…I like stupid jokes and plays on words like that, so if we ever meet in person and you do or say something that seems ridiculous to me—your 30-something, American daughter—I’ll probably roll my eyes and say, “Oh, ma!” Get it?! American but Korean at the same time! Haha!
You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, Omma. This time it was the wrinkles appearing around my eyes that got me thinking about you non-stop. Now that the lines have set in, I’m very concerned about aging, and I wonder how I’m going to age and what I’ll look like when I’m a sexagenarian. Do you use Facebook, Omma? Can you send me a picture of you?
Last month, my good friend Jinny (she’s Korean Korean, Omma; yes, I do have real Korean friends, you know) came back from the Motherland and brought me some of those snail face masks that are all the rage these days… (Oh, ma! I know that they don’t make people angry! “All the rage” means extremely popular, sheesh…) Anyway, I’ve been using them and they’re wonderful. They make my cheeks as smooth as Penelope’s (I know, I know, feel free to give her a Korean nickname or something; I’d actually like that.)
Omma, what skincare products have you used and do they really work? What? Yes, I’ve started to take more precautions toward sun exposure. I wear sun cream, Penelope too. What? Oh, ma! Visors are for ajummas; even I know that.
Anyway, Omma, after I spent a few days obsessed and feeling paranoid about my face, we got some bad, bad news that has really rocked my American family—my husband’s family. I can’t go into details right now, but it’s shocking and terrible and hurtful. And, just as I have all my life, when I feel incredibly upset about something, I cry for you. My American mother is wonderful and I love her very much, but she’s just not the call-me-up-and-tell-me-everything type of mom—we’ve never shared that closeness. What? Oh, ma! No, I don’t think it’s an adoption thing, don’t worry; it’s her personality and communication style.
Anyway, Omma, I’ve been crying for you—sometimes in bed, sometimes while I make lunch, sometimes when I’m walking the dog. You’re my mother; maybe you could help. What? No, no, it’s ok! Really! It brings me comfort just thinking that you might understand. Or that you could tell me how to get rid of the bags under my eyes. Ha!
A few nights ago when I was feeling particularly bad, I started craving Korean food. It seemed weird to me at first because (now, don’t get upset…) I’ve never really craved Korean food before. Yes, yes, I like Korean food; it’s just never been my go-to! (“Go-to” is something you always choose first.) But that night I dragged Adam to K-town (no, it’s just one street; can you use Google Maps?) and he even ordered for me: “One kimchi bokumbop and one… number 12.” The girl giggled because she knew he got intimidated by the word “yukaejang.” Haha!
As I ate, I started to wonder if my craving was some weird innate thing because you ate those foods when you were pregnant. Then I wondered if my craving was some subconscious way I was trying to feel closer to you—was it comfort food?
Anyway, Omma, I have to wrap this up… (What? Oh, it means “finish now”) …Yeah, I just wanted to tell you that you’ve been on my mind every day for weeks now. I know you’re not perfect and that you’re actually full of flaws just like the rest of us, but the thought of you brings me comfort, laughs… (Oh, ma! Not at you, no!)
If I ever meet you one of these days, I’ll show you these letters so I don’t forget to tell you anything. And maybe you’ll proud… or not so proud… because really, Omma, sometimes my real life would upstage even the BEST K-dramas you’ve ever seen.