I don't want Jennyisfree to become one of those blogs that reviews everything hip and happening restaurant and/or cafe under the sun, only to fill their precious pages with Instagrams of food and frothy lattes. I'm much more dignified than THAT. OR AM I?
Sidebar: I also HATE this new trend in Internet writing where EVERYONE just SEEMS to put full CAPS or bold or italics on EVERY other word for EMPHASIS instead of spending (gasp!) some TIME finding a better adjective to get their POINT across! It's as if you're talking to your BFF over the phone in HIGH SCHOOL instead of reading an actual ARTICLE from a journalist. RANT over. \
A few weeks ago I had lunch at Ganadara, a new modest Korean joint on de Maisonneuve near Concordia. I was craving Dak Galbi (chicken bits with all kinds of rice and Korean wonderfulness). Thanks to my BFF in Korea, Jean, who posted a link on Facebook to a video of a Korean-American woman making homemade Dak Galbi and other mouth-watering meals from her motherland. After watching the video that night I had dreams of kimchi and the next day at work the kids became walking tteokbokis (spicy rice cakes). I knew I wouldn't be able to function properly without some pungency from the great Republic in my system. It was just my luck that I finished early that day, so I decided to head into town, wander down the west-end of Ste-Catherine's street, and see what the slew of Asian restaurants and cafes had to offer my craving.
I walked by Chatime, something I've been craving since I drove by it a couple of months ago and noticed its first Montreal establishment had opened on Ste-Catherine Ouest. It was my thirst-quenching salvation when I was in Malaysia (along with Blackcurrant juice, my fave at bus rest stops). If I wasn't almost late for a meeting at the time I would have ran in right then and there and treated myself to an extra-large passionfruit-lychee-wonder-drink. And that craving still hasn't been satisfied! The darned place was closed for the day due to some technical issue. Perhaps a visit to Kuala Lumpur is in order. I pondered over the notion as my insides flipped for something spicy.
Still thirsty, I ventured on, scanning the restaurant windows and menus for any authentic Korean. My stomach grumbling, I grew impatient and pulled myself north to de Maisonneuve. Then I passed it; a tiny storefront with a sign that read "Korean Fusion". I walked in and it was like I was back in Busan. Modest tables and chirpy servers filled the small space, smelling of red chili paste with walls decorated with images of cartoon bunnies and kittens. I sat down and flipped through the menu. "Thank God", I sighed. My mouth watered as I filled it with a "banchan" of kimchi and steamed potatoes. Then it was onto some Ramyeon. Then it was happiness.
While filling my craving and gazing at the illustrations of bunnies and cats, I contemplated the quotes written all over their beige wall (is happy-time sweet friends and love kisses REALLY what it's all about??) and I pretended it was 2011 again. I'm definitely going back to Ganadara next week; maybe alone, maybe with a date, or maybe with a friend (who wants to join me?!). I really don't care, because I know it'll be a hot date of kimchi, KPop songs and all kinds of reminiscent bliss.
"Hope is stronger than fear. Hope, is stronger than fear." These were the words spoken to an intimate crowd at the Christ Church parish in Deux-Montagnes by my best friend. She's someone I can always talk about saving the world with. I have a photo taken and framed by her as a gift to me about six years ago that's still hanging on my wall. It's a picture of a tree-top with sun shining through it in the background, and the caption reads, "Light. The darkness cannot overcome it."
It was her first Christmas Eve service as a minister in the United Church of Canada. I'm so grateful I got the chance to witness it. She inspired everyone who attended her service, and as we parted ways that night I told her "I'll pray for you!" She was drained and looking for something to get back, because she had given everything to the service.
I spent the late-night of Christmas Eve driving to the city with my mom. Another highlight of Christmas Eve 2013 was pulling up to St. Joseph's Oratory, warm and glowing on the inside while hundreds of frozen pilgrims made their way up the many steps to the Cathedral to experience midnight mass. As we walked in to take our seats in the packed Cathedral an elderly man handed us our leaflets and he said, "Joyeux Noel dit une priere pour moi."
For some reason "The Little Drummer Boy" has the most-played Christmas Carol on the radio this year, for me at least. For the first time I actually listened to the lyrics, and the part that struck me was this: "I have no gift to bring, that's fit to give a King." I never realized how powerful this lyric was. The boy had nothing, but he went to the party for this newborn baby anyways. Then he thought, "I'll just play my drum." He went with his instinct and gave this King all he had, his talent for music. He was totally humble and did everything he could for this newborn. This week I've been thinking about how that is all we're asked to do. Just give our talents to the world, whatever they might be. Play our best and we'll get a smile.
Rum pum pum pum. Merry Christmas Everyone!!