A Week in August – Part 4

Diary: Monday 22 August to Friday 26 August

We go around the world in this roundup of our family’s working week.


On Monday and Tuesday Mr Gochugaru and I found ourselves home alone, like the parents in Reply 1988 whose children had spread their wings and flown the nest, but who still come home to roost from time to time.

So we decided to have dinner out on both nights: at Jinjuu on Monday and The Ninth on Tuesday. Generally speaking, trying new restaurants is best done with like minded friends so you can share the excitement or disappointment. On days alone, it is safer to head somewhere familiar and reliable.

Over dinner at Jinjuu Mr Gochugaru says what he misses when I am away is Korean food. I don’t know how we came to embrace Korea to this extent but we have.

Some days I worry about this, I don’t want to call it obsession, this great interest in a country I had no intention of visiting, let alone throwing myself into its culture and history so deeply. I worry about appearing strange and pretentious and seeming like a wannabe.

Then I tell myself not to think so much. There are millions of people like myself, born in one country, living in another and then taking an active interest in a third culture. Let’s all carry on in the manner best suited to our inner world citizen.


If you are British…



If you are Korean…



If you are Malaysian…spinach is your best friend


Everyone comes home for dinner on Wednesday and we have chicken katsu. When the question comes up of what goes into Bulldog sauce, someone says bulldogs, of course. There’s great excitement over the first episode of Great British Bakeoff but I wait instead to watch the final episode of Reply 1988.

After Episode 19, when it was revealed that Deok-sun married Boy B I wondered if it was possible to enjoy the final episode. Because, of course, I thought that Boy A was really, really quite special. If I were Deok Sun, I would have picked him for sure.

But I did enjoy the two hours of tying up loose ends. The children grow up, the parents grow old, the alley gets neglected as the families leave one after another to start a new life somewhere else. Now I saw the significance of the scene in every episode where someone sweeps the alley to keep it clear of fallen leaves, empty cartons, crumpled paper, used coal briquettes, snow. The alley needs daily attention to keep it from getting worn down by the daily wear and tear of life.

And so it is with marriage, which is the subject of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which I watched on the flight from London to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday evening. Marriage needs daily attention if it is to survive the bumps and knocks of being on call to your family 24/7.




I hadn’t realised such a long time had lapsed between the first and second Greek Wedding movies. Toula and Ian now have a gorgeous daughter, Paris, who is around the same age as Junior 3. I laughed and laughed a lot because I am Chinese married to an Englishman: poor Mr Gochugaru, what he has had to put up with all these years with my extended family.

What he has to put up with for the next three weeks is no dinner on the table waiting for him as he comes home from work. However he does have the children who all ask on Friday: what is for dinner tonight? To which the sensible reply was let’s all meet at Bibigo.

Seems like the Korean bug has bitten big into our family.