Category Archives: Carolina in my mind

A New Blog

It’s live:

http://nestmeg.wordpress.com/

Your words of encouragement would be much appreciated, just as they were during my sojourn in London. I want to thank you all for being a part of my life, and I sincerely hope that you’ll continue to be a part of it as I embark on my senior year of college and all that follows it.

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Blog Update

I haven’t been updating this blog because:

a) I am in Chapel Hill, back from Notting Hill.

b) I’m waiting for a new blog name to come to me. Something to do with food and crafts and my aforementioned love of both. Any ideas?

So Far

Things I love about being back in North Carolina:

  • THE PEOPLE! Duh, friends and family. They’re the reason I came back.
  • THE SUN! It’s so bright and shiny and warm. And I no longer have to fear an adult-onset case of rickets.
  • THE DOLLAR! I can get so much for my money.
  • THE FOOD! Of the barbecued variety, specifically. Also, ungodly-large portions.
  • THE ACCENT! Southern accents are the aural equivalent of peaches.
  • THE CLOTHES! Sun dresses and shorts and sandals and other no-fuss apparel. Color is also nice, for a change.

Going & Coming

My bags are packed,
I’m ready to go.
…I’m leavin’ on a jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Landlady aside, I’ve said my last goodbyes.

Studying abroad is ending just as I’ve really found my stride–like suddenly the escalator I’ve been ascending has reversed its direction and, despite my best efforts and exertions, I’m descending again. Not back into a life less meaningful or joyful, but back into a life that has undoubtedly evolved in my absence, just as my absence has led to detectable changes in me.

The greatest part of this experience has most certainly been me. Meeting me, reacquainting myself with me, realizing that I like me for, well, me. Not for me as defined by my family or my friends or my surroundings. Me, in my head, listening to the person who needs me more than anyone else.

My first few days, fraught with emotion, were most necessary in coming to that conclusion. Because I had only myself, for once, and now for always.

I am resolved to treat my return as another study abroad opportunity. All too often, I fail to lose my breath as I walk through Polk Place or take for granted the people who actually want to spend time with me–even over-analytical, sentimental me. When I come back, I am planning Southern road trips and long, homemade dinners and moments of bliss so profound in their simplicity that I will, even if only for an iota, be able to live presently. And, again, I will remind myself:

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

In other news, I learned this morning that I won another contest courtesy of Twitter. This news is relevant because the prize will assist me in catering to my desire for all those “long, homemade dinners.” I won a Dutch oven, among other fun, meal-related accessories.

Sour tempered with sweet, as always.

Another Week Away

Good Lord. This time next week, I’ll be cuddling with my kitty and watching the Glee season finale. Stateside, that is.

Au Revoir

Today I have few words to write about my trip to France. Not because there is nothing to say, but, rather, because I simultaneously become so overwhelmed with awe when I reflect on my last week and feel emotionally exhausted from saying goodbye. I’ve posted a few pictures to provide a synopsis, although I’ll write more in the next few days. I promise.

My first taste of foie gras--delicious.

We visited this beautiful town tucked into the mountains where all of the buildings consisted of old stonework.

Vezelay was equally charming and offered amazing views of the landscape below.

This raisin cheese is my favorite ever. Pure velvet.

We ended in Paris with the Musee Jacquemart Andre and the Louvre and even more food.

The worst part of the week, despite its tumultuous beginning and assorted SNAFUs, was leaving. My classmates are some of the most inspiring, brilliant, and motivated people I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. With our departure from Paris we marked the official end of our class. Not the end of our friendships, no, but the end of the experience that originally brought us together and the one that led to our becoming a family.

Southern Germany, Meet the Southern USA

For my first thank-you-for-continuing-to-house-me-under-these-absurd-circumstances hostess gift, I have prepared southern-style banana puddin’. I’m posting the recipe here to practice for my next blog, where I will talk about food and everything else I already talk about, but in an all-American setting.

Normally I would credit Paula Deen for the following recipe, but I’m angry with her for endorsing Smithfield, a company that treats its livestock and its employees about as well as the thousands of tons of toxic waste it deposits into our water system each year. So, ha! I found a different recipe, a generic one, one that I don’t associate with senseless murder and environmental destruction. Without further ado:

Kill ‘Em with Kindness Banana Puddin’
adapted from this recipe

  • 6 ounces of instant vanilla pudding (Apologies for the powdered mix, but I was already doing some major converting and recipe manipulation and thought that involving a double boiler to make vanilla pudding from scratch was just too much. Also, do not underestimate the power of condensed milk in turning processed sugary silt into a cold taste of heaven.)
  • 2 cups of cold milk
  • 1/2 cup of cold heavy cream, plus whipped cream for topping
  • 14 ounces of cold condensed milk
  • sliced bananas
  • vanilla wafer cookies (Or, when unable to read the foreign language label, go with whatever looks delicious and buttery and willing to absorb deadly-delicious pudding.)

1) Use a blender to combine the pudding mix, milk, and cream.
2) Add the condensed milk.
3) Cover the bottom of a large pan or Tupperware with cookies. Layer bananas on top, then add half of the pudding.
4) Repeat the process, ending with pudding. Top with remaining whipped cream.

Eat. Rejoice. Enter food coma. Maybe run some laps the next day so you don’t turn into banana puddin’ yourself.