See this post for an explanation. And here are some things I love beginning with ‘C’…
1. Coffee No surprise there, really. I first started drinking coffee when I was 17 and studying for my A-Levels. I remember sitting at the kitchen table one night, drinking so much of the stuff that I wasn’t even aware of refilling my mug, eventually waking up in the early hours of the morning with my head resting on a French literature essay I could not remember writing. It was wildly poetic and enthusiastic, involving entire paragraphs in complicated French I hadn’t even realised I knew. It also contained the most insane interpretations of a Camus novel that have ever been put forth by anyone in the history of literary criticism – an opinion backed up by my teacher when he returned it to me after attempting to grade it. He actually asked me if I’d been drinking when I wrote it. Coffee, I replied dizzily.
Coffee in the morning, bringing me back to life. Iced coffee on a hot day. Expensive, rich coffee in a pretentious artsy coffee shop. Smooth, foamy cappuccinos enjoyed with a friend and a chat. Powerful espresso shots for stamina. Simple black drip coffee. I love it. I am a caffeine addict, yes, but I don’t just need coffee – I love it!
2. Cuddles Who doesn’t?!
3. Cats Also no surprise there to long-time readers. I accepted my eventual status as a crazy cat lady many years ago, although I am currently catless as I couldn’t cope with the thought of putting Kat the Cat in a box on a plane when I abandoned the settled life and became a traveller. My attempts to befriend the local strays have not gone very well. I even resorted to visiting a cat cafe in Seoul once, where you can basically sit and drink your coffee while cats play all around you and jump on your lap and nuzzle you.
I miss my cat. We had a lot of drama in our relationship, but every night without fail, about ten minutes after I switched out the light and closed my eyes, I would hear a little thud downstairs as Kat jumped off whatever she’d been snoozing on. The tinkling of her collar bell would follow as she performed her nightly patrol of the house, possibly checking that there was no chance of food in the near future, and then the pad-pad-pad of her making her way upstairs. The creak of my bedroom door as she nudged it open would be followed by a brief pause as she sat down and did that wiggly thing cats do as they prepare to leap. Then – thump! – she’d land softly at my feet, walk up to my head, give me a sniff and a nuzzle if she felt so inclined, and turn and stroll back down to her sleeping spot at the crook of my knees. A few turns, around and around, to make a comfy nest, and then the final collapse against my legs. A soft little sigh of contentment. And yes, I know this is all dangerously crazy cat lady territory, but I always said “Night night, Kat. I love you.” at that point. Yeah, yeah, I know.
4. Cheese Good grief, how I miss cheese. Korea doesn’t really understand it. You have to go to western shops for proper cheese, and it’s really expensive. I went a bit crazy the other week and bought mature English cheddar, smoked cheese, Brie, Camembert, and even a pack of Laughing Cow triangles and one of Philadelphia. It cost me a fortune; I think I was in the grip of the cheese madness. Cheese in Korea is generally bland, tasteless, processed individually-wrapped-slice stuff. When I live in Europe again, I will eat nothing but fabulous bread and smelly cheese for at least a month.
5. Cars Not in the way that you might think – I know absolutely nothing (nothing) about cars. Makes, models, mechanics, aesthetics, nothing. I can’t tell a Skoda from a BMW. I could not care less about what a car looks like or what superpowers its manufacturers claim it possesses. I only care that I can get into it and direct it to wherever I want/need to be. That is freedom, to me. I love driving. I miss driving. Cars are one of the best inventions of all time.
6. Cities I am not a nature lover. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a walk in the countryside, because I genuinely do. It’s lovely to get away occasionally and just be quiet, breathe the fresh air, etc. etc., but I am always pleased to return to city life afterwards. I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone, and restaurants were closed by 10pm, and bars not long after them. When I had my first experience of living in a city (Glasgow, aged 18), I fell in love instantly. Hustle and bustle, noise, anonymity, lights, movement, excitement, variety, entertainment. More streets and areas and venues to explore than I would ever have the time to do. Since then, I have lived in a few different cities, and visited roughly 40 others, with no intention of stopping adding to that list. Cities make me feel more alive, somehow.
7. Crisps (Or chips, if you’re American) I also include crisp-like snacks under this heading. You know what, no one makes crisps like the British and Irish. Investigating the crisps aisle of various supermarkets in Asia, Europe, and, yes, even in the US, is a hugely disappointing experience for a crisp lover. Korea’s crisps are a complete disaster, to be honest, with about 20 variations of sweet pepper or shrimp flavours and not a single cheese ‘n’ onion, salt ‘n’ vinegar, pickled onion, or roast beef. Irish Friend One got a box of goodies from home in the mail recently, and generously presented me with a bag of Meanies from it. I think my response was to deliriously tell him I loved him.
8. Cold I am sad to announce that winter has ended and the temperature actually reached 20 degrees (C) one day last week, which is basically summer as far as I’m concerned. :( I love the cold, you know this already. No point in going on about it again. I have accepted my fate, fetched my classroom fan from the school attic, and placed a paper fan in every bag I own. Goodbye, cold. I will miss you so very much.
9. Chopsticks I have done a serious U-turn on the chopsticks issue. I couldn’t use them when I first moved here, and now they actually make much more sense to me than the whole knife and fork set-up. They are truly a multipurpose tool, like a swiss army knife of eating, once you get a the hang of it. There are things I genuinely struggle to eat if I’m given a fork instead of chopsticks – noodles, for example, or kimchi. Plus, because mastering them took me such an embarrassingly long time, I feel like I’ve achieved something every time I use them. ;)
10. Cheers. By which I mean the bar I call “The Local“, whose real name does actually begin with ‘C’, too. I do love it, as sad as that may be! I’ve had so much fun there, just chatting, or doing karaoke, or playing games. I’ve danced the night away on Saturday and then cuddled up with friends on the sofa to watch a movie or a TV show on Sunday, kicking off our shoes and perhaps ordering in a pizza as if we’re in our own living room. I’ve been wrapped up in a blanket, sneezing, with the staff bringing me hot toddies in the absence of my mother. I’ve cheered on rugby teams, and played countless games of darts and pool. I’ve eaten ‘home-cooked’ meals, from an American Thanksgiving dinner to shepherd’s pie on St. Paddy’s Day. I’ve made new friends, and grown closer to old ones. I’ve had heartbreaking conversations full of hugs and tears, and craic that has me sobbing with laughter. And when I walk in at the end of the working week, I’m welcomed with a cheerful shout of hello from a bartender or the regulars, and usually a few warm hugs. Who could fail to love that?! Where everybody knows your name…