TGIF, ya know? It’s been a long week of “so what are your plans now?” and it’s time to take a breather.
Remember when you were in elementary school and your lunch said just about everything about you? Gazing at the children unbagging Lunchables and Capri Suns I open up my bag to take out my Tupperware of tuna fish; stinky, smelly, delicious tuna fish. The smell today still makes me remember a time when I ate my lunch ashamed at the fact that my food was not the glamorous pre-sliced, mini ham and cheese sandwiches that kids assembled from their Lunchables.
Today I needed to feel like a kid so I can get those creative juices flowing (and figure out what on earth I want to write about). So I opened a can of oil packed tuna. Man oh man is that familiar. I’ve evolved since elementary school, and apparently so has everyone else because I’m sure most people would kill for the gourmet lunch that, in retrospect, was far better than an Uncrustable. I dumped the tuna, after draining some oil, onto a bed of greens with fresh tomatoes and a light vinaigrette made of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. I finished with salt and pepper (duh) and with one bite I felt a lot better. Taste is an incredibly strong sense, and with one bite I felt the weight of the world off of me. It’s sort of stupid to imagine that stinky tuna could do that, but for the 15 minutes that I ate my lunch I didn’t refresh my email inbox to see if I earned an interview. I didn’t refresh Indeed to see if my dream job opened up. I just ate my lunch and enjoyed the sunshine.
I woke up this morning feeling blah: I graduated on Saturday and I have no plans for the future. I’m applying to jobs non stop, but have not been lucky enough to even score an interview. So with my spare time I’m pairing food and emotion, and today’s feeling of emptiness needed something humble.
Scrambled eggs can be a mighty meal made from humble ingredients. They’re fluffy and creamy when you make them just the right way. Alex Delaney of Bon Appetit magazine posts his dreamy scrambles all over Instagram and it inspired me to upgrade my morning moves. According to his most recent scramble, he sautes some scallions in olive oil and drops the scrambled eggs into the hot pan. Typically scrambled eggs are a low and slow venture with butter or non-stick cooking spray, but the emulsion of the eggs and the olive oil make them dreamy and fluffy. Top them with hot sauce, and it’s like a hug for your insides.
The good olive oil is key. I recently bought California olive oil and it has changed my life. The flavor of the oil is rich, and the quality helps prevent greasiness. A good hot sauce makes a world of difference too. I highly suggest one that’s more peppery than spicy.
With no job on the horizon, I needed to feel capable this morning. Since scrambled eggs were one of the first foods I cooked on my own, I felt like I truly conquered something. I made something substantial with what I had with me. Today I needed that.
Who doesn’t love a Spritz and an oyster? I love the way even the food at Christmastime seems to glisten and glimmer alongside the holiday spirit. I think food exemplifies a mood and a culture, and we accompanied this food with smiles, stories, and lots of laughs.
I grew up on a pretty sophisticated diet: lots of fish, lots of vegetables, and lots of smelly Italian lunches. However, it has made me a more understanding eater, and a more adventurous eater. Interestingly enough though, last Christmas was the first time I tried a raw oyster. Since then, I tried tripe, pate, raw shrimp, and who even knows what else during my travels. This time of year I think about the new things I want to experience in the new year: new food, new places, and new attitudes. What will be my next oyster?
In my photography portfolio (seen here) I chose to include only photos from my semester in Italy. Now, since my job requires me to use my camera more and more, I found a new hobby in photography. Why deny yourself the joy of what you personally find visually pleasing? The following photos are from the last few months.
When I returned from Florence, I thought that I would never be able to assimilate back into my old life. I thrived in Italy, and discovered passions for cooking, photography, and language. So it was a real bummer to return home, having to complete one of the most challenging semesters of my college career, and encountering some unexpected roadblocks on the way. When I began my Fall semester I was at a less-than-satisfactory internship, and I did something that I never thought I would ever do. I walked away. I acknowledged that even interns (let alone “one of the best interns”-not my words) should be treated better. I fell into sadness when I heard about my great-grandma passing away, a woman who meant so much to me. I fell into anger, and pain when I heard about some other less than satisfactory occurrences. All I thought was “maybe I should’ve stayed in Italy.” Sometimes I still think that, but more so because I miss drinking an Aperol spritz in a piazza at sunset.
Why am I telling you this? Growth is important. Longing, and sadness and, anger are important to facilitate that growth. I look back on photos of myself from Freshman year and I thank whatever power above that I look and feel different. It shows that I experienced life that changed me, inside and out, and it was clearly for the better.
So here are some photos of experiences in the past few months, post-Italy, that have reminded me that getting out of bed is important.