My brother had just finished his first semester of university and doing things by himself. One morning, he decided to make everyone sunny-side-up eggs. As he served us the eggs, my dad told us about one time he ate forty (!) boiled eggs in one sitting.
“Your great-grandfather would bring in dozens and dozens of eggs because he lived in the country. So one day grandma had boiled a lot of them and I just started eating them with a friend. He stopped at 10, but I ate 40. He called me a monster.”
“How old were you, Dad?”
“Oh, we were young. Like nine?”
We were standing in line at one of the big Korean grocery stores in Coquitlam. I had just bought 10 packs of 새콤달콤, one of my favourite Korean candies from childhood. I asked Dad what he liked to eat when he was a kid. Then we started talking about ramyun noodles — the kind you find in grocery stores for less than a dollar each these days.
“You know,” he said. “Those used to be for special guests at our house. When a guest came, you’d boil one with an egg in it — that was treating a guest well.”
I spotted a prettily wrapped package in my brother’s suitcase when he got home.
“What’s that?” I asked. “A present for mom and dad,” he replied. After a while, he sheepishly added, “it’s just chocolate.”
I was just impressed that he had even thought to buy them something at all, before he chimed in: “I didn’t know what to get you. I was gonna get you a book, but then you’re like this hipster girl who’s read everything.”
Probably the best compliment my brother will pay me.