Update

So, hi. Been a while. My bad.

2013 was just a weird year, and I’m fine that it is over. Among other things, my job situation changed – again – because apparently it is against some cosmic order that I be in the same career situation for longer than 9 months. What’s the deal with that, life.

And I started graduate school and am a little less than halfway through my Masters of Liberal Arts in Gastronomy at BU.

Oh yeah, that.

I had a lot of very deep fears about grad school. That I would hate it. That I would remember how soul-crushing academia can be. That I would start wondering why I ever thought I was interested in food. Basically I was terrified that I was making a huge mistake.

I wasn’t.

Grad school is kind of awesome. Don’t get me wrong, between working full-time and taking 2 classes at once I have no life. I go to work, go to class or go home and read/write for class, and sleep happens somewhere in between. I’m the only one of my undergrad friend group working while going to school and living at home, which feels very isolating sometimes and can suck.

But from the first day of class, I felt like I was finally home.

I’ve found my people. All of a sudden, I’m not the only one who doesn’t mind debating the pros and cons of industrial agriculture or discussing the cultural implications of white vs. wheat bread for three hours at a time. I leave class at 9 o’clock at night with more energy than I started the day with, buzzing from that deep intellectual engagement we introverts love oh so much.

Frankly, grad school has been a relief. It’s an outlet for all my ideas and general [loveable] geekiness about food, an outlet I never realized I needed quite so badly.

Of course, it’s also terrifying in a completely different way. Visions of PhD and other Masters programs dance in my head, and I’ve been opened up to so many other fields that intersect with food that I’m basically back to square one with the whole career question. Although, let’s be honest, I’m not sure I ever made it to square two.

But…between the crush of work and school, my right brain is screaming for attention. Little by little the writer’s voice in my head (all writers are schizo, dontchaknow) has gotten louder, reminding me that I need an outlet for my creativity too. I also just miss writing to write. Academic writing is nice in its own way, and I’ve enjoyed getting back in to it (even with the stress that inevitably comes with it), but it’s not the same and I’ve started to feel like I’m losing my “voice.” (Blame my inner former musician…the less you practice, the more quickly you lose the muscle memory!)

So sorry if I’m rambling. But I thought it was high-time for an update, and a tentative recommitment to getting back to updating, at least more often than once a year! For my own sanity, if nothing else.

This semester is racing to an end, and the final papers and projects starting to loom – but I have some fun pictures from my trips to South Africa and Prague last year to share, and maybe a post or two about the nerdy goodness that is being in a food studies grad program.

And can everyone just do me a favor and do an anti-snow dance for Massachusetts? Because I’m pretty sure we’re all over this winter nonsense. Thanks.

What do you MEAN more snow?

What do you MEAN more snow?

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Update

Alright, here’s the deal.

Since I last updated, a few things have happened. I would say I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, but we all know that’s not happening, so why pretend.

1. I turned 23. Not super exciting, actually was freakishly similar to turning 22 (spent the weekend alone with the dog, made my own cake, generally basked in the glow of quiet and frosting and wine).

bdaycake12

2. I have 2 part-time jobs at 2 non-profits. I think I mentioned that, so really I’m just saying…I still have them. They’re both kind of fake full-time jobs in that I pack about 40 hours worth of work into 20, which translates into a Saturday that is 90% sleep. And while they are both really great jobs, it gets a little difficult after a while to not feel like a part-time human being. I’ve also decided I consider my job too much a part of my identity. Not really sure how to fix that yet.

3. I applied to grad school for food studies.

4. I got into grad school.

5. I officially enrolled at Boston University and will begin my MLA in Gastronomy (Food Policy concentration) program this fall. I’ll be a part-time student, because I’m trying this new thing where I don’t get myself into 7 different jobs at one time. It’s a whole new world.

Preach.

Aside: Grad school applications were not hard and it was one of the most anticlimactic things ever. I got an email on a Friday afternoon on the train home telling me I got in, I said “oh good, so I can start planning my fall now,” signed some papers and that was it. I think this means I’m an adult. Or something like it.

6. I went back to Florence with my brother for Christmas. We ate all the gelato. I had a few panic attacks. Not necessarily in that order.

me & the bro in san gimfirenze IMG_0457

7. The Boston Marathon happened. And then the Friday lockdown happened. So that was deep-down-in-your-soul terrifying. But it also showed how wonderful, strong and generally badass the city of Boston is, and that was pretty great wicked awesome.

8. I just went to NYC for work and remembered why I so, so, so dislike it. But I ate amazing things like morel vinaigrette and roasted radishes and porgy (the fish), so that made up for it. Also spent most of it talking about the amazing organization I work for, so it was mostly a plus.

fresh mozz at EatalyIMG_0600

9. I’m going to South Africa in a week to visit one of my best friends who is there for Peace Corps. Because I don’t pay rent and I’m 23 and I can! Also so that I can start planting seeds about how awesome Boston is and all the reasons she should move there post-PC. True story.

Is this post a little disjointed? Probably. My brain doesn’t have much capacity left to fit in anything else. Thus the blogging hiatus. I’d like to say that’s going to change, but it’s not. I’m not shutting the blog down or anything, but I’m not going to be updating with any kind of frequency or regularity. Just FYI.

Here. Have some gratuitous pictures of Florence.

To Italy, Or Not To Italy

It occurred to me that I have not exactly explained what all happened with the Italian school – or, more formally, the University of Gastronomic Sciences founded by the Slow Food movement (of which I AM A MEMBER. Yay.) in northern Italy. My last post on it was waaay longer ago than I thought it was. But I wasn’t really completely prepared for the fact that it’s November (ftw???) in, er, a week. Whoa.

SO – here’s where I am with the whole “I’m going back to Italy to eat, wheeeee” idea. In short, it didn’t pan out. But the short version is never, ever as fun as the long, is it?

fatt'ia poggio5

Picking up where I left off: I had a bad experience working at a restaurant. I had a “holy crap what am I thinking” moment (actually, it was more like 2 months of that).  I found the UNISG program and started to apply. And it went downhill from there.

Now, I lived in Italy for long enough to know the beast that is Italian bureaucracy. And when I say beast, I mean if you cross-bred the Minotaur with the three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell and then made that baby monster very angry, it would still be no match for the impenetrable cloud of confusion cast by the Italian paperworkasaurus. Throw in a bachelor’s degree from a state outside of your home state’s consulate’s jurisdiction and you are extra screwed. And if you are thoroughly confused by this whole paragraph…then you understand my point exactly.

You see, in order to obtain the dichiarazione di valore (DV), a document necessary for the application that simply [HA] states that my college degree is the same as an Italian university degree and that I am eligible for a Master’s program, the Boston Consulate required me to have my high school transcript. Ah, but not just my high school transcript alone – it needed to be notarized, so that I could bring it to the Secretary of State’s office for an Apostille (like an international notarization), so that I could bring THAT back to the Consulate. You think I’m done.

Because I have a bachelor’s degree from outside the Boston Consulate’s jurisdiction (I went to school in South Carolina, which is under the Miami Consulate’s jurisdiction), I had to get my college transcript AND an official copy of my diploma notarized, send both of those to the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office to get the Apostille, and then send those to the Miami Consulate to obtain the DV for that, then get those back from Miami and bring it ALL to the Boston Consulate. And all this is to apply. Don’t get me started on visas. Just don’t.

Suddenly that personal essay doesn’t look so difficult, huh?

All that is to say, it was not the insane application process that deterred me. That would just be lame. And lame I am most certainly not, thankyouverymuch. No, after going through all the paperwork to study abroad, I know very well that the application hell can be BEYOND worth the experience itself. And there was no doubt in my mind that if this was the perfect program for me, then I would do whatever it took to get there.

So what happened?

A couple different things. First, the program I was applying for completely changed its structure: there are 3 application due dates in 2012, and each application date is for the same degree program but with a different concentration. For example, the application due in March 2012 was still for the Master in Food Culture & Communications, but the concentration was on Ecology & Sustainability. For the May due date, a different concentration, and for the November due date, still another concentration. That changed my timeline dramatically – I had to read up on each of the 3 concentrations and figure out which one was the one closest to what I was looking for. As I studied them closer, all 3 looked less appealing. And not in a “omg that like totally sounds so boring” way – in fact, they all sounded wonderful! But right now, my next step in education needs to be relevant to my career (because I said so.), and none of them seemed to quite fit.

Secondly, I visited the BU Gastronomy program and started learning more about it. I had a meeting with the lovely program director, Dr. Rachel Black, who did some of her postdoctoral work at UNISG (that’s oo-nee-sg, not you-nihs-gee, as Dr. Black pointed out to me Winking smile), and was very happy to talk to me about BOTH BU & the Italian program. That was probably the most helpful thing I could have done, and if you are in a similar pickle, I would recommend it. I won’t go into detail, but I will say this: she in no way discouraged the program, she was simply very honest about the best points and disadvantages of both programs. I still think they are both AWESOME, and if I won the lottery I really would just do both – yes, I’m that much of a food nerd. And it would be so.effin.cool. But I digress.

After that talk and LOTS and LOTS and LOTS more thinking/reading/researching, I decided that it no longer seemed to be the best option. It still makes me so, SO sad to say that. I really hated coming to that conclusion. And you know, at the rate I’m going these days, it might change in a few months and I’ll decide that it is the right decision for me. But where I am right now, it’s not the course I am choosing to take.

I really want to make it super clear that I am not IN ANY WAY discouraging anyone else who is interested in any of the school’s programs – I just realized I started talking about it and never really explained what all happened with it, and I know very, very well how helpful it can be to read about other people’s experiences with things like this. I pretty much stalk blogs about culinary school vs grad programs, in a less creepy way than it sounds, just to get a clearer picture of both.

SO, where am I? Somewhere between despair, confusion, and calm resignation that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m thinking about my next step for the spring (*coughnextinternshipcoughcough*), planning for a potential adventure next fall, and generally trying to figure out what the hell makes me happy enough to make a career out of. Yeah yeah, secret of life, blah blah blah. But that’s another post for another day.

For now, I will settle for slightly underbaked brownies. They fix everything.

IMG_4207

Everything.

Weird

The last paper has been written. The last exam taken. I have no reading assignment to procrastinate doing, no presentation to prepare. I am done with my undergraduate work.

Weird doesn’t even begin to describe it.

This week is just as overwhelming as I’d ever imagined it. But I’m not sure there was any way to prepare for the emotions that come with this transition. I’d be lying if I said I was doing just fine.

last day (2)

Often when I see others bitching about how difficult exams or senior projects are, someone makes the comment “oh just WAIT till you get into the real world, then you’ll just be wishing an exam was your biggest problem.” I generally do not like this person. I find it hard to relate to people who refuse to relate to others.

Perhaps, yes, the “real world” is harder and will have me dreaming of running back into the reliable, predictable arms of academia – but I don’t know that yet. There is no basis of comparison. Right now, this is just as hard as a toddler trying to walk or applying for your fifth job. Everything is relative.

last day (18)

I’m scared. Scared that I will never live with or see my best friends every single day, scared of taking the next step, scared of leaving this comfort zone I have cultivated for the past 4 years. I’ve always thought of college as the most unique job in the world – one of the very few in which you literally live in the office. I think that’s really easy for most people to overlook and underestimate; how would your life be different if you lived at your job, never able to go home and just get away from it? It’s a different kind of strain than any other.

last day (9)

I had the absolute best experiences of my life at college. I also experienced the deepest, darkest period of my life there. There are so many feelings, memories, adventures here, and I’m absolutely petrified of walking away.

last day (15)

But it’s gonna happen. In fact, it’s gonna happen in 2 days, my feelings about it be damned.

last day (4)

All I have to say is, thank goodness for chocolate and wine. Here’s to the Class of 2011 – one-one-YEAH SON!!!

sr candlelight (4)

Oops.

Why, hello there. Remember me? I won’t hold it against you if you don’t.

Going into my senior year of college, I was warned about many things. How sad saying goodbye to my friends would be, how much I will miss the intellectual stimulation of classes, how absolutely painful senioritis can be.

“They” failed to mention that your life whirls into an appointment- and event-filled cloud of absolute chaos. Yeah – “oops” is right.

So, let me attempt to catch up. In April I got so sick I wanted to curl into a ball and sleep for a month, had a major presentation with family and food and the Dean, almost died driving to Charlotte for the 2nd time, baked and frosted 26 cupcakes, formed, blanched and baked 55 peace-sign-shaped pretzels, and whipped up 33 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies all in less than 24 hours, went to 2 award ceremonies and 1 honorary dinner, went to my last May Day Masquerade, collected 4 cords for graduation, continued to work my 4 different jobs and kept up with all of my classes.

I *may* also have watched/sung along to Mulan, Aladdin, and Remember the Titans.

Priorities, people.

Today was my last day of classes at Converse College. Ever. I’m FREE. And I am predicting that it will take less than one month from today for me to have a panic attack about that. But right now, I’m high on my class-free life. One more exam, three essays to edit, and BAM. We’re outta here.

shock and dismay

I’ve even officially applied to the Culinary Institute of America. Perhaps the one upside to the insanity into which my life has devolved is that I’ve barely had time to freak out about that.

Ok, ixnay on that last one – definitely just had a slight panic attack. Thanks, Mom. (When in doubt, call your mothah.)

Anyway, because of said chaos, I don’t have many pictures to share. But I will! In fact, I am on my way to the kitchen right after I hit “publish” to make some good carbo-licious use of the near-black banana laying on our kitchen counter.

I’ll be back. After I lick the bowl. Obviously.

Reflecting.

No, I am not belting out the Christina Aguilera song from Mulan.
If you read this entire post, you may end up thinking “well, someone’s PMSing!” or “oh gawd, another one of those English majors who has to turn every moment of life into a poem.” That is your right, if you so wish. Freedom of thought is a beautiful thing.
But so is the freedom that comes with writing. And that is what I intend to do for my weekly blog post (yes, I’m still bitter about the fact that I can only update once a week. I’m working through it.). It may be rambling, nonsensical, even *gasp* boring (perish the thought!), but I think it is what my current mental state is asking of me. Bear with me. Or jump ship. Your call.
Last fall, something happened. Something I have avoided mentioning in any kind of detail not just in this blog, but just in daily life. For other reasons, I’m still not completely comfortable with stating explicitly what; but for now, I will say that I fell apart. And by ‘I’, I am referring to everything that is encompassed by the pronoun – my physical and emotional stability, my memory, my work, my life. All of a sudden, I was no longer up to the task of being the perfect straight-A student with great friends and family and smile on her face. I was, if you can bear the overused teenage-angst-filled word, broken. My plan to go abroad to Italy was one of two reasons that I made it through the semester, and even then I was hardly what you could call ‘in one piece.’
Today, my email inbox informed me that it is closed because I have kept too many emails over the past 3 years. Well, since some days I spend 50% of my time emailing, this was a problem, and I entered into the ever-so-thrilling process of reading all my old emails and determining which ones were deletable.
Is there a quote about the ‘presentness’ of the past? Somewhere? There should be. Maybe I should make one.
Either way, I came across emails from last fall of conversations I had with my mother during this time. My family is [almost abnormally] supportive and they are, without a doubt, that second reason I made it through the semester.
These emails were…enlightening. I remembered the incredible, unbearable pain with each word I read, and it was hard to see myself as that tiny, hurting person again. This journey to the not-so-past past, however, was not for naught.
One of the biggest stress points was that constant dark cloud hanging over every college upperclassman’s head: the future. The word just sounds scary, doesn’t it? I was torn between three different paths.
I know what I want to do. I want to learn Hindi, and teach English as a
foreign language in another country. I want to learn more about nutrition
and help people with eating disorders. I want to study language and grammar
and all that crap that everyone else thinks is so boring. I want to go one
whole day without feeling stomach acid burning a hole in my esophagus and
making noise that I’m pretty sure [my roommate] can hear sitting over at her desk.
I want to go one day without feeling like I could drop dead from exhaustion.
I want to stop basing my own opinions on what everyone else thinks. But not
a single one of these things seems even remotely possible.
Sound familiar? You were probably a confused college kid too, once. But this went beyond just a fear of life outside the campus bubble. I didn’t understand what it meant to live anymore. I was grasping not for a career or a goal to achieve, but for a purpose. A voice that said “you are needed; don’t give up.” I was desperate; but it felt like I was dying.
Enter my very own deus ex machina (Google it): my mother. In the response to my virtual cry for help, she said:
“No one gets to live the perfect life. You just get to live the life you get.”
(Little did she know, I’d be immortalizing her words only a year later on the world wide web. You’re welcome, Mom.)
I don’t remember a lot from last fall; it’s still a little raw for me. But I know this email had an impact because just rereading those words was like a ton of bricks on my head – and I mean that in the best possible way. That purpose I was looking so hard for? Where most important things tend to be: right in front of my nose.
What is life if not a span of time given to you – to us – to me, in order to discover that purpose. Destiny, fate, *insert lofty abstract concept here*. [And yes, I just tried to define life – roll with me, I’ve been discussing too many abstract literary theories to count recently.]
I’m the first to admit that senioritis is most definitely setting in. I now sit in my Survey of American Literature I class, diligently taking notes on the significance of Puritan sermons and the attitude towards the natives with my 1000-page anthology open on the desk, and all I can think is, “why am I here.” I could be reading about M.F.K. Fisher, doing yoga, or….researching M.F.K. Fisher (I love my thesis topic but it’s taking over my life), but instead I am in an hour-and-a-half class discussing works which in other real-life circumstances you couldn’t pay me to read, much less analyze the crap out of. But I have to go back to that perhaps unintentionally sage advice – I only get to live the life I get. And if Puritanical literature and endless hours of research are a part of it right now, then I better accept it fast so I can just do it. Because this semester – this 3-month period of time – isn’t much compared to what is waiting for me.

At some point in the near future, I will reread this post and say, “what the hell was I talking about. My life involves burying my head in a book or screaming at the New York Times archives because it won’t let me view an article I paid 4 dollars to view. How can I just “accept” this???….I was definitely PMSing.” Well, that’s okay too. But I will get through it. And I will move on. And I will not be broken at the end. In fact, I’ll probably be stronger. What doesn’t kill you, right?
Enough of these musings. I have to go annotate chapter 3 of my chemistry textbook. Joy of joys.
…What? I said I’d accept it. I didn’t say I’d do it with a smile.
~Namaste~

Challenges

Y’ALL. This is killing me. Posting barely once a week….pathetic. And frustrating. I MISS writing whatever insanity pops into my head. Instead, I’m chained to either a two-ton anthology or writing about the underlying racism in James Fenimore Cooper (you think I’m making this up…nope.).
I am resigned to the fact that my dear beloved blog may very well turn into a weekend activity, much as it pains me to say. My job with my study abroad program is going to start getting a bit heavier AND I’m going to start blogging once a week for my school. All of which I love and am very excited about…but MAN, does it leave precious little time for, um, life. I’ll admit, it’s all my fault.
But I do have something important to say other ohmygodfourenglishclassesatoncewhatwasIthinking. 
I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t help it: I am constantly amazed at the effect Italy had on me. At this point in the semester, I would be in total freak-out mode. I would stay up til 3 because god forbid I don’t read every single page assigned and put 100% into each and every paper, be it 2 pages or 12. 
But I’m not. I have my priorities, I take it week by week – sometimes day by day – and I breathe, and laugh, and sleep, and the world (or at least, my world) doesn’t implode when I go to class a bit less than ideally prepared.
So…ready for what’s been going on down here in Sparkle City (a.k.a, Spartanburg, South Carolina…if you really want to know, google it.)?
I think you are.
Daphne (my car) is legal to park (in the yellow or green lines only, of course).
Graduation GOWN. *insert mini-spaz moment of anxiety about graduating here*

Before I continue, let me explain. At Converse, if you enter on an odd year (like 2007, when I was a fresh[wo]man), you are a red devil.
Meet Richard the Red Devil mascot:
He’s basically a hottie.
If you enter on an even year, you are a pink panther. You get picked by a junior (who is also a devil or panther) who is your Big Sister. It’s NOT a sorority thing – we are a small women’s college of about 1200. We are basically one big sorority anyway. So, for a week in September your Big Sis delivers you presents – in my case, all revolving around RED. There is SO MUCH red in my life now. And it’s awesome.
During Formal Opening Convocation – big ceremony where our lovely President officially declares this school year open – seniors wear our gowns, our horns and tails (which our Big Sisters made for us), and of course…
Red Converse sneakers. (No, our school name has nothing to do with the shoe company. But come on…how could we not?)
Ok, got all that? …yeah, it took my parents a while too. Don’t worry about it.
The night before Opening Convocation, we paint the campus red (or pink…ick). It’s pretty fabulous.
2011 – Little piece of heaven! (C’mon, say it with me: “aaaawwwwwww!”)
Before we jazz up campus, we go to “Hats On”, basically a party for the seniors where we wear crazy hats and eat cake. I’m sure there’s some symbolism in there about “hats on” and getting ready to graduate….whatever. It’s all about the cake.
Had to represent my homeland, right? [GOSOX.]
And as for eats, there’s been plenty o’ salads…
Most not as delicious as this one, which was from a deli across the street. It’s called “the hippie.” It has hummus and goat cheese. ‘Nuf said.
And some banana oat bran. Of course. 
Some things never change.
And I can’t forget about the best.frozen.yogurt.EVER.
Compliments of Blueberry Frog!
Pomegranate + plain tart with mangos + raspberries. Or, as I prefer to call it, heaven in a cardboard cup.
Good ole SC has been treating us to some gorgeous sunsets:
Find the symbolism yourself. This English major is off the clock.
Until tomorrow, of course. Chaucer, here I come.
~Namaste~

She’s Baaaccck…

Didja miss me??!! 
So, instead of attempting to put the past 6 days into words, I will do it with pictures. They’re worth a thousand, right?
Stop #1: Ursinus College, Collegeville PA
P.F. Chang’s – loved how they served the wine flight!
The Collegeville Diner
Campus
Stop #2: Haverford College, Haverford PA
Love it.
Stop #3: Lancaster Art Hotel, Lancaster PA
The restaurant used all local, organic food! I was a happy foodie 🙂
Amouse bouche: Gazpacho
lettuce+cauliflower+zucchini+beans+snap peas+ fennel+goat cheese = YUM.
One of the best pizzas…ever.
Chocolate cake w. raw almond butter filling. I all but licked the plate.
!!!
Stop #4: Goucher College, Towson MD
[Pit stop in Pittsburgh!]
Baskin-Robbins kiddie cone soft-serve 🙂
This salad had some of the tastiest roasted tofu EVER. I want to know what they did to it!
Stop #6: Oberlin College, Oberlin OH
Solar energy panels power their entire environmental studies building – too cool, right?!
Dinner at the Black River Cafe:
Homemade raspberry-lavender sorbet. Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Our last stop was to Hyde Park, NY to check out the Culinary Institute of America for me. They didn’t allow pictures inside the school and I was so focused on the tour, I didn’t take pics of the campus – but it was gorgeous. To sum up, I was in love with it. And if it hadn’t been sealed earlier, when we passed by one of the baking classes that focuses on gluten-free/vegan-friendly baking, one of the students brought out biscotti they had just made for our tour to try. I am a little superstitious about talking about the possibility of my going there, just because, um, let’s just say I had a truly awful, scarring experience with the undergrad college application process and now I’m totally scared of jinxing this next upcoming process. Stupid maybe, but…I can’t help it.
We ate lunch in the school’s student-staffed cafe. Mom got a pesto-white bean soup:
It wasn’t, perhaps, amazing, but it was most definitely delicious and worth the price. I had a chopped veggie salad:
Now this reached amazing-status. Radish, beets, green beans, carrot, zucchini, fennel, potatoes in a champagne vinaigrette. So simple but so good. And I had a roll because I was not about to leave without trying the bread:
Oh, this is up there on my favorite-breads list. Yes, I have one – it also includes the rolls at Legal Seafoods, the bread from our local Italian specialty food store, and the Tuscan bread at Sergio’s. This was a perfect little piece of carb heaven. Crispy-crunchy on the outside, doughy and fluffy on the inside. If I learn how to recreate these, my life could be complete.
The drive home was brutal beyond belief – what should have been a 2 1/2 hour zip turned into a traffic-laden 5 1/2 hour nightmare. Despite a downright blissful yoga class this morning, I’m still exhausted. BUT, it was a very successful and pretty fun trip. My brother has a better idea of what he wants in a school, and I had some seriously delicious eats.
I think I’m going to sleep for a veeerrrrrry long time tomorrow. I can’t wait!
~Namaste~

Catching Up

Have you ever tasted almond extract and said “well, it’s tasty, but I have no idea how this flavor relates to almonds,” ? Well, I have. And now I know the answer.

These are unlike any almond I have EVER tasted! It will be hard to go back to the Costco lifetime-supply jar kind.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that recently, and I am anticipating some major reverse culture shock when I come home. I know, I know, I’ve been here barely 2 weeks and my mind is already 3 months in the future. But I can’t help it; this lifestyle feels so natural to me. I suppose I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

ANYway, to pick up where I last left you all, with baited breath I’m sure…

Thursday – Giovedi. I had Italian, which was a bit better, learned the trapassato tense. I don’t know what to call it in English – when there is a sentence like “When they arrived, class had already started” the trapassato is the “the class had already started” part. Capisci? Bene!

Went back, made some oatmeal, chilled before…my first cooking class! I am in love. The teacher is great – very Italian but very smart and congenial, and definitely knows his stuff. This class is basically the way I try to cook all the time, which made me so happy. It’s actually a Nutrition course (even though Converse wouldn’t give me science credit for it…don’t GET me started), and the emphasis is on using fresh ingredients and portions that can be feasibly eaten by one person (ahem, America – take notes!). We made AMAZING fresh pasta with mushrooms and these to DIE for chocolate cookies, all with healthy, fresh ingredients. I was so hungry by the time we sat down I forgot to pull out my camera – mi dispiace! (sorry!) I will remember this week, vi prometo.

After that, I floated home on a pasta high, hung out. My roommate and I ventured out to the train station to check out how to buy tickets for our trip to Pisa (don’t worry, I’m getting to it!)

My cold has vastly improved, partially because my sleep has vastly improved, but also because I ventured into a farmacia and was given this (after I demonstratively sniffled to the pharmacist – cold, by the way, is ‘raffredore’):

Basically a powder I mix into water. It’s actually not bad, very much like powdered lemonade mix. I’ve been dutifully sucking it down, and I do feel better. NO idea what’s in it – magic cold dust, I suppose.

Oh, I have a new man in my life to introduce you to…

Meet the Moka! It’s the coffee maker that most Italians use in their homes. I am totally getting one, it’s sooo easy. And yummy 🙂 It’s kind of like a French press – you put water in the bottom part, then put coffee grounds in a filter, and put the top on. A couple minutes later…COFFEE! It’s pretty awesome.

Ok, our fantastic trip to Pisa deserves a post all by itself – as does the chocolate festival (yes, you read that right – get excited), so stay tuned!

~Namaste~