Thursday, October 7, 2010
Lost it all
Early last week I stopped at the ATM at my bank to transfer money to the USO account for my upcoming trip to the DMZ. I then went to the market and headed home. The next morning i realized that like some kind of bonehead I had left my wallet on top of the ATM and stuck my card in my pocket (which is how I paid at the market). I hurried out the door to the bank the next morning. They had not seen it. I was so upset. Although there wasn't anything in there of huge value there were some very meaningful things. I recently went on vacation with some friends and had ticket stubs. I had key chains made for Liz and me by a wood burn artist at the base of Soraksan Mountain and mine was in my wallet. I has a four leaf clover that my friend Cara had given me years ago.. laminated of course. Fortunately my US and Korean ATM cards were not in the wallet. I was not looking forward to going through the process of replacing my Alien Registration Card (Alien Nation Card if you are my friend Dave). I just really felt like shit. I was so upset at myself for just not having my head on right. I know that people lose things all the time but dammit. I asked a couple of teachers at school to help me figure out what to do but no one could offer any suggestions. That night as I was leaving the secretary spoke to me in Korean but I was able to figure out that the bank had my wallet. The next morning I sprang to the bank hoping that at least the key chain and little note from Cara were still in there. I was also hopeful that my ARC card hadn't been lifted. I wasn't worried about the 50,000 won ($50.00). I recognized the woman behind the counter immediately. She helped me set up my bank account and while her English isn't perfect it is better than most. She explained to me that another bank customer had seen my wallet took it home and then brought it back to the bank that afternoon. Can you IMAGINE that happening in the states? Most people would see the wallet and either do nothing and leave it or at least take the money. This is very Korean. The honesty here is really amazing. At night when someone puts away their fruit stand people will just cover the stand with a tarp and a few rocks. last week as I prepared my children for their monthly exam I told them that I was going to read them the exam and we went over every answer. Not a single student in either of my classes wrote down the answers. Not a single student even thought about helping themselves to an easy A. When I asked them later why they didn't write the answers one of them told me that it wasn't honest. Wow. This is not to say that dishonest Koreans don't exist but I will say that I hope that as Korea continues to westernize they don't loose their honest base. I also want to thank the woman who kept my wallet safe I hope that if you ever visit the states someone shows you the same kindness.