My first weekend in the Land of the Morning Calm was spent shopping for home necessities. Shin and his wife (the 학원 owners) took me to the local market. I bought some hangers, some towels, soap and shampoo (that was back when I had hair to wash). Shin’s wife chose the obligatory rubber gloves and plastic bowl for me (it wasn’t until later that I would learn their purpose was to wash the stairs outside my apartment once a week). Since I couldn’t yet afford a proper bed, I bought a 3단요 to sleep on, and told the Shins I at least needed a blanket. They walked me over to an area of the market where apparently identical bedding shops were lined next to each other without an end in sight. Each shop seemed to stock the exact same inventory and selection.
My hazel eyes were first drawn to a nice brown and orange, manly Mink blanket with a fierce Tiger on it. It seemed just the ticket for keeping me cozy on lonely nights so far from home. But Shin’s wife had other ideas. She was pushing me to buy something a tad more on the traditional side. After a bit of awkward “discussion,” I ended up with a cute pink 이불 with decorative flowers on it:
That’s right, I still have it.
집사람 gives me a hard time about it and can’t believe it is something I actually picked out and spent my own money on.
“It’s ugly,” she tells me.
She will admit it is the most comfortable blanket we own, she just won’t ever use it on our bed or let guests see it. But that precious pink comforter has been a constant companion to me and a cherished keepsake for more than 20 years now. And acting as a silent sage, it also taught me this one universal truth about a healthy lifestyle: Ahhh. Good comforter cotton…