In Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, he defines showing love through the languages of physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Living in South Korea has made me realize that he left out one key love language; sharing food together.
Whenever I travel back in time (literally) to Michigan I am always shocked by the size of the portions served in most restaurants (how can one person EAT all of that?). Not only that, I am terribly disappointed when every single person at the table refuses to share with me. I often hear, “I am ordering my meal and I am eating off of my plate, you can order your own food.” In Korea, there is a little something we like to call “family style” (I know you have heard of it Western people). When I first arrived here I would get so frustrated when the server only brought one menu for the whole table, don’t they realize we all need to order? Then I discovered that only one person needs the menu because they order a couple things for all of us to share and if we need more we order more. Or that one person shares the menu, we all voice our opinions and viola, we are served with a variety of food.
After sharing a meal together my friends usually ask, “Okay, where to for I-cha?” I just learned that directly translated “cha” means car. Koreans talk about “Il-cha” round one, as the first stop. Then you head out for “I-cha” round two, and so on and so forth.
My friend recently informed me that she once was out for 13-cha’s (only because I don’t know the Korean number for 13! Anyone?).
“I didn’t go home for two days.” WHAT?
Her rounds consisted of a lot of restaurants, bars, a movie, a show, coffee shops, jim-jil-bang (spa-like place where you can spend the night), noraebang (singing room), and more coffee shops and restaurants.
I am lucky if I make it out for sam-cha (round three).