Saturday, December 6, 2008

xoxo strawberry

Readers, you're awesome. I don't check my blog stats very often, but every time I do a big smile creeps along my freckled face. I had no idea when I started this blog that people other than my mom and sister would actually read anything I had to write. I definitely never expected that so many of you would read it.

What I'm trying to say is, and this might be the wine talking, but, well, I think I'm falling in love with you.

If anyone out there reading this blog wants a super cool postcard from China, e-mail me at with your address and I'll send it off next week (just in time for the holidays!).

I promise not to stalk you for at least another 8 months, since that is the soonest possible date I will be back in the United States.

the omnivore's 100

So I'm not eating any meat (other than fish), but once upon a time, like, two weeks ago, I did eat meat, and I've also tried a whole bunch of crazy food, so I figured I would give this a try.

Below is a list of 100 things that someone seems to think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you don’t recognize everything in the hundred, either, Wikipedia or Google has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The Omnivore’s One Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill um wtf why is this on this list?
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Woah! I've tried pretty much everything on that list...and the only things I wouldn't try seem to all be of the sausage variety. True story, one of my roommates last year only ate sausage. She was a sausagterian, if you will. It was gross.

Friday, December 5, 2008

gone with the wind

It is extremely windy here. I'm talking good 15 MPH gusts, enough to blow the head band right out of my hair. On top of that, it's 30 degrees so the wind feels like a million tiny knives stabbing you in the face every time you walk outside. I've taken to being a hermit and snuggling up with my stuffed animals in front of my heater.

It only seemed natural to write about Gone with the Wind today. I have this strange connection to Scarlett O'Hara. Well, I don't know if it's strange, really, it's just a very serious connection. Blah, blah, blah, she's a fictional character, she's not real, how could you feel a connection with a pretend person? I just can, okay.

My grandma owned five movies when we were growing up: Annie, Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, Little Women, and Mary Poppins. As a result, I've seen each of those movies at least a dozen times. Might I remind you that Gone with the Wind is four hours long. That means I've spent, at the minimum, two full days of my life watching Scarlett O'Hara pine over Ashley Wilkes only to realize that it was Rhett Butler she loved the whole time. I've gotten to know Scarlett a lot during the many, many viewings I've had of the film.

And Rhett Butler with that mustache? Swoon.

When I was 18, Twin and I decided to get sister tattoos. We chose hearts because "they were cute". I got mine on my hip and she got hers on her shoulder. It wasn't my first tattoo so it wasn't that big of a deal to get it, but I always felt bored with it and wanted to add something but never could quite decide what. This summer after a lot of research, I found an artist in Los Angeles who specializes in cover-ups and had her put a poppy on top of my heart. If you look really closely and know it's there, you can just see the outline of the heart, but she worked hard to make it look like a part of the poppy (the middle bud part) so it's not easy to see especially if you're not looking for it. Unknowingly, I had picked out a Scarlett O'Hara poppy. Totally fate, right?

Before I left for China, my grandma gave me an old copy she had of the book. It actually is old. The binding is coming undone, the pages are all tinged yellow from age, it smells like walking down the isles of a library, the price of 95 cents is printed on the front cover.

It was my first time actually reading the book, and it impacted me in a way the movie never did. Granted, I loved the movie, but something really struck home for me when I read the novel. A lot of it had to do with all the changes I was making in my life, mostly moving on both physically and emotionally from things in my past. I started the book on the plane and took my time reading it. I was sort of trying to savor it, for whatever reason.

After I finished, my grandma sent me the sequel, Scarlett, written by a different author. I started it on a Sunday and finished it by Saturday. It's over 800 pages long. I stayed up until 6 AM one night just to finish it. Even though I knew how it would end, I just had to keep going. Now that's it's over, my life feels kind of empty. Like I've lost a friend or something. Maybe I should write part III?

moments in teaching

Occasionally I'll walk by my 12th grade class on my way to the copy room or another campus errand and a few students will be in there hanging out or napping. I'm not really sure where they are supposed to be (probably PE or something) but I usually stop by and chat with them.

They always want to chat during class, most likely so they don't have to actually do work, but when I talk to them outside of class they are much more willing to open up to me. So I stopped by the other afternoon and there were four students in the classroom talking with each other. They feel pretty comfortable with me because deep down I think they consider me "one of them". I haven't told them how old I am but most of them have guessed my age exactly, and if they don't know it for sure they know that I'm at least pretty close to their age.

We started talking about relationships and breaking up. Sometimes I forget how serious everything seemed in high school, though suppose everything seems serious when it's happening to you, no matter how old you are. I contributed a little to the conversation, but I mostly wanted to hear their perspectives on life and love.

One of the boys initiated a discussion of how it's sometimes a relief to end a relationship, especially if your significant other isn't supportive of you or is extremely jealous or stifling to you in any way. But then that relief eventually dies away and is replaced by a sense of mourning for what you lost.

So I asked him, "Well, so, did it make you sad to end the relationship?"

"No, not sad really." He thought a little before he added, "There's no point in being sad. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad, I'd rather be happy."

I was taken aback by this. I know people my parent's age who still haven't made that realization despite all their life experiences. Sadness and happiness is a choice we make. Sometimes we cannot choose our life situations, we don't choose to be laid off work or to lose someone that is close to us, but we can choose how we react to those situations. And if my 17 year old Turkish student can understand that, well, that gives me a glimmer of hope for the human race.

I told him he was very wise for his age, to which he ironically asked, "Wise? What does 'wise' mean?"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the honeymoon is over

ARGH! I JUST REALLY WANT A DELICIOUS DELI SANDWICH. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?! This country does not believe in tasty deli sandwiches. Where is a legit Quizno's or Mr. Pickle's when I need them?? OH ya, in America. My bad.

Oh, and just as an FYI for those who care, I'm doing the whole pescetarian thing again. Throw back to my first few years of college.