Daily Archives: May 28, 2012

The Importance of Reading and Writing, According to Lamott.

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“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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Things I Miss About Europe.

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During the six months I spent in Europe, there were lots of things that I missed about the good ole U.S. of A: the Pacific Northwest’s abundance of greenery, self-check out lanes at the grocery store, and Chipotle burrito bowls, just to name a few. Now that I’ve re-acclimated to the AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE, there are things I find myself missing about Europe on a regular basis. (You’ll notice that half of them are food/drink-related).

Fanta. Euro-Fanta is not like Fanta in the United States. Euro-Fanta is less like “orange soda” and more like a tart, citrus-y fruit drink that happens to be carbonated. It’s delicious and American Fanta doesn’t compare.

Cheek-kissing. I love the cheek-kissing culture of Spain and Portugal in particular because it’s such an intimate and personal way to greet someone or to meet a new person, and after having experienced that, handshakes feel so sterile and impersonal. I’ve tried to do the cheek-kissing thing in Seattle a couple times, but I get weird looks from people. #boohiss

Euro coins. Having 1 Euro and 2 Euro coins was awesome. I’m not exactly sure why I liked them so much, but they just felt more practical and convenient somehow. I wish 1 Dollar and 2 Dollar coins would catch on in the U.S.

Speculoos. Speculoos is made of Dutch cookies that are processed into a peanut butter-like paste, and it’s insanely delicious. I ate speculoos almost every single day that I was in Amsterdam. The good news is that I’ve recently discovered that Trader Joe’s sells speculoos, and even though it’s not quite as good as speculoos from Holland, it’s an acceptable variation on the cookie butter I love so much. Nom nom nom.

Riding a bike everywhere. The bike culture in Amsterdam was kind of scary at first, but once I got used to it, I loved riding a bike.  It was really fun to navigate a new city on two wheels instead of four, and riding a bike just made me feel healthy and awesome. I’m excited to buy a bike that I can cruise around Seattle on, but it won’t be the same as the magic of cycling in Holland.

Cheap flights. Since everything in Europe is so close together and there are multiple budget airlines, it costs next to nothing to fly from country to country. I think the most I ever paid for a round-trip flight was $200, and that’s only because the budget airlines didn’t fly to Sweden. I probably couldn’t even make it to Denver for $200 roundtrip, and that’s not even halfway across the country! I miss those cheap flights, and so does my wallet.

The way Guinness tastes in Ireland. I kid you not, it’s amazing. And it tastes completely different than it tastes anywhere else in the world. I’ve been told it’s because the Irish double-pour (the way Guinness is meant to be poured), which allows for a more rich flavor and creates a delicious velvety head of foam, and also because they only export the inferior brews and save the best for themselves. Whatever the reason, it’s a drinking experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere and that’s why, despite my love for Guinness, I will never drink it again unless I find myself in Ireland. Which, I guess, just means I need to find myself in Ireland sometime in the future.