Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why am I Not Friends With You Back Home?

"I miss my friends from Korea." A simple statement, easily translated to facebook, twitter, any of those social media sites.But I'm a year removed from my time spent in Korea and when I tell you I miss my Korea friends it's a statement loaded beyond what most people can understand.

I spent one full year abroad. I went to a country whose language I did not know to fulfill a job position I knew nothing about. I latched onto my peers pretty quickly. Now, one of my posts from my tenure abroad has addressed a similar issue in Would I Be Friends With You Back Home? This post raised a poignant question about the nature of friendship and why we relate to the people we do. The other side of the issue, as I'm coming to realize, is how we manage to lose touch with people who at one time or another, meant the world to us.

Some of my friendships were unstable and questionable while in Korea. I was working with very little filter at the time, as most of us did. Still, I managed to find some genuinely amazing people who, quite literally, were my world.

I had friends like Shane, the Matts, Martin, and the other Hogye boys who made daily life tolerable. Then there was Sinan, Shannon, and Chad who made me appreciate myself in ways that have extended far beyond my life in Korea. And, of course, there are Sylar, Nadia, and LaBecca, the group that started it all. And I would be nothing, nothing, if I hadn't had my Sweet Mama MomoBear. There were many others that made my life in Korea a real life instead of just some moment and I apologize that I neglect to name them all. The thing of it is, I could never have made it through Korea without them, but upon returning to America, they've been relegated to a second-tier status.

If I could simplify the issue, I would say that the second I woke up in America for the firs time in a year, the whole year in Korea slipped away like a dream. Sure the dream is vivid. I recall so much of it, but so little of it feels real. Trying to reconcile the slippery nature of the memory with the very real people I met and loved while there has been difficult. I've exchanged numbers with most of my fellow Americans, but most of the time, I end up using Facebook or email to get a hold of them. That is, if I get a hold of them. I think about these people when I remember Korea, but it's been strange trying to reconnect. If I want to see Sylar, it's no longer a matter of hopping on a bus downtown.

I try to keep up on Facebook. That's the greatest argument for that particular media. Keeping in touch with people who are far away. Martin is from Scotland, currently working in Slovakia. If not for Facebook, I'd probably never talk to him again. But he was one of my closest friends in Korea and Hogye. We had dinner all the time, talked often, we even traveled together for our final days in Korea. I guess what I'm getting at is that there were real friendships to be had in Korea, but they dissipate upon the return home. The conversations dribble and possibly even close. I haven't seen any of my K-friends since I've come home and I have no idea if I ever will. It's sad. How do I not shoot the breeze with Shane or Vince over some galbi? How do I not pour every detail of my life out with MomoBear while watching sappy movies in the DVD bang? And going out? Well, it's not going out unless I'm doing whiskey shots with Sinan on the bus downtown.

I suppose the same kind of sentiment could be said for any lost relationship, but there's something unique about the segmented reality of living abroad. All these people, who were so utterly vital in your life, they remain in a kind of dream-like state. You try to keep up with them as best you can, but when you leave Korea, you realize just how vast the world can be. I wish these people were still a part of my daily life. They were so important; they added so much. But really, how many more Facebook messages can we send before we forget how much we meant to each other? I mourn their loss, in my own way.

There's no real conclusion to this ramble, other than to tell my K-friends, named or not (and if we were really close, then you're not the type that cares), that I miss them. Wholly, unreservedly, and with more feeling than one simple sentence can muster. I don't know if I'll ever see any of you ever again, but you meant the world to me then and it still means the world to me now.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

More Making!

My mom got some zucchini from her friend's garden and it's just been sitting around, begging for something to be done with it. My mom thought of chocolate zucchini cake, but I disagreed. I made zucchini bread instead.


2 c. grated zucchini
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Now, it's prep time. Make sure you have a great cooking outfit on.

Then, sync up a solid playlist. I used Spotify. I have 3 fantastic playlists to chose from. For today's baking experience, I used my Dancetravaganza list. Can you bake without a playlist? Sure, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Okay, into the baking-y stuff.

(1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare all your ingredients (grate the zucchini, etc). Grease your bread pan(s) and set it aside.

(2) Mix dry ingredients. Remember, sugar is considered a liquid ingredient. Don't ask me why. Drop some of the dry mix into your greased pan and coat the grease lightly with the mix.

(3) Assemble your liquid ingredients in a separate bowl. Then bring the liquid and dry mixes together and try not to break your arm stirring. Add grated zucchini and chopped nuts (I used pecans because tht was what was in the pantry) last.


(4) Spoon batter into bread pan(s). I had 2 small bread pans, so that's what I used. I don't know how well the recipe would work with just one pan, but I'm sure it'd be fine. They go into the oven for about an hour. Keep an eye on those things, just in case. You can clean the kitchen you've just destroyed while you wait! And then...

Zucchini Bread!

To me, it tasted a bit like a snickerdoodle. I've made zucchini bread in the past that was darker (probably brown sugar and more spices). I think I prefer the other recipe. Still, not too shabby.