Tuesday, May 19, 2009


One of the first French words I ever learned was souvenirs, and it has become one of my most favorite foreign words and concepts. To me, memories seem to evoke a bittersweet nostalgia, glimpses into a remembered past; souvenirs, on the other hand, are present and real.
Souvenirs are reminders of what was and who you were without the risk in losing them. They're the kinds of things that you take away from your past experiences and hold close with you forever, treasured smells, tastes, feelings, and thoughts that you carry throughout the rest of your journey through life. 

Doesn't that make every moment and memory seem so much more special?
Ah lovely, a little Tuesday morning cultural philosophy :). As I look back, some of my fondest memories in Strasbourg are somehow food-related. Shocking. Above, Café Brant, was the location of my most diligent studying and paper-writing, in addition to e-mail replies to friends and blogging. I preferred the latter responsibilities, of course.Most of the time I enjoyed a small espresso or green tea during my time there as to save money and stay focused on the task at hand but as the semester came to a close I began to explore their menu options a bit and my favorite lunch quickly became the delectable quiche du poireaux garnished with the freshest and tastiest of salads. 
Another lovely eating establishment was located about a half a block from my apartment building, L'eden. I had been eying this adorable Lebanese restaurant from the moment I moved in! It was decorated so uniquely with beautiful views of my old neighborhood and church and the food always smelled spectacular.

Of course, it wasn't the most budget-friendly place, so my friends and I needed an occasion to splurge... the goodbye dinner with myself and my closest girlfriends gave us all the initiative we needed. Oh an it was beyond worth it! They just don't make Middle Eastern (or North African food for that matter) the same in the United States.

There were a few glitches, (they lost our reservation, Liz lost track of time, etc) but other than that it was perfect. We began by purchasing a bottle of a local Pinot Noir and reminisced over our French semester.
As for our orders, Gloria and I split the Mezze Vegetarian, an assortment of veg-friendly appetizers. Every bit was incredible, from the eggplant spread to the tabbouleh,  even to the delicious falafals that rivaled the Irish creations I had gushed over a few months before.
We were ecstatic over every bite from each small plate, even the pita triangles seemed to be better than your average flat bread.It was the ideal amount of food too, balanced in nutrients and flavors,and it left us satisfied and happy and possibly a bit disappointed in ourselves that we hadn't made it a weekly habit to come here :).Nevertheless we still wanted some dessert, (ha, there's always room,) so we split assorted Lebanese delicacies. I probably had a bite of each yummy treat, all simply fantastic, but it was the crème brûlée that literally "took the cake."

 The best souvenirs are always shared.
And that officially closes my European chapter abroad. At times, I appreciate being back home but then there are those moments in which I miss being away. I miss having the freedom to selfishly explore myself and the world around me, I miss traveling, and just because this challenging transition was expected, it doesn't mean that re-creating a place to belong is any easier. 

Having some of my closest friends graduate from college has really had me thinking about my own journey into the real world and what I want to make of it. Gosh, I have no idea who I'll be, where I'll be in a few years from now! Yet. I'm choosing to look towards that uncertainty as exciting rather than terrifying. After all I don't have to do it alone, right? With friends and souvenirs from around the world, I'll survive :). What's new with you? Happy Tuesday everyone!

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