sequinedstrawberries asked: Once you get this message you must give five random facts about yourself and then pass it onto your 10 favorite followers. \(^▽^)/
I’m protesting our stupid Daylight Savings Time change by not going to sleep yet. So, let’s give this a shot:
1) I used to fence when I was in h.s. I was pretty good.
2) I enjoy being married, but if something happened to my husband, I would not remarry. I doubt I would find another match to equal him.
3) I finished university in 3 years and got my master’s degree in 1. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time in school and less time trying to hurry my way into the workforce.
4) I cannot stand it if you wear shoes in my house.
5) I miscarried in my 18th week of pregnancy. I learned that a lot of people don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.
I was playing around on Facebook the other day when I noticed that it wanted me to “LIKE” Kyung-sook Shin’s Facebook page. Normally, I ignore all of FB’s suggestions. But I had interviewed her for my column a while back, so I headed over to check it out.
Shin wrote the bestselling book “Please Look After Mom.” The novel attracted so much attention in the author’s native Korea that it was translated and released in a couple dozen countries, including the United States.
Not everyone liked her book, which is understandable. But what was surprising was that NPR published a review that reeked of ethnocentrism.
This is how Maureen Corrigan began her critique:
Koreans outstrip Italians and Jews when it comes to mother guilt! How else to explain why ”Please Look After Mom” … has already sold over one-million copies in her native South Korea?
What a stupid analogy.
My father loved books. When we were new to the U.S. and didn’t have a lot of money for toys, my parents took us to the library, where we would take out the maximum number of books each week. The librarians all knew us and liked us. And I do believe that those trips helped instill in me a love of both literature and libraries.
Like a lot of Koreans of their age, my parents survived war and led very difficult lives. Books were an escape. Some of my father’s favorite authors were Shakespeare, Descartes, Dostoevsky, Kant and Tolstoy. Already fluent in several languages, he wanted to learn Russian so he could read Nabokov in the author’s native tongue.
He used to joke that had he learned Russian instead of English, we may have immigrated to the (then) Soviet Union instead of America.
When my father died, he was buried with letters from each of us so that we would always be with him. And in his hands, he clutched one of his favorite books.
After the funeral, my mother gave me some of the Korean/English dictionaries that my father used early on. I look at them and wonder how — as a young boy — he taught himself to read and write a new language that is completely different from Korean.
When I hear my son beg me to take him to the library, it fills my heart that he has inherited a love of literature from a grandfather who he never had a chance to meet.
Life goes on.
© 2014 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved
The other day, a woman I was standing next to asked me if I had children. I told her yes, I have a kindergartener. She asked me, “Is he really, really short?”
I said, “Of course he’s really short. He’s 5.”
What the hell kind of question is that, you weirdo?
ETA: I’m not short. And I was much taller than her. (I’m about 172 cm, which is just shy of 5-foot-8.)