Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reality Check

I did not sleep all that great last night - my neck muscles are super tight and that always causes a massive headache. Needless to say, first stop when I woke up was the MAT! is yummy.

As is cinnamon pear oats:

I have been struggling with the fact that I only have 2 months left here and still am not where I would like to be with my Italian language skills. Had I gone to Spain, I would have become pretty fluent pretty fast - of course, I've been studying that for a good 7 years, and Italian for about a year and a half. BIG difference, but it's still a little frustrating to me, because becoming more or less fluent in another language has been a major life goal I set for myself years and years ago. And here I am, in a country where I do know the language and feel sooo close to getting good...but it's not going very far. I understand really well, but I'm just not at the point where it rolls off my tongue - I still have to think about it.

Um, hello Gillian, you are LIVING IN FLORENCE. Seriously, shut up. There is no other place I could have taken classes like Food & Culture or a nutrition-centric cooking class (a.k.a., exactly what I want to with my life), and I adore everything about the culture here. The language is beautiful, the pace is relaxed, and the food and the standards demanded of it is incredible and right up my alley. I get to hop on a train and whisk myself away to beautiful Tuscan hill towns on a dime. I walk by Brunelleschi's Duomo on my way to class. As important to me as my language development is, the opportunities open to me here are so incredible, I couldn't be happier. Really, I've tried to think about where else might have been better for me, and I draw a complete blank. I belong here. So, reality check, Gillian: You. live. in. Florence. Whoa.

It was another gorgeous, cloudless day here. Spring? Is that you? Bring on the warmth!

I also mastered soft-boiled eggs. 4 minutes, no more. Gosh, I was so productive today I can't stand it.

Eventually we got off our butts and walked the oh-so-very-long path to the grocery store (is 5 minutes considered long under any circumstance? 5 minutes of watching grass grow, perhaps...). It was Roommate Project time! Tonight, we endeavored to make ribollita, the classic winter Tuscan bread-based soup that I first sampled this Wednesday. One of our lovely program directors from API sent us her mama's recipe, and we decided that tonight was a perfect night to try our hand(s) at it.
Our lurrvely bread basket.

I'll be perfectly honest: since arriving here and having soup multiple times and loving it, I was beginning to forget my passionate distaste for soup. This bowl brought the memory screaming back. I'm pretty sure the bean-to-cabbage ratio was off, and we had to use green instead of black cabbage. To offer a contrasting opinion, my roommates had second helpings. I had that baby bowl...and promptly made a salad. We have another recipe, and will try it again - I loved it when I had it at Sergio's, and I really want to know how to make, palatable. For my palate, in particular.

For dessert, I ripped open one of my NaturaSi (Italian Whole Foods) finds:

Milk chocolate-covered amaranth! Amaranth is a grain used by the Aztecs way back when and is full of good protein, iron and lysine (an amino acid). It's also gluten-free, and becoming increasingly more popular as the organic/natural food scene has risen.

It tasted like...milk chocolate-covered amaranth. The texture is akin to those little tiny styrofoam balls, but they didn't taste like styrofoam - in fact, they didn't really taste like anything. It was kind of like a new-age Rice Krispie treat. I bought a dark chocolate one too, and I'm glad - this was a great way to get a chocolate fix without, say, downing half a jar of nutella, while getting the benefits of the grain. Rock on, amaranth.

Pretty much just doing homework (so. much. reading.) and...well, blogging. This neck muscle is still driving me crazy. I need a massage!

Feeling a tad homesick recently, but not in a bad way. More of a wistful "gee, I wish I could see the people I miss" kind of way. I miss the fam and my Converse ladies!!!

Got some exciting stuff coming up this week...but you'll just have to come back and read about them.;) Ciao!



  1. i didn't have second helpings! it was edible, but i wasn't impressed. sadly, improvisation did not work out so well for us in this instance. oh, well. we shall try again! we WILL master the ribollita!

  2. Ahh a soup recipe to lose. It sounds great but the devil is in the details. Can't wait to try it in Dedham AFTER you have perfected the recipe!
    The hill town looked very charming. Good choice of spots to visit. Getting into the backwoods gives one a much more all round flavor of the country. Cities are nice but I had some of my best meals in France in towns like that one.