A kind of hospitality

There's a pizza/chicken spot right around the corner from my apartment here that I go to when I'm hankering for some chicken. It's like a fast food place, and they mostly just do delivery. I might be the only person that goes there for take-out, and that's mainly because I have this have hearted fear of actually trying to call any delivery places because of the language barriar.

In any event, the first time I went there was late one night after work. When you're coming up to the building there are these vespas (the most common automobile in Korea) parked outside with thier alluminum boxes in the back for transporting food in. You walk in the door and the room where the drivers wait for the next order watching TV feels much like a small dorm room. A couch crammed in a cubby by a window, a computer sitting on a desk next to a small TV propped on a book shelf. Papers thrown everywhere, pizza boxes stacked to the roof. The rom is about 8'x12' and there is a table, the biggest piece of furniture in there, sitting in the middle of it.
When I walked in there was this middle aged Korean sitting down with a bottle of beer eating a big plate of chicken, presumably or dinner. His eyes were bloodshot from the beer but he was all smiles and courtesy. We figured out that I wanted to get some chicken and he rushed to the back and started preparing it.

When you get chicken in Korea, most of the time it will be prepared by simply taking an entire chicken and cutting it neatly in half down the middle, and then quartering it perpendicular to the midline. So you get a whole chicken. HOORAY!

When he came back we talked in broken Korean and English and figured out he and I both liked to bike. He was really nice and didn't even charge me full for the chicken. I have since gone back maybe a dozentimes, in the last 4 months and tonight I was feeling like some pizza. I walked in and saw him having dinner and noticed the light was off in the kitchen area. I tried to excuse myself and apologize and just walk out, taking the hint, but he insisted I stay and went in the back to make me a pizza. I sat down on the couch in the corner by the window and when he came back in the room while the pizza was cooking, he held a plate and a fork in his hand. He offered me some of his dinner and poured me some of the beer he was drinking.

Now, I feel like I need to state this again. The place was closed. He was having dinner, relaxing after work watching TV before he went home. I came in there like and he turns the kitchen back on, makes me a pizza, and gives me some of his dinner and beer. We can hardly speak to each other. I fail at most anything I try to express beyond good or bad (and those with my thumbs!!) or he tries to tell me beyond much the same, yet he shared his dinner with me at 12:30 at night and made me a pizza.

I think what strikes me as so amazing about that is that in America, or at least in my experience, for something like that to happen I would have to be very close to the person who was working at the restaurant. Very cose. Yet here is a guy who can barely understand a lick about who I am and goes so far out of his way. I know there is much for me to learn in this country.

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