마음: your heart and mind combined

i often try to find the english equivalent for a korean word (or vice versa). oftentimes, a word comes close to capturing the meaning of the other word, but falls short. and sometimes, there just is no real equivalent.

there’s a word i’ve been thinking of recently: 마음. and of course there’s no english equivalent. the closest i can come to preserving the meaning in translation is that it’s a combination of your heart and mind. and that’s pretty powerful.

koreans use it a lot to say that two people’s 마음s “match” or line up. that’s kind of beautiful, if you think about it. even visually, you get this image of two people’s hearts and minds aligning perfectly. not mathematically overlapping in certain parts but not in others like cold and petty venn diagrams, but two hearts and two minds effortlessly aligning or matching. it’s an ideal, i suppose, and a pretty beautiful one at that.

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“juhng” – it’s a funny thing

정. “juhng.”

it’s one of those korean words that you can’t quite translate into english. there’s no real equivalent.

it’s a closeness, a fondness you feel for someone – it can grow from seeing someone day in and day out. and it’s more platonic than romantic. although when you encounter the two with the same person, then good luck trying to get away from the pull of that combination. [trust me, i’ve tried].

once it’s there, it never really goes away. even years after.

“juhng.” it’s a tricky thing. it sneaks up on you. never does it announce: “hey, i’m gonna happen.” kinda like a ninja. sneaky bastard.

it always makes me smile though, when i realize that it has set in and is there to stay. especially when i see someone who i haven’t seen in awhile.

i saw a friend recently. and it made me smile to see that he still made that weird sound with his mouth [like, seriously weird] to fill up an awkward [or random] silence. when i say weird, i mean weird. like, when i first heard him make that sound years ago, i was so shocked that i couldn’t even ask what he was doing and why. the closest way to describe it would be comparing it to the sound of a deflating balloon. strange, right? it was only when i had gotten used to it [also years ago], that i realized that “juhng” had set in.

it’s strangely comforting. to know that what you remember about someone stays constant. circumstances may change, but certain things don’t. their mannerisms, the way they joke, or the way they walk. seeing my phone in its bright blue bunny case with ears, he asked, in only the way he would ask: “omg, is that an animal?!”

and you think, “juhng” – that sneaky thing that crept up on you like a ninja.