Friday, March 10, 2017

Korean: One of the best birthday gifts I ever received

Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

A few weeks ago I asked the network for the most high-tech way to buy a suit.

Rasul Sha'ir (here's his TEDx talk) pointed me to

I figured...what the heck. Go for it. So with the help of Nadia (age 9), we took the measurements and went a bit crazy in the customizations.

I was nervous that it wouldn't work, but the suit showed up 3 weeks later and it's pretty solid.

As it turns out, we messed up on a few of the measurements (not so surprising), so I took it to the dry cleaner/tailor near my house.

It's owned by Koreans where the English isn't so great, which is fine, but when I dropped it off, they saw the issue, made the marks and I thought I was set.

But, I wasn't.

They called me about 90 minutes later and began telling me something. The thing is...despite all of my efforts, I couldn't figure out what they were saying.

So, even though I didn't want to go back, I had to.

As today is my birthday, I've been lucky to get a bunch of phone calls from people all over the world.

As luck would have it, at the EXACT moment when I walked in through the door of the dry cleaners, I got a call from a JHU classmate, Nelson Lee.

After we said a quick hello, I had a brainflashs.

"Hey wait, Nelson, you're Korean, right?"


"Do you speak Korean?"


"Can I ask for a birthday gift?"

At which point, I put Nelson on speaker and he did real-time translation of what the tailor (an elderly Korean gentlemen) was saying and what I responded.

Now, thanks to Nelson's birthday call and his on the fly Korean real-time translation, my bespoke suit should look sharp.

The more I think about it, the more I can't get over the fact that, at the precise moment that I needed Korean language skills, someone with Korean language skills called me.

Total proof of God's existence. ;-)

Or, as my brother said, it's "Korean-as-a-service."

Kamsa Hamneeda!!

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