We’re coming up on the Cat’s 12th year of suzerainty over our household, and my husband and I have been conferring on what to get him for his birthday. We have decided to turn down his request for a 50 mm Solothurn. We fear that he might menace low-flying C-17s, a crime that could place his endorsements in jeopardy. We are negotiating on his backup request for a Roomba.
The Cat’s skyrocketing fame since his sensational appearances in the Baldwin movie have, surprisingly, had little impact on domestic tranquility. He’s the same Cat he has always been. He still sits outside the bathroom door while my husband is in the shower and yowls until it is his turn. When all is clear, he steps into the shower and sits down, watches the drips roll into the drain, and emerges wet-footed and ready for his day.
Our Cat’s concern for our well-being has always touched us very deeply. As our food taster, he has demonstrated unrelenting courage and fidelity. Not content to know that the filtered Tacoma tap water in his own bowl is the same water that we drink, he tests the water in our glasses as well, just to make sure. Sometimes we go through two or three rounds of clean water glasses in a sitting.
Learning Korean is a trail with new milestones appearing every day. Last semester, I gave up trying to pronounce the names of my Korean classmates in our Early Church History class. They were gracious, ebulliently adopting American names. After Christmas break, I greeted them in Korean. They were more amazed to see that I could write their names by sounding them out. But that’s nothing compared to how much they amaze me with their determination to undertake a rigorous M. Div. degree program in English.
Maybe my interest in learning Korean was triggered in part because I felt that I hadn’t been a very good friend, not trying harder to pronounce my classmates’ names. But when we returned for the new semester, my friendship with them was notched up. I think learning a new language and making new friends necessarily go together.
I’m beginning to repeat whole sentences on the first take in my Rosetta Stone software course. I’m at the trailhead of the final unit of Level I, and Levels 2 and 3 are on their way. I hope I can say something by the time I complete the entire course.
I’m intimidated by the 1st grade Bible study primer one of my classmates brought me from Korea. I couldn’t read a word of it, but finally sounded out the words, “Jesus Nazareth Leadership,” transliterated into Hangul, in the title. Encouraged, I opened the book and dove in. In just under an hour, I managed to discover the meaning of the first entry of the Table of Contents. I even managed to figure out that it was a table of contents.
It still takes me a fair amount of effort to look up a word in my Korean dictionary. The Koreans have pioneered the art of ultra-faint micro-font, which makes a comprehensive 50,000-entry dictionary in a carry-along size possible. The font becomes perceptible under the battery-powered light of a 10x six-ounce magnifier. That is an ounce heavier than my cell phone, which I cannot begin to hold for an hour. After discerning the meaning of the one-line table of contents entry, my wrist and eyes were fried. Still, the effort was a milestone, serving both as a commemorative marker and as a cairn to assure me I was on the way.