The Old Man is Snoring

I am not sure I have ever owned an umbrella. I know, it sounds like a lie, but I certainly don’t remember a time where I did. My father always had a golf umbrella on hand that could shelter our entire family if needed, but typically I never had to be outside too long to warrent purchasing an umbrella. Now I have four.

On our flight over to Korea in early August the news on the plane warned the passengers of steady rain in North Korea. The images were of people being rescued over fast water. North Korea was under a dark cloud. Last week the North Korean government reported nearly 600 deaths in relation to the floods. This last week South Korea has fallen victim to these rains, and with Typhoon Fitow slamming the eastern coast of Japan we are catching a little extra. It has been wet, really wet. Everyday this week we have walked to and from school under the protection of an umbrella. Last weekend when we headed on our bus trek mine got caught in a tree and pulled the fabric from the metal. It still worked, but as my sisters would say, “it looked bobo.”

This fact was certainly not lost on our co-workers, who for the past week have watched us trudge home after school. One day we even shared my broken umbrella when Lindsay couldn’t find hers. Some have offered rides and even their own umbrella, but we have refused. We actually like the walk home, and didn’t mine getting close under one “bobo” umbrella.

But today, it seems, our refusal to buy a new umbrella until we get paid proved too much for our co-workers. Our mentor, Kim Sung-Mi brought two brand new, wrapped umbrellas for us. “I saw you yesterday,” she said not needing to add that our umbrella was past help. Lindsay and I were really touched by the gesture. Then before my last class in the afternoon another teacher outside of the English department beckoned me down the hall. She then presented me with a big blue umbrella. “I see yours broken,” she said. Unable and unwilling to explain that we received two that very morning I thanked her.

Its funny really. These Korean women will hardly look at you one day and the next will present you with a gift you really need. They may not act like they are paying attention or care, but they do. I have 3 new umbrellas to prove it.

The picures in this blog our from our walk to school. This picture to the left is one I find particularly humorous and ominous. I am thankful we don’t own a car.

We walk through our restaurant-laden neighborhood, through two tunnels under busy freeways and streets and uphill(both ways) to school. It takes us about 15-20mins depending on who is leading. If Lindsay is leading, who always walks like she is in a park, it takes 30.