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Not from Joseon, Not a Joseon Man.

"Is your husband Korean?" 
"Is your son half-Korean?"
"Have you been to Korea before?"

These questions I've been asked one too many times before. My ears have actually gotten used to it. I usually get asked by new acquaintances, distant relatives whom I've reconnected with through Facebook, or even strangers that we meet at the mall, the fastfood chain, or at the doctor's clinic.

Perhaps its his alabaster skin, doe eyes, Hallyu hairstyle, or his ability to speak a bit of Hangul that makes people think Yue is Korean, or has a Korean dad. I find it funny, at times flattering, whenever people refuse to believe that my husband is a Filipino, or that Yue is a full-blood Pinoy. I get the most interesting reactions from people each time I tell them they have it wrong.

My most interesting encounter, by far, happened just recently while at the supermarket. Out of habit, Yue and I would always swing by the imported goods section and check out the Korean food items on the shelves. (I was hoping I'd come across some instant jjajangmyun or instant bibimbap.) As the little man exclaimed at the sight of a Pororo milk drink, a very Korean-looking ahjumma (elder woman) came from behind and began speaking to me. In Hangul.

Happy penguin Pororo!
"Annyong haseyo!" she greeted. "Odiso oshiosoyo?" (Hello! Where are you from?) In my mind I was like, 'Oh freak, she thinks I'm Korean?! Because of Pororo???!!!' 

Sure, I understood what she said, and can carry out a decent conversation in Hangul. But of course, my knowledge of the Korean language is limited to the basics - most of which I've learned by watching Kdramas and the Arirang channel.

"Annyong haseyo! Chonun... pilipin... esseo wasseyo," (Hello! I'm from the Philippines.) I greeted back with a smile. At the back of my mind I was summoning the image of Lee Jun Ki in his Let's Learn Korean instructional video.

"De?" she asked. (Huh?) I was worried that I might have said the wrong word, or my pronunciation sounds funny.

"Uh... Yogi... Chonun... Pilipin-saram," (Uh... here... I'm a Filipino.) 'Jeez, my banmal is a mess!' I thought.

The ahjumma gave me a bright smile. "Oh! Kure, kure! Arasso, arasso!" (Oh, right! I understand.)

"Mianheyo, Hanguk-mal jogeum..." I said sheepishly. (Sorry, I speak little Korean.)

"Kokchongma, Hanguk-mal choa!" (Don't worry, it's good.) She glanced at Yue and said, "Adeun minami!" (Your son is handsome.)

"Omo, kansahmnida!" (Oh, thank you!) I bowed my head a little and was thinking if I should do it ninety-degrees ala Super Junior.

And then an ahjussi (elder man), standing at the end of the aisle, shouted "Yobo!" (wife). He was waving his arm, signalling for his wife to come over. I was relieved. I might run out of Hangul if she presses on for a full-blown conversation, haha.

"Kabwa! Kumapta!" (I'm going. Thank you!) And with that smile that never left her face, she sauntered off towards the ahjussi.

I was a bit dazed from what just happened. "Anak, anyare?" (Son, what happened?) I asked Yue. The little man, who was so engrossed with Pororo the entire time, answered, "Sabi nung ahjumma annyeong daw." And then he began singing "Annyeong ne sarang, annyeong ne sarang" - the theme song of Smile You.

Pororo and my little kkonminam.
I chuckled. "Tara na nga, at baka mamaya eh Hapon naman ang kumausap sa kin dito!" (Let's go now, or a Japanese might come next!)

Oh this association with all things Korean! Miccyeoseo miccyeoseo! (Crazy crazy!)

Note: Joseon is what Korea used to be called in the ancient times. This refers to South and North as a whole.

Sharing with 366, InstaFriday, Mommy Moments.

23 replies:

Marie said...

Cool! :) You seem so good in Korean na po Ate! :)

I'm still in the dark pa. HAHAHAHAHA! :)

Czjai said...

Hehe, hindi naman... Adik lang sa Kdrama. ;)

Kenya G. Johnson said...

This was very funny even though I didn't understand half of what you said. LOL! No I got it. Very lively experience. At least you knew SOME Korean so she wouldn't think something was wrong with you.

mymy said...

oh, that was such a sweet incident! am sure you speak their language so well. :)
my sister used to be mistaken lots of times as Chinese and some random person would frequently come up to her and chat with her in another language. lol. it happened once when i was with her and she's just politely say, "Sorry, I don't know what you're saying..." :D

Unknown said...

I'm impressed that you could talk to her at all! Very cool! It's so funny how people can just assume what your nationality is, or family heritage just because of your children. My oldest is blonde and blue eyed even though my husband and I are dark haired and brown eyed. You should have seen the looks and comments we got when he was a baby. Especially if we were out with my blonde blue eyed father. We could hear people whispering, wondering whether the older man was the babies father or whether the younger guy was my brother or husband. My dad loved it, my husband and I just laughed! Thankfully my son was just a baby, I don't think he would have liked it! Thanks for another great visit! I love coming here! And, your son is gorgeous!!

Unknown said...

That's great that you could speak a little Korean to her!

You really can't tell someone's background looking at them. My husband's family has this Irish gene that pops up fully here and there. These curly red-headed girls in the family from different generations all look exactly the same, regardless of their parents and mixes. It's so interesting!

Czjai said...

I practically devour these Korean dramas, and tune in to the Arirang channel most of the time. Hence, the basic know-how of their language.

Learning it is pretty easy; for me it's a lot more intelligible compared to Mandarin. Or I may be biased, haha!

For as long as they speak slowly (Koreans tend to speak fast), I can understand. Otherwise, my nose will bleed trying to catch up to their pace, lol.

Becky McNeer said...

I'm impressed! I know bits and pieces of French and Spanish... I could never hold on a conversation though! Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Not Your Ordinary Agent

Mel_Cole said...

hahaha, I enjoyed reading your conversation sis. you have a very handsome lil guy there :) visiting from 60/366 BPC.

mommy Orkid Belle said...

hahahaha.. What an experience! You made me laugh. You kind of look like a Korean and at first visit on your blog I thought you may have some korean blood in you. Good thing you know a bit of Korean language. hehehe... Kung hindi kayo umalis baka hapon nga naman ang makausap mo at akalain pang hapon ka. hehehe... thanks for sharing.

Adin B

Stef said...

I've always wanted to learn another language. Good job! Visiting from MM!

bev said...

wow! very impressive! I can only speak english and tagalog...Visiting from Mommy Moments hope you drop by my entry

Jessica said...

your post makes me smile Sis...your fans are bothering you, why don't they, look how cute Mr. Pogi is :-) Visiting from #60 of Project 366 BPC, hope that you can return the visit too.

janakidiary said...

Kdrama addiction put to good use, I must say :)

Jessica said...

never watch Korean drama Sis, must be a great show to watch, that is so cool that you know some Korean language :-) your son is good looking :-) Visiting from Mommy Moments, hope that you can return the visit too.

Tetcha said...

Yue may look like a Korean, but he's a pure-blooded handsome and adorable Pinoy! I love his picture with Pororo!

MoM from Manila said...

your soon indeed looks like a Korean child star!...cute!...I wish I could learn another language soon!..though I'd rather study Mandarin or Japanese, much needed in the business industry!

visiting from MM, hope you can take a peek at how we welcome summertime

Emzkie said...

oh thats so funny. u dont look like korean at all. most koreans have moon face. hehe.. pero its good ha that u know how to speak their language. =)

late visit from BPC.. heres mine

Chris said...

i have always wanted to study another language.. korean in particular, can you send me some tips as to how i can actually get started please? :)

email me at amador dot christine at gmail dot com

Shengkay said...

hahaha...good for younanapagkakamalan kayonyan mommy..
agree you son is handsome..
visting from

by the way added you to my circles ang=d follow you on network blogts..hope you could return the favor..
have a nice day momm!

Anonymous said...

Cool, its because of pororo and yue :)

AC said...

I enjoyed reading this entry. :)

AC said...

I enjoyed reading this entry. :)