“Honestly, I have a couple students that I am supporting.”
What is she suddenly talking about?
“Mmhmm. I can’t do much, but it’s only about 50,000 won a month. I couldn’t tell you earlier in case you got the wrong idea. I’m not doing it with your money. Oppa’s money is still in the account.”
You punk, what are you saying right now?
“You punk, why is that, ‘ my money ’ ? I gave it to you to spend however you want, so it is your money.”
I wasn’t disappointed about her not telling me about her supporting other students, but I was really disappointed at her saying, “Oppa’s money.”
And that wasn’t what I was asking right now.
“Why did you suddenly decide to do that?”
“You know how I received help from here and there starting from middle school.”
She sure did. 50,000 won a month, 100,000 won a month, from this person and that person.
Since we really had nothing, even those small amounts helped a lot.
“Since I started to make money, I should return the favor. So I joined a group called the Upright Teachers. It’s a large national organization.”
“Since when do you make money.”
“I’ve been making a good amount of money through tutoring. Since oppa is doing well, I guess my luck has changed too. I suddenly got more students and I’m making over 3,000,000 won a month.”
She thinks just 3,000,000 won is making a lot.
I guess for a student, that is a large amount.
It makes sense. Unlike me, Minji was always good at studying. If our family situation was better, she would have easily made it into medical school.
She’s also pretty, has a bright personality, and her major is math education, so it makes sense for her to be popular as a tutor.
“Aren’t you just filling up some scammer’s pockets? Don’t you know how wicked the world is these days? Forget sunbae or hoobae, you can’t even trust your own cousin in this world.”
Recently, I read an article about an organization called the ‘Seed of Hope’ that used trillions of member funds to live a luxurious life.
There was also an article about a gangster scammer named Uncle Molar.
Minji is more knowledgeable about society than I am. I’m sure that if I’ve heard about it, she knows about it as well.
“It’s not like that. Plus, I’m scheduled to meet regularly with the students I am supporting. I’ve already met them twice and I will meet them again soon. Oppa, do you think I am that gullible?”
No, Minji is not that gullible. She grew up in an environment where she wouldn’t have been able to survive if she was gullible. And since she meets regularly with the students she supports, it shouldn’t be a scam.
But they say that you don’t carelessly take care of an animal with black hair.
“There is no guarantee that those students will grow up morally upright like you did. Just be prepared that you might be betrayed by them.”
“I know. It’s not like I’m helping them while expecting something in return. I just felt sorry for them because it reminded me of my old self. Lots of passion, but the environment doesn’t provide the means to unleash that passion. So how could I turn a blind eye?”
After hearing what Minji had to say, it made sense. Especially the part about how it felt like seeing her old self.
But she should have just said one sentence and stopped. Instead, it feels like she’s about to go into a monologue.
“It’s not their fault that they were born and raised in a difficult family environment. It’s so sad for their wings to get broken before they had a chance to follow their dreams even once. It’s also a waste for society and the nation.”
‘Society’ and even ‘nation’ have made an appearance. Isn’t she taking it too far?
“I believe it is the job of us as adults, and as teachers, to help lead those children to grow up properly. That is the only way for the nation to stand upright. I want to be that type of morally upright teacher.”
She has such a cute dream. With that type of mentality, she might even become the Minister of Education.
Anyways, if she is helping with that type of mindset, I am relieved. At least she won’t be hurt by betrayal.
I also understand why she feels bad for those students.
But if there is one thing I was worried about,
“Don’t let mom find out. She’ll get angry.”
“Oi, why are you laughing?”
“Nothing. Oppa doesn’t need to know.”
Doesn’t need to know? That means there is something. Something that I do not know and is a secret between Minji and my mom.
But Minji stopped there and ran away to the living room.
Fine. Let’s trust Minji. If her own brother doesn’t trust her, who will?
Plus, the desire to ‘return as much as I receive’ struck me deep. People should definitely be that way.
I came out to the living room as well. Our family chatted together for the first time in a long time. But then,
“Who turned the boiler on?”
She’s so observant. It hasn’t even been 10 minutes since I secretly turned it on.
I just scratched my head and my mom just gave me a look. Of course she was half smiling.
“Son, get ready and come out.”
Is it time already?
I changed into the clothes I wore when I came down from Seoul and came out to the living room.
My mom and Minji were already ready to go. But,
Oh! Who is this?
“Are you really Minji?”
I subconsciously looked up and down Minji’s whole body.
Minji did a twirl as if telling me to look all I want. It was like she was doing a fashion show all on her own.
“Well? Isn’t it pretty?”
I usually don’t say things like this to Minji that often. I don’t want people to say I’m just saying it because she’s my sister. But this time, it just slipped out.
“It’s stunning. Where did you buy it?”
It is a one piece that feels like a hanbok , but is very luxurious and fashionable. Plus, when you add Minji’s beautiful face to it, it is stunning.
“I didn’t buy it. The designer made it just for me and stitched each stitch with their own hands to make it. A one of a kind piece of clothing.”
“One of a kind my ass.”
Cheapskate Minji would not have custom ordered clothes from a designer. She must have gotten it off a website somewhere.
But it does look good. It looks much better than an outfit you could buy at the department store. Good enough to claim it came from a designer.
But my mom said something weird. It feels like my mom knows exactly where the clothes came from.
“Is it the clothes Soo Jung made for you?”
“Soo Jung? Who is that?”
“A student I’ve been supporting since two months ago. She made this for me to say thank you.”
I was surprised to hear that. She probably isn’t supporting a college student. So then a high school student designed and made that?
It is definitely worth supporting such talented individual.
“She made you all of that for just supporting her with 50,000 won?”
“Okay fine, I bought it. She said she would make it for free, but how could I let her do that? She’s going to become a famous designer in the future.”
A famous designer.
Just looking at Minji’s clothes was enough to believe it. Good seeds go on to become great trees.
But it was too soon to tell. This outfit might be the first and last work of her life. The important factor is whether she can continue to create designs like this.
But it does make me curious.
“Tell her to make me one too. I’ll give her a good price for it.”
“Depends on how you act. But is it really that pretty?”
Asking once is enough. Why ask again?
But I will answer up to twice. Especially so that I can get one too.
“The shaul is okay but the clothes are really pretty. But it might be cold.”
“Tada, I have this as well.”
It was a thick overcoat. Even when someone like me, who has no fashion sense, was looking at it, it matched perfect with the hanbok style one piece.
“I bought this one. Soo Jung helped me pick out one that goes well with the outfit. Guess how much it was?”
Minji just seems to want to tease me.
Whatever. I’m not curious at all.
But I am a bit interested in the student named Soo Jung. How old she is, and how she came up with such a design. I want to go with Minji and meet her once.
“Let’s hurry. We’re going to be late. Hwi Ram, you hold the King Crab.”
I guess we can’t show up to someone else’s place empty handed.
I carried the King Crab and followed my mom out of the apartment.
The place my mom headed to was the villa next to our apartment. The size was about the same as ours, but it was really old.
“Whose house is it?”
I heard the name before. Every time I came down to Daejeon, the name Hayeon came up every so often.
But I was never really interested in who that was.
“You don’t know how cute the kids in this house are. I don’t even realize how much time is going by when I am with them. Our Minji and Hwi Ram need to get married soon and have some kids.”
My mom does love children quite a bit. Even if we are walking down the street, if there is a baby, she’ll stop walking and forget about everything.
But still. Minji and I are barely twenty four and twenty six. Why is she talking about marriage already?
We arrived at the entrance of the villa talking like that.
But are there a lot of kids? We’re not even in the entrance and I can hear the ruckus.
Once we got up to the second floor, my mom pressed the doorbell.
“Who is it?”
– Wah, it’s Aunt Gongju.
My mom’s hometown is Gongju. That must be why she is called ‘Aunt Gongju.’
The door opened and a little kid who looked like they were in elementary school jumped out. No, kids. There are also some older students. There’s a whole range of children from toddlers waddling around to middle schoolers.
All of them ran over like they were seeing their own mom when they saw my mom. Even the little baby who looked to be about three years old followed their siblings and grabbed my mom’s thigh.
‘Ah, that little one is really cute.’
The baby is like a koala. The way he looks, and the way he acts.
Now that I think about it, all of the kids are cute. They must have some good genes.
“Unni, you’re here? Please come in.”
A lady’s voice. I soon saw her and she seemed to be in her mid-40s. She must be Hayeon’s mom that mom was talking about.
The kids are all pretty because they look like their mom. They have great smiles as well.
Hayeon’s mom greeted my mom and Minji brightly before hesitating a bit after seeing me.
“Is this your son who lives in Seoul?”
“He’s handsome, isn’t he?”
“Wow! He looks like a model. Please come in.”
I entered the door and handed her the King Crab first.
“Omo, you brought something again? You should have just come on a day like today. But I’m sorry the house is a mess. I cleaned a bit but it still looks like this.”
It would actually be more abnormal if a house with a lot of kids was clean.
I avoided the toys and dolls scattered all over the place and went into the house.
There was a birthday feast in the middle of the living room.
Seaweed soup was a given, and there was also kalbi, stir-fried baby octopus, japchae ……
‘Isn’t this too grand?’
But the food wasn’t the problem. The house was like a chaotic marketplace. There were kids running all over the place and it was so hectic.
Some came out of the room. Some came out of the restroom. Why the heck is that one coming out of the closet? Scared me. Just how many of them are there? One, two, three……
Gasp! There are seven of them.
Oh, wait! Am I wrong? Who are those ladies who are cooking away at the sink? She seems like a full grown lady, but her dolled up face is similar to Hayeon’s mom.
“We didn’t prepare much. But our Hayeon and Jiyeon prepared it all.”
“Ay, Hayeon and Jiyeon must be good with their hands like their mom and dad.”
So those lady-like students are Hayeon and Jiyeon.
Oh my gosh! It’s not that these kids were from four or five families, but just one family has nine kids.
Seeing my surprised expression, Hayeon’s mom looked a bit embarrassed.
“There are quite a few kids, right?’
“Ah, yes. Haha.”
I don’t know why I am laughing. This is definitely not just ‘quite a few.’
But my mom’s already in lalaland. Does she like children that much?
I can’t just sit still.
I started to talk to the first grader who seemed to be the biggest pushover.
“Little kid. What’s your name?”
“My name is Lee Min Young.”
“Your name is pretty too. Come over here.”
I took my wallet out of my pocket. Min Young quickly put both hands in front of him and got close to me.
“Buy something yummy at school.”
“Thank you very much.”
Just looking at the way he received it makes me feel like they were taught well.
“You come here too.”
I called the kids one by one and gave each of them a 10,000 won bill.
“Since you are all grown up, 20,000 won for you.”
“Thank you very much.”
Hold on, is it okay to give an allowance to ladies? They don’t seem to be much younger than me.
Eh, whatever. I’m not giving it with ill intentions. I just have to pretend to be an adult at times like this.
Plus, I heard that you are considering the parents when you give their kids an allowance. Since you can’t give money to the parents, you give it through the kids.
Thankfully, I had a 50,000 won bill.
I went toward the sink and handed out the money.
“You two must be Hayeon and Jiyeon. This is for preparing the birthday meal.”
“You’re supposed to take it in times like this.”
I forced a 50,000 won bill in each of their hand and headed back to the living room.
Thanks to that, my wallet felt empty. My heart was also just as light.
Anyways, why is that little one so cute. I really want to hug him, but he’s fast for just waddling around.
Finally caught you.
I lifted up the three year old boy.
But I had to quickly put him down. As soon as I lifted him up, he started to cry really loudly.
“Ah, sorry. Sorry.”
It was the same even when I put him down. He hid behind my mom’s leg and looked at me with a cautious gaze.
I guess 10,000 won wasn’t enough to make a kid get over their shyness.
I couldn’t help but watch him from afar.
But isn’t this too loud?
There is a mat for kids on the floor so it shouldn’t be too loud, but the noise of the kids talking was ringing throughout the apartment.
This wasn’t the level of a family home. It was more like a children’s playhouse or kindergarten.
At this level, their downstairs neighbor, as well as their next door neighbor, and even their upstair neighbor would be complaining. Even me, who came here as a guest, feels uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Just as I predicted.
Not too long later, the doorbell rang.
The elementary kid ran toward the door as if saying ‘me first.’ He then shouted loudly as soon as he saw the screen of the intercom.
“Mom, downstairs grandma!”
‘Oy, it finally happened. I thought it would be like this.’
I was getting nervous just sitting there.
 Korean traditional outfit
 Japchae or chapchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry with meat and vegetables), is a very popular Korean dish. It is the number one sought after dish during the Korean festive holidays (e.g.New Year’s day and Harvest festival) but it is also enjoyed on any other common day as well.
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Translator : Miraclerifle
Proofreader : Borderline Masochist