"You are being really, really nice to me for no apparent reason... what do you want?" - I thought to myself. Upon arriving to the 'Western Hotel' in Gunsan, Korea I waited at the check-in counter for several minutes. Eventually a small Korean woman entered the lobby saying, "no no, dinner not until 5 o'clock." I replied that I just needed to check in, I had just arrived. "You write name here, take key." was her response. "No credit card?" I asked. "No, I get later." she replied and hurried of with a basket of laundry. I found my way to the room and started to get settled, turned on the TV to break up the silence. Several minutes later the same woman knocked on the door and when I opened it she said, "you very tall, need bigger bed" and handed me a key to a different room. I collected my things and she showed me to a bigger room with a bed that would allow my head and feet to be on it at the same time. I was wasted, 20 hours of traveling and even though I hadn't eaten in a while I laid down and fell asleep. The next morning, downstairs by the front desk the woman walked by again with another load of laundry, she paused and I asked if she could call a taxi to take me to the airforce base nearby, "no I drive you, just minute" she replied and hurried off again. This will be interesting, I thought. She came back with some car keys, showed me to her car and took me to the back gate of the base herself. It turns out that this woman, one of the hotel's owners, does the laundry of her guests and cooks breakfast and dinner for them every day. That evening I hid my laundry deep in my bag, but at dinner there was no hiding the huge pile of anchovies she placed on my plate. Standing over me she waited until I ventured to try it, somehow I managed to keep it down and return a smile. "Why are you being so nice" I kept thinking.
There is a Korean proverb that says, "A great river does not refuse any small streams." Its meaning was pretty clear to me, there was no way to deny the generosity of this old hotel keeper. Do we live our lives graciously allowing others to serve us? Or do we keep thinking to ourselves, "OK, what do you want."
|Sunrise in Incheon
It was not just a sense of old timey nostalgia that held my attention when I first saw a Jack Lalanne video on YouTube. I looked him up after hearing about his death in 2011. I never really thought much about him, other than the Power Juicer infomercials I had no idea who he was. Turns out Jack Lalanne had some things pretty well figured out, one of which was being motivated. So just what level of awesome was Jack Lalanne?
1954 Age 40: Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks… an undisputed world record.
1956 Age 42: Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
1959 Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes.
1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.
Okay so he was really fit... I get that. But he was fit way before Jillian and Bob, Cross Fit, Tony Horton, Les Mills etc. fit before fit was cool. At age 54 he even beat then 21 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger at a bodybuilding competition. He invented the 'jumping jack'. So it turns out Jack Lalanne did way more than just Power Juicing. It wasn't his strength that impressed me the most, it was his take on life. Jack used to have a TV show where he would teach exercises and share some of his advice. They are worth watching, at least for a good laugh at how our society has changed in the last 50 years. I have a collection of clips that help get me out of a rut sometimes. Enjoy.
I'm still looking for a place that sells those jumpsuits. Just wait 'till I show up in the gym with that, settle down ladies.
I first heard this song while watching a short video about paying it forward. The lyrics are powerful, to say the least. It's definitely worth listening to.