Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Far rah rah rah rah, rah rah rah rahhh.

Sitting at breakfast today I realized that my daily life with my family could probably be recorded and dropped into A Christmas Story without anyone knowing the difference. Breakfast is always together and always hilarious from a confused foreigner's perspective.

First, my two brothers - Oh-mahn and Oh-chahn - are polar opposites. Oh-mahn is kind of a husky kid. He eats a lot and studies a lot. Oh-chahn is stick-thin and studies very little. :) Well, Oh-chahn is not a morning person (of course, Oh-mahn is), so every day at breakfast he sits there peering out of exhausted eyes, hair askew every which way, and plays with his food while moaning and complaining. Oh-nee and Oh-pa (my dad) occasionally yell at him to eat his food. He only does so once Oh-nee has folded his toast into a sandwich, peeled off the crust and feeds it to him piece by piece. All, of course, on separate occasions. This morning he was complaining that, because his elbow really hurt, he just could not stomach breakfast.

Oh-mahn, on the other hand, is sitting across from the table slurping his soup and downing his entire breakfast in a record-setting time. I catch pieces of the table conversation, but not a lot. I hear "Amy" and "New-na" (sister) a lot, but I never quite figure out what they are saying about me.

And then there is shower time and dressing time. The shower is an epic battle between good and evil. I know it's coming when I hear Oh-nee say, "Oh-chahn nun, shower!" First comes the pitiful complaining and whimpering. But Oh-nee will have none of that. She gives Oh-Chahn a little push toward the bathroom. Then comes the louder complaining and whimpering accompanied by gestures toward the incredible baseball recaps on TV. Oh-nee simply, but firmly, guides Oh-chahn by the shoulders. Finally comes the screaming and kicking as Oh-nee, trying desperately to contain her laughter, picks up my 40-pound friend - kicking, screaming and all - and waltzes him into the bathroom.

Once in the bathroom, Oh-chahn admits defeat, but he does so with his last shred of defiance. Okay, just a little culture lesson. Korean bathrooms are usually one room with a toilet, sink and shower head - no shower tub, area or curtain. Our bathroom has a tub, but no shower curtain. So, the aftermath of the shower is astounding. I have no idea how that scrawny little boy manages to get water in every corner of that bathroom. Amazing.

Well, just like in A Christmas Story, Oh-nee dresses Oh-chahn (the youngest). Still a bit bitter about his shower, Oh-chahn sits like a limp doll - refusing to help Oh-nee at all - while she dresses him. He usually throws in a few bitter-sounding comments to which Oh-nee replies with a snappy remark. Boy, times like these I really wish I knew what they were saying.

Did I mention that, while the entire shower and dressing ordeal is going on, Oh-mahn is completely self-sufficient. He even manages to beg his mom for something (permission to play with a friend, money for a snack after school, etc.) above the wailings of Oh-chahn. All the while, my dad is sitting at the table reading a book, throwing in the occasional word of discipline at Oh-chahn (mostly telling him to be quiet). Yeah, mornings are loud. Oh-nee is a champion.

There is no snow yet, but I can't wait to see the snow gear the boys dress (or in Oh-chahn's case, are dressed) in.

A little agenda update. Today (Friday) after I finish school Oh-nee, the boys and me will pile in a car and head to Seoul for a wedding. Oh-pa will come on Saturday. The wedding is from 11am to 4pm. After that, I will board a train to Daejeon (another big city about an hour southeast of Seoul) to meet some ETA friends! Yay! I'm so excited to see them! I'm also really excited to (1) talk fast (2) talk without hand motions and (3) use slang. So, this will be my last post until Sunday night USA time. Hope all is well, miss everyone! Thanks for reading!


  1. Your Morning experience with the Korean Family sounds similar to Family life in the USA when youngters have to get ready for the school which is their whole daily life. I'm sure you will begin to fill in the missing comments they say in reguards to you. Sounds though that you are enjoying the experience which can never be replaced. Have Fun.

  2. Yay for the weekends - yours and ours (Labor Day!) I wonder if the wedding is going to be a traditional or western style or mixed?

    They both look like 장 난 꾸 러 기 , especially 오 찬.

  3. Funny. I'm glad I didn't have boys. Whew. Honestly, I was afraid to click the video button. The starting picture looked somewhat obscene. I was relieved. Love ya, Momma

  4. Oh-chahn and Oh-mahn sound like us except a smig different hahahahaha.

  5. Amy, you realize that you will have their language mastered in a few months because of your immersion in it, right?