic hotties like William Levy and Eduardo Yáñez.  (Deep inhale, ladies.  It’s okay.  I feel ya.)

Anyway, during our conversations, she often would mention the latest Asian drama or movie she happened to be going ga-ga over.  At the time, she was also working on her second novel.  And since she is the type of writer who writes to music (I, strangely, am not), she had scoped out two songs that were perfect for her current characters, both of them by this incredible Korean singer called Rain, who she said would be starring in this terrific movie called Ninja Assassin.  She couldn’t wait.

Ninja…Assassin?”  I asked.  “Isn’t that kind of redundant?  I mean aren’t Ninjas assassins already?”

“No, see,” she said, “He’s like a ninja who is assassinating other ninjas.”

“Oh.  I get it,” I said.  “I think…”

But I didn’t get it.  Not really.  At least, I didn’t until November 15, 2009, when she blew up my e-mail with Rain videos (music and otherwise) and Ninja Assassin links, and I started watching them.

Even then, it took me awhile to get hooked.  I remember watching Sad Tango and thinking, Wow.  This guy is a terrific dancer. I remember thinking the same thing when I saw him perform Rainism.

But then I somehow stumbled across a video of his In My BedWah. Stephe hadn’t sent me that one.  So, after I’d watched it, I called her to fuss about her neglect.  How dare she not send me that!  What was she thinking?  (Yes, ladies, by this time I was searching for videos on my own—yeah, you saw that coming, didn’t you? )

I’m Coming came next.  I sat and watched in wonder at the way he moved.  The husky flavor of his voice enthralled me.

Three days later, on November 18, 2009, Stephe sent me Hip Korea’s documentary on Rain.  After it was over, I found myself weeping.  What suffering he had endured—starvation, sleeping on the streets, his mother’s death.  I was astonished as his courage and strength of character, and I was delighted at the level of his subsequent success.  I could not stop thinking about him.

After I had composed myself, I called Stephe, gushing.  She immediately responded by officially declaring me a “Cloud.”

Not long after that, we were looking around for a fan site that would meet our needs and, not finding one, decided to start our own, in tribute to our favorite Korean pop-star.  All I can say is that even though it was a decision made quickly, it is one I don’t regret making at all.

Why not?  What are the reasons I continue to Stand in the Rain?  Well, there are a number of reasons for continuing to support this incredible person, but there are two main reasons that call out to me, as I sit here writing this post.  Both of them have to do with my being a mom myself.

°

The first reason.

Preparing two young men to go out into the world by themselves is freakin’ hard.  It really is.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to say or what to do with them.  Many times, I’ve found myself sitting in my room with my head in my hands, tears streaming down my face, wondering what I’m going to do next, how we’re going to make it.  There have even been times when I wondered if my boys wouldn’t be better off without me in their lives.

And now?  Now, I know better.  Now, I’ve heard Rain’s voice soften and break as he shares the harsh stories of his childhood.  I’ve seen him shed tears as he sings Can’t Get Used To, a song dedicated to his mom.  Because of Rain, I’ve learned to straighten my back, stand tall and keep on fighting—for my boys.

The second reason.

My oldest son is a musician.  He has always loved music and has been singing and playing the guitar since he was 15 years old.  There are two problems with that.  First, we have always had very few resources to devote to his study of music.  So, he is mostly self-taught and is a bit behind his peers in his training.  Second, it’s really, really tough to break into the music business here in the States.  The bottom line is if I could have convinced him to choose something else to do for a living, I probably would have done so.

Before I learned about Rain, I didn’t have many words of encouragement for my poor son, even though he is so dedicated to his craft that his guitar is the first thing he picks up in the morning when he wakes up and the last thing he puts away before he goes to bed.  I wanted to support him.  I did.  I knew it was important to support him, to tell him how much I believed in his talent.  But I just didn’t know how to approach him about it without being critical and pushing him towards creating a fallback plan.

Thanks to Rain, I now have gained the wisdom and the courage to give my son the space to live his dream while supporting him in appropriate and yet creative ways.  Although I don’t know if my son will ever achieve his dream of being on stage and doing what Rain does for a living, I do know that whatever he does he won’t do it without me standing there in the wings and supporting him for all I’m worth.

So, you see?  In many ways, Rain was a gift to me when I needed one the most.

And because of that, I will be a Cloud forever.

Terri :-}

HelloKPop

» To read Stephe’s “Standing In The Rain Since… 2006,” click HERE.

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13 Responses to “Standing in the Rain since… 2009”

  1. Thanks for sharing you story, Terri. 🙂 Very inspiring.

    Like

  2. Hi! felisshi here. I’ve missed you all. Just came back from the Philippines. My husband passed away and we flew the body home to PH; buried next to his parents. It’s been gloomy for me but seeing Rain on facebook everyday since that fateful day I learned of my husband’s fatal accident in Mexico, makes me smile. Thanks for writing this inspiring story. It made me want to learn more and pursue something. Thanks for being there for us and let’s continue to follow that star (Rain).

    Like

    • Oh, Feli, we have missed you.

      I wondered where you were. I had no idea you’ve been dealing with such a heartbreaking tragedy. That I’m so sorry that you’ve lost your hubby sounds like such a lame thing to say, but I truly am. I cannot imagine such a thing. I cannot imagine your pain.

      That you’ve found some solace and smiles in Rain and his daily doings perks me up and gives me a smile. Thanks for sharing that. Glad you liked Terri’s Standing In The Rain story. 🙂

      Yes, let’s continue to follow our world star and see all the places he goes.

      Hugs from Atlanta to you and your family, and God bless and comfort you. Happy to hear from!

      Stephe ^@@^

      Like

    • Oh, Feli,

      Like Stephe said, we have missed you. I wondered what was happening with you when I realized I hadn’t seen you around for awhile. And now I know.

      My heart aches for you. ♥ Life can be so unfair, can’t it? And there just isn’t any explaining it. It’s just how this world works.

      I’m really glad that my story inspired you in some small way. When I wrote it, I hoped that sharing my own story would inspire others. So, it’s always a pleasure when I hear that it has.

      Please stay strong and know that we are thinking about you.

      Hugs,

      Terri :-}

      Like

  3. Congrats on your promotion! And thanks for what you do here on Cloud USA. The amount of time you give to this site is really appreciated.

    Like

  4. Hi there Terri, I m so inspired about yr story, bringing up yr 2 lovely boys in this mad mad world we live! And having Rain as sort of yr backbone when things are hard is such a lovely thing, ins’t it? Just withing Rain, your family and all the Clouds out there all the best in your lives and may one day I can meet him face to face… He he! Tq for sharing ya!

    Like

    • N,

      Thank you for your kind words. We are delighted when we hear that our stories and the information we share on our blog are making a difference in some small way. It means a lot to us.

      Yes, knowing Rain and his work have helped me a great deal. That is one of the main reasons that we started this blog. People who know me would tell you that I’m a really strong person. I always have been. Still, as strong as I am, even I have had to pick myself up from some pretty hard knocks. So, yes, it helps me a lot to hear stories of how others have persevered in the face of adversity–like Rain.

      We hope it helps all of you too.

      This journey we call life is a difficult one. Sometimes it’s so hard that it’s all we can do to keep our eyes on the road and put one foot in front of the other and keep going. The problem is if we keep our heads down all of the time, if we don’t look up and look around every now and then, then we miss the beauty of life around us.

      More importantly, if you’re always looking down at your feet, you can’t help others who might be traveling along the road with you.

      So I encourage you all to smile and look up sometimes–and let the sun (or Rain) fall onto your face.

      Terri :-}

      Like

  5. Terri,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.
    Rain is one of those amazing artists that gives us hope and makes us happy to be alive. Like you I am not a fan type person – this is the first fan site I’ve ever joined.

    Like

    • Jon,

      It was my pleasure.

      I thank you for joining us in spreading the news about Rain. We need all the help we can get. Our work is going to be a little harder now that he’s in the military and there is less news of him. However, like Rain, I like to consider his military service just a little challenge. You know. Just a speedbump in the road to get over before I move on to the next intersection.

      Terri :-}

      Like

  6. […] Standing in the Rain since… 2009 […]

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  7. […] Terri’s Story […]

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