Summer is in full swing in Toronto at the moment. People rejoice in the sun, flaunting their collection of tank tops, shorts and yoga pants, while sipping cups after cups of iced tea blissfully. The city is alive, with flowers in their multitude of colors and trees at their prime. Occasionally there are heatwave warnings – temperature could reach 40 degrees with heavy thunderstorms – but hey I spent the last two months in Vietnam! The humidity, the untimely rain when you’re about to go out, the scorching hot sun – all will be a breeze.
When I was still a student, summer was the best time of the year. There was no school, but days were always well-spent. I read a lot of comic books (erm, Doraemon), and when my supplies depleted, I moved on to reading textbooks for the coming school year (I’m not sorry I’m a book worm.) When I was not busy entertaining myself, I helped my aunt out in the kitchen. Ahem I mean waiting for the sugarcane juice she brought back after her trip to the market. Another constant item on her shopping list was watermelon, which she was (and still is) particularly fond of. She lugged home one every other day and spoke passionately about the selection of watermelon in the market that day. She cut open the fruit with such cheerfulness to reveal its bright red flesh, contrasted so vividly with the refreshing white-ish green rind. A happy kid, I drank up my sugarcane juice, then move on to munching the juicy watermelon. Those were the days.
Many moons later and here I am carefree in the summer again. For the first time in nearly 7 years, I felt obligated to nobody but myself. No more commuting in the morning, no more deadlines to meet and writing style to adhere to. This newfound freedom is uplifting, and at the same time, it is scary. Missing deadlines stipulated by your boss may dent your paycheck and promotion prospects, and these are okay. But missing your own is worse, because there is a fine line between flexible planning and eternal procrastination (my dear reader, I hope you know what I mean?) Think about the discipline and the constant drive to better yourself, trying to stay away from the trap of complacency.
Dear reader, come September I’ll start school again. I’ll study, work, write and keep myself busy like I’ve always envisioned. Until then, I invite you to chill and sip a glass or two of watermelon juice, while enjoying a bite of grilled corn – the best of what summer has to offer.
*Half a medium-size watermelon (700 g) will yield about 750 ml of juice. I blend this together with 250 ml coconut water and 4-5 mint leaves.
*For the corns: make the scallion oil by heating up 5 tbsp vegetable oil and pouring it over 3 finely-chopped stalks of scallion. Brush ONLY the oil (leave the scallion for later) over the corns and wrap them in aluminium foil, which goes into a preheated oven of 190oC for about 40 minutes. After that, open the foil and spread the scallion on top of the corn. Serve hot with some roughly crushed roasted peanuts.