Sugar Water

Wednesday night I had dinner with Wedding Man. Wedding Man is a very interesting man that my mother met when she was here. He’s fluent in English (having worked at the Korean Consulate in Chicago), has had extremely interesting jobs that I won’t detail, and is a ninth degree black belt in taekwondo. He is 71 years old but looks like he’s in his mid-50s and has the body of a man even younger, a man who is serious about health.

We’ve had dinner twice before, as I helped him work out some wording for a bilingual wedding ceremony he was performing. He wanted to meet again before I leave Korea. We had a nice dinner, and I learned something new from his—like always—and something new about him, too.

At the very end of our meal, I asked what a packet of something was. I didn’t recognize the word and he said it was a very old-fashioned, unusual word for “sugar.”

Wedding Man then ripping open a sugar packet, tipped his head back, and poured the sugar in his mouth, eyes closed.

He is a very distinguished man. And eating sugar straight from the packet is not something I would’ve expected from him.

Wedding Man said, “When I was a boy, we were so excited when Americans dropped the rations. We would run and get the tinned meat and the sugar. We mixed the sugar with water.” He paused. “We were so hungry, then.”