For the last few months we’ve noticed her. At first we didn’t know what to say because we didn’t think she could understand us, and we certainly couldn’t understand her. She just walks around and walks up to cars and sometimes sits on the curb in the shade. Sometimes she sits too close to the street. We asked here where she was from, and she said Ko-Ree-AHH. If I had to guess, she is probably about 80 years old.
One day, we just bit the bullet and started talking to her like she could understand, and while she doesn’t seem to understand very much, we’ve had some pretty good conversations anyway. It’s funny, that we can enjoy each other’s company without understanding a word.
From time to time when we pass her on the curb we’ll offer her a drink or a snack. The other day she was admiring my garden, and I pulled a few onions and took them to her and made some passing joke about kimchi.
Tonight when I came in, I was busy and my hands were full, so I didn’t stop for our usual chat. I felt bad … but gosh, I was in a hurry. And she talked to me all the way up the stairs. I just waved.
By the time I got my stuff put down there was a knock at the door. Here’s my neighbor, who’s never been in my home before standing at my door — with a plate of kimchi. How embarrassing. Tonight I wasn’t my usual yappy self, it didn’t matter that I was “busy” or that I didn’t stop to talk, she was still kind to me. Even when she didn’t have to be. That’s what kindness is … it isn’t reciprocation, it isn’t obligation, it’s just being kind when you can.
I rushed and looked up How To Say Thank You In Korean … you can watch the video below.
I typed up the english letters so I’d say it correctly. Then I just sat down on the curb. We may have talked for 30 minutes or more. About who knows what … well actually … we did communicate some. We both made a face about the guy walking down the middle of the street with a phone screen up to his face. And there was the cat counting. And who could forget the flip flop flapping walking person who’s shoes make a loud FLAPPING sound as she went buy. My neighbor sweetly imitated the sound, and I just laughed.
She would talk for minutes at a time, and I would just nod my head. Give the occasional “oh really.” and flash her a big grin.
I’m really glad she brought the kimchi tonight, because I would have really missed a blessing in disguise, right on my on doorstep.
And I promise not to be too busy to be kind then next time, too.