The day started just like any other, I dragged myself out of bed, washed my face and threw on some clothes. I watched the news, ate a bowl of cereal, drank tea and woke myself up before jumping on my bike and riding like a bat out of hell to get to work on time. Here’s the twist.
I live in Korea. As a foreigner in Korea, there is a general assumption that I am incapable of feeding myself well and that I can’t find anywhere in town on my own. Both of which are far from the truth, I eat like a king and my internal GPS is working just fine.
With these common assumptions in mind, imagine if you will, cycling at high speed along a quiet road lined with traditional houses. Their residents are sitting outside playing cards and preparing vegetables. The odd car whizzes past and I am about to reach a good downhill stretch, the end is in sight, my school is just on the horizon. I am about to pass the same cute, old man I see every morning. He waits squatting outside his house for the kindergarten bus with his three or four year old grandson in exactly the same spot, every day, at the same time. Every morning we greet one another and life goes on.
On this particular day however, he rose to his feet and stood in my path. As I got closer he reached into his deep jacket pocket. It happened so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to steer away. Before I could blink I was soaring down the hill with an entire bread roll half in, half out of my mouth. My old friend had decided that I needed some extra breakfast in my life and treated me to a floury bap filled with cream. He had shoved it in my mouth as I cycled past and quite frankly, looked very pleased with himself. He had done his good deed of the day, he had fed the foreigner. It was just like being at the zoo, except I was the performing monkey arriving at school with a face covered with flour and cream oozing out of my mouth, still in shock. And who said Yeongju didn’t have a drive through?