I arrived at Heathrow airport on time on Oct 2, and the bus station is only a 10 minute walk from there. I was supposed to arrive in Canterbury at 5:30 pm but it was already about 1:00 pm, and I didn’t want to wait all afternoon for the bus. I asked a ticket seller if there was any way to switch my ticket to an earlier one. She said, “Sure, pay me 5 pounds more, then you can take the 1:30 pm bus.”
Victoria bus station where I took the bus for Canterbury
I purchased it but there was no way to contact Tanja, who was supposed to pick me up at the bus station at 5:30 pm. But I figured I’d arrive at 3:30 pm and would have plenty of time to let her know I was there. I took the bus and arrived at 3:30 and went to my hotel. I called and emailed Tanja but there was no answer. Should I go to the bus station to wait for her? But after such a long journey, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I found Tanja had emailed me. She and her husband went to the bus station to pick me up but they couldn’t find me among the passengers. She was so worried about me, but found my email when she got home. She wasn’t home when I called her, and her cellphone battery was dead.
The next day we were filming, cooking, and hosting a meetup. I prepared for it by reading the 2 recipes Tanja sent me, and planning the shoot. The hotel where I stayed was very nice, cozy, and clean! Most important of all, wifi was available 24 hours. Awesome! I could answer some of my readers’ questions, talk on Facebook, and Tweet about some Korean food photos that my readers posted. I felt like I was at home. What a cool era we live in! I talked to Tanja over the phone and arranged to meet her the next day.
Tanja came to my hotel at 10:00 am and we went shopping. She felt sorry for me and my heavy backpack full of equipment and offered to carry it for me. I didn’t refuse, as my shoulders were so sore from the previous day. While we went shopping, noodle boy Anil joined us at the Thai grocery store. Anil came to see me straight from working his overnight shift! He carried the groceries, and peeled the garlic, turnips, and onions. Come to think of it, he did all kinds of boring work! I wanted him to take a nap on the sofa but he didn’t. He left that evening for work, another overnight shift. He never slept!
“Yes, these little turnips are under my control. I can peel them nicely.”
Filming went well and Tanja’s cooking and presentation skills are excellent. She’s German and came to Canterbury to study. She fell in love with an Englishman, Philip Rogers, and they are happily married.
She’s very talented at many things: she’s a singer in a band, a photographer, and cooks delicious homemade food everyday. She can speak English and German, Japanese, and a little Korean. She learned her cooking from her Thai mother in Germany. Tanja said her husband Philip wants to try whatever she makes, even though he’s never tasted it before. Unfortunately I never had a chance to meet him because he left for a business trip on the day we filmed.
She said: “Maangchi, you missed the chance to meet Philip because you came to Canterbury 2 hours earlier than you were supposed to!”
My readers came at about 6 pm. I made Korean spicy squid soup and rice for all of us. We shared the food and Tanja’s 2 special dishes that we had filmed. Tanja made some more so that we could all have some.
All of them were foodies! When it comes to the topic of hearty food, all of us agreed that home cooked food is the best. Almost all of them came from different towns by bus, bicycle, or car. We shared delicious dinner together and had a great time.
Soup and rice, what a humble meal it is!
David Hobson, PhD in IT-related work, came from another town by bicycle. I was worried about him going back home on his bike.
Hayley Clark: She is known as the queen of macaroon making among her friends.
Ho-Kyung, Tai Chi instructor. He was raised in Netherlands and now lives in Canterbury.
Wan-Jeong Chang. She’s Korean but has been living in Canterbury for more than 10 years. She’s a pastry chef and a food writer.
Susan Chon, food blogger and event organizer. She and her friends drove 3 hours to join the meetup!
Wenye Zhao: Oxford student living in Cambridge.
They treated me like their lovely sibling or best friend. I was so happy to meet these interesting, warm-hearted people!
The next day I hung around with Tanja and got to see some of Canterbury.
The Old King’s School Shop, Canterbury, UK