Sno cones are high school food, my friend Hamm and I decided while I was home. Nothing says high school like numbing my tongue with cold sugar and babbling on like a fool. I made sure to go twice when I was home, I love sno cones that much. So ice deli-cious.
Getting home from international travel is never a straightforward affair. My parents usually pick me up at O’Hare, which is a good 4 hours from my house. Usually we get lost in the airport trying to find our car. This time, I’m pretty sure it took me less time to fly from Toronto to Chicago as it did for me to get from baggage to our car. We were that lost.
When I’m home though, there’s something that I go straight for as soon as I bust through the doors and drop my luggage.
The kittens. Because it’s not home without a few funcats around.
Our resident mommacat, Denise (who was just a adolescent cat herself the last time I was home) managed to squeeze out five beautiful, yowling babies.
Gratuitous kitten pictures, commence!
Denise has begat Howard, Leonard, Karen, Tipper, and Chairman Mao. They are all so wonderful. I honestly can’t imagine growing up in a house without animals and I couldn’t imagine going home without kittens or dumb, drooling boycats or our demon-possessed Australian cattle dog for me to come back to.
Under the sage guidance of my friend Robin, we decided to meander through the Bastille Sunday Market, which was only a hop, skip, and a jump outside our apartment.
We managed to roll out of bed early (around 9!) and passed through the market, savoring all of the sights and nibbling on what we could, and putting up with the drizzle.
Let’s be real, if you don’t want to eat a churro with me at 10 in the morning, I probably don’t want to be friends with you.
Oh, this nougat.
So beautiful, so sweet, so chewy. I had one little bite and I was in love.
So in love that I decided to bring some home for my family. Do you see that little price in the upper lefthand corner of this photo? Yeah, I thought I saw it too.
5.90 euros for a kilo of nougat – what a steal. At that price, how could I not bring some home. Since I have little to no functional French skills, Sophie asked the nougat-peddler if she’d cut me half a kilo of the almond pistachio.
Such a huge, luscious wedge of nougat to bring home to my family. “Okay, that will be 30 euro,” nougat-peddler said (although she said it in French).
I did not pay close enough attention to the decimal in the nougat price. It wasn’t 5.90 euro/kilo. Of course it wasn’t. That would be ludicrously cheap. It was 59.o0 euro. Whoa. My love of food just reached a new area of ridiculosity. And I couldn’t put it back, it was already cut. So took my precious half-kilo of almond and pistachio nougat and protected it through customs in Toronto on the way back home.
Luckily, my dad and sister loved it. In the words of my infinitely quotable father “it makes you want to throw rocks at a Payday candy bar.”
Walking is one of my favorite things to do in the world. Give me a camera and a sturdy-ish pair of shoes and I can entertain myself for an afternoon, easily. Thailand is not an ideal place for walking. During the hot season, I can barely force myself to cross my room, let alone cross the street. One kilometer would leave me a heaving, sweaty mess.
The weather in Paris was so mild, so pleasant when I arrived. This sounds completely stupid, but it felt like Christmas to me. I was that giddy.
Our final night in Paris, with Sophie already en route to Geneva, Casey and I knew we’d be spending the time in the perfect evening air. We spent a good 30-45 minutes trying to figure out the reasonably priced (but confusing for tourists) bikeshare system, to no avail. We decided to hoof it to Berthillon, purported home of the best ice cream in Paris.
No pictures of my ice cream (fig and raspberry rose for me, salted caramel and whiskey chocolate for Casey), but spending my last few hours in Paris bathed in golden light and wandering up and down the Seine was sublime.
Ice cream in hand, we stumbled upon the love padlocks at Pont de l’Archevêché. Picturesque? Yes. Sentimentality? No thank you, not at this point in my life.
But really. I am so happy with how these photos came out. Everything looks perfect and ethereal and exactly how I remembered it.
One good thing I can share with all of you is that I have regained my sense of smell! Whoa, have I been missing out on a lot these last 9 months. It’s like I’m living in a new town, a new country. I feel strangely re-connected with the Jordan who came to Thailand 3 years ago now. It’s like I’m smelling everything for the first time. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on all of these smells for so long.
To be honest, I’ve felt sad, having my wonderful, 3-week long sojourn to Europe and America end. I’ll miss not having friends and family at an arm’s width for me to hug. I’m pulling out of my funk, however, and trying to clarify my life after such a whirlwind trip. I’m still dealing with strange, jet-lagged sleeping schedules, but I’m slipping into the pleasant routine I had going for so many months.
Nothing can cheer up my malaise like pictures of food. So without further ado, here are some pictures of meals I had in Paris. ‘Meals’ being a relative term – we were too poor to eat a full meal when we were there, so we would order a couple small things from a cafe and split it. We’d supplement our diet with the moussy chocolate Sophie brought from Switzerland, the jamón Casey brought from Spain, and the dried mangoes I brought from Thailand.
Almost straight off the plane from Delhi (which was a terrifying experience in itself, my blog post didn’t even being to cover the worst of it!) my friends scooped me up and off we went to a glorious Parisian breakfast.
Falafel from Rue de Rosiers in the Jewish Quarter. Falafel, I have missed you in my life.
Kir & a caipirinha & fancy olives to pass the late afternoon.
Let me first apologize for the abysmal quality of this photo. Once we all get over the fact that I used flash (something I truly, truly hate to do), we can move onto the masterful skill with which this cheese has been melted over the heaven-sent, from-France French onion soup. I died and went to food heaven. And then let’s be real, I probably had to go to the bathroom because 9 months living in cheese exile did not make for delicate dietary transition.
Picnic in the Tuileries. Bread, fresh squeezed orange juice, cherries, and unsurprisingly expensive quantities of cumin-laden cheese. Totally delicious. I promise you that my life is not always this awesome. It just happened to be awesome during this trip.
Here’s where I admit something embarrassing to me. I knew this as a 14 year old, but I cemented this in my mind over my trip to Paris. I don’t like pâté, I don’t like foie gras (foy grass, hehe). My palate is simply not developed or fancy enough, I think. To me, it more or less tastes like the smell of cat food. But I like durian. So to each their own, I guess.
The first time I had espresso and liked it (or mostly liked it). I’ve come a long way from the junior in college who just started drinking coffee because I was working two jobs and managing a full course load and the only way for me to make it through my 7:30 start mornings was to drink small cups of half coffee, half hot chocolate (no, not mochas!). This espresso was fruity. If I had a better memory, I could tell you what country the beans came from, since that’s how I ordered it. Unfortunately, my memory is pretty abysmal.
I will be dreaming about all of the cheese in Paris for a long, long time to come.