Another quiet night at home was naught to be. I was planning to go straight home, but those plans abruptly ended when I drove home with a couple of male colleagues. One wanted to stop for some fast food. At the drive-thru, I caved in and ordered a meal too, as did my other colleague (I was planning to eat leftovers). Here we were, three guys ordering junk food. Burgers, fries, and super-sized soft drinks. “Don’t tell my wife!” pleaded one of them, relishing the opportunity to sneak forbidden food. Of course his wife is right—we really shouldn’t be cramming 1000 calories and mega-grams of fat into our bodies at dinnertime. But we couldn’t help consuming this guilty pleasure. Forget about going into the restaurant to eat at a booth. It’s a “guy” thing for three guys to order take out and hit the road munching on burgers and fries. I dropped off one colleague, and the other joined me at home so we could consume the evidence.
We suddenly realized that his wife had invited me to join them for dinner tonight. My colleague called his wife and said sheepishly, “Um honey, we’ll be over in about 20 minutes. What’s for dinner again?” Here we were, two guys who’d just consumed a gut-busting meal having to cover their tracks because we’d forgotten someone was going to cook us a nice meal. I went over to his house with a full stomach and proceeded to eat a little more. The food was delicious, and somehow I found some room in my stomach to eat more. We had a great time talking about life and about the joys and perils of bachelorhood (the subject of sneaking junk food did not come up). We talked about how my family is doing in China. We talked about getting together more often for dinner. This may be partly out of pity for me as a malnourished bachelor who has to forage in the refrigerator because he’s either not interested in cooking or is tired of having the same leftovers three days in a row. Perhaps it’s because I provide riveting conversation. Then again, maybe not!
After I returned home I noticed a light on at the home behind us. The new neighbors have finally arrived from Washington, D.C.! We met them while we all lived in the D.C. area, and they finally arrived here. The husband will work with me. He just finished spending about 20 weeks learning Korean at the same institute where I studied. I’m glad they’re our new neighbors. They’re great people, and their son is about the same age as my son. They will make great playmates come summertime. I knocked on their door to say “hello,” and they invited me in for coffee! When my family arrived in Seoul, we were in no shape to entertain guests. Yet here they were inviting me in for coffee and biscuits. I should be the one giving them hospitality, not the other way around. I invited them to come over tomorrow and borrow some toys so their son will have something to play with until their household goods arrive. I enjoyed seeing them again. The coffee was delicious.
It’s nice to be back home in front of my computer writing this story. At 10:30 p.m. I finally had a chance to settle in for some peace and quiet. I also have a bit of a stomach ache. I wonder why.