So the boys and I have been some crazy baking fools this week....and it's only Tuesday!
Sunday, we baked brownies together. Yum! Thank you, Dad, for sending me two boxes of brownie mix. I don't even remember the last time I had a brownie; at least a year...way before we moved to Korea. It was just as good as I remember--the batter AND the cooked brownie. :) We kept some for ourselves, sent some to our friends, and I sent the rest to work with Talton with instructions to tell his Korean coworkers "this is what America tastes like". He said they loved it! I often send goodies to work with him, because I think it's fun for them to taste our favorite American treats.
Then, on Monday we baked sugar cookies and rimmed them with colored sprinkles. They were delicious too! Today the boys and I were heading to the market, and I decided that this was as good a time as any to teacher Connar how to give without receiving. We bagged up some sugar cookies to surprise some of our favorite Korean market vendors.
Our first stop was the man we buy oranges from. He thought Connar was trying to give his own cookies away, and he kept smiling at Connar and pushing them back. He absolutely refused to take them from Connar, because he just didn't want to take a little boy's cookies. So sweet of him, but it was definitely a moment I wish I knew how to speak Korean, because all of my hand gestures and English just weren't getting our "act of kindness" message across. He didn't understand that we brought them especially for him, as a gift. So we left him....with cookies in hand. :)
Our next stop was the lady we buy tomatoes from. Even though her English is limited to "bye bye", she totally understood that we wanted to give the bag of cookies to her and that they were a gift just for her. She smiled so big, and then said "kamsahamnida" (thank you). It was amazing! She promptly opened the bag of cookies and split the two cookies between her and the other two ladies sitting nearby. She then held it up toward me and smiled again before taking another nibble. (She is the one on the left in the picture below.) I just adore her. Really, I do. Not only does she give the boys a free orange each every time she sees them, but she also pulls their blankets up to their chins, tugs their coat hoods down over their foreheads, and says something in Korean that I imagine is, "It's cold, little one! Cover up!" when it's chilly outside. She's a doll.
Since the first man didn't want to take our bag of cookies due to our message getting lost in translation, I thought all the way on our walk back home who else we could deliver that bag of cookies to. As we pulled up to our building, I saw that the man who always helps me in Quiznos was working (I frequently go in there just for a drink....nothing compares to a fountain drink!). I asked Connar if he wanted to give the man some cookies. He thought about it, remembered how I said we have more cookies at home that he could have when we got there and it would be a nice/kind thing to give these cookies to someone else, and then he said, "Yes." Woo hoo! I was elated that he had been listening to me about giving the cookies away even though he wanted them for himself. When we got to the door, he wouldn't budge. He wanted me to go in with him. I did, and then he wanted me to hold him while we handed off the cookies. That was fine. He can be shy, and the fact that he even went that close was a success in my eyes. That young man was so surprised and excited to receive our cookies. He went over and showed his coworker immediately with a big old grin on his face. Priceless!
I'll continue to do little acts of kindness here and there while we live in Korea, because I want Connar (and Parker when he's old enough) to learn how to give without receiving and what a great feeling you get by making someone else happy for no reason. I don't know when the next time will be, but I do know this. Kindness is a universal language. And that's a lesson I want my boys to take away from our time here when it's all said and done.