A fortune teller gave me my Korean name Dah-Hee. During lunch with my Dad, I learned the meaning and how I attained my name. My Dad took a 15 year sabbatical and took to gardening, singing, and dancing. After school he’d have lunch ready with a story about his past. He is an amazing storyteller although it’s unclear how much of it actually happened and how much is a fancy from his imagination. Regardless of the validity, the point is always honest.

“How come no one calls me by my Korean name.”

“Your name means full of laughter. Uh, Halmuhnee, She bought your name.”

“How did she buy it?” My grandma was a very devout Christian. She became born again during a time in Korea it was dangerous, but her feet also never uprooted from the soil of her land either. She was a strong woman and God was not stopping her from talking to fortune tellers because she was a woman of spirit.

“When you were born, she went to the best fortune teller and bought your name. The name is good. It’s a beauty. It matches you too. The name Hannah I got from my best friend’s, friend’s daughter. Aw she was sooo cute.” He likes to slur and draw out his word to emphasize how he really feels, which makes sense because I think the Korean language is really expressive. A statement and question only differ by intonation.

My Halmuhnee, the woman who loved to sing, dance, juggle, cook, and tell stories, taught me life. She named me by buying a proper name for me, which suits me really well. I laugh. I laugh with my mouth open and eyes closed. I laugh through life. Happiness with teary eyed laughter, sadness with pained soft laughter, and anger with burning eyed laughter, I laugh. Either the prophet was really prophetic or it was the name which was, but I look up to heaven because I always give thanks to Halmuhnee for having the wisdom for knowing and carving an illusive road in the right direction. So give thanks and Bless.

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