18 January 2013

I’ll take the American age.

This evening, we dined on bibimbap and other kimchi-laced foods. My daughter’s school friend and her mother invited us to be their guests at New Seoul, a Korean restaurant in Madison. The owners, close friends of the family, offered us many things to try.

The conversation was light and cheerful with both English and Korean being spoken. The school friend was a gracious nine-year-old translator for my husband and me. Their family originates from Cheongju-si in South Korea.

The friend’s mother asked if I wanted to return to Korea to find my mother. I told her that there would be no way of doing so, but she insisted that I might be able to have DNA testing to find her.

Then, she told us that in Korea, on the day you are born, you are immediately one-year-old! You add a year with each new year. She told of a friend who had her baby on December 31, and on January 1, the baby was considered a two-year-old. In this roulette of birth dates, you really want to be born in the first part of the calendar year.

So, it appears that in Korea, I am 47. While in the United States, I am 45.

The two smiling third graders decided they wanted their Korean age of 11.

Me? I’ll take the American age, thank you.

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