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사랑합니다, Omonim… Abonim.

This morning, I was awakened by the clinking of chopsticks and my parents-in-law’s conversation over breakfast. If it had been an ordinary day, I would have hit the hay again, but today is Parent’s Day and I had to get up to greet them. I set the alarm at 7 before going to bed last night, because that’s the time my in-laws usually wake up, but they got up pretty early. It was a few minutes past 6 when I heard them in the dining room.


어린이날: Children’s Day

Since last week, my students have been bugging me to give them free time for the whole period as a gift for them on Children’s Day. Of course, I would not let them waste forty minutes in the classroom just chattering or playing on … Continue reading

어린이날: Children’s Day

IMG_0210Since last week, my students have been bugging me to give them free time for the whole period as a gift for them on 


Seoul Lantern Festival

I was skimming through some photos in my camera and found a lot of pictures from last year’s Seoul Lantern Festival which my husband and I came to see before we went to the Philippines in November. I was going to talk about the festival and share the photos in my blog, but I suffered from “temporary amnesia” as a result of my preoccupation with our business in the PI. Now I’m back in Korea, back to sanity, back to blogging… but I miss my Mom and the family back home. I can’t wait to see them again this summer.


Seoul Lantern Festival

I was skimming through some photos in my camera and found a lot of pictures from last year’s Seoul Lantern Festival which my husband and I came to see before we went to the Philippines in November. I was going … Continue reading

The West’s Confucian Confusion: How More Confucianism Might Have Saved the Sewol


Whenever a tragedy strikes Korea, many Western observers can’t resist the urge to attribute it to Korean culture.


One Small Step, Big Miracle: The Yellow Ribbon Movement


One Small Step, Big Miracle: The Yellow Ribbon Movement

On my way to work, I saw a group of young Koreans putting up this sign next to the subway station in Guri. The sign is part of South Korea’s Yellow Ribbon movement. Bright yellow ribbons with the message “One … Continue reading

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy: Awkward Questions in Korea

I’m not the most private of people, but I was raised on the idea that there are certain topics that are accepted as taboo in casual conversations: religion, how much money you make, weight, politics, etc. Unless speaking to a close friend, I’ve always avoided these topics out of a combination of politeness and a horrible fear of insulting someone. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked I moved to Korea.

I’ll give some examples of questions that no longer shock me.


How Koreans Celebrate Their 70th Birthday

Last Sunday, my husband’s third uncle celebrated his 70th birthday known as 고희 (gohui) or 칠순 (chilsun) in Korea. Korean seniors have three special birthdays to celebrate: 환갑 (hwanggap or the 60th birthday), 고희/칠순 (gohui/chilsun or the 70th birthday) and 팔순 (palsun or the 80th birthday). Traditionally, the 60th birthday was the one celebrated lavishly, since in the olden days, few people lived to be 60, but now that the average life expectancy in Korea has risen due to medical advancement and better quality of life, some Koreans don’t celebrate the 60th birthday anymore. Instead, the celebration is done on their 70th (or 80th) birthday.

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