I had to go into Seoul today for a meeting. Starting a new ESL book next week. I've been enjoying a bit of a break these days. I've been focusing on taking care of myself and Grace and resting my mind. But since we have financial goals to meet before we leave Korea, it's time I got back to work.
I haven't been into central Seoul for a long time, and boy, I picked quite a day to go. It was really hot. By the time I reached the office building in Seodaemun,which required me to take two trains and hike up quite a hill, I was dripping in sweat. The meeting was short and uneventful. I barely had time to cool down before I was back out in the unbearable heat (and I had more books in my bag). I think I am still recovering from the flu I had on Monday, because by the time I got down the hill near the subway station, I almost couldn't stand the sun any longer, and I took shelter in a very busy McDonald's restaurant. I knew at least they would have liquids and air-conditioning.
I did, however, manage to get a lot of knitting done on the train - a good couple of inches on the second sleeve of the cardigan I've been working on. As I was nearing home, an elderly woman with a shopping bag got on the train and came over and stood in front of me and caressed my knitting. She looked kind of unstable, so I was thinking, oh no, please don't try to start a conversation with me. It's not that I don't like talking to people. It's just that over the past eight years in Korea I've been asked the same few questions over and over and over, often while riding the train: How long have you been here? Do you like kimchi? What do you think of Korea?
Then, a seat freed up next to me and she sat down. Everything became crystal clear as she reached into her shopping bag and pulled out her crocheting. It was beautiful fine crochet. She was using a pretty small hook, maybe a 1.5mm. I think she was making a lacy vest. So we sat there knitting and crocheting away, occasionally admiring each other's work. She asked me if I could crochet, and I said yes, and showed her a hook I happened to have in my bag. We couldn't converse much past that due to the language barrier. As I got off the train we exchanged a nod. It's funny how a love for stitching can create unlikely meetings like these.