Dinner at Fatima’s

20130327-091912.jpgAren’t the most “authentic” moments of your travels the most memorable ones? Our lovely guide in Cappadocia, Medine, made sure we got a taste of the local culture in all the small villages we visited during our stay. Luckily for us, her friend, Fatima, was hospitable enough to host us and Medine’s family for dinner last night and served us a delicious feast of traditional food from their village, Ayvali in Ürgüp. Stuffed pumpkin flowers, Turkish wedding soup, salads, and sweet apricots…everything was hearty, fresh, and delicious.

20130328-012507.jpgMedine’s young children were incredibly cute, and her five year old daughter, Yaren, and I had a bit of a photoshoot (she was a very enthusiastic model!).

20130328-012656.jpgThank you Medine, and to your family and Fatima’s family for a lovely evening! Sağol!

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Sautéed Garlic: The Cure for Homesickness?

garlictomatoAfter five days, I think I’ve shaken off the jetlag (I’ve been unlucky with my flights — delays and missed connections made for a tiring 28 hour trip from Ottawa to Huelva), and am getting back in to the swing of things in Spain (ie. getting back to my salsa classes!).

I’m not going to lie: after such a nice holiday at home I was having a hard time getting excited about coming back to Huelva. I kept a positive attitude on my way back, but upon arriving at my empty apartment on Saturday night I immediately felt incredibly homesick. (This may or may not have included a call home and a good cry…)

Sunny winter day in Christopher Columbus' Huelva.

Sunny winter day in Christopher Columbus’ Huelva.

I know I’m a homebody (and have probably written it too many times now, on this blog — you will all think that I am faking my love of travel! Damnit.), but I was surprised and kind of embarrassed by how homesick I felt the first few days I was here. I figured coming back would be way easier than when I first arrived in September, but I guess I still needed a few days to adjust after enjoying the cozy familiarity of being at home.

Industrial Huelva.

Industrial Huelva.

All the shops were closed when I arrived in Huelva on a holiday weekend but I had pasta, canned tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil on hand. I didn’t much feel like cooking (a sure sign that I am down in the dumps) — but the smell of sautéed garlic? Probably one of the best in the world. It’s a smell that carries the promise of something tasty and comforting on the way. Food has that magical way of evoking memories of times, places, and people. This tomato and garlic sauce is a way simplified version of the pasta sauce my parents always make at home. The smell of garlic on the stove with tomatoes will forever make me think of my Dad; this is the pasta he’d whip up for us when we would get back from a long day of sightseeing during our family travels. All you need is a can of tomatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, and some pasta (I’d recommend some kind of cheese as well, herbs, olives, and any other veggies you like to throw in your sauce, but the results will be delicious even if your fridge is empty!).

Despite feeling a little rocky at the start, I know I have a lot to look forward to here and am looking forward to sticking with my resolution for 2013! I hope the year has gotten off to a great start for all of you! xo

Following my Dad's advice for a little bout of homesickness: cook and read a book.

Following my Dad’s advice for a little bout of homesickness: cook and read a book.

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Churros Con Familia (y Chocolate!)

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Today marked one full month that I’ve been living in Spain — in some ways it feels like it has absolutely flown by, and in others I feel like I have been gone for much longer. Either way, I’m loving the experience so far.
Thomas and I met up with our parents in Madrid today, and although they were pretty jet lagged from having just arrived we managed to do a good bit of sightseeing and street wandering. My mum and I both had the same thing at the top of our Madrid “to-do” list: San Ginés, Madrid’s top spot for churros con chocolate. We made it there just as the sun was setting over the beautiful Plaza Mayor and enjoyed our churros under cozy heat lamps outside. I’m so excited to be here with my family (or most of it– miss you Sam and Robbie!), and we decided that we should try a different chocolateria every day. I think I’m up for that challenge.

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Walking On Sunshine

There isn’t anything particularly special about today. It’s a regular Wednesday and I’ve been at work for most of it.

But it was beautiful outside.  One of the first real fall-like days; crisp and sunny. Not cold yet, but sweater weather. And the sunny day turned into one of the clearest, starry nights.  Even with the lights in the suburbs you can make out crystal clear constellations.

I had lunch with my step-grandma, and then coffee with my cousin.  I don’t see either of them often, and it was lovely.

I went out for my last dinner in Ottawa (for now!) with two of my closest girlfriends.

The hair that Dunlop chewed off of his back paw is growing back and he no longer has to wear a sock to cover that hot spot!

I leave for Spain in six days.  I am excited and nervous, and ready to go and a little afraid of doing so. But mostly excited!

My cousins from Vancouver sent me the cutest, funniest, homemade pre-travel care package.

My family and friends make me so very happy. I’m such a lucky kid, and so grateful.

There is nothing particularly special about today, but I couldn’t be happier.