Thursday, December 21, 2006

thankful for the little things

On Tuesday evening, I hit the local Outback steakhouse and was taken aback when I was greeted by half the staff. I guess I'm becoming like Norm on "Cheers." Apparently, I'm "the guy who speaks Korean." Many of the servers are relieved when they discover a foreigner can speak Korean well enough to navigate the basics when ordering.

After being seated and perusing the menu, I noticed something: menu prices had gone up by W1000 (approx. $1, US) for almost everything. I mentioned this to the server and pulled a rueful face. Perhaps as a result of this, two things happened:

1. I received my very own Outback Steakhouse steak knife-- yes, boys and girls, the very same knife that Aussies use to skin crocs, perform emergency circumcisions, and scoop the brains out of Kiwi skulls! It also cuts through bread and steaks pretty well.

2. I received a 10-15% discount card for future use. The catch is that I have to register at the Outback website in order to use the card. I asked the manager whether I'd have trouble with registration, given the problems foreigners usually have when trying to apply online for anything. He said there's a field for foreigners to type their alien registration number (instead of the standard jumin deungnok beonho that Koreans type for almost everything); we'll see. I haven't registered yet, but I have high hopes that a cheaper Alice Springs Chicken will soon be mine.

Earlier this week, on Sunday, I was at JW's house and his wife gave me a large bottle of balsamic vinegar. Seems to be quite good quality, too. JW's wife, BH, said she didn't know what to do with it, so she had no need of it. Score!

I'm thankful for those sorts of little gifts-- a knife, a discount card, some balsamic vinegar. Such gifts give me a warm and fuzzy feeling not even FedEx and the Korean Customs office can take away.


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