아줌마 비법

“Amanda!” Whenever Mother says my name, she yells it. A-man-daaaaah! “[Good Man] needs new pants.”

“I know, but he doesn’t like shopping.”

“Neither does his father. I buy him pants and say, ‘Wear these!'”

I started laughing. “Ajumma, ajumma… [Good Man] how do you say ‘trick?'”

“비법.” Bibeop. The dictionary says it’s “a secret process, a mystique, a mystery.”

Mother nodded, “Yes, ajumma trick. You go buy him pants, OK?”

“I promise,” I laughed.

***

At the outlet mall, Mother managed to find the sole Korean-speaking employee in the store. At Bath and Body Works, Mother managed to find the sole Korean customer in the store. She looked at the woman and just started speaking Korean.

“Mother,” I said, “you have an ajumma trick! You have Korean radar. Beep beep beep! Korean person!”

Mother laughed and the woman she was talking to gasped, “She knows Korean! She knows the word 비법!”

***

“엄마, 쇼핑 올림픽 운동하면, 김연아예요.”

Mother laughed and said other Korean women were much better than she was.

I made hash of the phrasing, but she understood what I meant.

Mother, if shopping were an Olympic Sport, you’d be Kim Yuna.

(Just for the record, Good Man says 쇼핑 올림픽에 참가했다면, 김연아였을 거예요 is a better way to phrase it.)