As usual, breakfast is part of the business.
It’s a little tiring, but I’ve gotten used to a lot in the last 100 days or so.
As it was Monday morning, I started with a renewed commitment.
A busy morning schedule quickly led to the ringing of the ‘belly button clock.’ Lunch time! Oh! An important luncheon is scheduled and I have to leave.
One’s immediate hunger has to be put on the backburner.
Luncheon was due with the ambassadors of the European Union.
Twenty-two ambassadors including Ambassador Kozlowski attended the luncheon.
As the food was served, I felt that my interpreter and my entourage looked a little tense.
Well, these things are just part of the routine.
What is important is ‘What we make for each other at this time.’
We talked over many issues.
We talked about Seoul as an international city, as a free trade city. We talked about the dynamism of Seoul as a welfare city. We discussed North Korea as well.
The ambassadors knew all about our most pressing issues and our blueprints surprisingly well, including the necessary historical background. I did my best to answer all their questions.
I requested their full support, too.
I said we needed practical exchanges, not declaratory, cursory exchanges. We discussed some meaningful behind-the-scenes stories for more specific matters. On the whole, it was a very useful meeting.
However, our time was soon up and I had to move on.
I’d hardly had a moment to recover my breath in the car before I came upon Seoul Plaza.
Workers were removing the ice rink from the plaza. Something I had to check popped up, so I got out of the car.
“Are you going to replant the lawn right after the removal of the ice rink?”
“Could we save unnecessary budgetary expense if we did the two jobs –removal of the rink and recovery of the lawn – at the same time?”
“Isn’t there any other alternative to grass?” “Couldn’t we plant some trees on the lawn?” “What kind of plaza do the citizens want?”
I posed these questions to my secretary, who’d hardly got his breath back.
I knew that I had probably gone too far with him as he hadn’t even had lunch yet. But I couldn’t help it. When I see something that needs doing, I can’t turn away from it.
“Do you think that the luncheon with the ambassadors is more important than the plaza? I don’t think so.”
If I missed the opportunity to talk about the plaza now, there might not be enough citizen discussion about an open plaza.
If I missed the opportunity, the plaza could cost the citizens more in the long run because of a lack of input on their part. I knew he was exhausted. But I asked him to make a note.
The car got to City Hall from the plaza in an instant. The people I’m supposed to meet are already waiting there for me, I hear. In my imagination, the grass of the plaza flows over the faces of the ambassadors that I met. Yet, it is winter in the plaza and the work of dismantling the rink is still going on there.