I find it strange how now, more than ever, I am remembering and am tied to the smells of home.  I sometimes spend days at a time without really thinking of home, and then snap! a scent takes me back into a friend’s house, onto a baseball field, under our willow tree in the rain, through time and into my childhood home…

I love coffee. When the welcome aroma wafts into my consciousness, I think of my dad.  He was a Maxwell House lover – and brewed his perfect cup the color of sand on the beach, newly lapped with the tide.  I like mine dark, the color of baker’s chocolate, so the light doesn’t shine through.   Dad sipped his all day long, with every meal and into the evening.  When I was a stay-at-home mom I did the same, but now, I drink one cup, sometimes two, and I’m done until the next morning.

At my school here in Korea, we are amply provided with instant coffee.  It’s not bad.  It reminds me of a cross between dad’s Maxwell House and hot cocoa, because there’s so much sugar in it.  It’s called Contata – which I always thought meant ‘collection of’ – and the same name as the collection of choir music my mother sings at Christmas and Easter at her church.  So coffee now makes me think of my mother, too.

The routine of morning coffee is lovely.  Weekdays; sitting at my desk before students arrive, quietly sipping.  Or weekends; jammies on, FB page being read, snuggled up on the couch…sipping.  Are you with me coffee lovers?

So, the discovery of and consequent frequent visits to the coffee shop around the corner, “The Muffin Tree”, have provided me with short bouts of respite in a busy life.  Nick, our Canadian friend who owns the place, and whom I have mentioned before, makes a superb latte, Korea Vicki’s drink of choice.  His shop is warm, cozy, welcoming and smells like heaven – a combination of pastries, coffee beans and warm bagels.  I told him I thought I’d devote a blog to his shop and he said ‘oh, yeah, that’s been done before.’  Which made me laugh.  I’m not surprised.  It’s a tiny paradise on the outskirts of a big city and is being found by more and more people every day.  I just want to keep it all to myself.  Not unlike a perfect cup of java.