We spent an afternoon drinking tea and chatting to 4 grandmothers about their experiences of motherhood and pregnancy.
I have always thought of land borders as permanent entities, that they don’t move, in the same way as lakes or mountains. But instead I’m beginning to see them more like stories that we all tell and retell each other til we render them infallible. The border separating Ireland and Northern Ireland was not something that ever seemed possible to even discuss, so politically charged and sensitive a topic. But in the last few years and with conversations surrounding Brexit and the potential fallout from a dismantled United Kingdom, other things, other stories, seem chaotically possible. Being here in Korea and trying to understand its complex relationship with its northern counterpart has got me thinking about ideas of borders and divisions within nations, and how we define ourselves by what we are not. Here's a podcast from BBC Radio 4, an interview with an author Garret Carr who spent 2017 walking along the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
He asks "can a border also be a place, not just a divider, but a place where people can meet, can it be a place rather than a void?"
I've been thinking about the connection between baking and ritual and motherhood and how recipes are passed on from mother to children and how recipes house stories. I realise I want to understand Korean cooking as a way of remembering and retelling this experience to my family. That this book is not just my document but a desire to pass things on, a desire for my story, my legacy to continue in my family and beyond. I made soda bread for JinYeob and Pipi. My mothers recipe. We chatted while it baked in the oven. I remember back in 2006 being with my mum in Zambia, where she is from, and her teaching this recipe to an Irish priest as he was craving the comforts of home.
I have just under 4 weeks in this crazy amazing sprawling megatropolis of a city. Here are some of the things I want to try and be aware of and achieve while I'm here. How do you birth a new creative project when everything is unknown?