Hoarders: Korean Kitchen Edition
Week one of learning Korean kicked my ass. It wasn’t an all-out brawl exactly, but I’m certainly going to wake up tomorrow with an extensive collection of psychic bruises. Right now, I think it’ll be better to distract myself from—rather than dwell in—the trauma, so I’m not going to get into all the gory details. Suffice it to say that Korean is a tough language made tougher by the various gifts and curses specific to my brain. I am not, what you would call, mentally spry. I can think my way through a problem well enough, but when it comes to speed, I am at a great disadvantage. Unfortunately, an intensive language class is a kind of long-distance sprint. And I’m feelin’ it, yo. Not to play the age card, but boy, 27 is awfully late to be learning a whole new alphabet. Somehow, I’m actually worse at Korean today than I was three classes ago. Even very simple things are getting frustratingly jumbled and I’m starting to second-guess myself. Since I speak Spanish more smoothly when a little drunk, maybe I should enjoy a pre-class cocktail or two? I’m sure that would solve all my problems.
Happily though, I have plenty of delightful distractions because OUR STUFF ARRIVED and stuff always makes life better! Yesterday, the lovely folks at Mayflower Movers showed up at our doorstep like a dower pair of off-season Santas. After the fifty-three day trek, which took all of our earthly possessions across seventeen time zones, the remarkably pristine boxes promised a world of creature comforts, sorely missed. I, of course, dove directly into the boxes marked “kitchen supplies.” I’ve been positively desperate for a few important staples, so there was no negotiating with the urge to start with MY, MY, MY things. Yes, I probably wouldn’t have died if HCB and I had strategized a way to share this first round of unpacking, but I was up to my elbows in kitchen gear before I even knew what was happening. And, you guys, there is a lot of kitchen gear.
The first step in any program of recovery is admitting that you have a problem, and since—here at AD—we try to, at every turn, conduct a fierce and searching moral inventory, I have to admit something to myself and my readership: I am a hoarder of kitchen tools. Back in the States, I could convince myself that I wasn’t hurting anyone, that someday I would get around to all that home canning I’ve been meaning to do. What are you talking about?! Of course, I need a jar lifter! Well, there’s no reality check for a hoarder like a 6000-mile move. The deeper I dug into the FOURTEEN boxes labeled “Kitchen,” which BTW did not include any of my cookbooks, the clearer the seriousness of my disease became. Take, for example, the utensils I exhumed from the hoard:
In my defense, the moving company wouldn’t let us pack our own stuff (and what a wonderful prohibition that was), so I didn’t exactly chose to take each of these items. I mean, it wasn’t like I said to myself, You know, it will be important to have this many slotted spoons. However, that’s a poor defense when the magnitude of the situation is really taken in, all at once: I shipped two knife blocks; I brought a sixteen-cup food processor and a seven-quart stand mixer; I have three cast iron pans, four anodized aluminum pots, three stainless steel sauté pans, and an enameled Dutch oven; I even have all the cake pans I would need to make a three tiered wedding cake. This is the packing material used to protect my treasure trove:
But, you know what? Now that it’s here, I’m so happy to have all this stuff. Yes, I felt a little silly when I found the barbecue sauce mop, but having my kitchen supplies is both luxurious and completely comforting. Although I’ve gotten less dependent on the idea of a stable, static home as I’ve gotten older, I gain a great deal of security from nesting. I am able to live out of a backpack, but having the things that I expect to have in the places that I expect to have them is one of the hallmarks of home for me. I’ve watched too many hours (days) of Hoarders to not shudder a little at that statement, but it is what it is.
So… Hurray, things!
Now, if only baking ingredients weren’t so bafflingly expensive, I might actually make some goodies for my new Korean friends…
Audience participation: Do you have any stories of imprudent moves or hoarding tendencies? If so, I invite you to share them below. Don’t worry. No one will judge you; this is a safe space.