Good Times in South Korea
I have also had several random acts of kindness. When I first came to Korea, I got lost in the Seomyeon subway station, although the signs are in Korean and English. A lady who didn’t speak any English came up to me. I pointed to my destination on a map. She took me to an elevator, rode with me and walked me to the correct platform.
When I go shopping at small boutiques (like the beauty store) I usually get free samples. Once, I was trying to buy hand lotion and the shop keeper gave me a full-sized gift set of lotion and hand sanitizer in a nice-sized box. Another example that comes to mind is when I was buying hair dye and shampoo at this beauty boutique and the store associate gave me a free full-sized bottle of hair conditioner. Oh, and recently I wanted a tote bag, and although I needed to have bought $20 worth of stuff to get one the associate gave it to me with only about $5 worth of items.
An aujuma (older Korean woman) kneeled down and tied my shoe while I stood in the street. I didn’t know that my shoe was untied. She just did it and walked away.
There’s also the lady who sells street food who is always trying to give me free food to try with my usual chicken on a stick.
Every day after school the little old ladies who sit on the benches outside smile when I say goodbye. Children from my school say hello Claudine teacher to me in the street and bow. Sometimes tiny precious children with prompts from their parents say hello to me at the bakery in my neighborhood. Yes. The cashier in the bakery knows to search for chocolate chip cookies for me.
One of the most touching events happened recently. My grandmother died in October; we were very close. I went into this restaurant months later, and something about the aujuma who cooked up my fish and asked me if I was hungry, made me remember my grandmother. That happens sometimes. I started to cry spontaneously. I tried to explain that I was sad because of my grandmother’s death. She picked up my chopsticks and began feeding me my fish. I don’t know what made her do that. I heard her say baby. I suppose that I appeared very young, and very sad. Her actions touched me all the more when she asked me in faltering English to come back again.