Seeking sauerkraut: home fermentation

Sauerkraut was traditionally made in the autumn to prepare for the winter in Eastern Europe as cabbage is freshest and sweetest at the end of Autumn. Given that, it’s not surprising that it ended up on my family’s Thanksgiving table in the United States. It’s a recipe that’s credited to the Kaestners, and that’s no surprise, several recently immigrated German families married in Baltimore in the 19th century. I imagine sauerkraut was the obvious choice when they started to celebrate the quintessential American holiday sandwiched between Autumn and Winter- a celebration of abundance right as the leanness of winter sets in. The branch of my family that came from Dresden in East Germany likely brought our distinctive, Bohemian recipe that pairs the sour vegetable with brown sugar and bacon. It recalls of the tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut at the new year to bring good luck, and for myself and my family, this recipe says “We’re here. We made it another year and our sauerkraut is still the same as ever.”

Stay tuned for my final recipe for Kaestner Sauerkraut with Brown Sugar and Bacon.

As a kid I was cajoled by my father into taking just a little, even if I didn’t like it, I ate it because that’s just what we do. In my lifetime, we’ve relied on canned sauerkraut which was always fine but I want to get back to the traditional heart of the dish. It’s easy to ferment your own sauerkraut and I was dying to know what the potential was for this treasured recipe by seasoning with spices as it ferments. So a few weeks before Thanksgiving, just as the cold was really setting in, I bought a head of cabbage and set out to make the perfect kraut for our treasured holiday staple. I purchased two large, stout jars and crossed my fingers that my husband was down with eating a LOT of sauerkraut.

I tried to ferment sauerkraut last year but I ended up tossing the batch out of a combination of fear and sheer lack of confidence. I thought the ferment would take a few weeks, but when I rechecked the recipe and it said it takes at least a month. I was disheartened that my homemade kraut wouldn’t make it to Thanksgiving this year but I charged ahead because A. I had all that damn cabbage and B. I was determined not to be defeated by this project.

 I made the first batch with caraway, the German classic and I added star anise and cinnamon sticks to the second. My hopes are highest for the last batch, I can see some of the star anise seeds pressed up against the side of the jar, it looks like Christmas.

After a few days, I tasted the anise and clove kraut and it tasted right, if not a little mild. After reading further, I’ve learned that the reference I was using that said fermentation should last a month was erring on the very conservative side. After 3 days, your sauerkraut is theoretically ready to go if you want, and you can continue to ferment for a few weeks for a more intense end product.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients
Large green cabbage head (about 1.5 kg)
1.5 tablespoons of course sea or kosher salt
Caraway seed, cloves, anise seeds for flavour.

Cloth, rubber bands and something to weigh the cabbage down with.
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Mixing bowl
2-quart jars

Cut the cabbage in half and slice it as thin as possible. Fill the mixing bowl with cabbage and pour in salt. Start massaging the cabbage and salt. You want to use a lot of force here, the goal is to break down the cabbage and it will become watery and limp. The reason sauerkraut is traditionally made in the autumn is that’s when cabbage is harvested. The fresher your cabbage, the more liquid it will release and the better your sauerkraut will be.

Once the cabbage is limp and watery, transfer it to the jars and press it down. Add your spices inserting them throughout, I just add some between handfuls of cabbage. I can be weighed down with marbles, a small jar, a rock- anything that will ensure the cabbage stays under the brine to maintain an anaerobic environment.

Check your cabbage for the first three days, if you don’t see enough brine, pour in a tablespoon of lemon juice. Avoid using bring as it can result in brown, mushy kraut and the lemon shouldn’t be particularly detectable in your finished product.

Update:

I wasn’t vigilant and found that my first jar (the batch with the caraway seeds) was brine-less and had grown a fuzzy white mold. I threw it out. Check out this great Sauerkraut troubleshooting guide if you have issues with your fermentation.

 

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I don’t care how my feminism makes you feel

I winced at the pain of the tattoo machine on my soft forearm and my phone buzzed.

“You discriminate against people based on their DNA? How much more shallow can you get?”

41jdoc6unol-_sx342_A man I barely know is railing against the statement “The Future is Female” which I posted on the way to my appointment and against the fact that I have chosen to tattoo it on my body. I did it because I have fought and worked on behalf of women since I was a teenager. The feminist struggle has been the defining feature of my adulthood. I did not have much to say to him at that moment. I was busy. Still, this is one of the most common accusations that the privileged hurl at marginalised people when we fight for our own causes.

Let me be very clear. Marginalised people reserve the right to demand the fight for the rights of our group without giving a second thought to the feelings of our oppressors.

I was raised by diplomats, so my habit through the years has been to make sure that even when I was engaged in activism, no one felt hurt. I have not stopped caring deeply about individuals, I think that is why it has taken me so long to get to this place. Still, the years of running up against my detractors and being personally attacked for my beliefs has allowed me to cease caring.

The same goes for “Black Lives Matter”. It has been such a flashpoint because black Americans have grown tired of tiptoeing around the issue and watching their brothers and sisters be slaughtered in the street. Everyone who reacts to that statement with the earnest insistence that “all lives matter” is simply wishing for a time when their feelings mattered more than the lives of bright young people cut down by their government.

My beautiful picture

They do not.

So no. I don’t care about how my feminism makes men feel. No part of me is sorry for that, and the men in my life who stand with me in the fight are not threatened by that. If you are a member of an oppressive group- be it gender or race or whatever, you are either an ally or an enemy. It is easy to identify the enemies by their reaction when people stand up for themselves. Call it harsh, but we have wasted so much time worrying about the feelings of white men. Hoping that maybe by not angering them too much, we may get away unharmed. That did not work, with every polite comment our cause was made weaker.

That is precisely why I chose to put The Future is Female on my body for all time. It allows me to sort my enemies from my allies quickly. I have no desire to spend time with someone who does not believe in my right to stand up for the rights of female presenting and bodied people.

Sorry not sorry, boys.

People are missing the point of Lena Dunham’s weird abortion comment.

Lena Dunham, on her podcast Women of the Hour recently said the unfortunate phrase ‘I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.’

Now, as a woman who has had a very difficult history with abortion, I was initially furious. In fact, no matter which way you slice it, that sound bite is bad. In context, though, it sheds light on a real issue for abortion activism- an internalised stigma that is invisible and largely ignored. Lena had been explaining how she felt when someone at an abortion rights event asked her to share her own story only to find she didn’t have one.

“I wanted to make it really clear to her that as much as I was going out and fighting for other women’s options, I myself had never had an abortion. And I realized then that even I was carrying within myself stigma around this issue. Even I, the woman who cares as much as anybody about a woman’s right to choose, felt it was important that people know that I was unblemished in this department.”

Before I fell pregnant at 22 I was the same way. It took years for me to be able to tell anyone, even while campaigning for abortion rights, I was terrified. I remember being at the NARAL headquarters in Washington DC and letting it slip to an elderly woman after the phone bank was over. I can’t remember the question, but I remember my hesitation.

I had long been in the habit of making abortion palatable by phrasing it as an issue that was largely theoretical.I would explain my support to conservative friends by saying “I have never needed one, but what about a rape victim? She should be allowed. Or a woman with an abusive husband- she should be allowed. The subtext, of course, was “Not me. Not us.” Thinking about it hurts and we need to be talking about internalised stigma so we can have a snowball’s chance in hell of erasing it.

I don’t know how many people will read further into the coverage of the controversy to learn the context of that ridiculous statement and that is a shame. Lena Dunham fucked this right up and her apology left a lot to be desired, but in our glee to take down the whitest of the white feminists we are missing an important conversation.

That ridiculous statement was a clumsy attempt at expressing something that I wish more abortion-less women would come out and say. That instead of attaching shame to our abortion, we could attach a sense of pride. I know that my abortion felt like a battle, and I feel like the victor in the wake of it. Maybe if more women felt a sense of awe when a woman who’d had one walked in the room, then we could chip away at the shame the word abortion has chained us with.

So maybe it’s time to set down your damn pitchforks and stop talking about Lena Dunham. Trust me, those of us who are actually affected by abortion stigma would appreciate an end to it far more than your tirade against some celebrity.

Reclaiming my body through ink

tumblr_ohobbghvdn1qzguuho1_400Today, I look like me. After nearly 27 years of seeing my body through the distorted lens of a society that hates it, I finally feel like it belongs to me. I have searched for ways to mould it, shape it, change it into something I could love.  It’s been so hard. I have cried in front of the mirror so many times. I have always felt powerless, “fat” (as if that is a bad thing), ugly and weak.

But today, I have done something that I was terrified to do for so long. I got a tattoo. Not something small and dainty. Not something hidden on my back or ribs. I went all in. In the past two years I have come out as myself in so many ways.  I could never quite imagine who I would be as I grew older, but now I can.  After years of being touched, judged and catcalled against my will, I have reclaimed my body.

My only real fear was what my mother would say. When I was young, she was so conservative and so traditional. I had heard the plea “Don’t get a tattoo” over and over. I wasn’t sure that she or my father would ever be truly fine with it. I sent my parents a long anxious email, during a time when I knew they wouldn’t have internet access so that I could delay the inevitable painful response.

Instead, I got a short, unquestionably affirming note from my beautiful mom. She told me it was ok.  She was sorry she had caused me so much angst. I cried. She trusted me. With tumblr_ohobbghvdn1qzguuho2_400her support in hand, I am ready to live my life as an insubordinate woman. I think that part of my excitement stems from the way I’ve been able to ‘pass’ as a member of the restrained, conservative society that I come from. I have always hated that.

Now, when I walk into a room there is no question of who I am. What I stand for. The feminist struggle is my highest purpose. It is what defines me as a woman, what will define me as a mother and what I hope my friends and descendants talk about when I’m gone.

 

Summer Wines for the Cocktail Drinker.

The wine section of the liquor store can be intimidating. Bottles upon bottles, crazy labels, boring labels, and prices that mean nothing to the average buyer. I have been there. Before I was a bonafide wino and wine geek, I too stared into that abyss and reached for the cutest label. While I will always look fondly back on the days of drinking Cupcake Moscato on my dorm room floor, I have discovered a whole universe of delicious wine that was intimidating to me before. I have gone ahead and done the hard work of geeking out, now you can reap the rewards.

I describe wine in terms of cocktails because most drinkers can name a delicious cocktail and tell you why they like it. It’s the same with wine- love Margaritas? You’ll probably dig German Rieslings. They are sweet, sour, salty and citrusy. See? Not so hard. So pick your favourite cocktail and I will tell you how to find it’s twin in the wine section.

1. Cosmopolitan: Grenache Rose

Grenache

Rose is finally cool again, which is great news because it is the perfect pink sparklingsummer drink. Craving the bright, fruity refreshing taste of a perfect cosmo? Get yourself some Grenache Rose. The Grenache is best known for being a spicy, heavy, serious red wine grape but when you make Rose with it, you get a pink wine that’s bursting with berries and peaches. Is your mouth watering? Good. Get thee to a store and pick up this killer example that comes IN  A CAN. You heard me right. Hand-picked, wicked good and $7. You are welcome. Oh, and it fits in your purse you so can sneak it to the park
and drink it al fresco on the DL.

Alloy Wine Works Can Grenache Rose 2015- $7

2. Margaritas: Dry German Riesling.

“The Margarita Effect” is actually a term used by German winemakers to describe the perfect balance of citrus fruit, salt and sweet in the most
popular grape variety of the country. Ask for dry so you don’t get stuck with ageil-milde-riesling
sugar bomb. People often say they can taste the stony slate that this grape is grown on, I think that it tastes like there’s an ice cube in your glass giving you that bright minerality.

Geil Reisling Kabinett- $14

witch margarita

3. Negroni- Beaujolais Villages

Somebody’s fancy! So there’s a misconception that red wines are for the Domaine-Lagneau-Beaujolais-Villages-Burgundy-France-2011colder months- not true. Beaujolais can be delicate, with the tannins to drink winesatisfy the part of you that clearly appreciates a little bitter in life. Like the negroni, it is seasonless. As comforting on a fall day as it is refreshing on your balcony in August. Make sure to chill it before drinking – it makes a huge difference.

My suggestion: Domain Lagneau Beaujolais Villages 2014-  $17

4. Old Fashioned: Georgian Rkatsiteli (Orange Wine)

Orange Wine is probably the most exciting trend in wine right pheastants
now. It is nothing new, though, it has been made in the Caucuses for 5,000 years. The very first wine was made in clay vessels called Kvevri- and it still is to this day. Onto the fun draper clappart. Rkatsiteli will appeal to Old Fashioned drinkers because of the honey, dried fruit, and orange rind notes. Because the grapes ferment partially with the skins and seeds, it has tannins that make it delightfully bitter. Citrus rinds + bitter tannins + woody undertones = a wine Don Draper himself might fall for. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce the name, I can’t either.

My suggestion: Pheasant’s Tears 2013  Rkatsiteli – $15

 

*This was originally for a US based site, so the prices are in US dollars but almost all of these are available in the EU as well*

 

To the mothers who chose to wait

 

The question “Who is Mother’s Day for?” seems like it would have an obvious answer, but for me, that’s not the case. I usually spend this day with my mother, a powerhouse of a woman who raised me in nine locations across the globe and still managed to be there for us despite spending a quarter century doing one of the hardest jobs on earth- being a US Diplomat and working in Systems-a field dominated by men.

I have the best mum, and that’s one of the reasons I want to be a mother myself- more than anything, I want to pass that love forward. Today though, I am not only thinking only about my mother, but about my own experience of motherhood. In the summer of 2012, my birth control failed and two weeks after a tumultuous breakup I found myself pregnant in a city where I barely knew anyone, my mother was three hours away by bus, my ex was refusing to speak to me, and I had all of two friends in Philadelphia. I found out rather unceremoniously- I had gone to the hospital with stomach pains and while in the ER, a male nurse opened the curtain around my bed and said “You’re pregnant”, then walked off.

With those two words and my world fell apart.

I was in a daze from the morphine I needed to to survive the pain, and I had no idea what to do. My mind raced through the problem, I was still in University, I didn’t have a dime in the bank and I was pretty sure my parents weren’t down with abortion, but then again,they’d never talked about it. After what felt like an eternity, a doctor came into the room and told me that the pain and vomiting were likely just me overreacting to morning sickness, and they would discharge me immediately. That felt wrong, but I’m not one to question a doctor so I went home. I was in excruciating pain for days after, and I finally broke down and tried to get a public bus to the hospital. I was so delirious that a fellow passenger removed me from the bus and brought me to the hospital herself. She was the first in a long line of nameless women who I will always love for what they did for me. When I arrived, I was nearly triaged back to the waiting room- until I mentioned I was pregnant.

I don’t remember getting up to the tenth floor, but when I came to my senses and the pain subsided, I was in the most peaceful hospital ward I had ever been in.Everyone was smiling, the nurses and doctors were taking my pain seriously, and maybe it was in my head, but I swear there was soothing music playing the whole time. That’s when a sweet, hijabi nurse walked to my bedside and said,

“How are you feeling, mama?”

That was possibly the strangest moment of the whole ordeal, I knew I couldn’t have this baby. There was no chance I would, but that word sent me to a place I wasn’t ready for-motherhood.

I smiled and said I was alright. They had learned that I had appendicitis and it was extremely serious. I called my mother, who did not yet know I was pregnant and was scheduled for life-saving surgery early the next morning. Now, until you have waited for your card-carrying Republican, somewhat sex-negative (or at least, I thought) mother to meet you in the maternity ward of a hospital, while pregnant and single, you do not know the meaning of the word anxiety. It didn’t take long for her to realise what was happening, and through my tears I had the sweetest realisation- my mother was on my side. Right now, we had to get this appendix out of me before it killed me, but we talked about what I would do afterwards and she was completely supportive. She admitted she hadn’t really thought about it, but her willingness to be ok with my choice makes me tear up to this day.

The next few weeks were a blur, I got out of surgery and would have to wait almost three weeks until I could have the abortion. I was stuck on my couch, seven weeks and pregnant waiting to get to ten before I could go to Planned Parenthood. I wanted to be at home with my mother, but my parents lived in Virginia and getting an abortion there was complicated and difficult. My only option was to stay in Philly.

When you have an unwanted pregnancy, there is an overwhelming sense of urgency. You want it done and over with. Every minute you spend pregnant is strange, emotional, confusing and heartbreaking. I sat on my couch for weeks, and during that time I was a mother. I do not think that the tiny soon-to-be baby inside of me was biologically anything more than a rough sketch of human life, but I loved her.

Every day, I spoke to her. I explained that I loved her but couldn’t be the mother she would need. I fell asleep with my hands over my bandages, sending vibrations of adoration. Despite all of this, I was never unsure of my choice and after the time had passed, I went to the Philly Planned Parenthood with my girlfriend Amanda and started the process of getting an abortion. In Pennsylvania at the time, they made you get an ultrasound to see your foetus and then sent you to “counselling” to make sure you really wanted an abortion.  I powered through. I wasn’t able to be put into twilight sleep for the surgical abortion since the clinic was booked up. I would be awake, which scared me but I was ready to be strong.

The room was sterile, there was a doctor and a lovely young woman who smiled at me and said she was there to hold my hand. I lay down on the paper lined bed and he put the cold forceps inside of me. The pain of dilation was intense, and I held onto that girl’s hand like my life depended on it. I don’t know who she was, but I love her for being there for me. After what felt like forever, the vacuum began to roar. I was clenching my teeth, I was trying to stay strong. Afterwards, I stood up and my thighs were covered in blood, I wasn’t ready for that- it looked like something out of a slasher film. The doctor said that was normal.

I sat in the recovery room, cramping and listening to my iPod. I wasn’t mourning, I was grateful. Abortion isn’t easy and it doesn’t come without a cost, but because of my abortion, I am able to have the life I do. I will choose when I have children and on the days when I get sad about it, my partner looks at me and tells me what I know to be true- that little baby is going to come back to me. I love the child I never had. I know now that it’s possible to love something more than anything in the universe, the love of a mother is incomparable and I tasted it- that’s why I know that motherhood will be the greatest thing I ever get to experience.

To mothers of children who never were, to the mothers who chose to wait- happy Mother’s Day. Our stories aren’t told, and I want to be open about what its like to not regret your abortion, but still have learned motherly love from the experience of pregnancy.

Note: There were many things about my experience that illustrate how horrible the politics of getting an abortion are for women. First, I nearly died because of the epidemic of doctors not taking women’s pain seriously. I was forced to have the abortion far from my family because of the variation in state laws, I was also forced to get an ultrasound that I didn’t want. I had to experience this wide awake because the Planned Parenthood in my city was one of only a few clinics and was overbooked- unable to serve all of the women who needed them. Lastly, because I couldn’t afford the abortion (which is why I didn’t have the child) I was paying off the $900 bill for nearly a year after the ordeal. Every time a bill came I was reminded, and I was lucky enough to have a campus job that allowed me to pay it off eventually. 

Thank you to all the women who got me through this, during and after. I have so far confided in just a few friends, but they all provided me with incredible support to deal with this, to Michele M, my roommate in Philly, Amanda M, Samantha T who was the first person I told after I left the hospital and walked into her place of work nearly crying, Liv and Erica who visited me in the aftermath, and my mother who is one of my best friends and champions. To my Alway Something Girls- you know who you are, you were so important.

 

Transatlantic

People often ask me for travel advice, and while I don’t profess to be an expert in many things, I have traveled across the Atlantic more times than I have had birthdays, and I cannot begin to count the number of flights I’ve taken in my lifetime.

If I know about anything, it is about flying. Next Monday, I will be getting on a nearly twelve hour flight to Barbados and I thought I would share what I’m bringing to survive the haul. My ticket is economy and the carrier is a no-frills budget airline, so I will have even fewer than the average amenities on board.

So, what will I wear and what will I bring? Let’s start with my purse.

Carry On Essentials

<br/>

  1. Moisturizer, Avene Eau Thermale facial spray, hand cream, facial wipes, mascara and tinted lip balm. I like to make sure I can clean my face, keep myself moisturised and then make myself look presentable on the other side.
  2. Entertainment! Kindle, MacBook Air, iPhone, noise canceling headphones, and of course, a portable charger. This is pretty self-explanatory.
  3. Snacks- a nice mix of sweet, savoury, naughty and nice. Plus- tea bags to make comforting, hydrating herbal tea instead of nasty airplane coffee and my favourite secret- a mini bottle or two of some really nice liquor. What can I say? Making a Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic makes me feel civilised while in the insanity of a packed plane.
  4. Documents, Notebook, Pen, Wallet. Always bring a pen, you will need it.
  5. Big, soft scarf, cozy socks and sunglasses for when I land.
  6. Sturdy tote to put it all in!
FRA-BGI

 

This is it, all I am bringing. One purse, one carry on and some comfy layers for the plane ride. The shoes slip off quickly in security and he neutral colours are classic and unfussy.

 

 

Capsule Wardrobe Experiment: February-April 2016

I have always owned too many clothes. I never thought of this as a particular problem; I have always been in the habit of constantly accumulating clothing and then periodically purging my closet and trying to start over again. Even when I packed up my life into a backpack and moved to Palestine with 20 or so pieces of clothing, I found myself accumulating as soon as I arrived. When I ended up in Europe and started making money again, it was even worse. A year into my time in Germany, my closet was overflowing and I was taking over more and more drawers in my partner’s and my shared bureau. Ben and I have been talking about how we need more storage and I assumed that was right until I heard an interview with Caroline Rector on The Lively Show and heard about her experiment with a seasonal capsule wardrobe. Recently, I have been trying to go deeper in my life instead of always attempting to be expansive in every way. This idea resonated with my new mindset so beautifully that I sat down to pare down my options to 37 pieces, including some repeats I love within the week.

I have always had clothing in just about every style, but as I looked through my old photos and compared them to my new capsule wardrobe, my style jumped out at me. I always thought I was too eclectic to have a cohesive style, but I was wrong! I have always owned and loved mariniers, button-down shirts, blazers, lots of navy, and pops of colour. I can recall individual items of clothing that I loved so much I can still remember all of their details. A JCrew Navy canvas jacket, a tan circle skirt, a grey cardigan, my skater style dresses I had made in India, and my favourite navy gingham button down. My style was just hiding between the mess of distracting trend pieces I couldn’t stop buying.

I feel so liberated with this wardrobe, everything I put on feels like home and looks like me. I am not grasping for a style I just don’t resonate with and even more interesting for me, I feel like this style is not weight dependant. I often look back at photos of me before my illness, at 19 years old and I think “I can’t wear that anymore”.

It’s wrong. My thought that capsule wardrobes can only work for the skinny, or for women who never change size is wrong.

I put my smaller clothes and my summer pieces in the cellar of our apartment building. I feel so confident knowing that I can go back to those pieces because I KNOW I will change weights. I always have- that’s my body.

I am so excited about this change; I’m looking forward to thinking less about clothes and more about who I am as a person.

 

Want to try it yourself? Check out Unfancy’s guide here.

The evolution of my style 2007-2016

Recline

I do not know how to abandon my fervent search for impressiveness. I want people to look at me and tell me they don’t know how I did something, or better- continually bring up my experiences and successes like I’m some wunderkind for just doing the things I have just been presented with in the course of my life so far.

I want to be extraordinary, and it’s currently making my life hell. I can’t even fathom spending GOD FORBID THREE WHOLE YEARS here in Frankfurt. Here I have my life; I have my partner in life, and I am terrified just to relax for a minute, let alone a few years because I think it’s too “average”. When I left the United States, I chose to move to the most stressful, complicated and rewarding places I have ever been- the West Bank, Palestine.

Palestine is everything that I love, and my busy addicted brain was getting a daily dose of my favourite drugs: constant stimulation and praise from the people I had left behind. When I got stranded in Germany in January of 2015, I was terrified because I traded those things for quiet and unimpressive surroundings. A year later, I am even more scared.

I find myself already desperate to get out of Europe and keep fighting my way to some success, as defined by my high-achieving parents who are my role models in this regard. There are so many things that excite me- the list is long, and I have no idea which ones I should pursue. I get equally excited about public diplomacy, women’s rights, photography, food, marketing and wine. I do not have a calling.

Maybe I just don’t know what it is yet, but at 25, I refuse to let myself believe that it’s OK to opt out of the race to succeed for a few years. I have a fear of being overtaken by my peers, compared to whom I already feel woefully inadequate. I went to high schools that produce incredibly successful global citizens, and in those places, I was attracted to the people who were driven, smart and successful and unsurprisingly, have become very successful in life. My Facebook feed is filled with individuals who are exactly my age whom I wish I could be.

I am filled with envy, and I am terrified of underachieving. I come from a family and a background where I wanted and want for nothing. I have a safety net so why shouldn’t I continually, obsessively, work hard to achieve a specific kind of success?

I would not even consider taking a break from that mindset if I weren’t being forced to see it for what it is. My anxiety has grown into a monster I can no longer control. My life is one huge case of FOMO (fear of missing out), and until I can let go and allow life just to happen for a while, I am afraid I will continue to suffocate under the weight of my expectations for myself.

I do not know how to trust life. I don’t know how to trust that just taking care of myself and not obsessively seeking warmer weather, busier streets and more difficult work will not derail my entire life.

I’m living in a world of high achievers; I hear about the importance of being successful before I have children, so it’s harder to stagnate when I have a family. I hear about going to grad school sooner rather than later, I hear that I need to be working towards a goal with every step I take, but I don’t even know what that goal is right now.

I honestly am not sure how to go about reclining and allowing myself room to grow, heal and find what truly drives and inspires me. All I can do is try.

 

Cafe Sugar Mama

We made the most wonderful discovery today- Cafe Sugar Mama is a little cafe down by the Main River south of Konstablerwache. It was packed when we walked in around 130 today, but we vied for a seat and had a perfectly charming lunch. The savoury food is interesting and original, but all surprisingly good. There were three homemade daily soups and two salads along with quiche, and sandwiches. The best part was the prices- barely anything is more than 5 euros which is excellent.

We indulged in the desserts, which are not gluten-free, or healthful (try What the Food for that), but were stellar and SO worth the splurge! I had a quiche with leeks, bacon, peppers and onions and Ben had bacon, apple, corn, frischkase, lettuce on excellent bread. I know it sounds weird but trust me it was so good I was shocked. They rotate the desserts, but today I had a chocolate chunk cookie with candied peanuts and white chocolate drizzle on top.

Get thee to Cafe Sugar Mama! I see they also do cocktails and wine- will definitely be back for more.