Tuesday, September 28

"Honor" Fear and a new twist on "Southern" Hospitality

So when I was in Seoul, we went to a HUGE bookstore - which was welcomed because I have a ton of spare time on my hands AND a good selection of English books is hard to come by! So, after about 45 minutes, I'd finally chosen 3 books I wanted to buy.  I walked up to the checkout, and was digging for my wallet - which was NO WHERE to be found. :( I left the books at the counter - and proceeded to go through a bookstore triple the size of Joseph Beth/Davis Kidd in Lexington + with thousands of people in it - and look for my wallet.  I retraced my steps, but honestly wasn't sure I'd lost it here -since we'd been so many places.  I'd just been to the ATM that day to get enough cash for the rest of the trip - about 100,000 won (like $85.00US dollars).  So my wallet had my cash in it, my ATM card, and my address card.

My director just stopped by, taught me a llittle Korean and she let me know that MY WALLET WAS FOUND - and the person who found it - called my director James b/c his name was on the address card - to let James know he'd found my wallet - and would return it WITH my ATM card WITH the cash!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) can you believe that!?!?! That would never happen in NASHVILLE, let alone in Seoul, SOUTH KOREA! :) A friend of mine told me that Koreans have a code of honor that causes them to be fearful of what may happen/ karma if they take things that are not theirs.  So thankful and really impressed that I'm getting my wallet back. I'm a lucky lucky girl, and my faith was officially restored in human nature! :) 

Another fun story - yesterday I went exploring Ocheon, the town that I live in - and b/c it was September 25th (a day ending in a 5) there was an open market - so I walked around there for a few hours.  On my way home, I was beginning to get hungry - I'd walked to my apartment and decided I really didn't want to eat the Ramen I'd bought.  So, I turned back around and passed a restaurant that was very lively - it wasn't big but there were about 8 Koreans in having a fun time.  I looked in, but kept walking b/c I couldn't tell if it was a house or restaurant.  But, an older gentleman scurried out and said "hey, come here" so I did.  He invited me in and said "coca cola and kimchi" haha :) I said sure and smiled at everyone in the room and tried to muster an anyong haseyo (hello in korean) long story short they fed me :) Despite the language barrier, I enjoyed a meal with about 6-8 people that I couldn't speak to - but a smile and laughs go a long way! :) They danced, and shared Korean music with me, and Mr. Kim even gave me his phone # and said I could stop by any time.

And I thought people were friendly in Tennessee! :)

Love always, Em

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