Day 2.48

Feeling: groggy, hot towel on my left shoulder and KTape on my right pec
Smelling: peanut butter cookie dipped in coffee
Seeing: vibrant green around the Loch, enough seats in the library, a crêpe maker on sale
Tasting: hummus and corn chips
Hearing: Con saying my name for the first time (in a while)

Having gone to bed past midnight, my body waking me up at 8 a.m. sharp wasn’t exactly appreciated. It was too early and not early enough. To early to get enough rest, maybe, but I also got a slow start compared to most of my mornings, which begin before 8. But I went to the grocery before it got crowded, and I was in the library doing research for my history essay around noon. I actually got some solid 1.5-2 hours done, but I still feel uncertain about a lot of what I’m doing. I need to go to talk to my professor, grr.

The rest of the day was buying more vegetables at Con’s, where he finally asked my name. I’d introduced myself at the beginning of last semester, and he’s just been calling me “miss” since. Hey, at least he’s not like my first fencing coach, who called me “young lady” all the time.

In a flawless segue, fencing that night went pretty well. My pec’s soreness came back a little, but Donnchda gave me some KTape, which basically functions as a custom brace, and that gave me so much relief.

Something I keep meaning to talk about about is the verdancy of Ireland. I remember someone saying that you see shades of green in Ireland that you don’t see anywhere else in the world, and that didn’t stand up to what I’d seen these past few months. It was autumn going into winter, after all. Now that we’re getting this unseasonal weather, however climate change-induced it may be, the variety and vibrancy of green is striking me with its beauty.

Day 2.47

Hearing: the incredible Moonlight soundtrack
Seeing: the finale of ASoUE, Evangelina’s face over Skype
Feeling: tired but restful, hot towel on my shoulders
Smelling: strong black tea
Tasting: more peanut butter cookies

This was a total rest day for me. No yoga and hardly any walking, not even leaving the apartment until later that night when I went to the cinema with Erin! But it’s truly what I needed. My pec was feeling a lot less pain, which I hope is an advancement in my health and not just because I didn’t use it today.

I did more research for my essays and more drawing for my graphic capstone project, but still felt like at the end of the day I hadn’t gotten enough done. I’m facing a couple little roadblocks here and there, and I’m never really sure how to get around them. Then I kinda just get frustrated and move onto something else, which might not be the best strategy for dealing with things.

Anyway, Erin and I saw Moonlight and I loved it. It’s one of the few films I would rewatch while still in cinemas. The music, sound, and costume were beautiful, and the camera work was astonishing. Even though it wasn’t really a happy movie, watching it made me happy. Maybe it’s the nostalgia for the Miami breeze? As I’m writing this the next day and the awards have been awarded, I can say that it absolutely deserved Best Picture.

Day 2.46

Feeling: stomachache, sauna, so much pain in my right pec
Smelling: peanut butter cookie dipped into coffee
Hearing: the CBC Top 30, wind whistling outside
Tasting: banana
Seeing: A clean apartment, reference photos of Florence

The cookie dough I made a froze last night baked up very nicely this morning. And according to tradition, I had to eat some as soon as they were baked. After some general lazing around all morning, I lay belly-down on my yoga mat to work more on my essays and draw. It feels so good to not sit.

Fencing went alright. My pec was really hurting badly so I decided to stop early, and sat in the sauna for a bit massaging my chest, which I’m sure didn’t look odd at all. My teammates, I’m proud to say, liked my cookies! Ironically, the one who had a birthday today didn’t like peanut butter, but he acknowledged that they were good.

Day 2.45

Smelling: peanut butter cookie dough
Feeling: cramps, headache
Hearing: the ultimate langer’s voice cutting through the music on my headphones
Seeing: the very low River Lee
Tasting: a bomb grilled cheese and vegetable soup

Today wasn’t exceptional in its proceedings. I did some drawing, some practicing, some yoga, I FaceTimed with Katie and Skyped with Brian, I watched the penultimate episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events, I went to the co-op to pick up some soup to eat with my grilled cheese. It’s what happened on the way back from the co-op to my apartment that I’m gonna write about here.

This morning I was thinking about how normal life feels for me now. I no longer feel the extreme sense of displacement that stayed with me for a while when I arrived. I feel like a local, you know? Still somewhat of a stranger, still kinda lonely, but it feels like I’ve made a home here.

Anyway, as I was thinking these thoughts, listening to some music while waiting to cross the street, I hear the man crossing towards me say something loudly enough that I can hear it through my headphones. “Obviously a foreigner,” he says. “When there’s no traffic, just cross.” This wasn’t something muttered under his breath or anything. He was making eye contact with me. While I’ll never exclude the possibility of inebriation, he looked pretty stable and was walking his dog. Not even “you just cross,” telling me what one might typically do. He’s telling me to just cross the road. There are so many things wrong with this situation, but I’ll just talk about two of them.

First of all, not like this guy knows it, but I’m from Baltimore. Not like that means anything to him, but in Baltimore we cross the street whenever the hell we like. Being lax about when to cross the street isn’t something exclusive to your town/country, pal. Sometimes, when I do see that the streets are clear and I feel safe, I’ll cross even without the walk signal. Sometimes I feel lazy or not safe, so I’ll wait for the signal. I know this is kinda hard to comprehend for you.

Second, why do you care?

That’s all I got. I’m writing about this not to make a point about anything, except maybe how bitter irony is, but because I got so angry and it’s probably healthier to write about it once instead of tell the story over and over (I’ve already told it twice).

Day 2.44

Smelling: the fencing supply closet
Hearing: rain and wind outside, my class talking and laughing
Tasting: a delicious, salty vegetarian sandwich from a café before class, my homemade cold brew coffee
Seeing: an episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events, my clean room
Feeling: the PT massage away the knots in my lower back

When I woke up, I didn’t have much of an appetite but I did have a thirst for coffee, and the cold brew that I was chilling in the fridge was waiting for me. It was delicious and well worth the wait. And with the high it gave me, I felt an urge to do a full cleaning of my room and some of the kitchen. I did some vacuuming and found that there was a bit of broken glass on my carpet, so I’m really glad I did it when I did. There are plenty of other things I could have done with my morning (work on my graphic memoir! work on my essays! read that book!), but I think that having a clean living/working space will help me achieve them more efficiently.

I went to my follow-up physiotherapy appointment, which confirmed my belief that my back health was indeed improving, and the therapist gave me ways to advance my exercises. She said “it’s good that you have a broad back” and like, thanks, but did she mean that makes me healthier or just that it’s easier to work on a broad back?

I went into Café Gusto to try the goat cheese and onion marmalade sandwich while reading the article I was supposed to read before Food Policy class. The actual class itself was, as usual, pretty interesting. I think more students than usual showed up today. Also, like I mentioned before, the professor actually interacts with us. The American students in the class offer input a lot more, which may be in part because that’s what we’re used to doing and in part because he talks and asks a lot about the US.

I made one of the least exciting soups I’ve ever made before fencing that night. Hey, it’s hard to make a pre-fencing dinner. I don’t wanna use many fatty ingredients because I’ll end up cramping and sluggish. Fencing itself that night was alright. Coach discussed tactics for Intervarsities; he had us work on second-intention attacks for the majority of the class. This is basically when your opponent attacks and you turn their attack into yours, like with a riposte or with taking their blade.

I ate the rest of the soup and some leftover pizza, then watched an episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events and passed out into a dreamless sleep.

Day 2.43

Tuesday has been skipped because I forgot about it and, conveniently, because nothing extraordinary happened.

Smelling: fertilizer
Tasting: really good cappuccino, salty green pizza
Feeling: slightly nauseated, very tired
Seeing: a city that looks deader than usual
Hearing: loud trucks

Waking up at 6:30 when you’ve gone to bed between 11 and midnight isn’t fun. But I thought maybe I could get to the gym early, except I wasn’t feeling stellar at that hour of the morning. So I worked on my graphic memoir and chatted with Clarissa back in Maryland for a bit.

I made it to the gym after a while, but the combination of it being now-crowded and myself not feeling in top condition prompted me to leave after about 20 minutes of leg resistance training. Eh, at least I went at all. The small bit of activity maybe cleared my mind.

I went to get coffee with Colm (of Tapes) at an espresso bar that was new to me, and that was really nice. I really needed both the caffeine and the human interaction to clear my mind. And the place was right near the co-op, so I could pick up supplies for dinners.

Classes were alright– our food quality professor was tipsy I think, or maybe just very tired. Either way I’m not very surprised. I’m learning some interesting things about mushrooms in that class.

Sweet Review #18: Ben & Jerry’s One Love

 

And for my next review, I will be discussing another Irish Ben & Jerry’s flavor! Like One Sweet World, this flavor’s name also begins with “One” in a way that is meant to embody harmony, only this one’s doesn’t donate any proceeds towards an organization that’s supposed to help achieve this. Instead this flavor is named after Bob Marley’s “One Love,” joining the ranks of B&J’s musician-inspired ice creams like Phish Food and Cherry Garcia.

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When I began to discover British-Isles cuisine, I was confronted with something called “Banoffee.” Naturally, I assumed this was a combination of banana and coffee, and I was reassured that I wasn’t the only one who thought that bananas and coffee might live together in pastry harmony.

Turns out the “-offee” bit comes from “toffee.”

Yeah, I definitely wasn’t seriously considering putting those two popular South American crops together. Definitely just thought of something similar to bananas foster, another burnt sugar and fruit combo.

When I had my first bite of this flavor, I was a bit underwhelmed. Banana is a subtle flavor, but there are ways of amping it up, like using a tart banana and/or caramelizing it. This ice cream does neither. Instead, it tastes like the typical banana flavoring that always lets you down. I decided to give it a break and come back to it later when my tastebuds might be a little sharper (I was congested from a cold).

I sandwiched it between two of my chocolate-almond-cinnamon-strawberry jam thumbprint cookies (or jammy dodgers, since we’re being Brits here) and I was pleased with that. Again, chocolate is always a good way to amp up the banana. I didn’t taste much of those cookie swirls boasted about on the carton, nor were there many “chocolatey peace signs” to crunch on. But the caramel was there in a subtle amount.

Then, because of the obvious coffee confusion, it was affogato time.

Or really, coffee float because I don’t have an espresso machine. I’m sure the above images look incredibly appetizing. I keep burning my tongue on hot liquids and foods, so the frozen dairy was a necessary safety measure this morning.

In this case, the banana was overwhelmed by this mediocre coffee, but the buttery cookie swirls harmonized with the coffee in a way to rival my friends and classmates back at UMD School of Music. Still not much heard from the caramel or the sparsely-scattered chocolate peace pieces.

There’s one more way I want to try this, which is in a crêpe or maybe on a waffle. Banana, chocolate, and caramel are all popular crêpe fillings, and I imagine it would taste good, but the more I think about it the more I realize that there wouldn’t be that big of a difference in the experience.

I was going to close this review by saying that you should just pick up a half-litre of One Sweet World if you want a chocolate-er, caramel-er experience, but I remembered how overwhelmingly sweet (true to the name) it is. So the one major credit I will give this ice cream is that it’s not too sweet and won’t give you that sugary head rush, if that’s what you want.

The lack of serious mix-ins and strong flavors makes this ice cream a better accompaniment than standalone, and an interesting fusion of British Isles taste and Bob Marley (I guess because of the banana song?). I’ll try one or two more combinations and report back to you. All 1.26 of you over the past month.

UPDATE:


This picture has been horrendously zoomed-in upon in an attempt to hide the ragged edges of this excuse for a crêpe. But it’s really damn good, lads. There wasn’t a climactic melting of chocolate or caramel, but it’s hard to go wrong with ice cream and a vanilla pastry.

UPDATE:


It’s really good with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Day 2.41

Smelling: onions cooking in the kitchen
Hearing: the Hans Zimmer- and Pharrell Williams-composed soundtrack to Hidden Figures, razors around my ear, dreamy hip-hop in the barbershop
Seeing: a cloudy sky
Feeling: on an energy high all day, tongue burns
Tasting: a sweet potato with spinach and cheese

One of my goals for this lecture-less day was to get my hair cut, and while I didn’t reach my aim of getting to the barbershop I wanted to try exactly at opening, I did get there early enough that there was still an open chair. It had a similar vibe to my barber back in Baltimore, only there was less taxidermy, and the music was R&B-ish hip-hop instead of the local rock station. I thought I would just get the sides touched up, but I decided to get an actual haircut and I’m pleased with that decision. The fade was maybe even better than what I got back in the States, and I paid only ten euro for it!

I went to a café down the street to finish up some reading, back to my place to do some yoga, then to the cinema to see Hidden Figures. Once back at my place, I got some more work done on my graphic memoir until fencing practice that night.

I felt like I was on a rush all day– maybe the product of a good night’s sleep multiplied by tea in the morning and hot chocolate later on. But of course by the time fencing came around, I was not really feeling like going. I felt like I hadn’t gotten enough drawing, reading, or writing that night, but I couldn’t afford to miss any training with Intervarsities coming up.

I’m glad I went. My head felt like it was somewhere else and I only got to go on piste a few times, but I needed some social interaction and physical activity that day to snap me out of it. Plus, I got some much-needed target practice.

I’m going to be dedicating more time to my essays and drawing, or at least I hope to high heaven that I will.

Day 2.40

Feeling: sweaty, not too hungry, a few raindrops
Smelling: the strongest hit of Jackie Lennox’s ever
Seeing: a gloomy sky, what looks like a track and field (athletics) photoshoot
Tasting: ice coffee, speculoos truffle
Hearing: more great songs on my release radar, an open grand piano in what feels like a vacant music building

Something I didn’t include in my post yesterday: the Japanese takeaway place I visited was wonderful, unsurprisingly. I ordered katsu don because it was a dish I’d been meaning to try, and when I FaceTimed with my mom that night she was shocked I was eating meat. Hey, I cheat on pescetarianism for experience. Waiting was a little awkward because the place is small and cramped, but the server offered me and the person waiting next to me edamame to snack on while we ate, and the two of us struck up a nice conversation.

I felt very efficient for getting a workout and then going directly to the music building, but by the time I left the gym my insides still felt like they were on fire and I was sweating the whole walk there. I decided to give myself a break and not go to the top floor practice rooms, and I was glad I made that decision. The grand piano on the ground floor practice room was already open and there was no one around to hear me, so in between practicing for jazz ensemble I banged out some pop tunes and even threw in some vocal practice.

While in my apartment I made an effort to read more but it was difficult to get the words through my head. Or maybe I’m trying too hard. I made some progress, anyhow. I met Margarida and two of her friends in city centre since they hadn’t tried fish and chips yet, and how could I miss such an important milestone? I got a veggie burger since I had my share of deep-fried flesh last night, but of course ate up the leftovers.

Tomorrow I plan to get my hair cut, see Hidden Figures, and get a lot more research and drawing done.

 

Day 2.39

Feeling: energetic, full stomach, balmy sunny weather
Smelling: fresh black tea, fencing gear not smelling as bad as it did last time
Seeing: the descriptions for internships that look right up my alley
Tasting: katsu don
Hearing: great new music on my Release Radar

After my nice lazy day, I was ready to do some work. Applying for an internship, research, exercise, fencing training made up most of my day. And after training I treated myself to takeaway from a nearby Japanese restaurant that I still hadn’t tried yet.

It was actually a lovely day, feeling like spring. I would go through it in more detail but nothing path-changing happened and I do want to go to sleep, so I’ll have to leave you with this.