Monday, April 02, 2007

Old Age

I went to Seoul 2 weeks ago, and saw some old friends. Had a good time skating with Evan and Johnny T, and was able to catch up with some friends that I hadn't seen in a year or more. I could relate a dozen different stories about the trip, but I won't. Instead I'll share with you one observation that I had on my bus ride there...



3/23/07
On the bus ride into seoul, there was an older couple sitting in the row across from me. It’s always hard to gauge how people view you as a foreigner; what kind of biases they hold against you. It’s bad enough dealing with that in the west, but the judgment is much more discernable here in Korea. The man’s face was one which spoke volumes of an experienced and trial-filled life. One of his eyes didn’t seem to work properly, and I think he was probably blind in one eye - maybe a scar received in the war. When I look at an older man now, I always wonder to myself if he had been to war, and how that experience would bear on his present worldview.
I wasn’t really sure how the couple across from me felt about me until after we stopped at a rest area 2 hours into the trip. Getting back on the bus, they gave me some roasted potatoes and a glass of fruit juice to drink. After seeing them giving me gifts, the lady diagonally behind me tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a banana. I was grateful to them all, and we had a short conversation. They seemed very warm-hearted and free from prejudice, which is an attractive yet isolate characteristic. I would hope that when I reach their age, I can have the same warm-heartedness that these people evinced.

2 comments:

Ferka said...

Jeff, what a great story. Thanks for all your updates. How is it seeing Will in Korea? :) Say hi to him for me. I miss you guys. I need to get Skype so we can talk on the phone. Just wanted to say I love you.
Your sis.

billy gomez said...

nice. great story, even better when read, as opposed to being told in person... i wish you'd write on a more regular basis, its beyond enjoyable, and a good exercise for all the writings you plan on later.
can't wait to go back down there when the weather takes a turn for the warmer. hope its good brother. billy