Friday, April 18, 2014

the dreams that come true

{Auxerre, France}
He told me he wanted to sail a boat around the world,
He wanted to take me with him.
We'd explore faraway lands and love each other and live exceptionally,
simply.

I smiled warmly as I sat in front of the computer screen
1,230 miles away. Northeast.
Thank God for AIM
and the college prep summer program that brought us together.

I was entranced by his intelligence and sense of adventure,
by the way his opinions varied from my own,
by his accent, of course.
I wanted to live his dreams in all their vastness.

That was for eventually though.
For now, I had a boyfriend and a part-time job,
and we were only entertaining a someday idea;
no harm in that.

There was, of course,
I just didn't let myself realize it until later.
We never did sail around the world,
and we fell out of whatever love we thought we were in.

Nothing turned out
as we'd so naively planned.

It was never supposed to.

He chose planes over boats.
I accumulated more dreams of my own,
and have gone about living them.
Still inspired by memories of a high school romance.

Also inspired by the recent passing of Colombian novelist, Gabriel Garcíá Márquez, who'd "entwined tales of time, memory ... love".

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

biodynamic in bourgogne

Putting together the first draft of my master's thesis has kept my brain rather consistently scattered (i.e. the sequence of recent posts: blog curation, neobistro lunches, actual 'good' peoplesimple, seasonal menus?). I hope it's forgivable as I've compared the process to "knitting a quilt for a giant." Are quilts even knit? Should I ask someone? There I go again... luckily, a milestone has been reached. I just submitted it for review! And I doubt I could have done so without last Saturday's much-needed break in Burgundy.
Lorelei and I joined fellow AUP students on a day trip. Though I fell asleep soon after boarding the bus, I awoke to fields of vibrant yellow flowers as we approached the town of Auxerre. We wandered past quaint, timbered houses for two hours, stopping at all the major sites: the cathedral, tour d'horloge, and abbey. Then, we had boulangerie sandwiches by the river to bask in the gorgeous sun.
Afterwards, we went to Chablis to visit Jean-Marc Brocard's vineyard and learn about biodynamic agriculture--a system that views the vineyard as an ecosystem, accouting for astrological influences and lunar cycles. It produces a natural (not quite organic) wine.
And, as I happily discovered, it also produces a wine that is just lovely to taste on a warm, sunshine-y afternoon in the countryside. Good to know: Chablis is a white wine (almost entirely Chardonnay) from the northernmost area of the French Burgundy region. It's crisp and dry, with a refreshing acidity brought about by the fossil-rich limestone soil. I highly recommend you sip some soon :).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

le plat du jour

Though I do sometimes enjoy restaurant meals with friends--and love to photograph and write about them so as to relive the special occasion, I mostly cook for myself. Breakfast at home is simple: banana oatmeal; muesli with yogurt; yesterday's toasted baguette with butter, raspberry preserves, and a handful of almonds. Lunch and dinner are, too. I get into seasonal routines, cooking for one.
This past winter, the dish above was a favorite of mine. Broccoli and carrots were oh-so plentiful! And I'd make a dozen of these falafels at a time. Recently however, I've been changing the à la maison menu for spring's vegetables. This sautéed zucchini with feta cheese, capellini/penne with garlic, olive oil, lemon [and spinach], and that roasted asparagus, parmesan-poached eggs have been parfait. Up next, ratatouille with chickpeas. Have any go-to meals to share? La cuisine and I can always use more inspiration...

Friday, April 11, 2014

altruistique

While catching up on the Daily Show recently, I saw an interview with Samuel J. Jackson promoting his latest blockbuster, Captain America. I've been thinking about good guys and bad guys ever since; mostly because there's no such thing. And yet, I also believe "character is the culmination of daily action" (to borrow Brianna Wiest's words). So I've been pondering the really good and less good people I know, and based on my own experiences with them, what actually makes one a better human being than another.
Clearly I'm writing this post because I've got it all figured out :). My working theory is that goodness is equal part intention as it is reaction. Although when it comes to poor choices, "not meaning to" doesn't take away from the negative effects of having done so, we shouldn't reduce the value of effort in redemption and forgiveness--especially, and for instance, after the most horrific events.
{Bois de Vincennes}
Soon after coming to this conclusion, I received an email from ScienceDaily. This headline--People with higher bonuses don't give more to charity--caught my eye. Apparently, "higher earners are less inclined to give, and donate a similar share of their money compared to those on lower incomes." Disappointing, I thought, though not all surprising. (I've been following Kristof's opinions on related issues.) Research lead Dr. Tonin said, "the distorted feeling of entitlement [coming from monetary bonuses that are often a result of skills, effort, and luck] may furnish subjects in the higher earner group with the moral ground not to act more generously."
Then a recent conversation with Lorelei about 'the halo effect' that accompanies benevolence came to my mind; as well as research findings I've shared previously: "Next to quitting smoking, giving is the best possible thing you could do for your health--making virtue truly its own reward." Upon closer examination though, as much as we may feel good by doing good, this hardly selfless feeling encourages a "positive feedback loop" that, in turn, encourages more altruism. Not bad, right? It's likely those great people I spoke of are reveling in such a state of being. And... they deserve to. Amidst more sad news, this world needs more like them.
*For the record, "altruistique" is entirely Franglish-ish. It has no meaning whatsoever yet accurately reflects the way I tend to communicate on a daily basis in Paris. All good, right?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

caillebotte impressions

I met Mia for lunch today. It was phenomenal--mostly because she is, and because it's been a year and a half since our brunch at Sésame. Oddly enough, I only just recently complained about their less-than-stellar bagels (as I flexed my New Yorker muscles). Anyway :) 'twas a very "welcome break". And we were so impressed by the accompanying gourmand meal with génial service.
We sat at the bar because, when she called to make a reservation yesterday, they were otherwise completely booked. Now we understand why. The simple veal and mashed potato plat du jour was spectacular; as was my spring asparagus appetizer and her grilled banana dessert. We very much enjoyed camera-shy glasses of their Pinot Noir and petit cafés as well. This is the second time I've tested a younger sibling of a cult bistro with French friends, and I have to say, I kinda wish I could make it a forever-trend.