Grey Pants and Soda and Movie Star Good Man

At the Casino

I came upon the three men all holding cups of soda.

I teased them, “Not one of the menfolk could grab the womanfolk a Coke?”

“That’s [Good Man]’s job,” Mark said. (Or something like that.)

Later Good Man and Mark went to get sodas. Mark’s Lover and I were hanging behind. Good Man started walking toward us with two cups of soda. “Let’s see if Mark does the same,” Mark’s Lover said.

Mark appeared holding only one cup.

“You’re awesome,” I said to Good Man.

How Old Am I?

I told Good Man to bring his suit to America.

Mother told him the same thing.

He didn’t listen to either of us.

Last night we went to KORUS House for the opening reception of a Korean metalwork and jewelry display.

Before we went, I made Good Man go out and buy some pants. We went to Marshall’s and found some “past season” dark charcoal grey wool Perry Ellis pants. (Yes, so past season, those grey pants.) They were selling for $20 (original tag still on them? $79.50) but missing the tag.

Trying to speed things up, I brought another pair of the exact same style up and said, “This is the price.”

“Oh, you want me to make a price tag?”

“No, we just want to buy it.”

“But I should make a tag.”

We were really in a hurry. “We don’t need a tag,” I said.

“OK, I just have to check with a manager,” the woman said, “to make sure this is the price.”

It was the exact same set of pants. I was getting really frustrated but just smiled. Outside, however, I bitched to Good Man.

Good Man smiled kindly, “Well, you may know, her brain may be slow. She is at least two times older than you.”

“Two times? Try three! She’s way older than 40!”

Good Man cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. “How old do you think you are, Amanda?”

I thought. “OK, she is about 60.”

“Maybe your brain is a bit malfunctioning, too,” he said.

Movie Star

Remember this coffee shop portrait?

I have a copy of it on my filing cabinet near my desk at work. Today two of my students were looking at it.

“How did Mr take that photo, Ms S?”

“He didn’t, I did.”

My student sounded shocked. “You did? Wow, I like it.”

The other one leaned in to look at it closely. “How’d you get him to look like a movie star?”

I laughed. “A movie star?”

“Yeah, this looks like a movie star picture.”

Wedding Certificates, Invites, Announcements, Thank You Notes


Quaker Certificate
We got our Quaker-style wedding certificate from Documents and Designs. It looks fantastic, and they were able to come up with a crossed-flag design that Good Man wanted. (To be honest, I almost hoped they wouldn’t because I wanted the Chinese wedding symbol. But Good Man really wanted crossed flags. And it didn’t seem to cost any extra for their custom design. Score one for the groom! Score one for the company!) Four proofs later, we finally ordered. We got the certificate in a few days. Very, very happy with them.

They were nice to work with, especially considering the proofing issues we had. I had sent Word files of the text, and the Korean part was annotated so they’d know which lines matched up with the English document. I think this was helpful, but it didn’t prevent all minor errors.

In the Korean body of the certificate my name ends in 와 (and) and Good Man’s ends in 는(topic marker). In the signature sections they had written my name in English and Good Man’s in Korean—with the 는. I asked them to drop the 는 in his name, add his name in English, and add my name in Korean. When I did that, I wrote back my name in Korean without the 와. They must’ve missed that, because they wrote my name on the signature line with the 와—as it needed to be written in the main section.

Before I could tell them to drop the 와, I noticed that the Korean flag was backwards. The red and blue were in the right spots (red on top), but the three solid bars were in the upper right instead of the upper left. (How come I noticed this and Good Man didn’t?) I told them to flip the flag and drop the 와.

Well, nobody there spoke Korean and they must’ve been so confused about this 와/는 thing. They send back two copies of the final proof. One had no 와/는 in the body or on the signature lines and the other had the 와/는 exactly where we needed it. Perfect!

Invitations and Those Teasing Things
Sister is a graphic designer and she offered to do our photo invitations and announcements for us. She did a great job, but I was stressing out over minor (but important!) English errors. We were trying to figure out English graphic design terms, and then figure out how to translate them…

Near the end, I started totally freaking out that nobody was listening to me and Saturday was going to be cut off and read Saturdav and why was she viewing English like a decoration and worse, why was Good Man treating it as such, and dammit, why wasn’t anyone listening to me?

Um. Well, nobody would listen to me because Sister was 100% correct and I was 100% wrong. One win for Sister. One big serving of crow for Eonni.

고마워, 시누이!

VistaPrint’s Customer Service
We ordered the invites and announcements from VistaPrint. We ended up ordering 50 invites (the minimum) and 100 “teasing things” (the minimum).

The announcements came out perfectly. But half of the invitations were screwy, featuring a long vertical streak running down one side. It was obviously a printing issue because it was every other card which featured the defect.

I called VistaPrint. First they offered to reprint. Well, we only needed 19 invites, so I said that wouldn’t work. Then they offered us a credit for the entire cost of the invites plus S&H. I’m sure if I pushed, I could’ve gotten a refund. But I knew we wanted to order thank you notes, so I took the credit.

Then I turned around and ordered 100 linen-finish flat photo note cards. Assuming they come out clearly, we ended up getting 25 (usable) invites, 100 announcements (what we’re going to do with 100 announcements, I don’t know), 100 thank you notes (what we’re going to do with 100 of these things, I don’t know), and envelopes for the whole mess for a total price that came in at under $65.

We also saved money with postage, because we didn’t do reply cards and our invites came in under an ounce and flat. I was happy. That’s less money on wedding postage and more money on wedding rice cakes! ㅋㅋㅋ

On top of that, I clicked through my eBates account first, so I’ll get 3% of the subtotal back as cash. (If you decide to sign up for eBates and go through that link, we’ll both make $5.)

Perfect Timing, Mark
We picked up banana paper at Office Depot Saturday to make the map inserts. While we were at Office Depot I saw all of the print your own invitations and had this brief meltdown. Should we have gone the ribbons and vellum way?

When we went out gambling with Mark and his Lover, we showed them the invites and announcements. Before I could open my mouth Mark said, “Wow, I really like these. They’re so unique! None of that vellum.”

I could’ve kissed him; it was exactly what I needed to hear right then.

So That’s Why I Studied Korean…
It’s a good thing I know a little Korean. Before we had the announcements printed, after Good Man and I had both looked at them several times, I realized that there was a verb tense problem in the Korean text. I wouldn’t’ve known what I was looking for on the certificate if I didn’t know Hangul. And while Good Man translated the entire hotel maps/info insert for me, I realized that he misunderstood something and mistranslated it in a way that could’ve cost our guests some money.

It’s nice to use Korean in such an obvious way.

Gambling, The Ham Thing, Dentists, and Obama’s Lucky Day


“Hey,” said Mark, Saturday night and over the phone, “want to go to West Virginia to go to the casino?”

In Minnesota you can gamble at 18 (and in West Virginia, too). The night I turned 18, Mark took me to Mistake Mystic Lake to gamble. When we got there, the guard had to check his watch. I’d been legal about four minutes.

I rarely gamble, but when I do I bring enough money to lose and play the nickel slots. I’m cheap like that.

In Korea gambling is only legal if you’re not a Korean citizen. I asked Good Man if he wanted to go. He stared at me. “Can I?”


“But what if the Korean government finds out?”

I laughed, “It’s legal here, it’s not against your visa to gamble.”

A few hours later, Good Man was losing the thirty bucks he’d won. “Just one more time…”


We crashed at Mark’s Lover’s house that night. When we left, Mark invited us over to Easter dinner at his new house. I was tired and wanted to finish the wedding invites and wanted to be lazy on the last afternoon of my spring break.

Good Man pouted. “I want to go to ham thing. You should not have told me about ham thing. Let’s go to ham thing.”

We went to Ham Thing, which was the first holiday dinner Mark hosted in his house. The food was great, the conversation was nice, and the company excellent. I’m glad Good Man pouted.


I went to the dentist today. Again. I also went last week. Last week I got my crown put on and Good Man got a cleaning. The dentists were so excited. “You brought your husband” the male said. “We get to meet your husband,” the female said.

“I think they are married,” Good Man said to me in the car about the dentists.


“Because otherwise why would they be in the same place? That is not the Korean way.”

So when I showed up today and got the female dentist I asked, “Is the other dentist your husband?”

She looked surprised. “Yes! How’d you know that?”

“[Good Man] guessed. It must be some magic Korean thing.”

She laughed, “Yes. I work with him and live with him.”

“Does that make you crazy sometimes?”

“Yes, but don’t tell him that.”

My cleaning and exam today went well, except I have a cavity on my wisdom tooth. So I need to decide if I’m going to fill it or eventually yank it. I’m guessing filling it would be many times cheaper.


We sent the Obamas a wedding invite today.

Do Snakes Have Tails?

Yesterday Good Man and I played 20 Questions, known as 스무고개, in Korean. I was thinking of 팸, snake.

Good Man asked, “꼬리 없어?” It doesn’t have a tail?

I was reminded of the octopus arm/leg incident. “미국에서 꼬리 있어. 하지만 한국에서 몰라. 아마 꼬리 없어.”

Good Man stared at me. “뭐?”

I repeated myself. In America, it has a tail. In Korea, I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t have a tail.

He asked if it lived in water.

“때때로.” Sometimes.

He stared at me again. Perhaps I was being too strict with my playing of 20 Questions. I offered, “나무, 물, 토 [흙], 사막에서 살 수 있어.” It can live in trees, water, ground [with a mistaken word], the desert.

He guessed it was a snake and then said, “Snakes don’t have tails.”

“They do in English.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

(Actually, it does make sense. Good Man used Professor Google in Korean and found out that snakes do have tails in Korean.)


Good Man teased me. “You say 소고기, 물고기 cutely.”

“Huh? How do I say them?”

Good Man laughed, “소고기, 물고기!”

“How am I supposed to say it?”

Good Man sounded very depressed. “물고기. 소고기.”

Apparently I say sogogi and mulgogi like a happy, excited child. I’m supposed to say them like a depressed, sad adult.

Such an Ajumma

On Sunday, Unabomber Good Man and I went for another walk.

Una Good Man

I had my LensBaby with me, and I was playing around with the macro feature. Macros don’t really work well when the wind is blowing, though.

Macro Flower

While we were walking along, Good Man starting teasing me. “You are such an ajumma!”

What brought on this ajumma-accusation?

We had walked past bags full of yard clippings and one of them had a handphone in it. “Why is a handphone in that bag?” I wondered out loud (in Korean).


“That bag, it has a handphone in it.”

Good Man laughed, “You are such an ajumma!” He jumped up and down, laughing. “Everybody’s business is your business! You…are…ajumma!”

I glared at him and stomped my foot, Korean drama style. “아-줌-마 아-니-야!” I am not an a-jum-ma!

Hats and Lying Mothers

I knit this hat out of red wool for Good Man because red is his favorite color. I made the cuffs long on purpose so that when it’s cold he can double or even triple the cuff to keep his ears warm.

Saturday night, over a video chat, Mother laughed at his hat, told him he looked like Rudolph, went on and on.

Finally I managed to get in a sentence. “엄머니, 마음이 아파요. 저는 만들었어요.” Mother, my feelings are hurt. I made it.

She froze. “아만다! 만들었어?” Amanda! You made it?

“네.” Yes.

She nodded excitedly, “예뻐!” It’s beautiful!


Overheard, The First Time, Naming Conventions, and Dinner Decisions

Overheard While Out for Lunch One Day

Man: You know, I wish I had been on a bad date, so I could know what it feels like for a girl to not like you.

Woman: Ung. [Eyes rolling]

The First Time

Before taekwondo tonight I did 500 turns of the jump rope. A fantastic warm up, I made it to 453 before tripping. Ahhh, so close. Then Kwanjangnim (New Master) made me run warm ups for the class. First time I’ve ever done that.

Naming Conventions

I called the dentist to see if I could get Good Man an appointment at the same time I have one on Wednesday. “First name… and same last name?”

One of my students asked me if she was going to have to call me by a new last name. “No, I’m keeping my own,” I told her. I didn’t tell her my first name with his last name makes a great stripper name.

In Korea it’s not traditional for women to take her husband’s last name. In fact, Good Man’s not even sure it’s possible. So when I asked Good Man if he wanted me to take his name, he looked at me like I was nuts. (Which is good, because I wasn’t going to take his name in any case.)

A few weekends ago Good Man and I worked on ordering our Quaker-style wedding certificate. We were reading on the website that many couples will sign as a couple, so you should order enough lines for 75% of the guests.

Good Man was confused. “What does that mean? ‘Sign as a couple?'”

I signed ‘Mr. and Mrs. John Kim’ on a piece of paper. (No Good Man’s name is not John; no, his family name is not Kim.)

“Where’s the woman’s name?”

“She’s here, in the Mrs. John.”

Good Man stared at me for a moment. When he realized I wasn’t kidding he yelled, “that’s bull! That’s so sexist—what about her name? Where is her name?” He then started muttering. “Stupid. Go to hell.”

I said it could be “John and Jane Kim” and he still just stared at me.

More than half of our guest list is made up of couples, and I really don’t want only sixteen signatures on this document. I said that we could just quietly spread the word to sign one-by-one. Good Man looked at me, “Yes! We don’t allow any stupidity at our wedding!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. I’d never expect Good Man to feel so passionate about names. Then again, in Korea if you share a name and house with a woman your age, she’s your sister.

Dinner Decisions

Last weekend we went out for dinner with Mark and his Lover. Good Man looked at the menu. “There is too much to choose from in America,” he said. He told me to start picking for him.

I laughed. “That’s rather old-fashioned and backwards,” I said to him. “A long time ago, the man would order for the lady. Sometimes he’d let her choose, and other times he’d just choose for her.”

“Yeah, that’s OK, you can just choose for me any time we go out. Menus are too big in America!”

“Menus were just as big in Korea,” I argued, “Go to one of those orange places and they have walls of menus.”

“But it’s all the same—ramyeon, cheese ramyeon, curry ramyeon—here you have all those options in one menu option,” he said, pointing to the “choose two sides from the list below to go with any meal above” section.

One thing that I heard foreigners complain about in Korea is that you can’t special order foods. Like the cough syrup incident, I hadn’t considered the flip side, feeling like there are too many options when you can special order.

Nose Noise and Kangaroos

“Did I make a lot of nose noise?” Good Man asked me.

I burst out laughing, “You mean snoring?”

Good Man started fake snoring quietly. “Nose noise, this.”

Yes, Good Man fell asleep at our couple’s massage again.

“You need to get more sleep, hon, you have bags under your eyes.”

Good Man nodded, “I can hold twenty kangaroos in these bags.”

Wet Sock Fruit and Seaweed

While sharing a bag of dried fruit…

“Do you like this?” Good Man looked at me.

“Yeah, why? You don’t?”

Good Man waved a piece of dried apple in the air. “This…this is like eating fruit that has been stored in a wet sock.”

His comment reminded me of the first time I had octopus/squid in Korea (I’m still not sure which it was). It was like eating a rubber ball.


While eating lunch today, as I was opening a package of 김, gim

“Amanda! What is that?”


My coworker knit her brows together. “What does it taste like?”

I shrugged. “Salt. The ocean. A little fishy, I guess.”


This woman is old enough to be my mother.

I used my chopsticks to wrap some seaweed around the rice mixture, and brought the chopsticks to my mouth. I smiled.

Dear Student Loan Company

Dear Student Loan Company,

I know you wanted me to take 240 months to pay you back. I know you wanted to make approximately 80% of the original value of the loan in interest. I know I robbed you of that opportunity by paying off my student loan in 50 months, saving myself thousands of dollars in interest.

I know that banks and loan companies are having a hard time right now, so I’m sorry that I took all that interest away from you.

Oh, it’s April 1st, Student Loan Company! You caught me! I am joshin’ ya—I’m not sorry at all!