Sunday, October 18, 2009

할머니의 집- Grandmother's House

Boyfriend and Grandmother

Since I've started dating my boyfriend, I've gone to see his grandmother with him several times. It took him a while to convince me to go. I could just imagine how a 91 year old woman would react to the first born son in the family to be dating a foreigner. It's his duty to get married and bear lots of Korean children, and I didn't think she'd take kindly to my getting in the way of this plan.

The first time I went, back early in the summer, neither my boyfriend, nor his father informed poor halmoni (grandmother in Korean) about the slight detail that I was coming, or the fact that I wasn't exactly Korean. She saw me and the first thing she said was, "She's not Korean, is she?" She spent the rest of my visit throwing me sideways glances, not quite sure what to say or do around me. Apparently while we went outside for a while, she said to my boyfriend's father, ".. but can she be a good Korean housewife??". After that, I refused to go back for a very long time. Finally I got dragged to go again and she was a bit more receptive. We suspect that she realized that my boyfriend came a lot less often when I wasn't willing to go too.

Since then I've been back a few times. Her home is in Yangsuri, which is really only about 40 minutes from my house downtown Seoul, but it could be about as polar opposite as you can get. She has a huge garden, and a lawn. Yes, a real live lawn. With grass. Green grass. She grows all her own vegetables (with the help of an ajumma that stays with her since she's getting older), makes kim chi, has chickens, and even a cute dog that wanders around the yard. My boyfriend and his father have set up a little net to shoot golf balls at too.

Boyfriend playing golf.... ironically aiming away from the golf net....

Usually our visits involve watching TV, eating lunch (always samgyupsal, soup and side dishes) maybe hitting some golf balls, watching more TV and then leaving, usually making some sort of stop on the way home to do something interesting and cultural. Today, on the other hand, it was time to harvest the persimmons, or in Korean 감를 따다.

Getting ready to pick some persimmons...

Boyfriend actually picking the persimmons. I'm below, catching them as they fall/ taking pictures...

Now, persimmon is one of my least favorite fruit actually. I can't think of any fruit less fruity than a persimmon. But, no matter, picking things is always fun, and I have good memories of apple picking at home, so I was excited none the less. Actually, I didn't do much picking, the men folk wouldn't let me on the ladder (which I was ok with because it didn't seem all that sturdy to me). I was below, catching the falling persimmons and pulling them off the branches that fell with them. It was actually a lot of fun, and I got to be out in the beautiful fall air. The boyfriend made me taste the fruits of my labor (literally) but I still don't like persimmons.

These are persimmons, in case you're wondering...

This shot was totally staged....

Practicing his swing

Then we played around in the yard. I practiced my (not so) amazing golf swing. We found an awesome praying mantis and we messed around with the camera a little bit. It was a good day at 할머니의 집 (grandmother's house).

Our amazing bug find...


  1. The best part heres is that your boyfriend is not willing to swing the way his grandmother was initially. He is willing to wait till his family accepts you ^^

    Looks lovely out there.

  2. So, what? You don't think you can be a good Korean housewife?


  3. Well, I still lack the skill of making kim chi... in fact the boyfriend does most of the cooking around here, so if anything, my housewifeing skills have deteriorated since we started dating...

  4. I'm not trying to be nitpicky here, but "집" is another one of those words subject to 존댓말. If you use "할머니의 댁" when you go over there next time, maybe it'll score you some brownie points ^^

  5. Ahhh Puzzle, you're right.... I always forget about the formal words like that since I never really need to use them in everyday conversation.... Fortunately, she's quite hard of hearing so she can't hear what I call her house anyway...