I’ve been back in the states for a month now, and I’ve barely had time to unpack, let alone write a post. It’s hard to believe it was 30 days ago that I boarded the plane and flew away from bella Italia, but my thoughts and dreamings still reside there. It’s funny how time moves.
August has been full of family get-togethers, a plethora of beautiful weddings, and more traveling. I was able to visit some new places with my family, such as Providence Bay on Manitoulin Island, Canada, as well as some old places, overflowing with memory. We camped a couple days in Traverse City, and visited the Old Mission Peninsula, where we used to vacation every summer for the first ten years of my life. In fact, I celebrated my first birthday there, in the old green cottage near the lake. Visiting old places is good for a person, I think. Something about revisiting sites of childhood memory recalls roots of who you truly are, and how you became the person you are now. You remember silly little things that seem to have no significance, but make you smile nonetheless. The memories hurt your heart a little, because it’s obvious that life has shifted since then. For a minute, you can pretend that you’re a child again, and the most important priority you have is to get the the beach as soon as possible, and the biggest decision you need to make is what flavor of ice cream you should get that afternoon. Life was uncomplicated, your siblings were your best friends, and going on adventure was as simple as looking for crawfish on the rocky beach. It is a good reminder that sometimes you need to step away from the stresses and complications of life, and just bask in the beautiful simplicities.
But anyway, I digress.
This post is titled “endings and beginnings”, the ending being my externship in Italy. I don’t have an easy, short way to summarize my time there, but anyone who’s talked to me since I’ve returned knows what my answer is when they ask me about it. I think I always say, “I didn’t want to leave!”. I’ve always been an old soul, liking old music, buildings, clothes, pictures, history, etc, so living in an ancient Etruscan town was bliss for me. I love that the reality of living in Orvieto was so normal for the locals, but a life-changing, eye-opening experience for me. I loved so many things: the market in the Piazza del Popolo, cappuccino and cornetto for breakfast at the Palace Cafe, the narrow cobblestone streets, the stray cats, the vineyards, the language, the rolling, unbelievably green hills, the fields of sunflowers, the entire lifestyle, etc….and of course THE FOOD.
Some of my favorite foods:
- Fresh pasta (all kinds) with simple sauces which are the best I’ve ever tasted.
- Truffle EVERYTHING (pasta, bruschetta, cheese and truffle fondue, etc).
- Roasted Guinea fowl seasoned with fresh fennel.
- Parmesan and pecorino cheeses.
- Panna cotta the texture of silk draped with chocolate sauce.
- The olives!
- Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and traditional balsamic.
- Baci gelato.
- Café and cappuccino
- Cornetto con cioccolato
- Gnocco fritto- Italian fried bread served with lard and local charcuterie
- Lambrusco wine
- Crostata di Marmellata di Albicocche– Apricot tart
- Sicilian cannoli
I could go on and on. (Honestly, I still eat pasta every day, I can’t seem to shake it).
Side note: If anyone happens to visit Orvieto, tell me! I’ll give you all the best restaurants and bars, and suggest things to do and see. You know, I should probably just go with you, because you’ll probably need a guide, and it’ll just be better for us all if I go along 😉
(But seriously, let me know.)
Restaurant Zeppelin, where I did my externship, was a place I loved to go to every day. I feel so privileged to have learned under Chef Lorenzo, and Carlo, our sous chef. It’s an amazing thing to learn the roots of a cuisine from people who were born and raised there, and truly love the cuisine. Cooking in Italy changed my perspective of food, cooking, and eating. Although this chapter has ended, I believe Italy will be a reoccurring theme in the book of my life. It has captured my heart, and I know I’ll return someday.
You might be wondering what the “beginning” portion of this post might be. I’m excited to share that I’ve accepted a head Chef position aboard a livaboard dive boat in the Aggressor Fleet! I will be moving to an Island called Palau, located in Micronesia, East of the Philippines and North of Australia. Here is a map, where you can see the location.
It is a pretty remote island, but it is absolutely beautiful. I am definitely nervous to be moving so far away, and taking on a big position, but I love challenges and adventures, and that is exactly what this is! I’m extremely excited to have a job where I’ll be able to create beautiful food using fresh, local ingredients, as well have the opportunity to scuba dive in the beautiful islands of Palau. Currently I am in the frustrating process of applying for my work visa. Unfortunately, it seems all my paperwork never made it to Palau from Italy, so unless it shows up soon, it’ll all have to be redone.( As much as I love Italy, its postal service could use some improving.) BUT I’m leaving it in The Lords hands, and I’m trusting that His timing is perfect! I hope to fly out to Palau sometime in September, but until then, I’ll be enjoying my time in Kalamazoo with friends and family.
Again, I want to express my gratefulness to everyone who supported me on my externship in Italy. You’re all beautiful, amazing humans and I love you dearly. I will be updating as soon as I know my departure date for the beautiful Palau!!
Ciao tutti! ❤