Friday, December 31, 2010

Festive Food and the Fellowship that Follows

After returning back from our Christmas trip to Virginia, Joo and I were determined to socially savor the remaining week before school starts up again. We began by meeting my old EMU roommate Kyle and his wife Kendra who were in on a brief visit from Oregon. We found a convenient centrally-located town (Cambridge, OH) and a cozy little diner where we could play a few rounds of Go Stop and hash out the past two years. Kendra has been preparing to run a relay race (which sounded kind of strange to me for someone over 30, until I heard that the race was over 200 miles long and that she would be running three six-mile legs).

On our ride home, Joo asked me why I had been somewhat subdued during our reunion with Kyle and Kendra; to reflect on that question, Kendra's race somehow served as a metaphor for the long conversation that ensued. We discussed how we enjoyed different friends at different paces. In other words, we have some friends with whom we could spend every afternoon for years on end and enjoy the relaxing comfort of the friendship (marathon friendships). But the downside is that it is sometimes hard to squeeze out an intense experience with only a couple hours. And then there are other friends with whom we would much rather just spend short, sporadic bursts of time with (sprinter friendships). The ideal is to have a pleasant blend of both. By the way, if precision is important to you, you should switch all the "we's" in this paragraph to "I's."
The next day, we had another lovely meal with our couchsurfing friends Greg and Regina. They invited us over and Greg cooked up a savory portabello risotto to go with a curried butternut squash soup. This was followed by some games of Euchre, which involved some unexpected twists and turns as Greg and I taught the girls how to play. We were delighted to hear that the two of them would be extending their time in Athens by another year...
Then, on New Year's Eve, something inspired Joo to throw a party for all the children at the Korean church. She invited them all (eight of them, ranging in age from 3 to 9) over to our place for some Avalanche pizza, a movie showing of Despicable Me, some games (Set, Taboo, and whatever I could think of that involved tennis balls), and some cooking with Joo (spinach alfredo pizza and chocolate cookies).

One funny part of the day was that we had been worried whether or not we would have enough seats for everyone. We failed to realize that a couple of our chairs could comfortably sit up to three tiny children!
I can clearly remember taking a subway ride in Seoul a few years ago when Joo and I had just started dating. We were discussing some of our views on life and Joo mentioned how she would never want kids because she couldn't stand to be around them. We laughed at this today after the kids left and she expressed how much she was enjoying teaching them and relating with them these days. Of course, I can't blame her too much as I proclaimed adamently for almost eight years that I would never get married!

And so we come to the close of 2010. As long as I get this uploaded within the next three hours and six minutes, I will have accomplished at least one of my goals for the year: maintaining the blog by writing more than half of the entries that I did last year (this will be 23 for this year vs. 44 for last year). Actually, I also got some meaningful research under my belt and went much deeper into the world of mathematics, but my greatest fulfilled goal (or wish?) of the year revolved around Joo. I had hoped that she would be able to plug into the community here and find a niche. To my delight, she has found not one, but two - and solid ones at that! She is truly enjoying both her culinary studies at Hocking and her spirituality/fellowship at the local Korean church. A fine year indeed ;)

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