that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.

lacks culture


That’s what my personal ad would say. I never realized how completely sheltered I am as a Canadian, Caucasian, twenty-something female. Recent events have unveiled that fact. #1: my early Canadian Racism class. #2, and substantially greater, Scott and Kyla’s live-in student, YouJin. YouJin hails from Korea and it was, according to Kyla, only recently that she’s started coming out of her shell. About a month ago was Kelsey’s 18th birthday party and I sat at a table with YouJin and a couple girls Taylor’s age-ish and it was there that I first witnessed that she’s got a delectable sense of humour… even though she has not shown much of it. Last night, we were at the Rutherford dinner table (entertainment in it’s own right) when we started teasing YouJin and her friend about what girls talk about at that age and what they were going to do when dinner was over and they went back downstairs. They giggled…but made a point of telling me I wasn’t allowed down there. Or any of us. So naturally, later when Kyla made all the kids popcorn, I jumped at the opportunity to bring some down to YouJin and her friend. I couldn’t believe what I saw (or more accurately, I was confused):

YouJin and Mikayla sitting side by side in the hallway with a ruler this ________________________________ long resting on Mikayla’s thigh. They were fascinated. Besides the fact that I scared them and they shrieked, I asked them what in the world they were doing. YouJin responded matter-o-factly “We’re measuring our thighs.” Say what? Mikayla pipes up “Yea! We’re measuring our thighs to see who is skinnier.” You’re joking? “No, see, I think Mikayla is skinnier than I am so we are measuring. You want to try?” YES I will get right on it! Are you kidding me? I was flustered, laughed a bit, told them they were both beautiful and slim, and politely, awkwardly declined. I mean, I remember being 14 and walking from Jocelyn’s house to #1 video to rent a movie and get slurpees from Mohawk, not measuring our thighs with a ruler as long as my index finger.

Kyla was in sheer disbelief when I told her what the girls were really up to downstairs. Scott found it prime opportunity to heckle YouJin, who promptly giggled than mortifyingly said “You told him?!?!” Oh heck no, he was downstairs! (I lie). What was truly bizarre about the encounter, is I do not believe that YouJin was embarrassed by what they were doing, merely the way we all responded. It seemed like a normal thing to do! Maybe I am just really forgetting what it was like to be 14 but wow!

This all lead to debate on whether it was a 14-year-old-girl thing to do or a Korean-girl thing. Either way, Kyla and I did not measure our thighs with them. I forgot to ask though, if Scott did.

I might start a segment of my blog called “Conversations with YouJin” because this happened later, when I creeped on over to her doorway to find her and Mikayla sitting on the bed giggling:

Hey girls! Have a fun night I will see you later!
Mikayla: “Where are you going?”
To Starbucks with Kyla.
[YouJin and Mikayla both get super excited]
YouJin: “I love Starbucks!”
Mikayla: “I do too! But Tim Hor-ton is way cheaper” (English is neither of their first language…)
I sure know that! But we’re going to see Ky’s friend and I LOVE Starbucks!
YouJin: “Thank you.” [extremely politely]
Excuse me?
YouJin: “Thank you.”
For what?
YouJin, with a sly grin creeping: “For coffee.”

Granted the hilarity of this evening needs to be couple with picturing her and her broken, yet fascinating, English coupled with this being almost the first time of holding a conversation with her, highly respectful Korean manner, what an inverted way to hint at us bringing her a coffee!! (I didn’t.) I wanted to laugh out loud for a year. What was even extra fun was when she asked me “Are you sleeping over Kate?” … I honestly don’t think I would’ve known what to do if I did! 🙂

By the way, I blogged about the awful Victoria weather too soon…I’ve worn capris and flipflops the last 3 days since being home. I apologize.

2 thoughts on “lacks culture

  1. Yeah… Mom was talking about the nice weather they had and I giggled cuz I had just read your entry. Sounds like a blast over there. Say ‘hi’ to family for us. Sounds like fun!

  2. LOL! Yes, anything to do with legs is a big thing in asian cultures. The ultimate insult in japanese is to say that the person has legs like a dikon (‘dikon ashi desu.’) Look for them in the produce department of a grocery store. It amazed me to see the vast array of products for legs in Japanese magazines.

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