“Wife” and Expat Medicine Woes

Last night in a moment of stress…

“I’m stressed! I’m sorry I’m being so bitchy!”

“Nooooooo,” Good Man said. “You are not bitch. You are woman! You are wife! You are my wife!”

“You like that word,” I said.

“‘Wife’ is best word ever! All Korean men like the word. ‘Wife!'”

I started rattling off the Korean words related to wife and newlywed. “부인, 아내, 처, 신부…”

“No! 와이프!” He said “wife” in the Korean way, making it almost—but not quite—sound like “wipe.”

Good Man went on, “와이프 is best word ever! All Korean men born since, hmmm, 1970, love 와이프! Wife Magic!”

Meanwhile I keep calling him my boyfriend and fiancé.

“Nooooooo! I am ‘husband!'”


One common complaint of ex-pats in Korea is that getting decent over-the-counter drugs is impossible. Going to the doctor is cheap. Getting prescription meds is cheap. Getting decent over-the-counter medicine? Not as easy.

Mother sent Good Man to America with a mini-pharmacy in his bag, much as my mother sent me to Korea with a huge bottle of Advil and other meds.

“American medicine is too strong,” Good Man explained.

Today I took Good Man to the store to pick up some cold medicine. I immediately reached for cheaper store-brand versions of DayQuil and NyQuil. “This is what you want, this is good stuff.”

“That looks scary.”

“No, it’s not. It’s good, but be careful you take day during the day and night at night ’cause the night one will knock you out asleep.”

Good Man looked horrified. “Why is American medicine so strong?”

“Well, your Korean medicine isn’t working, so go American-style. Do you want cherry red flavor or original green flavor?”

“This is medicine, not food.”

“Right, but it’s American medicine. So red or green flavor?”

Good Man nodded. “Green.”

I picked up the green night bottle and the orange day bottle. “This will taste disgusting.”

“It’s OK. I have had Chinese medicine.”