1/18/2021 Well, I think I am a city girl through and through. I love Kinsale and am excited to try all sorts of new environments, but now that we are in Cork City, I'm remembering how good it feels to be in a metropolitan area. There is just a different feeling. It feels more alive. I really like this city. It kind of reminds me of a cross between Boston and San Francisco. Today we mapped out a great running route - kind of in the rain, but who cares? Then, we made more scones (I mean, come on). The afternoon was spent exploring. The murals, food stores, and coffee shops were abundant. We went to the English Market and decided we never needed to go to a Lidl's again. Forget grocery stores when there are cheese wheels, buckets of anchovies, mini jars of lemon curd, and deep fried burger patties from behind the counter. Admittedly, the last one grossed me out, but it's the essence of the thing, really. I also had my first salsa class in a 5-week series tonight. 123 - 567. Those counts will be stuck in my head all night. Online dance classes have been a godsend during this time. This one is through City Academy, in London. More steps to be learned next week, but I will keep you updated. Maybe a video will even make an appearance on the blog... Dad taught me how to make his famous marinara sauce this afternoon, a delicious start to the evening! To top it off, we watched 27 Dresses. I'm a sucker for a good romantic comedy and it certainly hit the spot for me. Just good enough to not be stupid and keep going. I mean, they can't all be To All the Boys... PS as we await the third movie (Kate and besties you know what I'm talking about) who else is going to rewatch the trailer a gazillion times just to pine over Peter K and Lara Jean's wardrobe??!!!
1/10/2021 I just finished the book Midnight Library. Very interesting and existential. I recommend if you are into fiction, but want something a little different and strange. Trigger warning: it does deal with suicide. Things here are going quite well. I think we are still recovering from out ten mile hike on Friday and day of running, cooking, and food shopping yesterday. Last night we did a dinner swap with our good friends and then ate over zoom. Delicious! The meal consisted of a kale salad with chorizo, roasted cauliflower, and a shrimp and fennel salad. Dessert was made by me: banana, PB, chocolate chunk cookies (credits to Christina Tosi). These are basically my favorite foods in one cookie, so I couldn't resist. This morning I woke up early and then went for a run around ten-ish, when the sun in finally out. I ran up along the water and found an old, abandoned boat that was pretty cool. Yesterday I saw porpoises. Mom and I made some scones for outdoor lunch with our friends. The clouds have really come out this afternoon, making it feel quite cold. It's funny how that happens here. I am very grateful for the opportunity to come here and see a different perspective on life. It's the small things that make me smile and appreciate this time; Our neighbor and I have been doing a little food trading the past few days - she just brought be some chocolate and breakfast egg muffins. Or warm tea/cocoa in the afternoon with an oat biscuit. Or the frost in the morning that looks like snow on the grass. Or runs along the water. Or puppies in sweaters. Even the frustration of being unable to find the last edge pieces in our puzzle. It all makes me smile.
1/3/2021 Welp, people. It's the New Year. Who knew I would be starting 2021 in Ireland??!! I am so thankful to be here. Every day it feels as though we do nothing, and yet everything. The amount of hiking, running, and exploring is incredible. I am so happy that I have parents who like do these sorts of things, together. I think that the New Year is always kind of ridiculous in terms of everyone acting as though some big change has taken place. I mean, you wake up January 1 and it's just another day. You keep moving forward. Similarly, I don't really like setting resolutions because I feel that they are usually self-deprecating, unrealistic, and not really that important. Losing 5 pounds or eating healthy or watching less TV or deleting social media. None of these things really matter. They don't embody a person's actual persona. I want to set some intentions. I want to live each day fuller and get outside of my head more. I want to listen to my intuition. Most importantly, I want to do what I want to do free of guilt or obligation. If I learned one thing in 2020, it is that trying to maintain control over every aspect of your life is impossible and will only leave you feeling like you've failed. It's time for me to learn to roll with the punches.
But, anyways, enough of my Ted Talk. Let's talk about something fun! In Kinsale they have these little fairy doors everywhere that are hidden in nooks and crannies around the town. I recently purchased one. The door is green, the fairy is named Basil, and he has a pet hedgehog. According to his scroll, his favorite food is avocado toast and his favorite flower is lavender. So yeah, this made my heart happy :).
12/29/2020 Well, it seems as though Ireland may go into a full on level 5 lockdown. This would mean that no one would be allowed to leave a 5km radius of their residence. I hope this doesn't happen, although I think we already follow this anyway. We have plans to head to Cork for ten days after January 17th and then head on to Beara to leave a little more remotely. If level 5 lockdown were to happen, these plans could be effected, which would be disappointing. However, I feel that the purpose of this trip for us is to really take time to just be and relax, enjoy ourselves, separate from the outside world. We should be able to do this wherever we find ourselves. We have done some fun things the last few days. We went on a 7.5 mile hike on Saturday, past Charles Fort and down to Lower Cove. It felt like we were literally on the edge of the world. The wind was so intense, I was scared I would blow away!! We have been running of course and baking and cooking, like always. There is an amazing chocolate shop, KoKo Kinsale, that we got treats from for Christmas and it has been fun to try those! We started a new book as a family, called The City of Bohane. It is very strange so far, a weird sort of dystopian, but I definitely recommend it! Pretty vulgar, so not for the faint of heart. All of quarantine I have been doing online dance classes with Broadway Dance Center out of NYC. Last night, I did a jazz dance party with Sheila Barker and I have to say it was one of the most fun things I have done in a while. I highly recommend these classes for anyone who needs a little music and partying in their life. Definitely keeps me happy.
12/25/2020 Happy Christmas, everyone!! I hope you all are having fantastic weeks. Over here we have been doing much of the same as usual. A lot of running, walks, baking/cooking, and reading. We just finished Snow, a book by John Banville that we read as a family. Very good, though slightly disturbing. I recommend this book or others by the author. He definitely knows what he's doing when it comes to writing. While here, I have gotten the opportunity to speak with two D3 cross country coaches who are interested in me running for them. Very exciting! With the SAT out of the way and running in college an actual option, I feel a sense of relief. Sometimes college seems like this huge thing that will never actually happen, a big buildup. It's starting to feel real and I'm quite excited! Hopefully, COVID will get all cleared up in time for senior year and college to come. I got to try my first taste of fish and chips here. We shared the catch of the day from DINO's the other day. Delicious! So fresh. I am sucker for good seafood and it's easy to find here, in Kinsale. So far, we are having a lovely Christmas Day. We woke up, read, ate some oatmeal, then all went for our runs. Such a nice and sunny day! After a snack and some baking, we did art, played games, and did some crosswords. We are going to FaceTime Kate and some friends to say hello and then I'm sure a delicious dinner will ensue tonight. Also, got some yoga in! I highly recommend a travel yoga mat if you like that kind of thing. My Mom's folds up and fits in all sorts of places and ways.
Foods I've tried this week that were new and delicious:
- duck pate
- black pudding (don't think about it too much, just eat)
- Jamaican Christmas cake (apparently it gets better with age! - similar to a spice/fruit cake or bread, a great afternoon snack)
- Cooleney melting cheese (my mom described it as roclette on crack aka heavenly)
- pear/goat cheese salad
12/22/2020 This morning I slept until 10 again. I keep having really odd dreams and waking up in the middle of the night. I wonder if it's still the jet lag? Yesterday was super cloudy and gray. It felt like it was 4:00 all day. I made scones with Mom, then, while they baked, went for run. Every run feels like a hill workout here because all of the roads are hills!! I like it though. Everyday is running weather because it's not too hot. After that, I came home and had a scone with some lemon curd. Delicious!! Highly recommend. I spent much of the afternoon doing art and reading. The book we are reading as a family is called Snow, an Irish mystery. Very good so far. Quite the set of characters! Then, Dad I went for a late night walk in the dark and rain to get him some clothes while his suitcase makes its way here. Please, airlines. Get it together! For dinner we made monkfish with kale and potatoes. The monkfish was new for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. After dinner, we watched the Downton Abbey movie. Oh, the dramatics!!
A note on the food here: Everything is so fresh. We have been ordering through a local market that gets different foods from all of the farms nearby and sells it from one site. Almost all organic and local. The bread has a crunchy crust, but always a soft interior. The veggies are rich in color and taste. There is even a special citrus lemon that is perfect for fish! Today for lunch I had a piece of toast with aged cheddar, sliced tomato, and greens. Dad said it looked like a Christmas sandwich. And the oranges. They're the kind that peel perfectly, leaving a sweet and clean interior! The seafood is simply to die for. As my family knows, I LOVE shrimp. Basically my favorite food. We had shrimp risotto for dinner the other night and the shrimp was almost decadent. It tasted milder, in a fresh and wholesome way. More reviews to come, but here are some fun snack combos to try that I have embraced while here:
-aged cheddar with avocado on a homemade Irish biscuit
-cheese sandwiches (literally any kind of cheese)
-fruit salad with lychees :)
-Irish granola with goat milk yogurt and blueberries
-Cadbury chocolate with mint tea (tastes like a thin mint experience)
12/21/2020 Yesterday we had a great time walking the Scilly Trail. It goes all the way to Charles Fort and then past - down to another dock for boats. It was the sunniest day we have seen in our time here. Everyone was out and about with their families soaking up the nice weather and being together. That took a lot of the day, but when we got back, Mom and I did some marble ink on Japanese papers to make into books and then we created a recipe for chocolate chip peanut butter tea cookies. So delicious! The recipe will be up shortly. I finished my second puzzle. This one was a doozy - double the pieces of the last one - but I made it. Who know puzzles weren't just for old people??
Running in Ireland is so much fun!!! The views are amazing, the hills kick my butt, and the sun is never blinding me (because I refuse to run in sunglasses). I started a new puzzle - double the amount of pieces of the last one... kind of struggling!! School is officially over and I so love not having to be on the computer, basically at all. Dad is finally here and we are all settling in quite nicely. Back home I could never sleep in, but I haven't woken up before 10 a single day here! Today, on my run, I say Santa and Mrs. Claus riding around on horses - something about Christmas here feels so down to earth and lovely. At home I always felt kind of left out around Christmas time. Here, it feels like I am experiencing something new and exciting! Can't wait for more adventures!! Also, shoutout to Melisa Harder for THE BEST playlist on the planet!!
Day 12/15/2020 Mom and I made it! I can say we made it safely, just barely. Immigration almost stopped us... but here we are, better than ever. Dad is coming Thursday because his father died, but Mom and I are here, settling in. Grandpa's funeral was lovely and his idioms will surely live on. It's copasetic.
Mom and I slept in and made some Irish porridge. After lots of puzzling and music we we went for a long walk. Kinsale is officially my new favorite place. The town is so colorful and cozy! For dinner we made a delicious salad with blue cheese, beats, chicken, leeks, lettuce, and potatoes. Now, on to some schoolwork, my tenth cup of tea, and some cheesy murder mysteries...
12/17/2020 Today is very rainy. Mom and I had a great day yesterday. I slept until past 11:00 (the first time in 2 years!!). Then, we made homemade granola :). We walked to meet Margie for a walk/hike around James Fort. It was so fun and beautiful alone the water!! The dogs were very excited to be out in the seaweed. It started to rain and I felt so cold. So different from the snowy cold in Denver!! We had tea outside with some biscuits before heading back. Mom and I went back through town. So cute!! All of the lights made my heart warm. After some appliance issues and shenanigans, we made homemade chicken soup and I finished the puzzle. Of course, all was followed by crazy British TV and some salted caramel profiteroles!!
This morning I went for my first run in Ireland!! The Frogg Togg suit kept me nice and dry! The wind is crazy here, but the views are worth it. I'm ready for these hills to kick my booty! Dad comes today :), can't wait to see him!!