Chapter 14 Surprise Visit (Part 2)
The VIPs arrived earlier than expected.
The students who were sweeping the hallway hurried back into their classrooms.
“Move quickly! Just pick up that trash! The director is coming.
“What's going on now?”
“Class 2-3, aren't you moving fast enough?”
The teachers, too, were frantic due to the director's early arrival.
In 1993, the director of scholarships was a figure that put not only the teachers but also the school's principal and vice-principal on edge.
A line of black luxury cars entered the school grounds.
“Oh, welcome! Director!”
“Principal, it's been a while.”
“Oh, how have you been?”
Vice-director? But I'm a bit busy.
Please come this way, vice minister.”
The director had no time to pay attention to the principal and vice-principal.
More importantly, the second-in-command from the central department of the main office had come in person – not just one, but two people from different departments.
Naturally, the principal, vice-principal, and all the teachers were tense.
The familiar principal was the first to break out in a nervous sweat, followed by middle-aged men who appeared to be high-ranking officials, escorting someone.
“Over here, Ambassador and vice ministers.”
An unfamiliar foreign language.
A woman who appeared to be an interpreter translated the foreigner's words.
“He says he's happy to meet the school staff.”
“Hello, nice to meet you.”
The English teacher, sweating profusely, greeted them.
The foreigner nodded with a blank expression, then looked around the school building.
A man who had just been called the vice minister asked the principal.
“Ah, greetings are done, now where is that student?”
“Which student are you talking about?”
“Where is Yi Geon, the student?”
“Yi Geon? The first-year student?”
Although they didn't know why they wanted to meet Yi Geon, he was the only student with that name in the whole school, from first-year class 5.
“Yes, he's in our first year.”
“Let's go to his classroom.
Where is it?”
“Please follow me.”
The principal, extremely tense, took out a handkerchief and wiped his forehead.
The handkerchief was soaked with sweat.
“Ah, the tacos are so delicious today.”
“Yeah, I never get tired of them.”
As the door opened, students eating tacos here and there in the classroom came into view.
The expressions of the principal, vice-principal, and teachers instantly hardened.
“This is class time! You shouldn't be eating! First-year students!”
The vice-principal frowned, looking back and forth between the director and the deputy ministers, about to scold the students.
That's when the two foreigners approached a student holding a taco with wide smiles.
“I'm sorry, I was just so hungry.”
The student, pale as a sheet, made excuses, and the interpreter translated the foreigner's words.
“Please enjoy your meal,” The ambassador looked very pleased with the students.
The vice minister, too.
He kept encouraging them to eat more.
“Ah, that's a relief,” the interpreter thought.
“Students, please hurry up and finish your meal.”
“No, the ambassador is fine with it,” she reassured them.
“He wants to share the meal with you, Yi Geon.”
Upon hearing the interpreter's words, the principal seemed to have noticed something.
The foreigner's accent had a South American feel to it.
Perhaps these foreigners are high-ranking officials from South America.
“Of course, Yi Geon is always welcome to dine with us.
Yi Geon, are you a student?”
“This is our student, Yi Geon.”
“Ah, so you are Yi Geon.
I heard you started a business at a young age.”
“Oh, you look very handsome for your age!”
The scholarship director and vice minister made a fuss over Yi Geon.
What's with all this attention on a high school first-year student from high-ranking officials they've just met?
Yi Geon had an idea of what was going on.
'Ah, maybe they saw the letter I sent to the Mexican Embassy and took action.
That means that man must be the ambassador.
Who could the other person be?'
As Yi Geon guessed, his letter had caused quite a stir in Mexico.
Not only at the Mexican Embassy where it first arrived, but even at the Presidential Palace, it was a hot topic.
From a faraway land like Korea, someone was planning to promote traditional Mexican tacos and sell over 300,000 tacos per day.
Moreover, this student planned to expand sales to Japan and other Asian countries.
Mexico had been suffering from a downturn in its small and medium-sized industries after signing an FTA with the United States.
The current Mexican president was under immense pressure to step down from the opposition party.
They needed a breakthrough to turn around the worsening public opinion.
And that's when the letter from Korea, a country they never expected, arrived.
Yi Geon was in the process of importing large quantities of essential ingredients for tacos, such as jalapeno peppers and avocados, from Mexico to establish a stable supply chain.
Furthermore, he had intentions to form a joint venture with Mexico to strategically expand the business worldwide.
So the desperate ruling party and Mexican president sent the Vice Minister of Education and Minister of Economy as special envoys to Korea.
'Is this for real? All I did was write a letter about importing jalapeno peppers and establishing a few joint venture factories in Japan and Southeast Asia.
And now, here are these high-ranking officials.'
Yi Geon expected a response to his letter, but the caliber of the people who came was astounding.
He couldn't believe the outcome.
Anyway, high-ranking officials had come running after the bait he threw.
As a fisherman, he had to respond politely.
“Estimado señor Yi, mucho gusto.”
“Mucho gusto, estimado señor embajador.”
“It's such a pleasure to meet you for the first time, Yi Geon.”
“I'm pleased to meet you as well, dear ambassador.”
Yi Geon approached the Mexican ambassador who extended his hand in greeting, and Yi Geon initiated a kiss on both cheeks first.
A perfectly Mexican greeting that's considered taboo in Korea.
The Mexican ambassador, delighted by this, patted Yi Geon on the back and returned the cheek kisses, thoroughly enjoying it.
After exchanging cheek kisses and hugs with the Mexican Minister of Economy and Vice Minister of Education, Yi Geon and the three Mexicans continued their warm and friendly conversation like old friends.
The high-ranking Mexican officials laughed heartily at Yi Geon's jokes.
The principal, vice-principal, and teachers, including the scholarship director, deputy minister of education, and deputy minister of foreign affairs, just stared blankly, not understanding what was happening, looking only at the interpreter.
The interpreter maintained silence so as not to disrupt the atmosphere of the four's conversation.
“What on earth is Yi Geon saying, Principal?”
The vice-principal cautiously whispered to the principal.
“I have no idea.
Maybe Teacher Choi understands?”
“I'm sorry, I don't know either.”
The English teacher bowed his head, his face turning bright red.
After chatting in Spanish for a while,
The Mexican ambassador spoke to the interpreter.
“The ambassador says he's accompanied the Minister of Economy who came to meet Yi Geon.
After having a meaningful conversation and sharing a simple meal in the classroom with Yi Geon, they would like to invite him to have lunch together at the Mexican embassy residence in Jongno.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, to summarize the conversation, it seems that the President will likely visit to meet Yi Geon in the not-so-distant future.”
“Ah, I see…
The Minister of Economy was already an intimidating figure, and now the Mexican president was coming to meet a student?
As the otherworldly conversation unfolded, the principal, vice-principal, teachers, scholarship director, Korean Deputy Minister of Education, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs couldn't collect their thoughts.
“Min-seok, can you give me a few tacos?”
“Hey, Sang-du, give me a few tacos as well.
We need to treat the ambassador and the vice ministers.”
Min-seok and Sang-du handed over packaged taco sets.
With those, Yi Geon shared the tacos with the Mexican officials.
The appropriate jalapeno sauce, well-grilled tortillas, and the combination of vegetables and meat juices impressed the officials, who repeatedly gave thumbs up.
The taste of the beverage was fantastic as well.
Tacos with a proper jalapeno sauce, spicy and catered to Mexican tastes.
The two were very satisfied with the high-quality tacos and continued their friendly conversation with Yi Geon.
The four got along as if they had known each other for ten years.
They laughed at Yi Geon's words and even hugged each other.
Thanks to that, the Deputy Minister of Education and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the scholarship director, and the principal and vice-principal had to stand quietly like folding screens for a full 15 minutes.
Finally, Yi Geon finished the conversation and spoke to the human screens.
“Principal, the two of them invited me to the embassy residence in Jongno, so I have to leave school.”
“What are you all waiting for? Principal, Yi Geon says he wants to leave.
Please take care of it quickly.”
The scholarship director spoke up before the principal could respond, eager to appease the Deputy Minister of Education.
It was somewhat embarrassing to be so subservient.
The Korean deputy ministers also nodded their heads and finished preparing to leave with the Mexican officials.
“Yi Geon, don't worry about it and just go.”
The principal glanced back and forth between the scholarship director and Yi Geon.
“Thank you, Principal.”
(See you next time.)
As Yi Geon and his group disappeared,
The remaining principal, vice-principal, teachers, and students stared at each other, unable to collect their thoughts.
“What just happened?”
The principal realized that Yi Geon had become an enormous presence even he couldn't handle.
“This is too much.
What is a high school freshman doing with a minister… Laughing, hugging, and kissing cheeks so shamelessly.
As if they were neighborhood friends.”
“No, Vice-Principal, let's go.
It seems like the scholarship director has followed Yi Geon as well.”
And so, the commotion at the school was resolved.
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