Similar to the way Korean Moms hoard tiny condiment packets, they hoard paper and plastic bags. Like a Lay's Chip, they can never have just one. These bags can be from anywhere. It matters not. If you are like me, you know the worst thing you can do is throw out an empty paper or plastic bag in front of your Korean Mom. She will cry out as if her latest Korean Drama has been canceled, and shout "YAH!"(YOU!) in her loud, super sonic Korean Mom voice. As soon as either paper or plastic bag enters the Korean Mom's domain they are meticulously folded or knotted into complicated designs and stored in a drawer or cupboard for future use. She will pull them out from time to time and use them as garbage bags, places to store dirty laundry, lunch bags, even luggage. Korean Moms do not purchase REAL garbage bags. Ever. It is 'Waste Money' (see #13 ). Do not assume Korean Moms do this to save the environment. They do it simply because they do not have, nor will they ever have, enough paper or plastic bags. Let's be real, the average Korean Mom does not care about saving the fucking environment. She cares about her plastic or paper bag count, and she cares deeply. She is not thinking about saving a tree, she is thinking about what she will carry her bahn-chan(side dishes) in when she goes over to Mrs. Kim's house. Very often a Korean Mom will categorize her 'nice' bags from her less desirable ones. For instance, a Whole Foods paper bag, due to its sturdier nature and attached handles will have a place of honor in the Korean Mom's rotation of bags. She will use it only for important things: to carry her Bible or to bring pre-washed fruit to another Korean Mom's house. Bags from retail stores are also highly coveted and reused. You saw a Korean Mom carrying a paper bag from Chanel? No. There is no 5,000 dollar purse in there...but there might be some homemade bulgogi making its way to a church picnic. Anything with a zip lock is like the Holy Grail. It is washed, hung up to dry like laundry, and reused at least 100 times. Plain plastic bags are considered a lower category of bag, and will only be used to transport dog shit or kimchee that Mrs. So and So made, which everyone silently agrees does not taste good. My Korean Mom will filch bags from the local store whenever she is running low...which to her, is always. She coasts in, permed hair stiff despite the breeze, and with her tiny hands snatches any paper or plastic bag in sight like it is her job. Oddly enough, my Korean Mom will hardly ever steal paper or plastic bags from a Korean grocery store, only from 'American' stores. She has morals.
Props to Irene for the idea.
Ps- It's good to be back!