This past week has been unexpectedly busy. My cousins from Taiwan and Canada were in town, spring finally emerged from what seemed like an endless winter (and called for a new wardrobe), and midterm exams are steadily creeping up. So the last few weekends have been spent catching up with family, sightseeing, eating out (a lot!), shopping, enjoying the warm weather and a few desperate attempts to catch up on reading at the library.
I think the theme of the past week was definitely that of reunification, or reunion. First of all, it was lovely to have so many familiar faces around. I haven’t spent so much time with Caleb, Winnie and Joseph since I was teenager, and it was nice to know that some things, like our ability to unreasonably silly with each other, don’t change. I did my best to share with them some of my favourite things to do/eat in Seoul, and I think they genuinely enjoyed their stay. Joseph seemed particularly impressed with the orderliness and ingenuity of Korea, and opened my eyes to things I had previously overlooked. Being able to share my thoughts and observations about this place made realize just how much I enjoy living here.
One of the things we did together was visit the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, which is a 4km wide stretch along the 38th parallel. There we were able to see areas closed off because of land mines, walk in an infiltration tunnel and go to a observation tower where we can take a peek into the isolated North. I thought the most interesting part of the tour was a brand new train station that was built by donations from Koreans living in the South, who had been separated from their family in the War. During the Sunshine Policies, train tracks were laid between the North and South when the relationship between the two sides were friendly. Now the station sits empty, and serves no purpose other than that as a tourist trap, but it’s exciting to think that this train station may one day be used to travel between and Seoul and Pyongyang, or even Europe.
Finally, on more cheery note, I was also reunited with my copy of How to be a Domestic Goddess, thanks to Caleb who brought it all the way from home. I absolutely love this cookbook, and had to celebrate having it by immediately baking something inside. Since it was Easter Sunday, I decided to make Norwegian Cinnamon Rolls. But I was so confident in Nigella, that I followed the directions precisely without thinking about how hot my little toaster oven can get. I ended up burning the top of the buns that would have otherwise been a perfect Easter breakfast. Hence, no after picture.
They were still good though, and since I have some cinnamon butter left, I’ll probably try these again sometime soon.