Once in a while we eat lunch at the Korean restaurant, small and family-owned, in the heart of Nuku’alofa. What I want to eat when we go there is bebimbap. That’s because one of my favorite (and they are legion) children’s books is Be bim-bop by Linda Sue Park, about a Korean-American family that is joyfully buying the ingredients for this delicious dish and then goes home to make it. In the end the child “stirs like crazy” before eating it. So I enjoy reliving the story each time we go, because that’s what I always order.
Usually the son waits on us, and he has this friendly smile, and his English is very good, so I decided to be especially nosy and ask him a few questions. His family came to Tonga 20 years ago. (He’s 25.) He just received his BA from NZ in biochemistry. His older sister has received her Masters in political science in France. When she gets home in August, he’ll be leaving for Switzerland to pursue his Masters in biochemistry. He knows some French from high school in Tonga and in NZ. He doesn’t think he’ll learn to ski. As I wrote to my sister in an email, “Not too shabby, huh?”
There—2 stories. Everyone has a story, and I love stories!
(Note: Linda Sue Park won a Newbery Medal for her novel, A single shard. A great read!)
Here we are eating and enjoying, you guessed it, bebimbap.