Sunday, May 25, 2008

#36 Thinking everyone speaks Korean

Korean Mom's think that have
supernatural powers of linguistics. They believe anyone and anything can understand them even if they speak only in Korean, even animals. They are the Snow White of Asia. They speak Korean and the wild animals will heed and obey. Have you ever been in a Korean hair/nail salon or deli? Korean Moms will speak to their non-Korean employees in Korean all the time. If their non Korean employees do not understand, they are fired, or mocked in Korean until the pain of the verbal lashing causes them suddenly to miraculously understand. They also believe that Korean, not love, or music, is the universal language. To a Korean Mom God only speaks Korean. If you are praying in English, you have been wasting your time. If you ever find yourself unable to understand a Korean Mom speaking to you in Korean (even if you are White), just smile and nod. If you don't, she will become extremely irritated, say "aigoh", curse your name, and enroll you in Korean Language School the next available Saturday. Basically, she will make you feel like a loser. My Korean Mom used to speak to my brother's ex (Chinese) only in Korean. They broke up. He has been single since.


bokumbop said...

My mom always wants to get philosophical in the car. My husband (not Korean) will usually be driving, me in the passenger seat and my mom will poke her permy-haired head forward to impart some long-winded nugget of abstract wisdom - in hangulmal. I reminder her the husband does not speak Korean, and she just dismisses me with a wave of her hand and says (still in Korean) - oh, he understands. He understands.

My husband just smiles and nods. He knows what's good for him.

Anonymous said...

My korean mil and fil do this to me. I'm not korean, they will speak korean to me and then get irritated and make some nasty comment that I'm hopeless. I know, because my DH hears it and translates it to me. I basically just give him a dirty look. My parents don't pull that crap on him (they are taiwanese), they speak to my DH in english, so I find it really rude that mil and fil think that I should just, "know" korean for their sakes. {eye roll} They seem to think it is very disrespectful of me not to learn korean... yet at the same time their english for ppl who have lived in a midwestern town for over 30 yrs is worse than most new immigrants. So, who is being the unreasonable one? If I were in korea, yes I would learn korean for sure. Right now, I only know some phrases and the names of foods.

Whenever we see mil and fil they basically only speak korean. They will laugh about something, carry on long conversations, all which I am not a part of, and then and my mil will be like, "don't you think that's funny?" I am like WTF? They know I don't know korean, but continue to be rude about it. My mil will even talk about me in korean right in front of my face! I complained to my DH about this, because my parents speak english around my DH, so he does not feel left out. He told me that it's, "too hard" for his parents to speak english to me. I often have thought about having my parents only speak taiwanese when my DH comes over and asking him how he feels about being totally alienated from all family conversations.

Jasmine said...

This post reminded me of my grandma. She was bored at home, so my mom brought her to work with her (my parents own several dress stores).. And my grandmother started getting mad 'cause this one young girl was trying on 2302390235 dresses. So, my halmae goes up to her and started yelling at her in Korean. LOL :D I love my grandma<3

bindc said...

My halmaunee once got a Septa bus driver to drop her off in FRONT OF HER HOUSE speaking nothing but Korean and using hand gestures.

That's mighty powerful, dude.

Heather *IsaBella and Harrison's Mommy* said...

Now that story about getting dropped off in front of the house - HILARIOUS! My mom will start in Engrish and then morph into Korean to a white person thinking that they will understand. She also asks me to translate something to the white person in English when she speaks English to begin with... Confusing, I know!

Love always,

Anonymous said...

I used to beg my Mommy to teach me Korean. She bought one exercise book and left me alone with it. My Mommy always wanted me to speak "Perfect Englishu" not Korean. It was annoying having cousins that were bilingual and all you could do is get the gist of what was being said. Now that I am an adult Oma gets angry at me for knowing English better than Korean!

I've had irregular Korean classes but all of these Korean women are the same. If they repeat themselves enough, you should understand; if you dont, "you stupid, you know how for eating better!"

Anonymous said...

When I was in Korea a very considerate taxi driver was kind enough to give me a tour of the city... in Korean. I say 'Sorry.' I say 'I don't speak Korean.' I shrug my shoulders helplessly. None of this deters him. He keeps talking on, rapid-fire, occasionally pointing out random buildings and smiling at me as if to say, 'Isn't that impressive?'.

... maybe he just wanted someone to talk to?

RickinKorea said...

I am a white guy who has lived in Korea for like 3 years now. A few months ago I was at a bus stop and some university students wanted to talk to me. (I am a few years older, blond hair). The guy is speaking to me in Korean, and I am replying in Korean (and he's understanding me), but he keeps telling one of the girls to translate for me since "white guys can't understand Korean."

All of this conversation is happening in Korean but the guy can't figure out that we are using the same language.

dkohl said...

Hi I enjoy your blog very much :D,

I am from germany but look Korean (because biologically I am ) and this year I visited Seoul. I don' t speak Korean what brought us in very funny situations. This post reminded me of being in a restaurant with a waitress who totally matched the women you are describing. She tried to speak with me ... I answered in English ... she just shook her head ... laughed with her friend (hopefully not at me) ... and then tried again ... like I learned it in the last 5 minutes :D

Greetings Daniel

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure that's Mrs. Lee. And I'm pretty sure I had her. Where'd you get the picture?

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, I thought it was my mom in that picture!