Moments with Sister

“OK, see that swimsuit on that man?” I asked Sister in Busan, at the beach.

Sister looked, “Yes.”

“In America, we call that a banana hammock.”


“Where people sleep in hot countries,” I said, looking up the word on Sister’s handphone. I showed her the phone and she nodded. “And banana is like pepper.”

Sister started laughing and nodded. Then she tilted her head toward a man down the beach, “He is wearing a banana hammock, too.”


I stopped to look at a sculpture. “OK, this…is a little weird.”

Sister looked up, too. “Yeah.”

“What is that in Korean?” I said, pointing to a part of the sculpture. “Man eggs?”

“I don’t know.”

I looked at her. “I don’t believe you. How do you say ‘man eggs’ in Korean?”

“불알,” she said quietly.

“불 like fire? Fire eggs. I am going to remember fire eggs.”

Sister shook her head, “Different 불.”

“I know, but now I will remember ‘fire eggs’ for ‘man eggs.'”

Sister just laughed and laughed. (A few days later, Mother lectured me on how I should feed Good Man a lot of tomatoes so he doesn’t get testicular cancer, so it’s a good thing I learned about ‘fire eggs’ from Sister.)


Sister comes into my room and declares, “Mother took all of the coins from my bedroom.”

Mother took all of my 10 won coins from me when we were shopping. Good Man says she’s like me and finds coins, except I find coins on the street and Mother finds them in other people’s purses.

“Mother!” I call out, “You’re a thief-cat!” (Thief-cat is the literal translation of alley cat.)

Mother comes in the room. Sister and I are sitting on the bed, and Mother is in the doorway, her shoulders square. “You should’ve cleaned your room.”

“How much money was it? Give me my money back!”