Monday, 30 November 2009

Aunt Kimchi’s Kimchi

I just had to buy bus tickets today…

After finishing another fulfilling workday at Andeok School, I decided to take a stroll out to the bus station to get a pack of bus tickets. As I was heading back home, I saw a familiar face and panicked a little. It’s become a natural reaction, because she always seems to appear out of nowhere. “Don’t look into her eyes… Just look away and she won’t notice you..”

But Aunt Kimchi spotted me.

An nyeong hasaeyo, sungsaeneem.” (Hello teacher). There was only one road I could take, so I stopped.

“Oh, hello.” I said in Korean, with a widespread smile. “How are you doing today?”

“Where are you headed off to today?” she asked.

I answered, “Oh, nowhere really, I’m just walking home.” I bit my tongue.

She jumped at what apparently was a silent invitation to my home. “I’ll come with you!”

“Ookay…” I said.

So she walked with me, excitedly, back to the house.


As she made herself at home on the floor, she pulled out a large black plastic bag that was large enough to carry several heads. I was right…almost. As she undid the knot on top of the bag, she carefully lifted up several heads…of kimchi.

Remember when I mentioned our first weekend in Daegu city as the prime time to make kimchi? Well, the heads of red-pepper-speckled pickled cabbage that Aunt Kimchi had pulled out in front of me, were examples of the garlicky bounty that that weekend had produced. Our next-door neighbour (Aunt Kimchi’s best friend) had spent all weekend drenching all of her nappa cabbages in vinegar, salt, garlic, and ruby-red chili flakes.

She asked, “Do you have a container?”

“Umm…sure,” I replied. I pulled out a litre-capacity Ziploc container.

“I’ll need something larger…enough for these heads. She held up three heads of dripping, vinegary kimchi. “Here, I’ll just give you the bag.”

Mmm…thank-goodness Ken’s taken a liking to kimchi.

I thanked her for her wonderful gift and she headed out for her home.

Aunt Kimchi’s not so bad. And her kimchi certainly isn’t either :).

- Jess


  1. Is that her real name (Kimchi) or just what you and call have nick-named her? So it's a green cabbage? I thought it was red.

  2. Yes, it's just a nickname for her :)
    And yes, kimchi is green cabbage but it gets a red colour from being pickled in a red chili pepper sauce.