Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Little Things

My coffee is steaming, or whatever process it goes through in my little moka.   I ran out of coffee yesterday and very poorly substituted with some old tea I found in the cupboard.   That wasn’t going to happen again so I picked up some more yesterday while I was out.  I love the smell of coffee in the morning mixing with the cool city air.    Perfect way to begin the day.   And this day is actually starting earlier than the past several.  I have been up since 7:30.  I’ve been in the awful habit of staying up really late and sleeping in even later.     Regressing back to my teenage days.   I am certain a nap is in my future.

As I am writing, I hear something bubbling over in the kitchen.   Wasn’t paying attention and made a little bit of a mess on the stove.  I do have to say it was worth it though as this is probably the best cup of coffee I have ever made.   It is that good.

I am coming to understand that when you are out of your environment, your comfort zone, you begin to appreciate the little things.    You begin to see and understand things for the first time.
  • The thrill of making your first purchase at the local market, knowing that you are on your way back home to cook for the first time in your new kitchen.   Doing so with a fraction of the fancy utensils and pots and pans you normally have but still ending up with a really good result.
  • Listening to people talk around you and beginning to hear words instead of just sounds.
  • Hearing church bells ringing outside your window on Sunday morning.
  • Eating tiny little strawberries for breakfast that taste like nothing you’ve ever had before.
  • The joy of learning to make a really good cup of coffee the old fashioned way and understanding that end result is worth all of the waiting.    
  • Listening to some random guy on the street sing his heart out in Italian in the middle of the night at an hour when everyone should be sleeping.    Being okay with the fact that he woke you up.
  • Sundays.   Watching those young and old and all ages in between put on their finest Sunday attire and parade around, just happy to be together.
  • Figuring out just how much you crave connections and miss friends and loved ones when you are on your own.  
Traveling alone has quite simply knocked the confidence out of me.   For those of you who know me well, you know this is a big thing for me to admit.  You think you know who you are and how to get by and then all of a sudden you have no idea what you are doing.   Things you take for granted at home like doing laundry, sorting the trash in the right way, making phone calls or using the metro.   Trying to figure out how to find non-fat milk or how to read the directions on the back of a package of pasta.  Silly things that are foreign until the first time you do them and they become easy again.   I just want to be able to blend in.    Each day and with each new experience I feel a little more confident.   I feel embarrassed when I have to communicate with someone and I have no idea what they have said to me.

I’d love more than anything to be able to communicate, to be able to connect.  I feel like an outsider participating in someone else’s world and not yet part of it.   These are things that I suppose come with time.    The lesson for me is that there is so much more to learn in life.   So many things I have yet to see, experience, live.    Just when you think you are comfortable, you realize you are just at the beginning.    Life is never done.   It continues.     It is the hard times in life, the challenges, big and small, that allow you to grow as a person.  I never want to stop growing.

Last night I read my Italian dictionary for an hour before going to sleep.  I slept with it under my pillow in the hopes that I would continue to absorb throughout the night.

Being somewhere new allows you to see things in a whole new light.   I realize there are certain things that matter and certain things that just don’t matter.   And the things that matter, really matter.    I always knew this but it becomes much more clear when you are out of your comfort zone. 

And I’ve done it again.  I hear and smell my second cup of coffee bubbling over (aka burning) on the stove.  Too many deep thoughts for this early in the morning.

My next post will be of the lighter variety.   I’m trying to decide whether to share with you my on the fly recipe for amatriciana or maybe a little bit more from Spain.     Have to get through this backlog before I have any more deep thoughts.  I can't believe I am already on my second week here.  


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