This is a story of people from all walks of life coming together over the one thing we can all agree on…FOOD!
Also from left to right, Goku from Dragonball, Luffy from One Piece, and Toriko from Toriko.
On Sunday May 29th I decided to go for a run since I had not exercised the previous week. I headed to the river to stretch and started running. I was in the early phase when I noticed some activity going on in the river.My curiosity got the best of me, I had to get closer and see what was going on. Going across the bridge I noticed some lifeguards standing on platforms that aren’t normally there. So going below the bridge to get a close look there were some Koreans under there with tents, food and their vehicles parked under there. As I started my walk, they were looking at me out of curiosity and eventually called out to me. From what they told me there was a swim meet going on at the Namdang River and they were part of a swim team. Various teams from around the country would come to Jinju every year for a swim meet. I was about to thank them and go exploring, when all of a sudden the captain of the team, invited me to join them. Mind you this all occurred around 11:00 am KST. They offered me food?! I’m so happy I could cry!
So I joined them for lunch and and talked with them for the next couple of hours. Apparently they were from Seoul and worked various jobs. If I recall, the captain was a teacher, one member worked for an electronics company. Their English was ok but thankfully the captains wife Anne(her English name not her Korean name), was the translator. They asked the usual questions that expats are normally asked. Where I was from, do I live in Jinju, what brought me to Korea and etc. Of course I received more questions about America and what life was like there. I answered their questions happily as we drank soju.
One of the members Lee(I don’t remember his name sadly), brought out a portable grill and started to prepare some Korean BBQ. I took this time to go out and view the swim meet. Walking around, I noticed majority of the teams were mainly adults in their 30’s and up. There were some young teams and many seniors who swam in the river as well. Ill be honest, I would never swim in the river! Once you get up close its dirty and very green.
Eventually I head back to the bridge and just in the nick of tie, the meat was almost ready. We chowed down and talked more. As time passed some of the members returned from the meet to join us. Unsurprisingly, they were surprised to see how tall I was when I stood up. I talked more with Lisa( her Korean name was Sung…..I think) who as a English Teacher in Seoul. We talked as we ate and drank more soju.
As seen in the picture we ate beef, sausage and of course its not a Korean BBQ without garlic or kimchi. A few hours later and great conversations, I had to leave since I was meeting some friends later.I sad my farewells and headed back home. No I didn’t bother running again. I walked back home, fell asleep and then went to meet up for board games. It was something I will never forget. Breaking down cultural barriers, showing others that not all Americans are not what they see in media. And its all thanks to food. So thank you food for bring people from walks of life together.