Not too many countries starting with K, and not too many cuisines to explore. We decided to try and make Korean this time. We had such a good experience at the Sura restaurant in August 2019. The day was hot, so a cold cucumber soup seemed like a good idea. Despite the simplicity of the recipe, I don’t think I did a good job. Too much seaweed made it hard for me to enjoy. However, the main dish was tasteful and it went well with the Korean black raspberry wine.
My only connection to this country are a few colleagues from work, but their personal stories are not necessarily part of our conversations. The other source of my knowledge are, of course, books. I borrowed The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See from a friend, and I was immediately captivated by the good writing. I later recommended it for our book club and gladly read it once again. A story about hard life and exceptional women divers, haenyeo, on a small Jeju island is a testimony of how little we know about the limits of human body and spirit.
The other book that I read later, The Last Exiles: A Novel by Ann Shin was a completely different experience and “closer to home.” The political regimes that make human life meaningless and hell is not a matter of the past. How often do we see the brutality over millions to satisfy the greed and ego of a few? The indoctrination and brainwash to warship the leaders to the extend that they become larger than God, and the censorship of information so that there is no free mind, and therefore no free will is such a powerful weapon. I am happy that socialism/communism in our country didn’t go to such extremes. It makes me angry and devastated at the same time to think how human life (that we have only one of) can be wasted, and these beautiful opportunities to be happy, joyful, creative… have never been given to so many.
I avoid news.
What do I need to know about the world?
I learned so much already.
The war will never end,
just change location,
leaving broken homes, broken hearts
and broken cultures behind.
It will take longer than life to recover,
to repair, rebuild…
It is happening again,
if not in our neighbourhood,
then in the country one over.
Earthquakes, volcanoes, fires and floods
– it is not about them
It is about human to human,
one person to another:
killing someone because he is black,
abusing children because they can’t fight back,
torturing women because they are already wounded.
I can’t actually name the reasons
as there is no reason at all.
When I turn the TV on,
I see the eyes that witnessed the horror,
the memories that will never fade.
I go to bed shaking,
another sleepless night ahead.
My TV screen is only for movies and documentaries,
my radio only for music.
When I get up,
I dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water
and bake a bread for another neighbour,
leave a flower in front of someone’s door,
or make a pillow for a friend.
That, I know how to do.