Mom and I Discuss My Recent Trip to Costa Rica

Mar 22

Mom and I Discuss My Recent Trip to Costa Rica

In the weeks leading up to my trip to Costa Rica, I would remind my mom that I was traveling to Central America for a week and she would respond the exact same way each time: Mom: “Oh my gahhhh. You be careful! My gah. You going with friends? Okay, good. You be careful. You go places with Jason–don’t go places by youself. My gah. I raise you all by myself! You my baby! I worry about you!” Since my mom is Internet-illiterate, I wasn’t going to be able to email her that we’d arrived safely, and since I didn’t want to rack up a huge cell phone fee by calling her, I told her that I would email my siblings and have them call her to let her know I was fine. My trip was fun and the race I had flown down to do, the Rev 3 half Ironman, went really well. I ended up taking second overall female, my best ever finish in a triathlon. When I got back home, I called my mom to let her know how my trip went. I was excited to tell her about my podium finish and was curious to hear how she’d react. Me: “Hey Mom.” Mom: “Hi honeyyyyy! You back?” Me: “Yeah, I got in late last night.” Mom, angrily: “You siblings never call me and tell me you get there safe!” Me: “Oh, sorry. I told them to let you know!” Mom: “Nobody tell Mommy anything!” Me: “Sorry.” I found myself apologizing for something that wasn’t remotely my fault. This tends to happen a lot when it comes to appeasing my mother. Mom: “How was trip? Nice?” Me: “Yeah, I had a good time.” Mom: “You have good race?” Me: “Yeah, I took 2nd overall female, so I was the second-fastest woman there.” Mom: “Whaaaaa, that’s a lot. Are you that tough?!” Me, laughing: “I guess!” Mom: “Wowww. You are my little baby!” Me: “Aww…” Mom: “…you were my wimpy baby! Ha-ha.” Me: “What?!” Mom: “You little thing! You cried a lot!” Me: “You always tell me I never cried when I was a baby!” Mom: “When you baby you don’t cry. But when you little nobody...

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The ‘Iron Race’ Legitimized Via Wheel of Fortune

Mar 05

Last week I was working when my mom called. I had just spent a few days in Las Vegas so I figured she was calling me up to see how the trip went. We had just missed each other by a day–my mom was visiting her mother-in-law in Arizona and took a short trip to Las Vegas while she was there, but she had left on Sunday and I arrived in Vegas on Monday for work. (I imagine it would be both hilarious and exhausting to spend time with my mom in Sin City–on one hand, gambling with her would undoubtedly be amusing; on the other hand, I could easily see her getting crabbier and crabbier upon having to walk further than 50 feet at a time, and considering how huge and sprawling the casinos are, I’d probably have to resort to making a mom papoose and carrying her through the city like a joey). As usual, the phone call was full of gems: Mom: “Hi honeyyyyy! Just calling to see you back from Vay-gus.” Me: “Yeah, I got back yesterday.” Mom: “Good trip? You work hard?” Me: “Yeah, it was good. Got a lot done.” Mom: “That’s good. Good! How’s weather in Seattle?” Me: “Eh, kind of rainy and overcast. I guess on Tuesday it was really bad–slow and slush. Thankfully, I was in Las Vegas so I missed it.” Mom: “Ohhhhh yeah. It’s cold here in Meechygan. Weather so bad I stay home knitting my pants.” Apparently my mom’s latest hobby is knitting and crocheting, and she has taken to knitting herself entire wardrobe ensembles. Because, you know, knitted pants are all the rage. Me, chuckling: “I really need to see these pants you’re working on.” Mom, proud: “I already knit a pair! Black pants. I wearing them now! I don’t wanna take ’em off!” Me, smiling: “Of course you don’t.” Mom: “…anyway, I’m watching uh Wheel of Fortune.  There’s a purple shirt girl.” Me: “Okay…” Mom: “…and Pat Sajack say ‘What you do,’ and she said, “I just finish i-urn race.’ Same as you!” Me, laughing: “Oh, really?” The fact that my mom has finally remembered this whole “iron race” thing could quite possibly be my...

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Mom Doesn’t Check Voicemails

Sep 26

It’s just under a month before I head to the midwest and visit my Korean mom and my brother who genially puts up with her. The original plan was to fly to Chicago and spend a few days in the Windy City since my boyfriend has never been, then drive to Detroit and spend a few days cursing Tim Allen and his deceptive Pure Michigan commercials (“I don’t recall seeing any fast food chains or slums in those sweeping lake shots…”). After doing some research, however, I found out that it is obscenely expensive to rent a car in one state and drop it off in another. It turned out to be loads cheaper to book a short flight from Chicago to Detroit and rent a car at the airport (not to mention faster) than to drive, so we changed our plans slightly. When it came time to call Mom and inform her of the brief switch, I didn’t think it would be a big deal (oh how I underestimate that tiny Asian woman). She didn’t pick up so I left a quick message letting her know that we were now flying to Detroit and would just pick up a car. I hung up and thought nothing more of the matter. Roughly 40 minutes later, my Mom called back. Me: “Hello?” Mom: “Rebecca!” Me: “Yeah?” Mom: “What’s wrong!?” Me: “What?” Mom: “What’s wrong?? You call! Something wrong?!!” Me: “What the–no! Didn’t you listen to the message I left you?” I could have sworn she knows how to check her voicemail, but considering this is the same woman who I once caught trying to change the channel by pointing the cordless phone at the television, you never know. Mom: “No, I was on freeway! I see you call and worry something’s wrong!” Me: “I just called to tell you that we’ll be flying to Michigan from Chicago instead of driving.” Mom: “…so?” Me: “…so I just thought you wanted to know! Good lord…” Mom: “…that’s it?” Me: “Yeah, that’s it. What’d you think was going on?” Mom: “My gahhhhh, I thought you get hurt practicing for Iron Chef race! I worry!” Me: “……….” I honestly don’t know what to focus...

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Mom Reacts to My Second Ironman Signup

Sep 06

Last year I did my first Ironman despite my mom’s protest that I was “gonna die,” and this year I drove up to Penticton, British Columbia to watch my friends do the race and to sign up for 2012. When I got back home, I called my mom and debated telling her about my plans to do the race again (since she was less than thrilled about me doing it the first time around). I ended up calling her and tried to ease it into the conversation. Mom: “Hi honeyyyyy! What you doing?” Me: “Not much, what are you up do?” Mom: “I watching ‘American Got Talent.'” (She always calls it that, as if the show is about one dude who can do something somewhat interesting.) Me: “I was out of town in Canada this past weekend.” Mom: “Oh, Vancouver?” Me: “No, Penticton.” Mom: “Pen…ton?” Me: “Penticton, British Columbia. It’s where that race I did last year was.” Mom: “Oh.” Me: “I was watching my friends do the race this year.” Mom: “Ah, I see. How they do?” Me: “For the most part they did really well. It was really hot out, like mid-90s, so it was a tough day.” Mom: “My gahhhhh. 90s? It’s hot and humid here in Meechygan lately too! Peppers suffer from heat.” Me: “…so you’re still doing the pepper thing, huh?” Mom: “Yeah, is good exercise! I got nothing else to do all day. What, I can’t vacuum, clean house every day! Peppers give me something to do! But Mommy getting old, I get tired working at farm all day. Before I work eight hours no problem, but now I get tired.” Me: “…so speaking of exercise, I signed up to the Ironman again next year.” Mom: “Oh my gahhhh, you doing another Macho Man race?!” Me, struggling not to laugh: “It’s called an Ironman, and yeah, I’m doing another one. I take it you won’t come and watch because of the peppers?” Mom: “No, no, I can’t watch. They have to take me to hospital.” Me: “What, why?” Mom: “I wait around all day and worry, they have to take me to hospital!” Me: “You wouldn’t have to worry about me, I’ve already...

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Pick Up the Mandu

Aug 04

My mom makes the best mandu. For those unaware, mandu is a Korean dumpling that closely resembles gyoza. Mom’s mandu are so freaking tasty — she makes them big and stuffs them full of meat and veggies. I can easily polish off an entire platter of the stuff (all while she alternately tells me I’m fat while piling more food onto my plate); it’s like little fried pillows of crack. My sister recently visited Michigan with her kids for 10 days. The night before she was scheduled to fly back to Seattle, my mom called me. Me: “Hello?” Mom: Hi honeyyyyy!” Me: Hey Mom, what’s up?” Mom: “You want some mandu?” Me: “Huh?” Mom: “I make mandu. I freeze some, give to Mia and she bring in her suitcase. She take some, give you some!” Though you may find this weird, this is something my mom has done all too often. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve served as an unwilling courier between my sister and my mom. Mia would send frozen crab or fish with me (packed in dry ice), and I’d have to lug it to the airport and through Michigan to deliver it to my mom, and Mom would respond by sending me home with a ton of clothes and crap for my nephews as well as a few frozen bags of corn or salsa. I always hated being a pack mule, so the idea of my sister in this role for once made me happy. (Plus, as aforementioned, my mom’s mandu is delicious.) Me: “Sure, that’s fine.” Mom: “Okay, good. She get in midnight. I tell her to call you when she get in. You meet her halfway from airport to her house and she give you mandu.” Me: “Wait, what?” I’m not going to meet my sister in some back alley at 12:30 am for a mandu exchange. This isn’t a drug deal, for crying out loud. Mom: “Yeah, you get the mandu from her.” Me: “Why can’t I just get them from her later?” Mom: “Noooooo, you got to pick up the mandu! Her boyfriend gonna eat ’em all up!” Me, sighing: “Okay, I’ll get the mandu.” I didn’t get the...

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Mom’s Urgent Phone Call

May 04

I live in Seattle, which is three hours behind Michigan in time zones. Normally when my mom calls, it’s later in the morning on the weekends or in the afternoon if it’s a weekday. She almost never calls too early because she knows about the time difference. Were she to actually phone me up earlier than 9 am, I’d assume it would be due to a family emergency or something urgent. Last month I was in Colorado for work (which is two hours behind Eastern Standard Time), and I was driving to the office when my phone started to ring. I fished it out of my purse and saw, to my surprise, that it was my mom. It was about 7:30 am PST and 8:30 in Colorado, on a weekday no less, so getting a phone call from Mom at this hour during the week was highly unusual. My mind immediately started to race with worst-case-scenario thoughts. Was someone injured or dead? Is Mom sick? What’s going on? I hesitated, then picked up the phone. Me: “Hello? Mom: “Hi honeyyyyyyy! What you doing?” Me: “Uh, I’m in Colorado this week. I’m driving to work.” Mom: “Oh, you in Colorado?” Me: “Yeah…” Mom: “You on your way to work now?” Me: “Yeah.” Mom: “Okay! …I’m driving too! Running errands.” Me: “Okay…” At this point I was wondering what the hell she was calling me for. It’s not like I don’t enjoy talking to my mom, especially considering how unintentionally hilarious she is, but this type of call was highly unusual. Mom: “I got a question for you.” Ah, so now the call makes sense. She needs me for something. Me: “Okay.” Mom: “How you spell ‘promise’?” Me: “…what?” Seriously, she called me up early in the morning to ask me how to spell a word? Mom: “I sending card to Kuhrt’s niece. On my way to post office.” Me: “P-R-O-M-I-S-E.” Mom: “Okay, p…e…r…m…s…e…d.” Me: “What? No, P-R-O-M-I-S-E.” Mom: “…p…r…i…m…s…e…d.” Since she stuck a ‘d’ at the end both times she spelled the word back to me, I figured she really wanted to know how to spell “promised” instead of “promise,” so I altered my spelling on the next attempt. Me:...

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