Scott died over six months ago now. How have I survived this long? I’m OK most of the time, except when I’m not. The permanency of his death has started to settle in, making me feel as if I’m trapped in a fish tank, unable to breathe. Except I am able to breathe, somehow. It’s a secret talent I didn’t know I had.
Autumn is the season of nostalgia for me, every year. The smells of the desiccating leaves and the first wood fires of the season, the crispness in the air. Even the dusty smell of the heat kicking on in our 200-year-old flat. I love venturing out into the newly-chilled air, and also being all cozy inside at home. It should be the season for cuddling on the couch and reading, but Purrcules is stubbornly illiterate. She prefers watching the washing machine in action.
I also love the foods of fall. Scott and I loved them together. I’d make him pumpkin soup, roasted brussels sprouts, squash casserole, roasted chestnuts, pumpkin pie. When the cold really settled in, it was time for homemade glühwein, raclette, and fondue. Melted cheese could make any day into a special occasion. I haven’t yet learned how to get excited for these things alone.
On rainy days, I’ve been wearing Scott’s raincoat. It’s much more waterproof than mine. He didn’t own it for very long before he got sick, so it doesn’t smell like him the way his old winter coat does. I’ve gotten rid of most of his clothes by now, but I’m keeping that winter coat until I have inhaled every last drop of his scent.
When visiting an Italian city, there’s a certain progression to the day that we aim for. It goes more or less like this:
9am coffee & pastry
1pm lunch Continue reading
We have some good friends who live in Padua (Padova), so we like to stop by every time we’re in the area (“the area” basically referring to the Veneto, the region of Italy around Venice). It’s a gorgeous city, full of narrow porticoed streets, cathedrals, bustling squares, and humiliated graduates. Continue reading
On our recent trip to the Dolomites, we mainly kept close to the adorable cabin where we were staying, but we did venture out to explore some neighboring towns in Veneto on a couple of occasions. Continue reading
The morning after the snow
We absolutely love living in Edinburgh, but this city seems to have two major flaws: 1) it doesn’t get enough snow and 2) Italy is no longer within a reasonable driving distance. We were starting to feel it was time to address the deficits of snow and Italy in our lives. Continue reading
So much ice, and so reasonably-priced (fellow expats will understand this one).
We’ve been expats for a long time now. Trips back to visit the US are still strange, yet extremely familiar in their strangeness. There were no big moments of reverse culture shock on our Christmas trip “home”, but there was plenty of culture-based amusement. Continue reading
It was still raining as we pulled into Plockton, but the charm of this small seaside town was evident even through the dreich. Continue reading
There are certain laments you hear amongst American expat communities the world over. “I miss peanut butter!” “Why is there no good Mexican food here?” “Where can I find canned pumpkin?” After several years out of the country, most of us learn to adapt to these grueling hardships one way or another. There are expats who lug giant suitcases full of ranch dressing and jello back from every visit to the US. There are those who just fill the peanut-butter-cup-shaped hole in their lives with exotic local sweets (Cadbury Egg, anyone?). And then there are those of us who use such deprivation as an excuse to expand our skill sets. Which is why I know how to make pumpkin pies without using canned pumpkin. Continue reading
If there is one thing we have learned about the residents of this island we live on, it’s that they love baked goods. Cake comes up in conversation even more frequently than the weather. One of the most popular things on TV is the Great British Bake Off, a show which I suspect we’re going to have to start watching if we ever want to truly assimilate. Continue reading
Kushiage was one of the many types of Japanese dining we experienced in Tokyo. It basically consists of deep-fried food on bamboo sticks, but that description doesn’t really do it justice. Continue reading