Thursday, April 28, 2011

Forever Young

My brother and I just got back from a one week vacation in Wales and London. My favorite part about Wales is the sheep - they were everywhere and they made an awful racket (in a cute way that only sheep can). The rolling hills, the canals and the farmland, was absolutely beautiful.What's even better was their dairy products - I have never had better yogurt, ice cream, or milk in my life. They don't skimp on the good stuff - no low fat nonsense in Wales! Jack and I shared a Honeycomb ice cream tub; sweet with toffee and creamy richness with just a hint of salty-ness. Pure heaven.

London on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. We stayed in a really nice part of the city - Kensington - but I guess that I'm just a country mouse rather than a city mouse. The streets were busy, the double decker buses roared by, spewing exhaust every where, and I thought that a lot of the tourist attractions were a bit of a let down. To me, they were just man made buildings, like the "Round Pond" in Kensington Gardens and all the loot from the British empire in the British Museum. It was nice to visit, but definitely not where I would live.

We stayed at a hostel that looked very beautiful from the outside, but the inside was another story entirely. There were 21 beds in one room, three bunks stacked on top of each other so that if you were on the bottom, you'd feel like you were in a coffin. There was a spider hanging from my bed and the bathroom was leaking. I had to be moved from my original room because it was flooding. Jack and I were making lunch and the stove short-circuited and exploded on us.

On the train ride back to York though, I hummed happily to myself as I watched the fields of daffodils speeding past me. There's something about being in an army bunker and surviving it that is exhilirating. Isn't this the stuff that life is made of?

Travelling makes you realize that the little things like waking up with a bad hair day really doesn't matter so much now that you've spent a week making your tiny travel bottle of shampoo last and having trying to saw at carrots with bread knives. At the Frankfurt hostel in Germany, when I was feeling sorry for myself for having to cook for myself while my friends went around Germany eating schnitzel and bread and other gluten-ous things, I met a guy from Miami who had missed his plane and was stranded with no cash at all. He had to sleep on park benches and ask for food from places like the hostel until his friends were able to get him another flight due out half a week later. And yet he seemed unfazed. He cheerfully bit into the sandwhich that the hostel receptionist had provided for him and told me that he wished he had taken his education more seriously when he was in high school. He said that he would skip classes all the time back then, but recently he had gotten really interested in quantam physics and wished he had an opportunity to study that now. We chatted about global warming and other cheerful topics. Then we said goodbye.

On our last day in London, we met a 50-something woman who had been all over Europe and still planned on going until she dropped. She worked as a nurse and still traipsed across the globe after her shifts were over. And I thought to myself: that's what I want to be like years from now, forever young, forever free and always in awe of the world around me.

Thought for food: If you could go anywhere, where would you go and why?

On-the-Go Rice Pudding

Jack and I made this over and over again while we were on the road until we perfected it. It's a very healthy way to start an exciting day without any added sugar! If you don't have much time, add a little more water and turn up the heat.
2/3 cups of jasmine rice
3 dried figs (or dates or raisins, or whatever you have handy)
1 cup of whole milk or soy milk (It's very important to use whole milk, otherwise your pudding will taste very watery)
1 banana
To cook:
1. Rinse out the rice. Cover with water and let simmer gently on stove top for about 30 minutes (turn it lower if it starts drying out too quickly). Roughly chop figs and add.
2. Add milk and let simmer and milk has been all soaked up.
3. Chop up bananas and add. Turn off stove and let steam for about 10 minutes. Yum!

Serves 2

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