Welcome to my blog Daechoong Mama. Where Korean American meets--> motherhood-->crazy town--> while enjoying life and living in Hawaii! First off I'd like to explain the blogs titled. In Korean, Daechoong pretty much means:
Definition of Daechoong
a (1) : Unassumingly carrying out an act in a way that is just getting by (2) : Accomplishing a task while most of the time overlooking the details.
Its similar to how Larry the Cable Guy would put it "Git er done"or what the French call "Se débrouiller" (According to Anthony Bourdain.. I don't speak French). The above word has come to sum up my life since reaching motherhood... no, always actually but now my daechoong ways seep into my parenting.
The last few years I've been very contemplative about my life...
I'm 31 years old. I am married. I have two beautiful children. Up until I had my first child, I honestly thought little of who I was in regards to my past and my upbringing. In every phase of my life I looked forward beyond the horizon. In high school I looked forward to college, in college I looked forward to working, while working, I looked forward to marriage... so on and so forth. It wasn't until my son Joey was born that I realized how intrinsically and inextricably my heritage and my family has made me who I am today.
Because it shows in my parenting.
Funny how things work though, because I intentionally, consciously promised myself that I would be and do otherwise. I grew up in a loving home. We were far from perfect.. far.. but my parents obviously loved and cared for us. My mom, is the greatest influence in my life.
My mom is an amazing woman.
She has so many talents and would often take on a lot. She worked, volunteered countless hours at church, went to school at some points, took care of my family, so under the weight of all this, she was never one to get bogged down on the details, so often her reply to things in Korean was "Ggu nyang daechoong heh"... "Just get it done, daechoong!"
My moms daechoong-ness came out in all different ways.
When I had a school project due and I desperately needed glue, I would frantically look in our medicine cabinet... (thats where we kept it) and I would find our 3 year old Elmer's glue as solid as a rock. No worries though! My mom would come to the rescue with a hot bowl of rice. Before I knew it, she was picking up the Popsicle sticks from my project and jamming dollops of rice of between them. I would look at her skeptically, "Umma, is this going to work??" "Just do it daechoong!" She replies. The next day the rice dries and my project looks like a rice crusted monstrosity, but hey...
It. Got. Done!
My mom liked to bake, ironically. Baking is a science that demands unwavering attention to detail..to measurements... and time. However my mom never followed recipes (till this day I can never ask her how to make anything), she would daechoong throw ingredients together and stick it in the oven...
When I was in the 2nd grade I couldn't wait to celebrate my birthday at school with my classmates. Moms would bring homemade cupcakes and goody bags etc. When the much anticipated day came, I couldn't wait for my mom to bring the goods! She frantically enters the class with homemade cupcakes.. still in the tray.. burnt.. my teacher with a nervous smile proceeds to excavate each cupcake out of the tray with a fork. My mom smiles.
It got done!
She loved baking sugar cookies. I still remember the house smelling like sweet cookies. But then the house would start to smell like burnt. sugar. cookies. We still ate them and not only that, I thought that's how they were suppose to taste. It wasn't until I went to Jessica's house after school and ate her moms batch fresh out the oven... wow... is this what its suppose to taste like?
When I needed to make photocopies and my mom and I would go to the library to use the Xerox machine... but, uh oh! Its $0.15 a copy! My mom doesn't have any change and neither do I. My mom, so frustrated, storms to the car. We both sit in the car. She looks at me. She hands me a Garden State Parkway Token. "Go in and ask the librarian to exchange this token for a photocopy!" ... "What?? Umma thats so embarrassing !"...."DO IT. This token is worth $0.35. Its a great deal!" Went in and asked the librarian and she looked at me like I was crazy...
So it didn't work that time..
I can go on and on. When my mom was dressing me for school and it being picture day, she would pick out a dress. I look closely and notice a tomato sauce stain. "I can't wear this!" My mom replies "its okay!"
No its not okay! But I wore it..
When I needed a hair tie and I couldn't find one, no worries! My mom would reach over to the faucet where she wrapped a bunch of blue rubber bands.. you know, the ones that come wrapped around green onions, and proceeded to tie my hair.
Hey at least I had a ponytail!!.. that looked like the green onions the rubberbands came out of..
Instead of preparing a snack for me each day, she would buy a megasize jumbo bag of shrimp flavored crackers or Sae Woo Kang from the Korean food store. Everytime I opened the bag the American kids recoiled at the sudden smell of seafood that filled the classroom. Each day I brought the same bag to school... until I finished it.
Like I said earlier, the irony is, at these "daechoong mom" moments I was frustrated, embarrassed, wished that I lived in Kevin Arnold's house from The Wonder Years, where Norma Jean Arnold would never.. I promised myself I would never have daechoong moments when I have child. I will pack awesome luches and snacks, I will bake cupcakes just right! I would be wonder mom, an asian Norma Jean... Then my son joey was born and all went to poop. With a 3 year old and a 10 month old...
I so do things daechoong.
When its Joey's field trip at preschool I throw together a ham sandwich and maybe he'll have a drink (there's water fountains right?).
When his preschool teacher asks me to prepare a fruit salad for the Christmas Dinner the night of, I grab a bunch of apples and oranges, put it in a plastic bag... "hey kids! who wants an apple?"...
No, I wish. I actually hacked a bunch of fruit, some the size of a golf ball, some the size of a peanut... you know... daechoong.
I gave up on baking a while ago.... too many deformed coagulated cookies... daechoong is in my blood.
So thats me. I love my life, my family, and I'm discovering more and more that I am my mother's daughter. Her daechoong ways drove me crazy but gave me an adventurous childhood (leaving no burnt sugar cookie behind), taught me not to get hung over on the details, enjoy life and just get it done! I only hope be as awesome as her and hope you can join me on my daechoong adventure.