June 7, 2009 § 3 Comments
My mom is really good at giving backhanded compliments. I think its really funny though so I like to tell people about the things she says. The most common story I tell people is when she said to me, “Your brother is naturally smart.. a genius! And your sister is naturally so sociable and popular. You’re not naturally talented in either of those ways but you work hard so its okay.” Basically she was saying that I succeeded through perseverance and that she was proud of me but you have to admit, she didn’t phrase it the best way. Plus, isn’t there some unspoken parenting rule that you’re not supposed to compare your kids?? Anyway, today I was telling her about how I went swing dancing in Korea and she was like, “You dance? Are you any good?” which baffles me because I have sent her videos of past performances and she should have been able to answer both those questions on her own. After I replied that I could dance but wasn’t that good she said, “Yeah, you’re not a natural dancer. Now your sister, SHES a natural dancer. Shes so fluid and free in her movements. To be honest, when I first saw you dance in colorguard I was worried because you were so stiff and awkward. But after a while you got a little better and I felt more relieved.”
GEE, thanks mom! -_-
(my “stiff” colorguard days)
Today I woke up, organized my clothes, spoke with a really good friend of mine in America, and then left my brother’s apartment to go meet two of our uncles and their wives for dinner. BTW, if you need to make international phone calls I highly recommend buying Skype credit and using a webcam or headset to talk to people overseas. It is much cheaper than a calling card and very easy to set up. All you need is internet and some sort of microphone and you are golden. I talked to my friend for about 40 minutes (Korea to America) and it cost less than a dollar. Anyway, it was really nice to talk to catch up and see what was going on in his life. My friend goes to the University of Chicago and is apparently in the middle of finals. I keep on forgetting that other schools are still in session and that not all of my friends are on summer break.
After reaching my aunt’s house I just waited with my mom and big aunt for my two uncles and their wives to show up. It was funny because I was trying to talk to my mom and spend some quality time with her but she just wanted to read her holy books or sleep. I would ask her a question every so often only to discover that she was sleeping. But its okay, next time she wants to lecture me (her version of quality time), I won’t feel bad falling asleep. lol. Finally at around 6pm my Maknae (youngest) uncle and his wife arrived. It was really awkward for me at first because I had nothing to say, especially while the adults were catching up. I wish they could have brought their son who is a couple years younger than me but he was studying for his college finals. We went down and met up with my second uncle and his wife which was kind of awkward as well. I actually stayed at my second uncle’s house for a few days when I was really young and last time I came to Korea (about 5 years ago) I had dinner with him and his wife. Ah, something that made the beginning of the night even more awkward is that they would call me my sister’s name or ask questions/make comments that were obviously for my sister (ie. “I heard you’re going to nursing school”). It took a couple hours but by the end of dinner they didn’t make those mistakes anymore.
Ah! Okay, so in Korea there is a dish called 약밥 (yak bap). I never came across it before in America and I thought it would be really yummy since three of my aunts were ordering it so I also ordered it. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that it was a large bowl of rice mixed with all different kinds of beans. I hate beans! When I was younger I used to hide them in napkins or sneak them on other people’s plates because I didn’t want to eat them. I ended up swapping rice with my mom (she ordered a stew which came with plain, white rice) and just ate rice with the different side dishes and soups. It was still pretty good though and I learned never to order yakbap again. There was this one potato side dish that was really good. I wish I knew how to make it.
After dinner we went back to my aunt’s apartment and chatted while eating fruit. I became a lot more comfortable then and was finally able to talk. I told my second uncle of how I remembered his old house really well and the stationary store he used to have. There was also this really good chicken kebab shanty on the corner of their block that I always wanted to go to. Also, the best rice cake I have ever eaten in my life came from the street behind their house. Good times! I even bought two turtles in their neighborhood and somehow smuggled back to America where they lived prosperously for a couple years. I didn’t really have that much to say to my youngest uncle because I don’t really have any memories with him. I only saw him at a few dinners and nothing too significant. I was more comfortable with his wife who, I must say, does not look anywhere near her age. She is 49 but looks like shes barely older than 25. It was really amazing. A-M-A-zing! I mean, I know some people age really well but I’ve never seen it in person. She is really nice though and I felt comfortable asking her questions if I didn’t understand something. Haha, it was probably because I felt like she was closest to my age.
OH! I made a new discovery today! I look a lot like my mom’s younger brother! We took a picture together and we have the same round noses and chubby cheeks. If you cover the top part of our faces, I could seriously be the female version of him. It was so interesting because I don’t really look like my mom or my dad. Turns out, I am the spitting image of my uncle. My brother laughed at me when I told him because my uncle is not the best looking man in the world (to put it kindly) but I don’t care. I think its so cool and intriguing to discover such a connection! My brother is freaking evil though and was telling me that I should start looking for a good plastic surgeon. -_- Hehe. Evil, I say! My brother always makes fun of me and says I look like a smurf and kept on singing the smurf theme song while I showed him pictures. I’m not sure if I want Allan and my brother to meet because they will probably sing the smurf theme song together and make a mountain sign on their noses to signify Mt. Yumi. Haha, I haven’t told my brother the Mt. Yumi story yet and I should probably keep it that way.
Anyway, Jungwoo oppa stopped by and I got to play with his cool phone some more. He snapped some candid pictures with my camera so here I am texting with one phone while fishing on the other. He has a lot more games on his phone but I really like the fishing one so thats the only one I’ve played so far.
Later when he was leaving he told me the most hilarious, most coincidental occurrence this whole trip. To understand this you need to have read the previous two posts that mentioned Jungwoo oppa. Basically, I had posted a picture of a well-known Korean celebrity and had written that I expected Jungwoo oppa to look like that. In a later post, I wrote how I confessed everything to Jungwoo oppa because he was going to see my blog. So yesterday, he finally saw the post and the picture of the Song Seung-hun that I posted. Apparently when he was in college, it was the trend to pick a celebrity you wanted to look like and put their picture on your wall or mirror to look at everyday. HE CHOSE THAT SAME EXACT PICTURE!!! LLLLLLLOOOOOOLLLLLL! Not only the same celebrity but that SAME exact picture! Oh my gosh, I could not stop laughing when he told me. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for sharing that with my four (I think three now.. lol) readers but it was just too hilarious to keep to myself.
After dinner I went home via subway and came into an interesting situation. I went to go put more money on my subway pass/key chain at a self-serve machine and pressed English when selecting the language. I guess I was moving too slowly because a Korean ajusshi came up to me and was signaling that it was time for me to put my money in while I was reaching for my wallet. I responded with ONE word and it was amazing to see the power of that one word. It was 예 and is pronounced “yeh.” But after I said that one word he realized that I was Korean and immediately started apologizing and saying that he assumed I was a foreigner because I had selected English but obviously I wasn’t because my Korean was so good. ONE WORD! It’s almost not even a word! That was pretty amazing to me. So I guess the lesson is, if you want to pass for a native Korean just smile and say 예. Of course that can only get you so far and won’t help while you stare blankly at them, unable to comprehend what they say, but its a start!
After that I met up with my brother at a Kinkos in the area and got a ride back with him. Now that I’m older, I feel like my brother and I are making up for the lost time when he was at college and I was still in elementary and middle school. We act so juvenille sometimes and not like college grads at all. Hehehe. Today we were making fun of each other’s lack of skill with Microsoft Office and pulling out all our best pieces of work from our college days to prove that we were superior to the other. He also tried to commission me to clean his apartment but I said that he couldn’t afford someone of my extraordinary skill and talent. Haha. Anyway, the point is, it’s nice to spend some time with him. It’s hard to really communicate over internet and occasional phone calls so its nice to see his face and realize that he is still such a big dork. He’s my bro and I love him. End of story. =)