Visiting Relatives: Good for the Soul, not the Waistline

For the past few days, Kris and I have had the wonderful experience of having my aunt visit us in South Korea. This is her first time in the country, and we have made every effort to try and help her to experience as much of the culture of Korea as we can in her short stay. Surprisingly to me, a large portion of this Korean exploration has involved gorging ourselves on as much of the local cuisine as possible. Between eating every cultural meal that we feel is worthwhile and there being a break in our regular Ultimate season, I am currently feeling fatter than I have in a long while.

Since my aunt landed, our travels have revolved around eating food that we find to be either distinctly Korean or unavailable in our home country of South Africa. We have slurped our way through jjimdak (steamed chicken, which is Kris’ and my favourite Korean dish). We have shared several kimbap (rice rolls filled with meat and vegetables). We have even shared American staples like Baskin-Robbins and Krispy Kreme, which are outside the South African realm of food (I know Krispy Kreme just opened in South Africa, but who waits 4 hours for a doughnut?).

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In between our gastronomic explorations, we have managed to get a good deal of actual cultural exploration in as well. We have been to Seoul twice, seen the demilitarized zone, walked around our little town of Wonju, and generally relished in each other’s company. This weekend, we go on a bungee jumping and strawberry picking excursion on Saturday. Then (if our bodies are not completely seized up through overeating and laziness) we will be completing a 10-kilometer run on Sunday. Whilst the run may be the beginnings of the road back to peak condition, there will certainly still be much further to go before I am rid of the spare tyre I see at the bottom of my shirt every morning.

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My aunt may be leaving for South Africa again all too soon, but we have made memories that will last a long time. A lot of these involve various foodstuffs. Some of them involve seeing the wonders of Korea. Some of them are just the small moments that we spend in each other’s presence doing otherwise ordinary things. All of them involve making the most of the short time we have before she returns to South Africa. It has been a superb few days, and the days ahead look like they might be even better.

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