The Origin of Eli the Halmoni

My nickname from 5th grade to 12th grade was Halmoni – La Abue (which means ‘grandma’). My classmates came up with this nickname for me because I was a year older than most of them, but I think the primary reason this nickname stuck was because I was such an old soul.

I would say things like:

“Dear, please do not copy that homework. Give this to me and I will help you complete it yourself. C’mon, it’s better to do it yourself. You will actually learn.”


“I don’t understand why you’d want to go to a night club. It’s so noisy, smoky, and it must smell terrible. Staying at home makes more sense.”

I was so abuela that I got the <The Abuela in Charge of the Yearbook> Award back in high school.

Then, I came to college. And I didn’t tell anyone my nickname had been grandma. But lo and behold, soon enough people started calling me halmoni too!

Then, I started my first job in Seoul. By the end of the first week, my boss and co-workers called me halmoni.

So until yesterday night, I thought my halmoni spirit had been with me since 5th grade. However, reading over my 2nd grade report card proved me wrong (read the last sentence of the report card):

(The last sentence of the report card: She works cooperatively with the group and is highly respected by her friends.)

Highly respected by her friends.


I don’t know why, but the idea that my 2nd grade teacher took notice and wrote the words ‘highly respected’ about a 2nd grade student in her class was just so funny. How halmoni-like must I have acted that I was regarded with high respect amongst my peers?

Evidence now shows that symptoms of my halmoni-ness showed since at least 2nd grade.

My big discovery of the week.


Questioning and Believing

I only question things when I am trying to make sense of things. If I intuitively understand something, I don’t ponder on it too much.

Basically, I want things to make sense to me. If it does, I don’t question it.

For example, I have a natural mom-daugther relationship with my mom because she gave birth to me and raised me. Then, through all the time we spent together and the talks we have had, we have developed a sturdy, relational mom-daughter relationship. I don’t spend a single second of my time questioning whether she really is my mom or not because it makes sense to me that this woman who says she is my mother is, in fact, my mom.

It would be ridiculous at this point of life for me to tell my mom, “I’m not sure you are my mom. Let’s do a DNA test. How can I be sure that you aren’t a serial killer who is just fattening me up to kill me later on?”

Because of the relationship we had since my conception and the relationship we have built for the last 27 years, it is more ridiculous for me to question our relationship than it is for me to believe in it.

It is the same way with God. I haven’t questioned God and His existence since I responded to Him relationally. I can’t question His existence because He has been relationally there for me; opening and closing doors, comforting me, showing me His beauty in all things. So instead of questioning Him, His existence, or His goodness, I find myself asking Him for advice, asking Him to teach me to rejoice in what He does, and to break my heart for what breaks His.

My momma and me back in ’94.