My host parents come home from the city with two enormous bags of radishes, an alarm clock, panty hose, and bags of bread. My host mother indicates where the bread will be in the freezer and that it should be microwaved for one minute. She and her husband will leave for China on Friday; Se Eun and I are on our own for a few days.
They change out of work clothes. Se Eun’s father makes her come out of her room where she is studying to see him putting on his socks. They are toe socks; he giggles a little to himself as he wiggles his toes in. She makes sounds of mortification and he says yebbeudee! (pretty!) He spreads newspaper on the ground. His wife comes out rubbing the blades of two kitchen knives together, they uppend the bags of radishes onto the newspaper and get to the business of hand made chonggak kimchi, picking at the hairs on the radishes. I don’t know why but it’s these moments of intimate domesticity that get me past the moments of homesickness and frustration.