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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

When she was of a tooth-losing age, the Tooth Fairy was late collecting one of her teeth. Instead, the Tooth Fairy sent a letter apologizing, saying that she got caught in a typhoon. Or was it a monsoon? One or the other. Anyway, she loved that letter. She showed it to everyone. Imagine! Getting a letter from the Tooth Fairy! Everyone else just got quarters.

Thirty years later, she remembers that letter from the Tooth Fairy. Gingerbread Boy #1 lost a molar, and there they were, in a real live typhoon. Rain and wind and more rain. It was easy to see how the Tooth Fairy could get blown off course. Thankfully, she didn't get blown off course this time; she delivered a 1,000 won bill promptly, placing it by the note the Gingerbread Boy wrote.

Two weeks later, Gingerbread Boy #2 lost a tooth. He placed it in the drawer of a lacquered box, his prized possession here, purchased with some extra funding from mom. He carefully wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy:

"Dear Tooth Fairy,
My toot…

Seen Around Town...

On Any Given Day

You wake up because two walls of your bedroom are floor to ceiling windows. Though there are drapes covering them, they don't block out all the light. So 5:00 am, hello. The bed has no box springs; the mattress is mattress and box spring all rolled up in one. The bed is only covered with a duvet-on-comforter. No sheet, no light blanket, just a big honking comforter. The air conditioning unit is above your head and blows cold air down on you, off and on through the wee hours. Too cold without the comforter, too hot with it.

You get up for some quiet time sans children, and eat breakfast in the little kitchen. You've purchased five separate boxes of cold cereal in the hopes of finding something without sugar. No luck. Even the Special K seems sugar-coated. There is muesli, but at about $9 a bag, you'll make do with the sugary stuff. At least for now. There are several different colors of milk cartons at the grocery store; you've yet to figure out which one is skim. The l…

Speak Your Language

They say that almost everyone speaks some English here. What they mean is that almost no one speaks English here, and she finds herself racking up stupid American points left and right because of lack of communication: on the subway, on the bus, at the aquarium, in the lobby, at the grocery store. When she tries to ask something, she is met by a proliferation of Korean. There's no point in responding, so she doesn't; she only stares blankly, shakes her head, and feels stupid.

Her impulse is to speak Italian, and the impulse is so strong, and so ridiculous, that it makes her laugh. If Koreans don't speak English here, it's not likely they'll speak Italian. It's just that the last time she was in such a communication void, she was in Italy, and eventually, she became fluent in Italian. But here? She knows the word for "hello" and "thank you" and "grandfather" and "palace" and "rice." Today she learned the word for…