It has begun... the final countdown. As of today, Friday February 9th, we have precisely three weeks left in Korea (we get home on March 3), divided into the following: two and a half weeks of procrastination, followed by a frantic three days of packing, cleaning, and madly trying to fit 15 months of accumulated junk into Air Canada's baggage allowance. (I feel sufficiently more Korean in that I'm seriously preparing to bribe the employees at the check-in counter to bump us up to first class - though it's certainly not considered a bribe here, but simply a "gift" of Korean goodwill).
Ahh, sweet, sweet procrastination... "I'm sorry, Nathan/Dad/Mom/insert name here. We had the perfect idea for your gift, but you know how fast a year and a half passes... We hope you really enjoy these "Welcome to Calgary" postcards and novelty rodeo fridge magnets."
With three weeks left, we have started to reflect on all the things we have done and have yet to do. Joe's Emo and I have started to get along quite well, and have reached some sort of base level of communication centred in her kitchen, where she shows me the intricacies of kimchi, kimchi mandu (Korean dumplings), and Joe's new favorite snack (I don't know the name, but all you need are sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic, roasting innocently in a pan until the unexpected addition of the main ingredient, a large fistful of tiny dried fish, bones and eyes and all). In return, I unveil to her the mysteries of spaghetti and tomato sauce. If only it had been the women of Babel working together in a kitchen instead of the men working on some tower, the world would be a far more understanding and delicious place to be. How does one express the wonderment on her and her childrens faces as I unlocked the magic of garlic cheese bread, or the hidden depths of basil and thyme? (Though I think these will remain two strange spices that exist in her cupboard, much like the strangely untouched jar of curry powder your hippie parents bought to make that one special dish for some vegan potluck back in '73).
So we're packing up, finishing the few final things left to see and do here, and then it'll be home for a week before Matt and I leap across the Atlantic for two weeks to see a bit of Poland and Italy. (Matt is in it for the art, and I'm all about the food and drink, unabashedly in love with any country that will serve you up an espresso if you order a "regular coffee"!)
See you soon!!