Since my farewell blog on February 7th the tree outside my bedroom window has gone through notable stages. A few more brown shriveled leaves let go of otherwise bare branches. Ice coated its surface on a particularly cold day and created teardrop-like icicles that eventually surrendered their emotions and fell to the ground. Then the alternately hot, cold days here in Abilene averaged out to more hot than cold and green life began to peek through. Now those green buds are full new leaves and I am loving how the sunlight dances through them.
I feel like certain aspects of my life have gone through such drastic changes in the last two months. In February I was still fighting to carry out my plans for the fall semester: study art in New York City. There is an off-campus program through another school that I've had marked in my calendar for more than a year, but as I began to discuss the specifics with the art department at my current school (I learned about it at a different college I attended last year) the logistics began to look more tricky. The credits would be difficult to transfer, but what ultimately stopped me was that the cost of the program increased beyond what I could justify borrowing.
Honestly, the thought of spending yet another consecutive semester here made me run in search of alternative (cheaper) programs. I started an application to the University of Georgia's branch in Italy and even tried to arrange my classes so that I could stay there the whole year. I was ready to pack up and return to Europe.
Something caught me though. I feel like it was more a well-meaning foot stuck in my path in order to trip me, plant my face on the ground, and make me examine what is in front of me before getting up and dusting off. I still don't know clearly what I'm supposed to be looking at, but I think there's a measure of peace I'm supposed to reach with this place before I
flee leave again.
While the class I came to this university with is graduating in May, I have a few good friends who are staying through, including my roommates, who I look forward to more time with before we all go out into the big wide world. In addition, I have an uncle, aunt, and three adorable little cousins a few hours away who I hope to see more of.
My roommate, Kelly, and I got a wonderful weekend away with them in March that had me tapping lightly at my computer keys, wishing I could log onto my blog and tell you about the fun we had. My uncle is a masterful bread-maker who taught us about growing starters, shaping the perfect loaf, and splashing water onto the sides of the oven in order to create steam for the baking bread (something that requires aim I lack so as not to pop any light bulbs or kill the oven altogether).
Oh, but I almost forgot to mention...! In the midst of mourning the loss of next year's travel plans, I am taking a long-dreamed-of trip to Japan this summer. The university in my hometown of Bellingham is taking a group of art students for three weeks in July, and I am joining them. We'll be traveling all over, learning about traditional and modern Japanese art, and when the program is over I'll stay an extra week at my friend's home north of Tokyo. I am so excited!
It will be a whirlwind summer, so I am grateful for the brief time I got with my family for the Easter holiday. I wish I had pictures to share, but I arrived at the airport twenty minutes before my flight left and had to leave my suitcase (containing my camera) in the trunk of my friend's car. I made a dash for the gate with just my purse and lasted through the long weekend in Northern California borrowing necessities from my sister. It was entirely worth it.
The pictures I have posted are a condensed cataloguing of life since we parted in February, including a little bit of the art I was able to do (above, you simply see the view over my computer: two sketchy drawings, a coaster from a great brewery back home, and one of my favorite photos from London).
And if you made it this far, I do in fact have a recipe to recommend for you. It is from a little while ago, but I've been saving the photos and exaltations for the right time. Now is my opportunity to share an nontraditional green apple "chutney."
Borrowed from Jennifer at Milk and Cookies, I found a few slightly different uses for this tangy, spiced fruit condiment. Initially, I made it because I had whipped up some simple vegan "omelets" of carrots, onions, and zucchini mixed with garbanzo flour and water that just needed a little something extra. The next week I was having to do some scavenging for dinner and ended up with a bowl of roasted new potatoes topped with the spiced apples and a dollop of crème fraîche. It was so good I put off my trip to the grocery store and had the same thing for dinner the next night!
So, in consistency with my most recent method of posting recipes, I'm pointing you toward the link:
Spiced Green Apple.
*Here's a little note on why I have begun to post recipes like I do: I find most my inspiration for the kitchen online, and when I come across a recipe that is perfectly good as is, I feel like the most appropriate thing to do is point you toward where credit is due. I still enjoy being able to converse about great food and relay my successes (and failures). When I end up adapting a recipe or referring to a cookbook I will post the recipe directly on my site. So, when you scan my post for the recipe I am referring to, there will be a link, likely bolded, at the bottom of the page.