Tuesday, June 24, 2008

food, family, and friends

these days my life revolves around the three "f"s.

while abstractly, i have always known that my chosen family, dear friends, and delicious food were important to me, yet it took this last uk trip to remind me just how important. there is something about leaving the country of your birth to work in another....there is a sense of isolation, wonder, and desire. it is a desire to adapt to a new culture very quickly. perhaps this desire is also driven by fear....for if you do not adapt quickly then your work effectiveness drops considerably. fortunately, i have visited the uk and europe many times over the past decade or so. yet, those visits were leisurely ones rather than work-related. there is quite a difference. as i have posted previously, i missed the three "f"s a lot. oddly enough, since i have been back i have been able to share a few meals with friends and family...and i found myself still "missing" them. i think the "missing" was more of the realization that i'll be on the road a lot more with this new job and due to time zone differences...it will be challenging to ensure that i don't miss out on what is happening in their lives.

when did this realization really hit me? well, there were multiple times actually.

one of the times was watching and sharing JB's contentment at trying new flavors at yak and yeti kitchen (nepalese place) in the elmwood area in berkeley. neither of us had momos (steamed dumplings) or bhuteko (a type of stir fry) before...both of which were very yummy. i also ordered the khasi (goat gurry) daal bhaat. "daal bhaat" according to the menu is a "traditional nepalese meal consisting of dal (lentils), sabzi (chinese mustard), chutney and basmati rice." this too was very tasty.

another time was with the family in japan town this past weekend.... JC running up with his 4-year old legs and giving me a big hug; everyone crowded around a table at mifune with EC sitting on my lap and figuring out how to eat whatever she could using all of her senses....particularly the tactile ones; and DC and i wandering around
nijiya market trying to figure out what to try and snack on (AC wasn't with us at the market, so we weren't able to ask him to translate). DC and i had different strategies at figuring out what to try. ever since my mugwort experience, i try to look at labels. DC decided to look at what other people had picked out. i think both strategies worked out pretty well.

then the most recent time was monday evening with VF and GC. GC was in town from ny and we all decided to go have a bit of nosh at À Côté. it was very nice to have a mellow evening and catch up. i think we were all a bit tired and stressed from our various work/study environments. yet, the tiredness didn't impede upon enjoying the food or each others' company.

we ordered many things including small plates of
morel mushroom & fava bean crostini with pecronio,

arrabiata orecchiette, ricotta filled squash blossoms, a rabbit, pheasant & duck terrine with cherry-cipollini onion relish, grilled duck sausage with polenta

and calabrese sausage flatbread

everything was yummy in a very grown up sort of way.

i think one of the reasons why i am feeling a bit maudlin is because i'll be hopping on a plane again very soon...almost too soon. on sunday, i'll be leaving home again for a couple of weeks...this time, i'll be making stops in san antonio, atlanta and boston. i feel like i can't really settle down at home as i'll be leaving again very soon. it makes me tired just thinking about it.