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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Unexpected gifts . . .

As part of a very busy day yesterday (prep for an article, baseball game, New Zealand Wine Festival), I interviewed two women who stunned me. I'll link the article next week when it's published but the best bits won't fit there. This post is for Kimberly:

Background: Part of the USFK Good Neighbor program is an annual English Camp, where Korean high school students spend a week with an American host family, attend Seoul American High School on  Yongsan Garrison and live like Americans (albeit, Americans in Korea) for a week. I attended the graduation ceremony yesterday and interviewed a student and her host Mom.

I asked both what was their favorite part of the week.

The student told me it was going to feed the homeless at Seoul Station. She said her host family does this once a month and she intends to join them each month to do so.

I asked the host mother her favorite part of the week and she told me it was watching the girls' (she hosted two) reactions to her food. Then, because she talks more than me, she went on a rambling hilarious tangent about it. After we stopped laughing, I told her that her student said feeding the homeless was her favorite memory. I'm going to let her tell the rest:

"How could I forget that!

"My husband and I come from two totally different backgrounds. My Mom says that we weren't privileged but if we weren't, I didn't know. My husband was the complete opposite - he was raised very, very poor. So, in the beginning of our relationship, I always noticed how my husband thought I didn't understand less fortunate people. I don't think I did understand what it was to be less fortunate. At the same time, I didn't like the thought of people thinking I didn't understand or that I was totally unaware.

"So, we started that when we were in college. We were dating and we were constantly going out to eat, and we decided that once a week, whatever we were going to spend that day on going out to eat, we would put it in our pockets, which in college was only about five or six dollars. So, we would save that money up and at the end of the month, we would go to the grocery store and we would buy sandwiches and cookies and stuff like that and we would hand it out for the homeless."

They continued that throughout their marriage, which is nearing it's seventh anniversary, and it was at that time the students visited.

"We baked cookies, we baked brownies and muffins, we made sandwiches, we put juices together and we put it all in this bag and we went out to feed the homeless.

"What's really important, regardless of where you are, people are people, regardless of where they are, and some people fall on hard times. A lot of people think that homeless people either choose that way or they are lazy, and some of them might be, but if you can help that one homeless guy in the group that didn't choose, that was really trying and didn't quite make it, if I have to feed a hundred to get that one who really needs help, I'll do it, time and time again."

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