Returning home – I’m back in Canada for 6 weeks

I’m back in Canada – okay, I’ve been here for a week now but I had a little jet lag for the first few days and then I visited my Grandma and other members of my family. Enough of the excuses for not posting. I had a great year in Korea, a good vacation and now I am starting my visit home. It’s a little weird being home, especially living at my parents house. I haven’t lived with my parents in about 10 years so it’s a bit of a time warp. My brother, Colin is also living with my parents temporarily and it feels like I’m 20 again with both of us here – not a bad feeling, just different.

What have I been up to? I have been putting my Thai cooking class to use and cooking a few dinners for my family. The spring rolls were a big hit with everyone – even my Mom who doesn’t normally like them. The stir-fried chicken with cashews was a hit with my Dad and Colin but a little too spicy for my Mom (and I halved the chilies). I thought it would be okay but after living in Korea, I am so used to spicy food that I may not be a good judge anymore. Pad Thai is next on the list of dishes to make. I knew that I would be able to get most of the necessary ingredients for Thai food but was a little worried about a few items but they are available in the Chinese grocery store (got to love multicultural societies) so I don’t have to worry about what to substitute for the Kaffir lime leaves.

My life has been fairly simple since I arrived back in Canada. My flights (all 3 of them – Bangkok to Seoul, Seoul to Chicago, Chicago to Toronto) were uneventful but the change in Chicago was a little stressful. It shouldn’t have been as I had 2 hours but I had to go through US Customs (25 minutes in the line-up), pick up my bags and transfer them to another airline, then transfer myself to another terminal (another 15 minutes), then go through security (45 minutes in the line-up), have my orchids which I had bought as a ‘welcome home’ present for my Mom cause a stir in security as they scanned them 4 times with the x-ray machine (10 minutes), and finally running for my gate only to find that thankfully my flight was delayed 20 minutes so I wasn’t late. It all turned out okay, but I was really starting to wonder if I was going to make the flight (and also what the security guy thought my flowers were going to do). Then to add to the stress, my bags didn’t arrive in Toronto (they had some problem in Chicago and many didn’t make it on the plane) and Canadian Customs told me that I needed a special permit to bring orchids into Canada (I didn’t know that – I had even bought them at the Duty-Free shop in Bangkok so I didn’t think anything of them) but I think she felt sorry for me as I had no bags and only a small amount of cut flowers so she didn’t fine me. I did receive my luggage 16 hours later by courier so that turned out okay too but I would have been more stressed if I wasn’t so tired (all my Christmas presents were in my bags). Don’t know why I can sleep anywhere, on any moving vehicle except airplanes – so I had been up for 48 hours except for the little catnap I got in the transit lounge in Seoul.

By the way, if anyone ever has a layover in Seoul – there is a transit lounge where you can catch a catnap on a couch for free or grab a shower for 8000 won – which is about $8.00 (I did both).

That’s been my only excitement lately so I’ll sign off. Oh, I’ve started looking for a new job in Korea (in Seoul this time) and already have a few leads. I’ll keep you posted on what happens.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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