My mom arrives this evening! And, will meet up with my sister at the airport! My dongsaeng, Doogal will be here for a week, and my mom for two. It's been a year since we've all been in the same zipcode, so we are all very excited.
My mom hasn't been back to Korea for over thirty years! This was pre-Seoul Olympics, people. She's definitely in for some culture shock. Of course my mom has been following Korea's modernization thanks to all the dramas and PD specials she likes to rent. Then again, the Korea presented in dramas can be a lot more glowy and fragrant than the real thing.
I spoke to my mom the other day and she seems both excited and nervous. With the exception of her Mecca, the umma always gets a bit nervous about traveling and navigating all in English. I had to remind the umma that she's returning to the Motherland, so she can speak the Mother Tongue. She was like, "Oh, yeah. I forgot."
My mother holds this fantasy of one day returning to Korea and retiring in the countryside. I keep telling her that she should just remain in Hawaii, which is basically like Korea except with less people, less traffic, and more affordable golf rates.
My mom (thanks to all those dramas) also has the impression that all women in Korean dress-up on a daily basis. This may be true for young women in Seoul, but I told her that fashion trends are different for ajummas. Basically, there are two prominent looks favored by Seoul ajumma.
Option A: Shijang Ajumma (aka Marketplace Ajumma)
These ladies dress primarily for comfort and color. They tend to favor elastic waisted pants, sun hats, and colorfully printed blouses. This look is usually topped by a fresh pama from their favorite miyongshil.
Option B: Samonim (Wife of the CEO)
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the Korean woman who dress to impress in pastel colored suits and heels. Whether or not they have a driver, these women look as if they are driven around in a posh Samsung sedan. Instead of the tightly curled pamas favored by the Shijang Ajummas, these women go for the more relaxed perm, where the curls look like they've been blown out.
This look is the standard uniform for the as seen on TV wealthy, close-minded mother who despises her precious son's poor terminally ill girlfriend.
(Actress Geum Bo Ra source)
I advised my mom to forget what Korean women are wearing and just rock the capris and short-sleeved shirts she wears back in the Homeland. She will, of course, look more western, but that's to be expected. After all, she is an American citizen.