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six months without paris.

Today is October 1, 2015, which means it's been 6 months since I left for Europe. A HALF OF A YEAR? I still haven't even uploaded my photos or written about half the places we visited or fully figured out this freelance thing I nosedived into upon my return. Shit, can somebody find the pause button on 2015 for me? Are we sure it's October 1? HAVE WE CHECKED WITH THE ROMANS?

It's an emotional realization because I've come to know this season of life as before-and-after Europe. I couldn't sense it at the time, but getting on that first flight to London would eventually (now) feel like entering a sort-of time warp, where I was picked up from a steady life at home, taken somewhere unknown to discover my old life was no longer an option, and dropped back off in a place that felt like home, but had become something completely different. 

That month away was filled with equal parts heartache and awe, the latter essential to my healing. It was mournful and mesmerizing, carrying the sensation of having fallen off a bike and been set upright again by angels of the Old World. And these five months since have felt a lot more like having to learn how to ride a bike all over again—humbly, steadily, and patiently, all while feeling a little dumb and helpless. I came home and entered a new work life, started counseling for the first time, moved into a new house, and found myself, unexpectedly, entering into a new relationship. Each of these things has been a gift, but has also been hard work—teaching me that I didn't (and don't) have nearly as many things figured out that I thought I did pre-Europe. 

But what's been great about starting so many new things at once is rediscovering my need to be a student. I'm learning more about what it looks like for us to grow and honor our gifts by becoming better students of each other, of our craft, of our mentors, of our own weaknesses, and of grace. I'm also finding becoming a student often looks like falling on my face, wearing a little dirt, and learning to accept the outstretched hands that are offering to help me up. 

I'm still teetering on my figurative bicycle, and in no way are my bearings set, but I'm showing up and putting my butt in the saddle every day. And slowly, but surely, I'm gaining momentum with my gifts. 

I still haven't downloaded my photos from Europe, or properly organized my taxes, and today I am mourning 6 months without Paris, but in this current moment, I feel more known, capable, and hopeful for what's to come than I did standing at the foot of Notre Dame some 24 weeks ago, and to me, that is just as lovely to behold.

Slowly, but surely. Let's keep being students.

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Playlist: Indian Summer.

Happy Labor Day weekend! I made one last summery mix to keep us company on our day-off adventures and through the rest of our warmer days, however long they may last (I'm lookin' at you, October in California). These have been my go-tos over the last month. Enjoy

xo,

C

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image.jpg

 

In early April, I was sitting in a coffee shop in London writing an email to my parents. It was a rainy Monday, fittingly, and I was writing to let them know I was leaving my job, and no, I didn't really have a plan yet. I was emotionally exhausted and nervous, and every time I looked over at my friend Mikaela, she was visibly worried about me. At some point, I took a deep breath, looked up, and saw this Marcelina Amelia illustration hanging above me with the words "I'm fine" written at the bottom. It immediately made me laugh, because for many of us, this is as far as we get in processing things with not only our parents and our peers, but with ourselves. I'm so often that secretly scared girl pedaling the three-tiered bike with postured (and prideful) independence. But I was reminded in that moment of what I had been a few times before and have several times since: People can tell when we're not "fine", it's OK to be not fine, it's human to fall, and i'm better off if I've kept my friends and family close enough to spot me.

I'm still learning that the art of trying to convince myself and everyone else that "I'm fine" doesn't actually fix anything. And most often what I (and they) need most is a window into my brokenness. 

So here's to better owning the unknowns and scary stuff we're navigating. May we start by admitting to someone close to us that we don't feel fine, but that we're figuring it out, and we'll take their prayers, wisdom, and shoulder as we do. And may we begin to find the words "I'm not fine" are what truly make us family.

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Summer is for peaches: Part one

If you live in Nashville, you've likely heard about or tried a peach from The Peach Truck by now. And if you're elsewhere and haven't, here's where you can get a box. They're Georgia-grown and come in various varieties week to week, each flaunting their own brand of beautiful and delicious. This summer I'm getting to help sell these peaches, which also means I get to take a bag home with me after every shift (note: food bonuses are the best bonuses). To make sure they get put to good use, my goal's been to try something new in the kitchen with them every week, and today's result was BANGIN'... so I'm sharing it with you. This week's peach variety is the Fiesta Gem, which has a nice deep red color, shown off by the chutney below. This recipe makes enough for about two latkes, which is enough for about one hungry me. Enjoy!

Kohlrabi Latke with Sweet & Spicy Peach Chutney and Yogurt Sauce

Instructions:

Chop up or shred around 2 cups of Kohlrabi, cabbage, or potato. Mix egg in a bowl. Add in your chopped up veggie-of-choice and a teaspoon of salt with the egg. Add panko crumbs and stir until the consistency of the mixture is easily moldable into latke cakes. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan on medium to high heat, then place your latke cakes in the pan, flipping when the edges begin to brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 

Put a saucepan on medium to high heat and add two whole peaches, removing the skins and pits. Try to include as much of the watery juice of the peaches as you can. Add in 2-3 tablespoons of honey (I used Trader Joe's Turkish Honey, which has a nice orangey flavor). Then add 2-3 teaspoons of cumin, which gives this chutney a curried flavor, balancing out the sweetness and adding a nice complexity to an otherwise simple dish. Simmer and stir the mixture until reduced to the thickness of an applesauce. Remove from heat. 

Top each of your latkes with the warm peach chutney and then drizzle with any plain yogurt. Annnd, you're done. Try not to swallow them whole.  

More peach stuff soon,

C

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Paris, in film.

Thirty-two years ago, my Dad was studying abroad in Paris. He'd spend the year documenting bits and pieces of his life there using 35mm film—everything from a photo of his drafting table in his apartment, littered with sketches and a half-eaten baguette, to a photo from the top of Notre Dame. I don't know if he fully sensed it happening then, but that year in Paris changed him. I know, not because I knew my Dad prior to 1983 or in the six years after, but because I've spent all 25 years of my existence since listening to him, in some way or another, referencing that year in Paris. Things he saw. Afternoons in Luxembourg Gardens. Hemingway. French films. French art. French culture. The carbs—bread, couscous, crepes.

I've always been amazed at the way in which a relatively short time in a place can leave such a lifelong mark on a person, much like Paris left on my dad. And as I got older, I found myself longing to visit to Paris. I longed to know my Dad's old daily routes. I longed to understand his love for Paris at night. I longed to fully experience the city that's so greatly inspired the man who has taught and inspired me the most. So I finally packed my bags and got to it.

I brought my Dad's old Canon film camera he used in 1983, but uh-hum.. forgot to make sure it still worked. Soo I uh, hunted down a good ole Kodak disposable film camera to use instead. These few photos came out totally imperfect and incomplete, but I love that about them. 

Along with these photos, there are a dozen stories to tell, not only in the retracing of my Dad's steps, but in the taking of my own steps, and the sweet surprise of completely falling in love with Paris myself. In time, I hope to share more of those stories and other photos with you.

Until then, a quick film flipbook through Versailles, Provence and Paris:




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