Happy Birthday or Whatever by Annie Choi
Section 5: pages 161-190
Upon one special day of her stay in Korea in her trip in 1988, Annie is rudely awakened by her mother. Apparently, today Annie and her mother were going to Soraksan; Annie was previously unaware of this plan and has no idea where this place is. After many proposals to go back to sleep, Annie gets off the floor, throws on some pants, and takes the heavily margarined toast from her mother; and they were off. First they met up with Annie’s mother’s old friends, who were driving them there. On the 5- hour trip to Soraksan, they made a stop almost every hour, mostly for food. Annie continually comments that she cannot possibly eat more. Finally, they arrive at Soraksan, where they see a Buddhist temple and a mountain. They stay here for a total of 15 minutes and then head back home, making as many stops as on the trip up there. At the last stop, they get dinner, and then the adults decide they would like to do Karaoke. Annie doesn’t like the idea, but eventually gives into singing a line or two of a Beatles song and a few “easy” Korean songs. On the final drive home, it is finally quiet- her mother and the friend had fallen asleep.
Reaction: The concept of this chapter was very funny. I love that these Korean people constantly stopped during their road trip for food and flea market stuff in order to make the trip last longer. For me, it would make the trip a lot more fun because you wouldn’t have to stayed seated in a stuffy, crowded car all day- a thing I hate a lot. I can’t stand being cramped a not having room to stretch. Also, I really like food, especially unique, ethnic food, and I also enjoy flea markets because you can find so many interesting, one-of-a-kind items that can pump up both your lifestyle and your clothing style. However, I do see why Annie may not have liked stopping so many times because she had no idea where she was going, and she really wanted to go back to sleep. I can definitely relate to this feeling- there are many days were all I want to do is nothing and just lay in bed. I can also relate to finding out that you are going somewhere at the last minute. There have been several occasions where I think I have no plans for that night, just time to relax. But boy am I wrong. Not only am I going out to dinner and a dance show with family friends, but this has also been planned for weeks. “Oh, didn’t I tell you?” “ No, I’m sorry, I don’t believe you did.” “ Oops! I must have forgot. Well, you’re still coming, right? So-and-so is really looking forward to seeing you.” “ Well, I don’t know. Maybe.” Alexandra! I am requiring you to attend this show.” And that’s the end of that, so I can truly relate to being oblivious about my supposed plans.