Mother’s Advice

I am feeling very depressed about learning Korean right now (though I have been updating my 한국어 공책!), but what happened Thursday morning amused me.

Mother called, while Good Man was still asleep. I answered the phone and we spoke in Korean (of course).

“Oh, Amanda!”

“Yes, how are you Mother?”

“Why are you home? Are you sick?” she cried, sounding worried.

“No, today is…American Chuseok,” I said. “[Good Man] is sleeping.”


“Yes, he is so busy lately,” I said. “Oh, Mother! [Good Man] started a fire!” I told her the story and then added, “And I started a fire, too!”

She understood both of my stories, and I finally woke Good Man up. After she’d finished talking to Good Man, I picked up the phone again.

Mother told me to be well and then suddenly spoke tat tat tat fast. Although I couldn’t repeat what she said, I immediately understood.

“Don’t start any more fires!”

“You Don’t Need Me Anymore.”

“[Good Man]! ‘내일 친구가 결혼해요. 내일 날씨가 좋았으면 좋겠어요.’ That means ‘tomorrow my friends are getting married. It would be great if the weather is nice,’ right?”


“[Good Man]! ‘나무꾼은 허리를 굽혀 인사했습니다.’ The woodcutter bowed from the waist?”


“‘울음을 터뜨리다?’ Burst out crying?”


“What is 사…사라지다? To go under the water?”

“Yes, in this context, but ‘disappear.’ I don’t think you need me anymore.”

Of course he’s wrong. I asked what 터덜터덜 (teodeol teodeol) meant. Without a word, he came into the room, walking like a sad donkey. The dictionary defines it as plodding, but “plodding” doesn’t quite describe what he did.


I was going to write about using 이솝 이야기 to study Korean, and then I struggled with two stories in a row. I can’t even read a stupid book at a second grade level. Why do I bother with this?

Thanks, and A Brothel?

A Brothel?
Tonight Good Man and I went to a restaurant near our house. It’s this hole-in-the-wall, greasy-spoon looking Mexican joint and bar.

A few months ago, I asked my students about this place and they said it was great.

We walked in and nothing seemed too unusual, except that the shades were drawn. There were a few people eating, one group of really loud guys. We ordered our food and Good Man helped me with my Korean a bit.

Shortly before we received our food, I realized that everyone was staring at us. Really staring at us. Even the waitress was sort of giving us odd looks, though she was nice enough.

And then I looked around and realized that all of the people eating were men.

The joint had six or seven waitresses—much more than necessary—and all of them were wearing tight red pants and tight white shirts and about a pound of makeup. Good Man said, “I feel uncomfortable. I feel like we’re in Hooters.”

When we were almost done with our meal, a woman wearing extremely short hot pants came in and started setting up…something. And then two hired security guards came in.

I didn’t know the word for “brothel” or “whorehouse” so I said to Good Man, “포주 집인것 같지?” This seems like a pimphouse, doesn’t it? He agreed. Oh, and for the record, “brothel” is 사창가.

I don’t think we’ll be going back.

Yesterday we did not eat at a whorehouse. We ate at Mark’s Lover’s house. And it was wonderful.

Good Man at Mark’s Baby Grand

Good Man, Mark’s Co-Worker and Me
I need new jeans.




The Turkey
Doesn’t this look like a cover of a magazine?

(One of) The Stuffing(s)

We made this.

Some of the Other Dishes

The Sun

Eight Centimeters

After talking for several minutes, I asked Good Man, “Don’t you notice anything new?”


“I chopped eight centimeters off of my hair! On the short part!”

“You’re so beautiful, I love you!” Good Man grinned and raised an eyebrow. He said conspiratorially, “Do you like how I changed the subject there? Huh?”

We both burst out laughing.

Blunt Cut

“She’s Korean.”

I have a new student in one of my classes. Today New Student asked, “What kind of music is this?”

“It’s Korean” said The One Who Really Likes This Music.

“Korean music?” New Student said. “Why?”

“Cause she’s Korean,” said Cat’s Eyes.

“She doesn’t look Korean,” New Student said, looking at me.

Cat’s Eyes shook his head, somewhat dismissively. “Well, she’s not, but she has a Korean fiancé and lived there for two years and does taekwondo and speaks Korean and she teaches us some Korean, too, like 모모 and 하지마. Well. Yeah,” he nodded, “she’s Korean.”

Not to Be Outdone in the Fire Department…

So Good Man set a vegetable bun on fire.

Well, I am not one to be outdone in the fire (or idiocy!) department.

Saturday morning I was talking with Dad on the phone when, without thinking (obviously!), I stuck the traditional Korean stew pots on the stove.

On top of their plastic trays.

Plastic trays. On an open flame. Two plastic trays, actually.

Good Man made the house stink when he set things in fire, but at least with his fire we didn’t have to inhale burning plastic!

I broke down and bought some air freshener gel stuff last night because I couldn’t handle the acrid smell for another night. At least my eyes and nose are no longer burning.

If I write about Good Man’s “duh” moments, I’ve got to write about my own. 난 바보야! I’m an idiot!

The Point of It

A few days ago, I talked to my father. I was telling him a story about Good Man and I said, “He doesn’t only love me, he—”

“He likes you,” Dad said.

“Yes! You understand!”

A lot of couples I encounter or see don’t seem to like each other much, even if they love each other. I have known and worked with women who couldn’t say one nice thing about their husbands or boyfriends. Whine, whine, bitch, bitch. Why stick with him when you obviously don’t like him? “But I love him.”


“Oh, Amanda,” Dad said, “I am so happy for you. I am so happy you’re marrying someone you like, you likes you, and that you love, who loves you.”


Last week, Good Man had a terrible headache while he was at school. I offered to pick him up so he wouldn’t have to deal with the bus. He asked me to bring him something hot—coffee or tea—in his mug.

A mile away from his school, I realized I’d forgotten the hot drink. As soon as he opened up the car door I said, “I forgot your drink. I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK.”

We stopped for gas ($1.95/gallon!) and while the gas was pumping, I ran inside. Good Man looked at my quizzically from the truck, but I didn’t tell him what I was doing.

I came back to the truck and handed him some coffee with amaretto cream in it. “I’m sorry I forgot your coffee. If you had forgotten, I would’ve said, ‘One thing, I asked you to do one thing!’ But you weren’t mad at all. Thank you.”

Good Man laughed, nodded, and sipped his coffee. He closed his eyes, leaned back against the seat. “사랑해.” I love you.

“나도.” I love you, too.

Seaweed Soup and Peanut Butter Cake

Monday was Good Man’s birthday. I had a workshop until 7:30 pm and he had school until 10 pm, so we decided to celebrate on the 18th. The Korean gov’t mistakenly thinks that’s his birthday anyhow.

I made Good Man 미역국 (seaweed soup). For three weeks after giving birth, Korean women eat this as it is really healthy and is said to help their bodies heal and their milk drop. So it’s a tradition in Korean to eat miyeokguk on your birthday.

I asked Good Man months ago if he wanted me to make seaweed soup on his birthday. He said no. I asked again last weekend a slow smile spread across his face and he said yes. Ahh, yes, time does make one miss things they never thought they would…

I hate miyeokguk, so cooking it was an act of love, but one Good Man appreciated.

Tonight we headed over to Mark’s place to meet Mark and his Lover for dinner and cake. It was a nice little get-together.

Good Man

Good Man (Halo)

Good Man (Hair on Fire)

Even though this is out of focus, I really like it.

Mark (in the Bathroom) Taken by Me (in the Kitchen)

He Likes It

My students listen to music a lot in class. I like the background noise, and often, they do too. I always ask them first, “Do you want music?”


Lately we’ve been listening to a Korean CD I have. I dig listening to non-English language music because we (read: I) don’t have to worry about the lyrics. The kids always whine about the music being in a foreign language a bit at first, but then they come around.

A few days ago, one student said, “What is ‘sarang?’ All of the songs have it.”

“Just like in America,” I answered, “songs are often about ‘love.'”


Today a song came on and a student piped up, “Turn it up! I like this song, it’s my favorite.”

“But you don’t know what they’re saying,” another student said.

He nodded, “I like the way it sounds, though.”

His Favorite

My Second Favorite