Chronicles of a writer abroad

Things I’m Learning



I feel a little like a child re-entering the room, sheepishly, after having thrown a hissy fit and stormed off.

I think I’ve said enough about the Vancouver riots, and I apologize if any of my (admittedly untempered) views offended you. It’s just that I care deeply about these issues — I’m well-intentioned, if occasionally hot-headed and acid-tongued.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. Here are some things that I’ve learned lately:

The deliciousness of haloumi. Have you met this salty, fatty, grillable cheese? I hadn’t, until someone brought it to a friend’s barbeque a few weeks ago. In German it’s called Grillkäse, and it immediately blew my mind. Cheese that can go on the barbeque? But how? I cannot explain it, but this cheese manages to grill on the outside while melting on the inside, but not to the extent that it falls between the grill bars.

I wasn’t able to get this stuff out of my mind, so even though we don’t have a grill, I wanted to find a way to eat it. I happened upon this recipe, which I highly recommend. And happily, it turned out really well, despite the fact that I had to grill my asparagus and haloumi on the stove.

A perfect summer salad

Ask and ye shall receive. Actually, I don’t even have to ask, and I still receive — I am one spoiled expat. Back in April, I blogged about how a friend sent me some chocolate chips, and I was agonizing over not having the perfect recipe to deploy them in. Since then, Stelian’s family came to visit, bringing me a massive bag of milk chocolate chips which I’m slowly working my way through — they are amazing in banana muffins. And just today, I was pleasantly surprised by a postal package containing this 2 kilogram (!) bag of semi-sweet chips from other family members.

I cannot explain my paleness. I go outside, I swear I do.

So now I’m crying Uncle. Thank you, I am supplied through this year and the next! Just in case any others were hatching plans to send me massive quantities of chocolate..

You cannot eat Swiss food (chocolate, cheese, etc.) with impunity from the weight gods. Especially when your family is supplying you with foreign chocolate as well! But race training season has begun, so things will hopefully come back into balance.

The benefit of a writing group. I’m generally a happy loner. I’ve talked before about the parallels between running and writing. Well, I’ve always enjoyed running alone. I never could fathom training with a clinic, as so many people do, because all those hours spent alone in my head are precious to me. Similarly, I like the fact that writing is by nature a very solitary avocation, where I work alone and don’t rely on others to get the job done. I’m learning, however, that you do need to let others in at the point where you’ve finished a piece and you no longer have any perspective on it.

Enter my writing group — five women whom I met at the writer’s workshop I attended in May. We’ve made a commitment to meet once a month and gripe about writing issues and critique each other’s work. So far, it’s been very helpful, and I’m so grateful for it.

I’m a slow reader. I can be, anyway. I’m trying to heed one reader’s request for “more book recommendations!” but I’ve been stuck on this one book for a solid month now. I’ll try to finish it soon, because I do want to talk about it.

Hope you are making the most of the Solstice. Happy Summer!


5 thoughts on “Things I’m Learning

  1. The solstice??? Wait, it’s June already??

  2. Believe it or not: Thrifty’s has Haloumi and we bought some this morning. Next thing is to concoct the salad.
    I can understand that you have reached your chocolate chip limit, though our cleaning lady brought us a yummy banana/chocolate chip loaf today – recipe found on the internet – highly recommended.

  3. haloumi!! if you can believe it, I had a vegetarian fish and chips in london a couple weeks ago and the “fish” was actually marinated haloumi that was battered and tasted like real fish – like I remember fish and chips to taste like! amazing stuff, that haloumi!

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