The local Sunday paper had a fun article today that got me thinking about growing up Korean in the US. So I've come up with a list of "You know you grew up *Korean/Korean American/Korean Canadian if..." of my own.
Please add your "you know . . . " in the comments. =)
--Your mother ever gave you guilt about . . . well anything... (Bonus if she pounded her chest with a fist while doing so!)
--You had 2 fridges: one for food and another for kimchi (or else ALL your food tasted like kimchi).
--You ever had to translate a school note, explain a holiday project and/or had a hard time completing the 3rd grade family tree project because there were some family secrets/shame involved and/or there were a lot of branches on that tree with "eemo and samchun".
--Your friends NEVER spent the night.
--Roasting ghim over the flame on the stove.
--You roasted that ghim for ghimbap - which you ate on day-long, car trips, got out, took a look around, ate the ghimbap and got back in the car. You always returned the same night.
--You were a hobo, a clown or a ghost for Halloween more than once.
--You got hit on the back of the head (a lot).
--Your aunt or uncle would pass you a $5 bill and tell your parents "te-sah, te-sah." He or she was your favorite aunt or uncle.
--Your mom made you sweep the carpet, told you you would DIE if you slept with the fan on pointed in your direction and/or were told that women should never sit directly on the floor.
--Threw up from having "han yak". It was usually dark brown, liquidy and has been boiling for hours...Or your mom smeared honey on a piece of boiled ginseng - like it would make it taste better.
--"Fought" for the dinner bill or insisted on paying while out with your non-Korean friends and then was SHOCKED when they were like "ok!"
--Your dad would get drunk, sing sad Korean folksongs and reminsce about the "good times."
--Thanksgiving dinner included the turkey and mashed potatoes, but also yakimandu, kimchi and japchae.
--Your parents scheduled long distance calls to relatives in Seoul and Busan/Pusan/Busan/Pusan.
--Hotdogs have always been a part of jampong.
--You would rather go to school than be sick at home where your mom would make you clean the house.
--Dad smoked Marlboros or Camels and drank Coors light or Budweiser. Mom never smoked or drank, to your knowledge.
--You had a used station wagon or Buick.
--Going to college was NOT an option.
--There's a random collection of blue produce rubberbands in the house.
--Beef jerky was your parents' favorite American snack food.
--You couldn't have a dog (or a cat).
--Hated eating kimchi with almost every meal as a child, but craved it when you went to college.
--You've heard your mom say "why would I ___ for that? I can ___ that!"
--Two words: Korean School. After church lunch in the Fellowship Hall on Sundays.
So what's YOUR "you know if..."
Laughing about childhood because crying isn't as much fun!
--Angie in Texas
*The side note I'd like to add is that this will mostly apply to those of us who grew up Stateside in the 70's, 80's and 90's.