Windy Days

Have you ever seen the movie Chocolat? It’s the one that takes place in a small French town and stars Juliette Binoche as a chocolate maker and Johnny Depp as her guitar-playing Gypsy lover. As someone who enjoys chocolate, anything even vaguely French, rocking¬†manouche jazz, and Johnny Depp, this movie has always spoken to me.

Plus, I’ve always been sympathetic towards the main character, Vianne – she is a bit of a vagabond, moving from place to place with the north wind, helping heal people through chocolate. In the movie, the north wind is portrayed as a powerful physical and spiritual force that continually presses Vianne onward, never letting her settle down.

I can identify. At times some weird sort of supernatural energy overtakes me, and I have the deep, profound urge to GO. (I also like chocolate.) In the past I’ve been able to cope with this feeling through drastic changes in scenery. Thanks to my mortgage, this isn’t quite an option anymore.

Don’t get me wrong – I truly adore my one bedroom co-op. It’s my little haven, my home base. Plus, I enjoy living in DC. The city fits me well, and I still feel like I have so many opportunities here that I don’t want to leave anytime soon.

But I can feel a disquiet beginning to haunt me again. My soul is restless. I am yearning for an adventure. Hmm, what shall I plot next…

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Squeezing In

Last weekend after spending half a day trekking out the ‘burbs to pick up the bar stools, I declared myself done with all remotely labor-intensive home-related projects for the time being. After all, I have a bed, a couch, chairs, and a rug. I figured the rest would fall into place eventually.

It turns out that the future is now.

On Thursday night my mother arrived in town, a physically small yet spiritually vast bundle of energy. After dinner at a good BBQ place across the street, we stopped into the hardware store and emerged with a glorious potted palm taller than me. Once we arrived home with the palm, all of the furniture in my main room had to be dramatically rearranged to accommodate the tree. Before I left for work the next morning, my mother waved one of two shopping lists in front of my face that she had drafted after I went to bed the night before.

When I came home yesterday, more furniture had been moved and the lists were lengthened. Last night I woke up at 1 am (to be fair, that’s only 10 pm PST,) to find all the contents of my kitchen cabinets out on the counter, and my mother scrubbing out the insides of my cabinets.

My mom is having a blast.  I am in awe and need coffee.

All this considered, I figure that this may be the only chance I have to squeeze in writing a blog post.

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Scones and a Buisness Opportunity

If you haven’t noticed by now from my previous posts, I have the not-so-secret aspiration to be a food blogger. I have many aspirations: be a diplomat, run a half marathon, visit Asia, and finish any knitting project I’ve ever started, for starters. But having a food blog is right up there.

One of my all-time favorite food blogs belongs to David Lebovitz. It combines many of my interests, including living abroad, Paris, food, and a good sense of humor. You have to have a good sense of humor to live abroad for any long extended period of time. It requires a certain roll-with-it attitude if you’re to get through the weeks and months without throwing your hands up and constantly shouting “WHY?!” Accept inexplicably, laugh a little, and move on. Either that, or don’t complain in my presence, please.

Reading Lebovitz’s food blog today made me remember that I’ve been neglecting my duty to tell you about the little mysteries of life in Slovenia. You know, the small stories make travel/food blogs fun to read. Sorry.

Thus, a Mystery of the Day for you:

Scones don’t exist here. Nor do biscuits. At least, not until this morning when I made biscuits for my our Sunday morning breakfast. One of my roommates has been testing out scone recipes lately, and trying to feed them to Slovenians. Generally people give a very confused look. (“they’re like muffins,” she tries to explain. Somehow muffins made it across the water.) Then they take one skeptically, and carefully bite down. “Not bad” is the general consensus.

I bet you could open up a scone shop here. It might actually take off due to the novelty factor.

You know what else would be a brilliant restaurant business here? A diner. I’m aware I’m speaking in hyperbole when I say that every Slovenian who I’ve met that aspires to go to the United States also lists eating at a diner as a must-do activity, but there’s some truth in it. Enough truth that I bet if you opened up a place that serves American pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls, you’d be a runaway hit.¬† People are fascinated by the concept of diners. Toss in some American-style coffee drinks, and you’d have to turn people away at the door due to popularity.

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Slovenia may not have pancakes. Or cinnamon rolls. Or scones. But they do have a lot of honey! It comes in more variations and manifestations then you have ever seen. I haven’t a clue if you can get a hold of it in the States, but do try chestnut honey if you can find it. It’s divine, sort of deep and nutty, and lovely with fresh cheese on bread.

Oh, and do please go and eat a cinnamon roll for me.