Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Mother and Pak Geun-Hye



I feel that today is a special moment in Korea's History. My mother came over to Seoul to cook my Birthday dinner of Myeokguk (seaweed soup) and many of my favorite banchan. She is watching The news of Pak Geun-Hye on my portable TV. When I lived with my mother as a young child we lived in a small one room with a tiny TV that we had to fiddle with tinfoil to get the picture straight. She jokingly tells me that she starved so that I could eat well and now we have many different varieties before us.

We discuss about Pak Geun-Hye and my mother really admires her and mentions that she lived such a sad life since her parents passed away. She really admires her for her struggles she went through and that now it is her time as president. This is not something that was rushed. My mother says it is now her time. She says, very openly, that all the people in her village voted for Pak Geun-Hye. They all want her to be president because they feel she is Korea. She understands the people regardless of her party lines.

Last night in a taxi ride back to my house my taxi driver was loudly and comically belligerent that Park Geun-Hye was about to be president. He said, "How can a woman be president when she is not even married!" I think in korea that would be the only way that a woman could become president.

I have Korea in front of me as I eat. All the different products is food my mother has helped grow or make in some way. The kimchi is made from cabbage from her village and seasoned with the garlic, chili, and red pepper powder from her town. The pollock floss was hand shredded and seasoned. The grasshoppers she caught herself for another side dish. She made everything for she wants me to be healthy.

My mother and I are a funny pair. Today she told me she never had pizza before and I am just shocked. "How is that possible," I think to myself? She tells me that she didn't try many western food until she re-met me. In her village she shares the wine and coffee I bring with her friends and they like to call her the "luxury alumna" because now she knows the difference between different types of wine and cheese.

Today I will take her shopping. I asked her what she wanted. She said, "warm shoes." I know the Korean superstition about buying shoes for a loved one (she shouldn't because they'll run away). We laugh about this for a bit. We then come to a compromise. I will give her money as a present and she can buy whatever she would like. I really don't want her to go anywhere.