Happy New Year!
As we begin 2014, I can't help but think about the many ways 2013 is ending very differently than it began. Neither of us (Hubby or myself) are working at our same jobs that we had been at for 7+ years in my case, and 11+ in his. Our family has had ups and downs due to health issues, another battle with cancer (which Mom WON, thank you very much), siblings moving to college, the news/process of our move to Italy in the coming months, and the transition to a single-income household.
2014 is one giant open window. Unfortunately for me, said window has the drapes closed, which doesn't mesh with the part of my personality that makes me a regimented planner who doesn't necessarily do too well at flying-by-the-seat of one's pants. I love to plan things. I always have. God is busy preparing to teach me some very valuable lessons on patience and letting Him "take the wheel" (Was that a Carrie Underwood reference? My apologies. I am not a country fan.)
What I'm feeling about the coming year...
The time is coming near where Michael and I will pack up some of our belongings and leave our families and our home for our new adventure in Italy. It’s starting to sink in slowly all of what we have to gain, and what we might miss dearly. The planner in me is struggling with so much uncertainty, combined with impending distance from those whom I love very much. My prayer for this pre-departure time is patience on my part with all of the unknown details, organization and clear communication on the part of Michael’s company, and strength and unity as a couple during this exciting albeit somewhat terrifying experience. In my hopes and dreams of what I will do with my time while in Italy, I desperately want to learn about the culture of the people, and of course their food. My attempts to begin to learn bits and pieces of the language have been feeble, but heartfelt. I am ecstatic about the possibility of taking some cooking lessons while I am there, and cannot wait to immerse myself in the lifestyle of an Italian housewife. There will surely be lots of cooking, reading, exploring, and likely lots of lonely times also, as Michael will be working a lot and I will not be a fluent Italian-speaker. I aspire to document clearly our experiences together while we are living out what I can only describe as our dream opportunity to live in Europe, and hopefully expand my cooking abilities and knowledge. I look forward to sharing our experiences here for all to read and hopefully enjoy.
A while back I took a little field trip to Grand Rapids Downtown Market in search or some great cheeses to make a few themed cheese boards. Hubby and I both LOVE cheese, but sadly we are novices when it comes to the knowledge of how various cheeses are made, how they should be served, what they are best paired with, etc. I have been reading Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating: How to Choose the Best Bread, Cheeses, Olive Oil, Pasta, Chocolate, and Much More By Ari Weinzweig. GREAT book, and a wonderful gift idea for anyone in your life who loves food. (Host/Hostess gift? Father's Day gift?) Hubby loves reading it.
Using some of the tips in the book, combined with the guidance from the gentleman at Apertivo (in GR Dowtown Market), I got a selection of French cheeses, and a selection of Italian cheeses to try. (Pictured below: Our selection of French cheeses.) We had a fun little cheese tasting evening at home, and I would highly recommend you try it out if you're at all interested in cheese. It would be a lovely New Year's Eve appetizer.
Wishing you all a very safe and Happy New Year! I hope you continue to spend time reading my blog. It means a lot to me that you do. I hope to add a few fun new features this year too: Tons of new recipes, Guest Posts, Product Reviews, many more Foodie Field Trips (I'm going to be living in Italy, and you all are going to hear ALL about it!), and lots more.
What would you like to see on the blog this year?