The Importance of Meals -- pt 2

   Elementary School

I heard two phrases nearly every meal during this phase of life. 

Scrape your bowl clean.

Eventually I'd learn to not leave a single grain of rice in my bowl. I'd learn to leave not a drop of deanjjang chigae. But until then I kept being told to scrape my bowl clean or that there's starving kids in Africa. 

It annoyed me when my mom talked about starving kids in Africa. Not because I had compassion, but because hearing about them annoyed me. I was trying to get back to playing with Eunchan outside or return to my video games and I had to keep hearing about starving children with no food or being told to scrape my bowl clean.

Eventually she said these phrases so much that it just became routine. My replies also became routine and soon we were repeating exchanges without much thought about it. Nowadays I see this kind of loop based dialogue in old couples. 

Anyways, the word for food and rice are the same in Korean. So when someone says, let's eat rice that means let's eat. And vice versa. 

For some time I would actually imagine being a kid in Africa. In these visions I looked at my empty bowl and felt my empty stomach. I'd imagine crying and begging my mom for food. I'd seen scenes like this on TV infomercials that asked for donations. In these imagination I imagined myself not begging for Afrian food but Korean food. And more specifically I would be craving most Korean styled short grain rice. I didn't know what type of rice Africans ate or if they ate it at all. I didn't even imagine what that kid across the ocean might be eating, I just imagined him wanting what I had just eaten. Rice. Deanjjang Chigae. Garlic blanced spinach. 

Sometimes when my mood was really spoiled I'd yell at my mom to then deliver all this damn food over to the African kid then! I can't even remember what she would say to that.