The Flat White

This is the story of a girl, a coffee, love, and disenchantment.

coffee

The Flat White was one of the highlights of my trip to Europe. I’m not joking; I really, really like coffee.

This delicious and mysteriously-named drink originated in Australia (thus sayeth Wikipedia) and consists of 2 “ristretto” shots (espresso with less water than a normal shot) and “microfoamed” milk. I discovered it on Hogmanay in Scotland and I felt very cultured, until, less than a week later, Starbucks announced that the flat white was the newest addition to their espresso family.

I KNEW ABOUT IT FIRST, STARBUCKS. HANDS OFF.

I was slightly bitter about how Starbucks took away my coffee cachet, but yesterday I got over myself and tried the flat white there…..

….and it’s delicious. 

So in short, I love the flat white. It’s replaced the cappuccino as my new go-to drink.

My love for Starbucks is significantly smaller than my love for coffee, but it’s the best espresso on campus, so I will continue to drink it…plus, I’m not that far away from a gold card. Plus, they now have the flat white. 

coffee love heart cappuccino fancyPlus, coffee=love. 

 

Currently Lovin’

The Happy Type
Here’s what I’m into today:
  • The Flat White. I’m a sucker for coffee and this is my favorite new drink. Come back tomorrow to find out more!
  • A day without deadlines. *insert praise hands emoji* It’s been a while since I had one of those, and even though homework is piling up, I have nothing due tonight!
  • The NYT 52 Places to Travel List. The Catskills made it on this year, and also I just love travel daydreaming. (Bonus points for the word “untrammeled!”)
  • The Christmas lights that are still up in my room.
  • Easy Weeknight Pasta inspiration, again from the NYT, as I embark on a new trying-to-eat-better plan.
  • Punctuation.

What are you loving lately? 

Glasgow Cathedral + Necropolis

The thing I love most while traveling (okay…besides food!) is finding great attractions that are also free. For someone living on the Tesco Metro three-pound meal deal, a free museum or tour can feel like a huge win.

Glasgow Cathedral and the adjacent necropolis both fit the bill.

glasgow cathedralI’ve wanted to go to Scotland for years, and ended up choosing Glasgow because it was a cheap city through which to book a split ticket–both the Boyfriend and I wanted to fly into somewhere else and depart from Paris. It was fittingly gloomy and rainy most of the time we were there, but I loved it anyway. See the piper on the steps of the 13th-century cathedral? How cool is that?!

inside glasgow cathedralThe inside of the cathedral is absolutely enormous. It is still an active worship space; there was even a list on a bulletin board of who was to bring coffee next Sunday. 

glasgow cathedral windowI later learned that clear glass instead of stained class was quite the fad for a time; it was simple and pretty, but more importantly it was easy to make and allowed more light into dark churches.

glasgow cathedral scotlandThere are two levels to the cathedral; make sure that you visit them both! The main nave is pretty, but the basement looks like Hogwarts!

It’s also called St. Mungo’s, which I thought was just the hospital in Harry Potter before I learned that he was an actual saint

glasgow necropolisOverlooking the cathedral is this GIGANTIC statue of John Knox. Of all people. The necropolis behind the cathedral is nice for a walk, even in the rain, despite the fact that it’s a graveyard. There are also great views of the city from the top of the hill. Enjoy a few more photographs below!

Trip in Review: Travel Thursday

I feel as if I’ve barely been able to process my last trip! In case you missed it on Twitter and Instagram, here’s a rough rundown of what happened:

Old and new in Paris

Old and new in Paris

December 28: Get ready to leave. Boyfriend realizes he’s forgotten his passport. A seven-hour roadtrip later, he’s got it and we can head to New York (big shoutout to both of our dads for driving us around two states!). 

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

December 29: Aer Lingus calls to let us know that our evening flight is already delayed and would we like to switch? Leave on earlier flight. 

Sometime in the middle of the night: Layover in Dublin, after which we get on the smallest plane in Europe.

Sunset on the Seine

Sunset on the Seine

December 30: Explore Glasgow.

Along the waterfront in Glasgow

Along the waterfront in Glasgow

December 31: Boyfriend proposes at midnight on what locals call the “Squinty Bridge.” Happy New Year!!! :) 

A "love-lock" bridge in Paris.

A “love-lock” bridge in Paris.

January 1: Train from Scotland to England.

New Year's Eve in Glasgow

New Year’s Eve in Glasgow

January 2-3: London.

London Parliament

London Parliament

January 4-5: Paris with the Boyfriend.

An exhibit at the Pompidou Center, the modern art museum in Paris.

An exhibit at the Pompidou Center, the modern art museum in Paris.

January 6-12:  Class in theology in the City of Light. Theology + travel=basically my favorite things in the universe. 

Old and new...again in Paris.

Old and new…again in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo happens.

…and now I’m back in NEPA, enjoying the family and strong coffee for a little longer before I head back to NYC, work, and school. 

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Linking up with Travel Tuesday + Treat Yo Self Thursday. 

traveltuesday

Treasure Tromp

Beyond the Barricade

I like that Europe is good at protests and generally assembling in public. I’m boarding my flight home to New York in ten minutes, so this will be quick, but wanted to share a few photos of the events in Paris yesterday. Enjoy!

(Click to enlarge)

The news from Paris

This week, I’m in Paris.

As my mother pointed out, news seems to follow me, which I suppose is a good thing for my career. Besides all of the drama that unfolded during my semester in Rome (for a while there was no pope, president, prime minister or police chief!), the day that I got to England in 2013 Margaret Thatcher died, and my first year in NYC brought two hurricanes and the Occupy Wall Street movement. For the last few days, of course, all eyes have been on Paris.

je suis charlie

First, my experience. I am filtering everything through the cultural barrier (Parisians are much quieter than Americans–are they handling this uproar remarkably well, or merely showing their angst silently?) and the lack of an international data plan, meaning I can’t be glued to Twitter as I normally would.

On the day of the shooting, I was around Notre Dame with friends and didn’t even know what had happened until I returned to campus about an hour after the attack unfolded. The majority of the rest of the drama has been outside the city proper, and our campus is not particularly near the Charlie Hebdo office, so there hasn’t been a visible reaction except the extraordinarily high police presence. Bags are being searched on subways and at major attractions. Our road was closed briefly last night due to a suspicious package, which came to nothing.

St. John’s is located in the Vincentian headquarters in Paris (cool huh?) and has multiple gates, a courtyard and a 24/7 security guard in addition to all of the special measures they’ve taken because of the increased risk, so I am quite safe.

In a more general sense, this attack is horrific and I’m very impressed at the worldwide response–condemning terror, of course, but also speaking out in defense of freedom of speech and human dignity. #JeSuisCharlie was trending, and then the NYT had a very thoughtful piece (among many on the issue in general) about NOT being Charlie, and it’s all been very interesting to watch. 

I have a lot of thoughts floating around, on the freedom of the press in particular. Perhaps they’ll gel into something eventually. 

In the meantime, I wrote this post/little essay after the Newtown school shooting a few years ago, which coincidentally I watched unfold with a roommate who is also my roommate in Paris. (We’ve been talking about current events quite a bit.) I think it’s relevant anytime a major media event occurs, and I always try to remember this:

The “media” is not one gigantic, evil conglomerate scheming to brainwash the public, most especially at the site of a breaking tragedy. They are people like you and me, with partners and children and mortgages and crappy cars, people who drink cups upon cups of coffee to keep themselves going, people who work on tight deadlines and low incomes for the benefit of everyone.

nous sommes tous charlie

A city billboard near the former Bastille prison displays the We Are Charlie slogan, while a French flag flies at half-mast in the background.

I would love to hear any thoughts on the recent events in Paris. 

 

 

Currently Loving

cookie-cutter-497133_1280

The idea of travel. I’m making the most of my last winter break–tomorrow we are going to Delaware for a couple of days, and I have an even-more-exciting trip coming up at the end of the month!

The Leslie Knope Guide to Finals, for all y’all that are still stuck at school.

This dog on Instagram.

Miranda, my spirit animal. Watch it free on Hulu!!!

miranda night out

Literary Starbucks

Laura Ingalls Wilder goes up to the counter and orders a small cup of extra hot coffee. She sits down at a table in the Starbucks she has built for herself out of sod from the prairie. She writes a letter to her family. It’s going to be a long winter.

Baking, beginning with macarons

What’s everyone else loving these days? I feel as if I’ve finally emerged from a cave of studying into the light!

The Happy Type

Giving Tuesday

As you may remember from last year, my family has recently started the tradition of spending the money we would have used for gifts on a donation to charity instead. We still fill stockings so each person has plenty of little presents to open (stockings are the fun part anyway, am I right?) and it’s so much fun to see who donated to what in your honor when we exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.

Coincidentally, the United Methodist Church has a little program (along with other denominations and groups) called Giving Tuesday (#givingtuesday) that takes place TODAY! Any donations made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) today will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million! Another super cool fact about UMCOR is that the overhead for the projects is paid for through the network of United Methodist churches, so that any donations go directly to the work itself, not to salaries or other expenses.

I’ll be taking this opportunity to grab my Christmas “gifts,” and if you feel like donating a little something this holiday season, today would be a great day to participate.

Donate to UMC programs here!

When Methodists_470 x 246-rev

Weekly Wishes #7

cup of coffee cappuccino

Last week’s wishes: total fail. Whoops! Other things just took priority. 

This week I’m going to keep it simple. I have two goals:

1. Enjoy and make the most of Thanksgiving break. Soak up the family, maybe get some thrifting in, plan for Christmas, cook great food, play board games, all that stuff.

2. Stay on track with school so that I finish strong. I have three major writing assignments and two finals due the week we return from break…ugh. I’m bringing home a suitcase of books and I know that if I devote a little time each day to research and writing I can end the semester on a low-stress level.

We’ll see how it goes!

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Bonus finds around the Interwebz over the last couple of weeks:

The Nectar Collective

100 Hours of Poverty: Recap

fried eggs breakfast

A simple/cheap/healthy breakfast (photo via Pixabay)

One of the things I love about St. John’s, which I’ve probably mentioned a dozen times already, is its Vincentian traditions. I have learned a lot about social justice during my time here.

One program Campus Ministry hosts that I always thought was interesting is called “100 Hours of Poverty.” Each participant commits to living for 100 hours on $18.49, which is less than $0.19 an hour, or $4.44 per day. This is the budget of an individual currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. This year, I was the first to sign up to participate in what I thought would be an interesting challenge.

Here are five lessons that I learned:

1. It wasn’t convenient.

It was actually a terrible week to try this. I was overcommitted, I was away for the weekend and didn’t have time to pre-cook meals, and on and on. But experiencing real poverty is never convenient either, and so I stuck it out.

2. It was more difficult than I anticipated.

My family tends to live very, very frugally–no haircuts, no pedicures, etc.–and I know how to cook very cheaply, so I was surprised at how difficult the challenge turned out to be. I was restricted by circumstances, and so are the majority of those who are using these benefits.

3. I failed on Thursday, and I was lucky.

One of the things with 3 or 4 a.m. production nights is that on Wednesday, I generally do fine. I have a long morning class and then a long block of work in the afternoon. But on Thursdays, when I have a 7:30 class and a fuller day, I tend to crash. During the week of the challenge, I crashed and burned in a major way on Thursday. I ended up in such a funk and so after class I grabbed a bagel (about $1.50, which wasn’t enough to put me overbudget by itself but combined with my other food it did), worked my last shift and then headed home to crash instead of going to my evening meetings. I think I ended up spending $6 or $7 on food that day.

I am fortunate: I have that extra $3 to spend if I need it. Going over my budget had no real consequences. If I was really experiencing poverty, that $3 might have meant no bus fare, or no heat, or no food the next day, or any number of other negative consequences. 

4. Resources matter.

Being on a food-stamp budget if you know how to cook, are used to living frugally, have access to plenty of ingredients and a real kitchen and have time to cook from scratch is entirely different from living on this budget if you are out of the house 12 hours a day, or if you don’t know how to cook much, or if you don’t have a kitchen.

One of the things that struck me while working with the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers for a week last year was that many of the people they serve tend to purchased fast food or processed food, not because they want to, but because they have no other option–for example, if they live in a shelter where if anything there is a microwave and maybe, maybe, a fridge. Or, they can’t get to the store to buy food regularly and have to purchase things that won’t spoil, like in my hometown where it’s unusual to live within walking distance of a store and there is no public transportation.  

5. I can do better. 

I know I can do better at eating well on a budget, and this challenge made that starkly apparent. I’ve tried to improve in many small ways over the last few weeks. 

For example, I’m boiling eggs ahead of time so that I can just grab one in the morning. I bought a loaf of bread and have toast as a nice quick snack instead of coming home starving and eating Nutella out of the jar (TMI?). I’ve been more conscientious about cooking ahead and freezing meals to bring to school during the week. I’ve been adding canned veggies or tuna to pasta and rice dishes to stretch them and make sure I get protein and green things. I make a pot of coffee in the morning nearly every day so I don’t buy it at school. If I need coffee during the school day, I get a plain black coffee for less than half the price of my preferred cappuccino, and I save the cup to get a cheap or free refill. 

All in all? 100 hours of poverty didn’t change my life in any big way. However, I’m glad I went through with it, and it’s been a great catalyst to remind me to pray for the poor (and volunteer when I can) and be more mindful of how I use my own resources. 

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Bonus: This cookbook is fantastic! Eating well on $4 a day. 

Shoutout to Mama C., who is spending Tuesday assembling/distributing food baskets for Thanksgiving. Go MUMC!

The song on my mind while I was writing this.