Tag Archives: seoul

Man Sells Rotisserie Chicken

Since the onset of fall, which is really winter here in Korea, a man has been selling rotisserie chicken on the corner of the next block from my officetel (an efficiency apartment, the name from office and hotel). He sells a whole chicken for 6,000 won (about 5.25 USD), and two for 10,000 won. About a month ago, I bought one, went home, and attempted to make a chicken sandwich, but it was so good I devoured most of the chicken before I could make the sandwich. But this is not really why I’m writing.

After buying that one chicken, I’ve since said hello to him, in Korean, which is by no means difficult, as well as giving an appropriately slight bow, which I no longer find strange, every time I pass by him and his small truck. It crossed my mind tonight that it would be nice to have a conversation with him, however brief it might end up being.

I imagine it would first be necessary to give a simple introduction of myself. Then I could ask how he got into the business of selling rotisserie chickens on the street. Then I would end up going home with another chicken, which really wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

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Coffee Shop

One night, after working out at the gym, I walk into the newly opened coffee shop nearby in search of fresh fruit juice. The lights are dim, and the chairs are hanging upside-down, legs in the air, off the tables big enough for only two or four people. Two women, one old enough to take the role of the mother, the other young enough to play the daughter, pop theirs heads up from behind the counter. I stumble for words. Because I’m in Korea and I think they won’t understand me. After a moment, I say, “You’re closed? Finished?” Synonyms help, and Koreans seem to be more familiar with the word “finished.” But the women give no answer. I glance around the small room, ready to leave, then I see the young boy sitting on the only chair with its legs in the proper place at the table near the window and door, where I’m standing. A workbook lies open in front of him. He’s 10 or 11 years old and doing homework at 10:30 at night while his family closes up shop. His doing homework this late is normal here, so normal I’d never think twice about it. He looks up at me and says with the confidence of a native English speaker, “Yes. Finished.” The women behind the counter smile and laugh quietly. I smile, too, and say to him, “Thank you. Bye.” As I turn to leave, the mother says, “Annyeonghi ga-seyo.”

No fresh fruit juice, but I walk home in the cold, grinning all the same.

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