28 May, 2011

a room with a view

I'm in Cochabamba, Bolivia right now. I left only 2 days after finishing my first year of medical school. Finals seem like a world away. It's a very good feeling. I've been taking my time to get adjusted, and enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle. For the first time ever while traveling I don't feel the need to see the whole city in a few days. Here are a few pictures of the view from my bedroom of the mountains cradling the city.


16 May, 2011

backyard fantasy

When we moved here in July the tree in our backyard was just a normal tree, with normal green leaves. In the autumn they oranged and fell off. In the winter the tree was bare, just like all the others. For far too long. Spring presented a beautiful surprise. The tree was actually a pink tree in hiding.

It reminds me of Disney's Fantasia.

05 May, 2011

dreaming of paris

A friend of mine is going to Paris for a few days this summer - lucky girl - and asked me if I had any recommendations. I gave her a few general ones on the spot, but have been thinking about it since. It's so fun to dream about Paris, so I thought I would share a few of my favorites here. Strategically, my favorite way to plan and navigate around a city is the Moleskin city notebook.

1. Bread and Roses bakery @ the corner of rue de Fleurus & rue de Madam 

This is where I fell in love with scones and with every pretty french woman who walked out with a baguette. The quiches are by far the best I have every tasted and their iced tea, which is very popular, is served in a pitcher with slices of oranges and sprigs of mint.

2.  Chez Gourmand @ rue de Fleurus 

 The charm of this restaurant is nearly unbearable. The food is amazing, too. If you google it you will find all kinds of reviews. An old married couple owns and runs the place by themselves. They forage for mushrooms, grow their own vegetables, and get local game from their friends. Those are definitely wild flowers on the table. We arrived for dinner just as the last party was leaving, so we had the place all to ourselves. The woman spoke some English and was more than happy to give us recommendations. She doesn't need any waitresses. Her spunk and independence are made evident by her Doors t-shirt, pearls, and worn low heels. If you're there late enough the chef will come out to talk to you when he closes the kitchen, and call you mademoiselle, until he realizes you're already married. It is definitely worth making reservations here.

3. Cacao & Caocolat @ rue de Buci
This was one of my favorite gelatto places - the mint is delicious, not at all like mint-chocolate-chip, but like fresh mint leaves crushed up and frozen with milk and sugar. In reality, I love all gelato, but this makes the list because I really enjoyed walking around the few blocks surrounding it. There were many people leaving work and meeting friends at caf├ęs, wooden toy shops, shaded residential roads, and art studios. It was probably the neighborhood I could most imagine myself living in.

Note: all of the above are in the 6th arondissement, because that is where we stayed, so I got to know it the best.

4. Picnic on the Seine

see those little people on the concrete?
We didn't actually do this, but I definitely will if/when I return. The best way to go is with a baguette, a bottle of red wine, a hunk of cheese and a lover. Don't worry about any utensils or even a blanket - it seems that the magic of the City of Lights makes setting your food on the ground acceptable here.

Oh! And while you're there, don't miss the old Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore in the Latin Quarter

01 May, 2011

gray, gray, go away

Sometimes gray can be beautiful.

But not when it's like this.

Day, after day, after day.

Apparently my first spring in Chicago has also been one with very little sunshine on record. The bright side? The last few sunny days have been glorious! It's amazing to feel how much the weather actually affects my mood. I've never quite experienced this before. It's also fun to see how it affects everyone else. On Friday, everybody was hanging out in the atrium, where the glass ceiling allowed us all to get some much-needed natural light, stalling until the last second possible before shuffling into the classrooms.
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