Monday, May 30, 2011

gift giving

I'm not much for giving gifts. I hate the fact that on birthdays and Christmases we're expected to give presents to people. There are some people for whom I can ALWAYS find a great gift. There are others (including people I know really, really well) for whom I can rarely find decent, much less great, gifts. If I come across something that I *know* is a good present for someone I know, I will often buy it (even if it's January, and their birthday is close to Christmas). I do like giving people good, thoughtful gifts - mainly because it happens so rarely.

I live in the same neighborhood in Korea where I lived several years ago. I was thrilled when I returned to discover that several of my favorite business owners from "my street" were still around - and that they remembered me. Two of my favorite people on my street are the owners of a small accessories shop where I've purchased way too many cute Korean socks and shiny hairpins. The woman (who is usually the one working in the store) always wants to talk to me, even though I only understand a fraction of what she's saying, while her husband is more reticent - just smiling and saying hello when he sees me.

When I first stopped in at the accessories store after returning to Korea back in August, the woman told me that her son is now studying at a university in San Diego. At that point, I decided that I wanted to give them a photo I took of the San Diego skyline back when I used to live there. I took the photo in question out of my collection of photos that I use as props in class, but being shy and not really knowing them very well, it sat on the table in my living room for months.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking to work in the pouring rain on the opposite side of the street from their store, I saw that the owners of the accessory store had taken all of their goods off the shelves, and were boxing up their inventory. The weather was terrible - if it had been decent, I would have gone over to talk to them. As it was, I didn't, and I regretted not doing so all day. Then, that evening, as I was walking home I was thrilled to discover that they had moved into a recently vacated (and larger!) storefront on the same block. I went in and congratulated them on the new store, and decided to give them the photo as soon as possible. I found a cheap picture frame which matched the photo quite well. I made up my mind to buy it and deliver my present.


I delivered my present on Saturday, before I set out on my walk. The woman was very excited to receive the picture - especially when I was able (with my weak Korean) to explain that it was a present, I wasn't just showing it to her. The woman (I feel like such an ass that I don't know her name) then asked me if green was my favorite color. (I was wearing a lot of green, so that was a good guess - and a correct one.) She then gave me a pair of green Hello Kitty socks (of the sort I often buy from her).


This evening as I was walking home, the husband came out of the store to thank me for the photograph and to tell me that it was beautiful. :-) I like giving gifts when I can think of a good one.


G said...

That was really nice of you!

Anonymity said...

I'm not usually that nice, but they are such friendly people. Some of my favorite on my street. BHC Chicken man and the seamstress are also pretty awesome, but no fantastic gift ideas for them have just popped into my mind. I might take Charlie by to visit the BHC family, as they ask about her periodically.

Aunt Mary said...

My friend Yung gave me a certificate for a massage for Xmas. I just am not interested in massages. She must have known because she asked if i had used it and, if not, she would use it (if I still had it!). So this morning she said she would stop by for it and next year she will give me a calendar....the calendar she has given me before is from the Native Plants Society ....more me than a massage. The best thing is there is no hard feelings. And she was trying to find a good gift for a good friend who is often hard to figure out.