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Tag Archives | Jean Youn

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Jean Youn: Music and the sweet sounds of spring

What kind of music do you like? What are your favorite songs? Different people like to listen to different kinds of music. However, there are some songs that many people, across cultures, generations and gender all seem to enjoy.There are certain things that touch sensitivities universally. I think a good example of such a song is Nella Fantasia, it is based on the theme song, “Gabriel’s Oboe,” from the movie “The Mission” (1986). Even though the song is sung in Italian, and I don’t speak any... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Electricity, power outages, and spring

Have you ever experienced a sudden power outage? It’s a very frustrating ordeal because it prevents you from cooking, having air conditioning when it’s hot, heating when it’s cold, and these days we might feel helpless without a working computer. Just about everything that operates on electricity would not be working during a power outage. It’s also impossible to do any work at a dry cleaners if you’re not getting any electricity. Electricity seems to be as vital to us as air these days. Without electricity, life would be so... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Spring ahead with a new start

It is now March, meaning that it is almost spring. I like to think of spring as a time of renewal and starting fresh. In Korea, sometimes the beginning of spring is interrupted by unseasonably cold temperatures and sometimes it even snows. When this happens, it is said that the cold weather is jealous of the beauty of the flowers that bloom in the spring time. However, we know that the weather can’t have feelings of jealousy or any other feelings. People on the other hand, are sometimes very prone... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Sun of the heart

 Last week, I read a letter a father wrote to his daughter who is getting married. In the letter he wrote, “Dearest daughter, a long time ago in England, wives were called peace weavers.” It seems to suggest that the father was hoping that his daughter would be able to create peace in the new family she will start with her husband-to-be. As I read the letter, I was reminded of something. The Korean word for wife is ‘ah-neh’. The root of that word is ‘ahn-heh’. ‘Ahn’ means inside and... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Another meaning for born again?

Does your car have any features that stand out? Sometimes I notice some very interesting accessories on cars. I have seen some pretty interesting vanity license plates and bumper stickers. Among these bumper stickers are some that proclaim the driver is “Born Again,” and I understand that holds a religious message. Quite a while ago, I remember driving on a one lane road with solid double lines separating the directional paths in the median. The speed limit was 50 miles an hour but the car in front of me was... Read More →

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Jean Youn:Valentine’s Day and overcoming differences with love

Though it really depends on the particular individual, it seems kids often don’t share all their thoughts and feelings with their parents. I’m sure that many of us can relate when we think about our teen years and early 20s. It was the same way 4000 years ago. This is what we call generation gaps. Even if we do succeed in trying to understand younger generations and even older generations, there would still be some clear differences between generations. An example of this generation gap is evident as I work... Read More →

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Jean Youn: A hardy flower that blooms in winter

Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn Do you like flowers? If so, what kind do you like? The most popular flower in Korea, China, and Japan is what’s called Me-wha. Its English name is Japanese apricot blossom. If you look at a lot of old Asian art, many are images of Me-wha or Japanese apricot blossoms, orchids, chrysanthemums, and bamboo trees. However, among Me-wha plants, there is a kind that blossoms in the winter time. It is called seol-jung-me. No matter how... Read More →

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Jean Youn: The do everything scarf

Today I would like to introduce to you the Korean word bo-ja-gee. These days there is an assortment of expensive, quality name brand bags in the market and also many different designs of scarves. There are also different kinds of book bags for school children. There are even many different kinds of wrapping paper to wrap gifts in. Today, Korea is not very different from the United States, however, 40-50 years ago there was a time when the functions of bags, scarves, and wrapping paper were all done with a... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Happy New Year again

 Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year on the Lunar Calendar. It’s the day that many Americans know as Chinese New Year. In China, it is called Chun Jie, which means the beginning of spring. It is also the day of the biggest festival of the entire year. Other countries like Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia etc. that surround China also celebrate this day as the beginning of the year. In Korea this day is called Suhl Nahl. Unlike in China, it is not a day of... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Generation gaps

Have you ever experienced the effects of generation gaps? First generation immigrants like me, with children who grow up in America, experience a significant generation gap with their children. A generation that knows what it’s like to go hungry has a much different experience of life than following generations who have never gone hungry. If you add cultural differences on an already existing large generation gap, it can become very difficult for immigrant parents to see eye to eye with their Americanized children. I read an article about how the... Read More →

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Jean Youn: “Back to the Future” and time management

It’s been quite a while since the film, “Back to the Future,” hit movie theaters in 1985. Many of us probably have, at some point or another, thought about the idea of the ability to go back and forth in time from past, present, and future. Many things have indeed changed throughout the course of time. Things that might have been unimaginable many years ago are a reality today. However, time travel is still just something that’s fun to think about, but not a reality. People have varying levels of... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Year of the dragon

Photo courtesy Guest Blogger Jean Youn It is is a glorious new day of the first day of the year 2012. In East Asia, upon tradition, each year is represented by a cycle of 12 animals. This year is the year of the dragon. The animals that represent each year are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, dog, chicken, and boar. Eleven of the animals are ones that exist in real life but the dragon isn’t a real animal. Read More →

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Jean Youn: Season of peace

Many people often ask me the same question. “Are you from South Korea or North Korea?” Chances are, every Korean person you have ever met is from South Korea. Last week, North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il passed away. A customer asked me what my thoughts are about this. The Korean peninsula is a very small piece of land. It has been 66 years since it was divided into North and South Korea. The land has a very sad history. Today is Christmas. I understand that there are those of you... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Holiday decorations

You’ve probably noticed a lot of holiday decorations being up lately. When I close up shop to head home, I see many beautiful decorations and lights all over the place. Some of you probably decorated your houses with holiday cheer as well. There are also probably others of you who don’t decorate or celebrate at all. You can put many different meanings into decorations. You might feel thanks and joy as you prepare and lay out your decorations. Though, others might just see all the decorations... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Mountains, echoes, and the holiday spirit

Have you ever been to the top of any mountains? Korea is a very small country in land area, but it has many mountains. About 70% of the land is covered with mountains. Most of them are not very high though. Anyone could climb to the top of them. When you’re at the top of these mountains, if you yell something, you would be able to hear echoes. Whatever you say, the mountains will echo back to you. If you yell, “I’m tired and beat!” they will echo back “I’m... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Steve Jobs and that special time of the year

 It is now the month of December, the last month of the year 2011. There are some people who live as though they have nothing to live for and there are also those who live every day as if it were their last. Steve Jobs was one of the people in the second category. These are some of the words he gave at the 2005 Stanford University commencement address: “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would... Read More →

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Jean Youn: A thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. There are countless things that we feel that we lack and want but there also a countless number of things to be thankful for. Of those things family is what’s most important and what we are most thankful for. Family is what I am most thankful for but what allows my family and me to live day in and day out is actually you my customer. When I think about all of the blessings I have received over the years, none of those things... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Burning red time

Have you ever heard anyone say ‘burning fall/autumn?’ That is the name given to this time of year in Korea. It’s in reference to the red color of the leaves around this time. Fall isn’t a time of melancholy as some might say, it is a burning red time of year. Burning is often used to describe passion. Passion is what makes every day worth the while. When I dry clean your clothes, I hope that I look at it as though I am clothing you with passion. I hope... Read More →

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Jean Youn: The tale of the old man and the village

I want to share a story with you.  A long time ago, an old man sat underneath the shade of a tree near the entrance of a village.  A traveler walked toward the village and noticed the old man. He asked him, “How are the people in this village?” The old man asked the traveler, “How are the people in the village you’re from?” The traveler replied, “The people in the village that I’m from are no good and I don’t like being around them. They weren’t the kind of... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Halloween, customs, and traditions

Tomorrow is the last day of October and it is also Halloween! Do you celebrate Halloween? Some people do and others don’t, and that’s ok. People hold different kinds of customs and traditions based on their culture and beliefs. Families like mine that consist of first and second generation immigrants often find it necessary to mix the customs and cultures of both their native land and of the United States. Sometimes we clash with our children due to different customs and values. This reminds me of the film, “Fiddler on... Read More →

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Jean Youn: Passion for life

Have you ever heard of a species of bird called the goldcrest? It is a very tiny bird about the size of your thumb. Goldcrests are birds that can withstand very harsh winter climates. Animals have different methods of winter survival. Bears hibernate and migratory birds fly south for the winter. Goldcrests also have their own special way of withstanding the cold. First of all, they build their nests in a way that helps keep out cold air. At night, they huddle together to make collective body heat. During the... Read More →

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Jean Youn: A good time to focus on the positive

A Korean proverb says that people from long ago are never wrong. This is to say that the things they have said had come from experience after experience and they’ve had a lot of time to think about what they say. The Korean word for autumn is Gah-Eul. Gah-Eul means to cut off. The origin comes from how fruits from the summer were cut off from their plants and reaped. I was better off a long time ago. I was prettier a long time ago. I was smarter a long... Read More →

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