Neighbors

I was on the roof reorganizing my laundry when a small voice said,

아주머니 누구냐?” Who is that lady*?

I looked down two stories and saw a little boy bundled from head to toe. He peeked at me between his beanie and scarf and waved.

“Who are you?” He shouted.

“I’m your neighbor!” I waved back and asked him what his name was.

“Kim Yoonu!” He said too quietly for a person on the top of a house to hear.

“Kim Yoo?”

“Kim Yoonu!” He said louder, still too shy to actually shout.

“Kim Ooyu? Kim Yoonu? Wait, tell me again!”

He stared at me in defeat while his parents watched the exchange.

“Uh, okay, well, nice to meet you!” I said, when no further answer was forthcoming. He waved one more time then let himself be lead to whatever adventures his parents had planned for the day.


*Ajumeoni is a title used to refer to women of your parent’s generation. It’s a bit similar to the nuance between “miss” and “ma’am” but no one under 65 wants to be referred to as ajumeoni, even if it’s considered polite. Here’s an example of my internal monologue and for the men, there’s one for you, too.

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