Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Letter to Fans of Jackie's Blog.

Dear Friends and Family,

On this lovely, "Jackie's Birthday"-Day, I, Chin-Hwa (her loving, smart, articulate, suave, handsome, athletic.... I could go on... hubby), have decided to write as a privileged guest blogger. And no, I did not have to ask Jackie's permission in order to write this. I simply snooped around the internet until I could find a way to hack into my wife's blogger account. If you truly love somebody, you will find a way to pry your way into EVERY crevice of your loved one's private life. Otherwise, you're just not trying.

Anyway, I am "ghost-blogging" today because it is my lovelypants' birthday (we have lots of cutesy-wootsy monikers for each other, perhaps on a later blog post....). At first, I came on this blog to do what I always love to do: brag about myself. I wanted to write how I am so interesting, mysterious, intriguing, and most of all.... modest. But alas, faithful blog readers, I will have control the urge to reveal how great I am. Instead, I guess I will use this time to write how great Jackie is. If you get bored while reading the rest of this, I can't say that I blame you.

First, all the goodies about my honeybuns is already known. She's smart, funny, beautiful, helpful, witty, and a semi-competent card player (what more could a husband ask for?). However, the thing that I like most about her is that she really is not afraid to embarrass herself. And she has had PLENTY of opportunities to blunder, and then try to act smooth ("What? Me? Stumble? Never!"). Farting in public. Butchering the Korean language in front of my relatives. Getting completely lost... in Omaha. And being honest about it... Priceless.

So please. All you friends and family reading this blog (and not posting comments, shame on you). Don't be modest. Write something. I won't judge. We all can't be Shakespeare or Alice Walker. Write ANYTHING. You can write pleasant niceties such as, "Happy Birthday," or, "We love you." But lets share the goodies. Let's share stories. Let's share stories such as the one where a 5 year-old Jackie poops into a toilet... you know... the one's ON DISPLAY in a hardware store. Let's share and really show Jackie how much you care, and how much we love Jackie. Because nothing says, "Love," like minor humiliation.

With love (and a little schaudenfreude),
Chin-Hwa (her husband who has never been embarrassed in his life, but is about to get in to DEEP trouble after his honeymuffins finds out about this post).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Birthday!

Christmas Birthday, or Merry Birthday if you prefer, has always been my favorite holiday for seemingly obvious reasons. Family + cookies + birthday cake = ridiculously awesome. This year is no exception, but Christmas Birthday does take on a bit of a different flavor when I'm away from home. There is something about Omaha during the holidays that is nothing short of magical, and until last year, I had never been away.

I sit and try to tell myself this will be my only chance to have a quiet Christmas, but I miss having Aunt Kathy steal my Christmas gift or Aunt Karen making up a mix drink to show off her new martini shaker. I miss watching the family try to play catchphrase (and fail, unless they are on my team, in which case they win!). I miss Grandma Joan yelling at us to get out of the kitchen. I miss having a birthday cake in the middle of the Christmas spread. Or making cookies with Samantha, only to find that we are out of sugar. So even though I am a little early, for everyone who is at home this Christmas Birthday, know that I miss you! And try to lay off the eggnog, no?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Santa was saved on this day in Korea

I have done nothing but further my students' idea that all holidays celebrated in the U.S. are centered around candy. I decided to get a little Catholic on them and teach them about St. Nicholas Day, mostly so I could put candy in their shoes. (I knew that would creep them out, and sure enough, some of them said they thought it was gross to put candy in dirty shoes, (the candy was wrapped and put in a plastic bag and this complaint remained) but I still saw them eating it before they left...) I was also able to squeeze in the fact that only good students would get a gift from St. Nicholas, and this made them more attentive than usual.

WARNING: The remaining section of this blog post contains some big kid materials which may not be suited to younger readers!!! Duly noted?

Typically, I would explain St. Nicholas as "real" Santa. However, I did not want to place any of my students in a crisis of Santa faith. I mean, how could there be two "real" Santas? I also had little desire to attempt to explain this to second language learners if they should want to delve into existential issues of the being of two Mr. Clauses. Therefore, I elected to go with the more cryptic message.
I told them that St. Nicholas looked like Santa, acted like Santa, and was the basis for the name Santa without leading them to the obvious conclusion that he must have been the basis for the entire fabricated Santa world.

I also elected to leave out St. Nicholas's sidekick, who was literally called "Black Pete", a man that followed St. Nicholas around and kidnapped all of the bad children from their parents. Was that supposed to teach them a lesson? How are the bad children meant to improve upon their mistakes? Were they issued some sort of warning in June or July informing them of their upcoming kidnapping should they refuse to turn their temper tantrums around? I see a lot of holes in this legend.

My students seemed to enjoy the day of chocolate-y goodness and most managed to leave before asking too many questions . . . Merry Christmas and Happy St. Nicholas Day, students! From Santa . . . cough, I mean, St. Nicholas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I was quite proud of our little Christmas tree until we got our first gift in the mail. It is too big to fit under the tree! Haha I guess I should just be excited to open such a huge box, but it makes tree pictures look a tad bit ridiculous. Case in point:

Christmas in Korea is much tamer than Christmas in the U.S., where companies try to smack you over the face with Christmas spirit. There is no Christmas music blaring and it is rare to see Christmas lights. Some might say it is refreshing, but I'm less enchanted. I actually like it when Christmas takes over Omaha. I'm not a fan of the consumerism of it all, but I do love the spirit. So I'm going to have to don a Santa hat from here on out to make sure Christmas goes wherever I go! Luckily, I'm willing to make that sacrifice.