I came home today, opened my mail, and I got… this!


My cousin Jennifer reads my blog and she purchased this book for me after learning that I love Maangchi!

What a wonderful, generous gesture.

What if we all did something nice for someone every day? Wouldn’t it be a better world?


I am going to pay it forward by cooking some dishes and having friends over. As soon as my cousin can make her way to Arizona, she and her family will sit down at my table and enjoy the fruits of my mad Korean cooking skills.






Our new neighbors were expecting friends from France.

Mr. B. came to our door. “We are expecting friends from France. They have girls your ages. Do you think they could play together?” “Of course!” I replied. “They don’t speak any English,” Mr. B. stated. “No worries!” I replied.  Ava added, “We can always communicate via Google Translate.”  Brilliant!

The girls came. They were beautiful and shy. I had prompted Josie and Ava to be prepared with some ideas and games. Of course, when I suggested board games, they wrinkled their noses and chorused, “Boring!” So I allowed them to plan it on their own.

The girls started by opening a laptop with Google translate on. They typed and communicated what they were going to do. First thing: origami. Josie laughed as one of the girls accidentally ripped her paper, looked at Josie and then threw it over her shoulder!

The play date continued, communication largely facilitated by the translating program, but occasionally by means of facial expressions and key words.

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The French girls then suggested that they play dodge ball. They all went to the park a few blocks away and played, sharing an iPhone to continue their dialogue. Upon their return, they played a game of billiards and then joined us for dinner. The night ended at 10pm – way past their bedtime. But all the girls had a fantastic time. “I wish they lived on this block! It would be so fun!” Josie lamented this morning. The guests depart for France on Tuesday.

Josie and Ava are composing a letter (with help from Google!) and are assembling a farewell gift.

gifts for girls