So during my first semester here, I had a class that was made up of two whole girls. On the first night we immediately became friends thanks to the magic of food.
A lot of these kids come right from their regular school to hagwon—or they go home and study—and miss dinner as a result. So these kids are often staaarving when they’re supposed to be attempting to learn a whole other language.
Anyway, remember how in my first week, the only thing I could seem to stomach were oranges and Pringles? It meant I had a can of chips and a bag of oranges on me pretty much at all times, and so when I entered the classroom and met these girls, and heard their heartfelt plea of “Teacher, I am very hungry!” I brought forth the snacks and told them to have at it. Such treatment ensured that these two were totally awesome students from day one, and I decided that when holding time approached, I would give them a treat. Most weeks I brought them chips or cookies—they really liked the jelly beans I forgot to eat on the plane (thanks, Ian!), but I thought the last night before holding merited some real food.
Have I mentioned kimbap yet? It is possibly the greatest thing ever. Sticky rice, ham, pickled radish, egg, and other vegetation, wrapped up in seaweed paper. It’s so easy to get here, and so very cheap! AND DELICIOUS.
As you probably guessed from this entry’s name already, kimbap is what I brought for the girls. They wrote me a giant thank you mural on the whiteboard and told me I was the best teacher ever. They might also have written out 사랑해요 (sarang hae yo), which means “I love you”. The students often say this to me when I give them sweets. And then, because these two aren’t awesome enough already, they shared the kimbap with me!
I am very happy about the fact that I teach both of them again this semester, albeit in different classes now.