The Diary of Anne Ku
25 July 2000 Tuesday
The area near Penn Station between Madison and 7th Avenue in New York is known as Little Korea. Korean restaurants, book stores, beauty salons, and shops line up side by side. It was sheer heaven for a gastronomical hedon like myself. Best of all, the Korean supermarket was open from 8 am to 2 am ! I went there so many times for snacks and cold drinks.
In Okinawa, the Korean lady next door married a Chinese and as a result spoke perfect Mandarin. I don't remember the Korean dishes she made only the delicious Chinese ones - but Mother convinced me that she was good.
At the tender age of twelve I accepted my first job as a summer babysitter for another Korean lady. She lived on the other side of our house with her Italian American husband and two sons. The older one was a terrible two. The younger one was just six months old. I had a handful between the two and got paid a meager 50 cents per hour for it. There's a saying that every Korean woman must be able to make Kimchi - preserved cabbage. I spotted one in the making smack in the centre of the fridge. Since she didn't offer me any, I assumed she didn't want me to have any. Day after day, my mouth watered until I couldn't resist anymore. I poked beneath the top layer and started digging out some cabbage from under. Seeing that she didn't notice, I ventured until there was just a layer on top - all holey underneath. Eventually I got sacked. Not for stealing the kimchi, but for asking a pay rise - to 75 cents per hour.
In my freshman year at university, I took a ride from some Korean students. On the way back, their mothers prepared buckets of marinated Korean barbeque meat. We had a banquet! So "Korean" to me brings up visions of spicy, delicious food! Kimchi and bulgolgi ! Staying in Little Korea was a "hot" spot for me!
20 August 2000
I had jotted down my thoughts of the day during my travels. Now that I've FINALLY unpacked and cleaned up my room, I found these notes. So I will now "back-fill" my on-line diary.