Turning 18

About a year ago, this weekend, I got to know my friend Gracie. She lives in the dorm that I sub in Monday nights and one weekend a month. On Mondays, I sub for the RAs who have the night off. I eat dinner with the students, make sure they do their chores, check to see if they are on task during study hours, and bake goodies for the week. One year ago this weekend, I stayed at Storch for the weekend for my first time. The dorm parents had the weekend off, so I came to help out. During that weekend, Gracie slept on one of the couches in the living room where I was staying. We stayed up late telling jokes and talking about our families. It was during that time that I invented a funny, racist past of my little Korean friend. When I asked her what she did during the summers, Gracie said that she returned to Korea and that her time there was boring. I asked her if her parents made her work the rice fields. Gracie joined my lie and agreed that she did. She even added that she worked in the kiwi fields when she lived in New Zealand.
This lie about Gracie’s past has become a constant joke between the two of us. However, the truth is that I know very little about her life in Korea. In fact, I often forget our cultural differences. Yesterday, these differences became obvious again. Gracie turned 18. Upon asking her what her family did for her birthday, I realized that her missionary parents probably wouldn’t be providing her with a new car. In fact, I’m pretty sure that Gracie has never driven a car before. (She just informed me that she has driven once, but she did so illegally).
When I boldly asked her if she had received any presents from her family, she answered that her parents were going to be using their money to fund her college education. However, her parents had given her a few options for her future.
Gracie’s parents promised that they would pay for her undergrad education, if she wished to attend a university. Yet, they gave her two more options. Gracie could instead chose to receive some farm land or become the owner of a small business. These two other options may sound strange to the average American, but they actually make a lot of sense. If Gracie ran a farm or a small business, she would be able to pay her parents back in a short period of time. If she went to college, her parents would probably never see that money again.
Gracie would like to know what you think she should choose.



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