Wednesday, May 28, 2014

{recipe} vegetable and quinoa stuffed zucchini

Today has been quite the day. I tried to wake up a few hours before it was actually necessary for me to get up in order to get some stuff done, only to be lured back to sleep by extremely rare morning rain. Instead of having enough time to write a blog post and reply to emails before work, I had just enough time to shower and eat some leftover banana pancakes before scampering out the door. I went to work and enjoyed a game of Scattergories with my oldest students, until the moment I had to give a stern lecture as to why using a specific word that starts with N is not an acceptable answer for the category Things that are black. Iyiyi. I came home with grand plans to workout, but those fell through because... um. I'm lazy. I spent the rest of the day replying to emails, planning my trips to Switzerland and Greece (any advice friends?!), listening to some great Spotify playlists, and watching the crazy weather go from sunny one minute to raining the next. Needless to say, it wasn't terribly exciting, but I did have lots of time to think about the next few months and everything that is going to change when I move back home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{travel} summer road trip dreaming + exciting news

The coolest thing about living abroad definitely has to be the moment you realize how ridiculously awesome the country you come from is. It's so easy to spend your entire life dreaming of going to new countries, and experiencing new cultures and languages, that we sometimes forget to appreciate the beautiful land we call home. I always knew that America was made up of fabulous cities and beautifully scenic lands, but it wasn't until I moved to Spain that I really appreciated her for all that she is. Hearing about the United States from a European's point of view is just so cool! My students are constantly in awe that I'm from Florida. "But Profe, you're from Florida! Why are you living in Spain?!" 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

{travel} getting to know my sicilian roots in catania

One of the things that makes me so proud to be an American is how diverse we are as nation. I love that we are one huge country filled with immigrants from all over the world, which now means that our citizens are more and more often made up from a big ol' melting pot of genes. I am the perfect example of a new age American. My mom's parents emigrated from China to California in the late 1940s, after they were arranged into a marriage, in search for a better future for their growing family. My dad's dad claims a Scotch-Irish ancestry, but his family had been settled in the USA for as long as we can trace back. My dad's mom's parents, however, emigrated from Sicily to an Italian settlement in New Jersey in the 1920s in order to get away from the ever imposing Mafia. It's safe to say that my family's history is prettttty darn cool. 

Needless to say, when we were trying to decide where else to go besides Rome during our Italy trip, we knew that we were going to have to include Sicily in our itinerary. The whole time that we were in Rome I was getting really excited to finally hop on a plane to visit the fiercely independent island where the Midili family originated from. My parents decided to make Catania our home base in Sicily. I had no idea what to expect before we arrived, and quickly learned that Catania was going to be unlike any other Italian city I had visited before. But more on that later.

Monday, May 12, 2014

{life} loving lately

I'm taking a break from my #italyspam travel posts to share a few things that I have been loving lately. New recipes I've tried, things I've done, and random internet things I've enjoyed lately. It can sometimes seem like my travels take over my entire blog, when it really is a fairly small percentage of my everyday life. My life is pretty normal, although you really wouldn't think so if you have read my blog lately. If I'm feeling fancy during the week I might hit up a market for some fresh fruits and veggies, or meet friends for a coffee or wine date, but a general day goes like this: wake up, go to work, cook lunch, blog a little, lesson plan a little, make dinner, chat with friends / family / my boyfriend, and then go to sleep. But I also do lots of fun stuff on the weekends that I stay in Madrid! I would love to start sharing more about that side of my life, instead of just sharing the "super glitzy" travel side! So here goes!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

{travel} a culinary trip to sardegna in rome

We never should have eaten at Enoteca di Sardegna Pigna, but thank goodness we did. 

You never really realize how overwhelming the sheer number of restaurant options in Rome can be until you let yourself get to the point where you are wandering the streets absolutely starved, with no direction and a very stubborn determination not to end up in an overpriced, mediocre tourist trap. But lemme tell you... once you are there and you inevitably start to feel hangry, well... that pizzeria with a million photos of PIZZA! PASTA! and GELATO! in the window starts to look like the most delicious place in the entire world. After walking around the block a few times in a fruitless search for a specific restaurant that was "nearby" according to our TripAdvisor app, we almost gave up our hope for a good lunch and were about to resign ourselves to eating at a restaurant with pictures on the front whennnn.....

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

{travel} wine and food of rome adventure

One of the things I've really learned about myself after living in Europe for the last year and a half is that my number one priority while traveling is to try as much of the local food & drink as possible. In my opinion, you can't truly get to know a country until you really dive into the local cuisine. From tasting port in Porto, paella in Valencia, Guinness in Dublin, fish & chips in London, jambalaya in New Orleans, key lime pie in Key West, and shrimp & grits in Charleston, I thoroughly enjoy collecting memories through my culinary experiences. This is the very reason why I absolutely love to go on food tours while traveling. You not only get to sample a ton of local dishes and drinks, you also get to learn about the history of how each thing became such a staple in the culture of the country you are visiting. Food, wine, & history? Sign me up!

With that said, I was obviously very excited when my parents suggested that we go on a wine and food tour while in Rome. I inherited my love of all things to do with food and wine from these two very wonderful people, so I knew it would be an absolutely fantastic night out on the town! After a long day of sightseeing at the Forum, and only eating gelato, cheese, and a few slices of salami for lunch, by the time we met with our guide, Kristian, we were famished and very thirsty. The perfect way to start a wine and food tour, no? ;)