Una Settimana Italiana | My Italian Week at Home

1910390_507352755016_2662_nA full decade ago (ahh!), I was in Italy for a total of four full days, two in Rome and two in Venice. We saw the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, the Roman Forum, rode a gondola, and gazed at the mosaics in the Basilica of San Marco all in that amount of time. It was probably too much, but at the time I thought that I might not ever have another opportunity to travel back to Europe and I wanted to see all the sights that I could. And no matter how rushed you are, the moment you climb that hill and see the Roman Forum is a moment you aren’t likely to forget.

Food, on the other hand, wasn’t really anything that interested me at the time. This is lucky, actually, because I left Europe with -7USD to my name, plus an overdraft fee. We survived by eating only street pizza and gelato. Not that either of us were complaining about the quality of those, either.

Now, I’m, well, a more curious eater than I was during our university years, to put it lightly. I’m also happy to have found people who don’t see my food interests as out of the ordinary and instead encourage me to learn even more.

Last week, my social life, my work life, my book club life, and my own personal reading life all collided into this ball of Italian food and culture. Really, I didn’t plan it that way.

On my own, I’ve been listening to a few Coffee Break Italian podcasts to prep for our trip. I finally read My Brilliant Friend for book club; I indulged in the light read of Under the Tuscan Sun. Our book club cooked accordingly, making for a night of delicious Naples-themed food. Then, I got to tag along as a server/assistant for an Italian cooking class through work.


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oxtail with vegetable italian style

I had a serious amount of fun for it being “work”. I sipped some wines, all of which were new to me, ate provolone and anchovy crostini, artichokes, endives, spaghetti, oxtail, and chestnut ice cream. All in the same night. And all while hanging out with some of my favorite peeps.

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A couple days later, our friend hosted a dinner party (she also happens to be in my book club, woot!)–Italian themed as well. The weather was wonderful, and she has the perfect yard for al fresco dinner parties. As soon as I saw the tables in the backyard, I was thankful to have remembered my camera for the day. Even still, part way through meal, I failed as a photographer, simply eating my secondo (main), contorno (side), dolce (dessert), and digestivo without taking a single photo. That’s right, folks. You only see our starters and our first course below.

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What a great week! All of the events, meals, books, and discussions made for a full, fun, and inspiring week. And it’s whet my intellectual and actual appetite for our upcoming actual Italian week.

I wish you all a happy week, Italian or otherwise 🙂


The 2-Year Nomad | On the Move in 2016

Two years ago, we had an epic year. I wrote this post to explain that we were going on a camping trip of Gaspesie, going to explore the great state of Wisconsin for one month, go on my South Dakota safari at Jordan’s parents’ place, “move” to northern Argentina for three months and use it as a base for exploration, and finally move to Vancouver (the post in which a person told me that blind dates aren’t scary, but my style of writing is, ha). We even ended up spending nearly two weeks in California at the end of the year. Compared to many, I know it’s peanuts. But for me, it’s the kind of whirlwind six months that makes me energized about life and reminds me how much I have/want to learn about this planet!

parc national de la gaspesie mont jacques cartier

4th of july meal wisconsin

san luis argentina hike

lost coast trinidad california

And then, somewhere along the line, Vancouver started to feel a little bit like home, just as Montreal had before the previous whirlwind. We’ve found “our” spots, created our routines and found our favorite activities.

vancouver harbor

But alas, our time in Vancouver is now coming to an end.

Though we’ve been told never to mention deadlines to PhD students/candidates, one has been set. Jordan has accepted a job offer, and therefore needed to set a clear submission deadline for his dissertation. This, naturally, has set things into motion again.

Backing up a bit, though, we we’re making some plans even before our next official life step came into being.

At the end of this week, we’re boarding a plane to Prague. (Eek!) Jordan is attending a conference for the first week, but post-conference, we’ll be continuing on for three more weeks on the Continent, flying out of Madrid. For him, it’s still a working vacation, as he plans to spend quite a bit of time writing, editing, and analyzing, and even has a couple meetings set up. But hey, that’s what cafes and cute Airbnb stops are for, right?

heart coffee portland

Me? I’m planning to hit up the markets, cook with what I find in the evenings, and soak in as much architecture and art as possible.


After returning, we’ll have just over another month in Vancouver to soak in all of the great summer days this city has to offer. People, I know you think that it’s only rain in Vancouver all the time. I’m not sure how this city gets away with that reputation when the summers are as nice as they are.

vancouver seawall

Mid-July, we’re shipping out to Puerto Rico for Jordan’s sister’s wedding for a week and a half, splitting our time between Old San Juan and Vieques, a smaller island not far from the main island. We’re very much looking forward to seeing everyone while there and sneaking in a bit of snorkeling!

caracas beach vieques

Then, we return to Vancouver for one final month or two, until Jordan submits that final draft sometime in August.

Here’s where Jordan’s new supervisor is already gaining points with me 🙂 He wouldn’t even let Jordan start right away, but instead told him he had to at least take a few weeks before starting. And so we’re going to Asia. The details are still very uncertain at this point, but we know we’re going to China, and probably Vietnam and Indonesia, depending upon time.

Chinese Lanterns at Shop

Finally, Jordan will head back stateside and start that job in October. I’ll hang out somewhere until he returns to meet me for another conference in Beijing. Together, we’ll return to the next place we’ll call home, the great city of Boston, just before the start of November.

For the first time in a few moves, we’re moving to a city that both of us have actually visited before, which is a nice feeling.

boston lobster

Thinking about the year we have coming up, I alternate between freak outs of bliss and freak outs brought on by the logistical nightmares we’ll have to try and tackle. It’ll be quite a ride. I’m thankful for all of our opportunities to come, sadder than I thought I’d be to leave Vancouver (how does that happen each and every time we leave a place??), and very much looking forward to having photos are stories to e-journal here for you.

Thanks for reading and thanks for following along through all of life’s surprises.

south and central american road trip