I met Raphael, a Swiss exchange student, in my Chinese Politics Class during the first week of class. This was back in March, and over lunch, we quickly bonded over the simple fact that we were both foreigners with Korean significant others. He spoke about the personal sacrifices he was making to be with her and his struggle to learn Korean, and I commiserated. I could sense that it was going to be an easy friendship. But then I almost fell off my chair when he admitted that they had only been together some 40 days. 47, to be exact, and my sympathies momentarily evaporated.
Fortunately for them, everything is unfolding quite blissfully. And tomorrow, they will celebrate their first big milestone: their 백일 or 100th “day”nniversary. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Couples in Korea meticulously keep track of the number of days they’ve been in a relationship, and the 100th day is quite significant. Serious enthusiasts of this tradition will celebrate every 100th day after that. It seems quite daunting just to remember, but luckily there are apps for that. So if you ever happen to ask a Korean how long they’ve been in a relationship, it’s not uncommon for them to respond with the exact number of days. Romantic, right?
Well for their 백일, Raphael has quite the weekend planned. Details include 100 roses, dinner reservations and a trip out of town. Evidently, that wasn’t quite enough, which is why he approached me with a special request: to help him bake his girl something yummy for her tummy. With the thought of my oven being used for (even) greater good and the prospect of a protégé, I agreed on the condition I can blog about it.
The rule was that I could give him instructions, but he had to execute. We chose a brownie recipe that was both simple and included chocolate from his motherland. And despite all his lack of experience and dexterity, I think he did a fine job making these stunning heart-studded brownies.
3 bars of Swiss chocolate, a pound of butter, 2 cups of sugar and immeasurable amounts of love… could there be a sweeter brownie recipe?