Soothing away worries over life’s ups and downs

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Soothing away worries over life’s ups and downs

It was a strange week.
First, an acquaintance of my musician friend passed out after a few drinks in a bar the night we all went out. Then another friend, Christina, called me up the next day, saying she had a blackout in the subway for a good half hour, waking in dismay surrounded by weary passengers on the train. And just when I thought everything was getting under control, Mike Ferrin, a contributing writer for the paper and our good friend, gave sudden notice that he was leaving the country ― possibly for good. As a farewell gift, he left me a thesaurus.
In my apartment building, other things were happening.
On the way to my apartment earlier last week, I saw a note written on yellow paper posted on my neighbor’s door, a notice from the maintenance office that he hadn’t been paying his bills for the past six months. If he had failed to make the payment by the end of last week, the letter said he would be forced out of the building. For about a good week, I didn’t hear any noise from his apartment. Then, over the weekend, a new neighbor moved in.
I admit that I have shared some bitter feelings about my neighbor through this column, but after all, he was my neighbor, and I feel a sense of moral obligation to embrace his weaknesses. That’s what neighbors are for, sort of.
Whatever the reason, the man, who has driven me into a state of panic for the past six months through various means, left the apartment.
These shifts, I think, are partly due to the summer heat, which is aggravated by the lack of air conditioning in my apartment due to the renovation of the system. But is it?
I feel that bad things, or even good things, often happen all at once and then fade away like a ghost until it reappears next time. For a brief moment in my college years I was introduced simultaneously to three men who were equally charming and intelligent, so that I would consider them all perfect dates. But, unfortunately, for the next three years I didn’t meet anyone who came close in intelligence and charm. It was a tragedy.
In a similar context, I’ve recently had some soothing conversations with old friends I haven’t met for years. More and more, though, I am worried about whether this is it, whether this is the last highlight of my youth, or if I am nurturing these pleasant moments to face a new phase of bitterness ahead.
Why do we always have to worry about losing when we are having our best moments?
Why couldn’t we just live for the moment? Or is it just me?
I am starting to doubt.
Cheers to life ― a cold cinnamon tea.

How to Cook

Cinnamon tea

Ingredients: 20 dried persimmons, 60 grams cinnamon stems, 100g ginger, 4 cups sugar, 20 cups water, 3 teaspoons pine nuts, 10 pecans.
1. Peel the skin off the ginger, and slice into thin pieces.
2. Rinse the cinnamon under running water.
3. In a pot, add ginger, water and cinnamon. Boil until the liquid turns dark brown. When it cools, remove ginger and cinnamon from the pot.
4. Add sugar and pecans, and boil again for about 15 minutes.
5. Chill. Serve with pine nuts and dried persimmons.

by Park Soo-mee
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