Life Lately: 29 August, 2016

Doing: Sitting on the sofa with the windows open, listening to the sounds of people talking and eating at cafes on the street. Because there are a lot of people, the conversations sort of blur into one continuous background sound that tends to put me to sleep. F is in the kitchen grilling halloumi and toasting bread for a light dinner.

Watching: On Friday I saw Captain Fantastic in the movie theater. I always forget how nice it is to go to the movies. It was actually one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and it brought up a lot of issues that I haven’t had to confront yet, for example, how parents can best raise their children to turn into productive, healthy and happy members of society. It elicited some strong emotions at some moments (and a few tears), but I loved it.

Reading: After finishing All The Light We Cannot See, I’ve been struggling to find a book that I love as much. I’m about to re-read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, which I first read around the age of 20. I always find it fascinating how books take on a different meaning when I read them at different stages of my life. The classic example of this is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which appears to be a book for children, but actually has a much deeper meaning. One of my favorite quotations comes from this book:

«Voici mon Secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.»   //   “Here is my secret. It is very simple: the essential things in life are not seen with the eyes, but with the heart”

Eating/Cooking: I had been wanting to make sourdough bread for a really long time. Last week, I finally began the starter. In case you are totally unfamiliar with this, sourdough bread does not use commercial instant yeast, rather “wild” yeast that you cultivate at home by making a starter. To do this, you mix equal parts flour and water in a bowl. You leave it out on the counter for a week in a relatively warm spot, loosely covered, and feed it water and flour every day for 5-7 days until it’s ready. When it’s ready, it develops a special smell and lots of tiny bubbles. Then you prepare the dough, which takes a really long time. Because the yeast isn’t instant, it takes longer for it to work. After letting the dough rise slowly in the fridge overnight on Friday, I woke up Saturday morning to find it still quite flat. Although disappointed already, I put it in the oven, not really expecting anything good to come of it. However it surprised me by doubling in size! Once it cooled, we sliced it and enjoyed with butter, a fried egg, and plenty of coffee. Given that I have never baked a loaf of bread in my entire life, I was quite pleased with myself.

I’ve also been craving Mexican food and burritos lately. Mexican food here is either not so wonderful, or expensive gourmet-type Mexican. For this reason, I decided to make burrito bowls inspired by the fast food chain Chipotle, and they satisfied the craving perfectly. I think I will make it a weekly thing until I get tired of it!

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Homemade sourdough loaf

Drinking: Nothing like an aperol spritz on a hot afternoon. I wonder if this is as popular in U.S. cities as it is here. It’s a very refreshing summer drink: 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts aperol, and 1 part soda water. Serve over ice with a slice of orange. So yummy.

Planning: Although we already technically got married in New York in March, it was quite small and informal. It took place at the city hall, and none of our family members were there to enjoy the moment. Therefore, we decided to plan a ceremony and reception for our family and close friends in Italy next spring. Apparently it’s a thing in Belgium (where F is from) to have two wedding ceremonies – the civil one and the religious one. I think it’s different in the U.S. but actually, I don’t know a lot about weddings. I’m sort of learning as I go – I refuse to be a bridezilla and stress out about every tiny detail. Anyway, I’m extremely excited – it’s gonna be fuuuuunnnn!

Buying: We recently bought a really old map of middle Europe from the flea market and hung it in our dining room. It’s one of those school-style pull-down maps, made in Münich in the 1930s by Karl Wenschow. We negotiated hard for it and ended up getting a nice price.

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New map and furniture painting

 

 

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