Maybe my Korean is a little better than I think. . .

Ironically, in Boston, for the first time I had a full conversation in Korean. Without stops and starts. Without lapses or pauses. Without feeling stupid or worrying that I was saying things incorrectly.

I got a haircut today in in the nick of time; the last day to prep for (Chinese) Lunar New Year. Today, the 27th, was apparently the last day to do things like that. The day before I also did major cleaning of the house: I washed the floors! (Another tradition.)

Here’s the conversation between me and my hairdresser. It went something like this. (The English version, obviously.)

Her: When was the last time you got your hair cut?
Me: I’m sorry. I only know a little Korean. (When I said this she scrunched up her face trying to understand–it was a strange thing to say in response.) Please say it again.
Her: When was the last time you got your hair cut?
Me: Ah, October..
She made a face like she understood. My hair must’ve been in bad shape. All the more need for the cut.
Her: Were you born here?
Me:  No. I was born in Daegu.
Her: Ahhh, Daegu!
Me: Yes.
Her: How old were you when you came here?
This part of the conversation went in a slight circle. I thought she was asking me how old I was and I told her and she looked very confused but we finally figured it out.
Me: Three months old. But last year I studied for two semesters at Sogang University. I paused to decide if I should tell her and figured why not. I am an adoptee.
Her: REALLY?!?!
She may have looked at me again in a different way.
Me: Yes.
Her: Most adoptees don’t speak Korean.
Me: Yes, that’s right. I don’t speak Korean well yet. (These are things you learn to say in class.)
Her: You speak it well.
Me: Thank you. Korean is very difficult for me. When did you come to the states?
Her: 8 years ago.
We talked about where we currently each live. She told me that where she lives is close to where she works.
Her: Do you live with your parents/family?
Me: No, I’m married. I live with my husband.
Her: Ah, you’re married!?
Me: Yes, and my husband is Chinese. (I’ve learned to explain this in anticipation of the questions that will follow.)
I think she went on to say what I’ve heard a lot; it’s good for a Korean woman to marry a Chinese man because they make good husbands. They are good cooks and they help around the house. Better than Korean man.
Her: When did you get married?
Me: Four years ago. Are you married?
Her: Yes. I’m married.
Me: When did you get married?
Her: 20 years ago. When I was a young person.
Me: Wow. Any children?
Her: Yes.
Me: How many?
Her: Two. Daughters. Do you know ‘daughters?’
Me: Yes.
Her: Do you have children?
Me: No.
Then she said something about age 나이. . .and the very “있다” but I’m not sure what.  I laughed.

She gave me a great haircut. I exclaimed “마음에 들어요!” To which she said, “고마워요.”

Best haircut ever.

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One response to “Maybe my Korean is a little better than I think. . .

  1. Hi! I just found this website as I was trying to find you. Seems much has happened since we met in August 2010…anyway, I would be happy if you would email me and reconnect!

    Chris

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