These is a photo collage of some shots from back in August when I moved and we took a little afternoon trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
I apologize for the sparse updates. Balancing graduate school, 2 jobs and settling in to a brand new city has been thrilling but exhausting, and my focus has been on those things. I have not forgotten about you, though, dear readers!
The end product of this–other than the frickin’ awesome time I had–will be a guidebook for solo female travelers to Costa Rica with Go! Girl Guides! If you’re as excited about this as I am, let us know!
Anyway, as a packing aficionado, I was puzzled as to how to start packing for a 7-week trip to the tropics.
I just wanted to share with you all a fun interview that I was asked to do for Sparkles & Crumbs–a delightful blog run by charming fellow Italophile, Caroline!
As someone who usually writes the interview questions, it was an interesting and pleasant experience being on the other side of the inquiries. One lesson I learned, though, is that it’s really hard, too! Especially doing written interviews, because you have the time to craft a response but then second guess everything you’ve written, leading to a lot of doubt and agonizing over word placement and tone. Such is the writing life, I suppose.
Anyway, a big thank you to Caroline for featuring me on her wonderful Champagne Tea series–my first interview representing Bumblings of Miss Button as an interviewee on the interwebs!
My new institution of higher learning is way neato. Most of my classes for the duration of my time here will be held in the Cathedral of Learning, which is a zillion floors high and looks like Hogwarts in the inside.*
One of the cool features is the nationality rooms, which celebrate individual countries. Unfortunately I won’t be taking any classes in them, but I enjoyed exploring! Here are some visual highlights. (Excuse the photo quality for now; still working sans internet and am posting this from my phone.)
Photo 1: clockwise from top left: main hall, Armenian alphabet in the Armenian room, Austrian room.
Photo 2: clockwise from top left: Turkish room (those lighter colored wood panels double ask fold-down desks!), African heritage and Indian rooms.
Hello, Dear Readers!
Some of you know that I’ve recently made a big move!
Tucson will always be my home, but on Sunday I hopped on a flight to my new one: PITTSBURGH, PA!
What’s that, you say? Pittsburgh? Isn’t it, like…really cold there?
Ah, reader, how astute you are.
Yes. It does get really cold here. BUT it is also home to a marvelous university (a number of them, actually) called the University of Pittsburgh.
Oversized felines must be the name of my game, because I’m going from Wildcat territory to Panther country!
So far, I’ve found Pittsburghians (?? Burghers, better yet) to be very friendly and helpful. Especially cashiers.
- Example: Had a whole conversation the other day with a Target employee about his son’s cell phone plan. It was also during this interaction that I began hypothesizing that Burghers tell Sara Button stories.* Perhaps I’m secretly a Yinzer after all.
I’m not a picky eater.
Except for most shellfish, calamari and escargot (I’m working on it), there’s not a ton I won’t eat. And even less I won’t try once. But cole slaw has always been a nemesis of mine.
Until a few years ago.
The first slaw that turned me was my aunt’s. She’s a marvelous cook and she was the first to open my eyes to the world of non-gooey cole slaw.
Since then, I”ve been tasting different slaws left and right, so I was pumped when our friends visiting from France decided to make their own version for dinner one night. It’s the perfect, light summer fare–and super easy, too!
For the slaw:
whole carrot, grated
about 1/3 head of cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
For the dressing:
1 egg yolk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
splash of apple cider vinegar (about 2 tsp)
non-sweet mustard (same ratio of mustard to egg)
crushed ginger (to taste)
crushed garlic (to taste)
Mix the egg yolk, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper. Then, as you whisk, slowly add the oil until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add the crushed ginger & garlic & mix again until just blended.
In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, onion and carrot. Add the dressing, and mix well.
When I was nine, I was tall. These days, I’m a whopping 5’4, but back then, I exceeded the national average and was taller than the 50 inches required to ride this:
That’s the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, one of the oldest wooden rollercoasters in the country.
My nine-year-old self and adult-self agree that the trauma resulting from this ride explains my subsequent and persistent distaste for free falls. Turbulence on airplanes, rollercoasters, even watching people jump off high rocks into water make me queasy.
Free falls and a plethora of other things grace my list of fears, but one of them is actually not heights. So I was excited to participate in one of the most popular and exciting tourist activities in Costa Rica: ziplining.
I’ve been pining for Italy a lot this week. 10 months have passed since my feet last touched terra italiana, and while my friends are preparing for the Notte Bianca at Campo della Fiera tomorrow night, I am nursing my worsening Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with a new wrist brace and wishing I were dusty and hot under the Umbrian sun wielding a trowel or pick.
To reign in my desire for cold Orvieto Classico and late-night guitar strumming, I decided to share some of my favorite reads based in or about Italy.
A Room With A View: E.M. Forster
Perhaps my all-time favorite book, full of fantastically wise characters, rich scenery and perfect prose. It’s certainly one of the best novels about Italy and its life-changing effects on those who it sweeps up into its pasta-laden arms.
Rather than spoil it with plot summaries, I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and hope it piques your interest enough to read it!
“One doesn’t come to Italy for niceness,” was the retort; “one comes for life.”
“Let us rather love one another, and work and rejoice. I don’t believe in this world sorrow.”
Originally published in June 2010.*
An absolutely true fact: my family is amazing.
My family also happens to have a horde of amazing cooks in it. A favorite family past time is eating and drinking yummy things. (Understand better why I post here and tweet and Instagram about food ALL THE TIME!?)
One very memorable summer (this was the same summer I nearly hyperventilated with happiness, Frim Fram Jammed out on the dance floor and was blessed by the theatre gods) I also learned a family recipe for baklava.
Once you get the hang of working with filo dough, this recipe isn’t as hard at it seems. My cousin is a total pro at making it now, and she would regale her classmates with homemade baklava for school functions. Lucky dogs.