The Other Half

I love silence. I love thinking about things, lingering on ideas and words. I love taking my time.

Last November, I had no idea if I’d make it through my life in one piece. I had no idea what to do. There wasn’t even enough of me to turn all of that into poetry. It was a wordless kind of pain. But this has been a very loud year. Full of sound. Full of change. And going most of the time, at full speed, in all directions.

The engagement. The new home. The new job.

All beautiful things. Beautiful additions to my life. Things I hoped for. And now here they are. Instead of having the stars in my life explode in my face, they are shining a bright light on me instead. It’s so wonderful, it’s hard to believe. Of all things, I am uneasy.

Unease, it turns out, is the other half of happiness.

Pico Iyer

Movement is a fantastic privilege and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to. And home in the end is not just the place where you sleep, but the place where you stand. – Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is my favorite travel writer. I love his appreciation for the outer and the inner world –  places thousands of miles away and places that require sustained reflection to reach. When I first discovered his writing, I was living and working in Japan. I printed an article he wrote about trains and taped it to my journal. Now as I daydream about where to go to next, I will keep this quote here, to remind myself that I first need to appreciate who and where I am now.

Milk Bread

This is the summer of making things from scratch. I decided to bake soft and fluffy milk bread.

One loaf of bread, by hand, is 5 hours. It is 3AM and I am tired but the house smells delicious. Hopefully my ladies will love it or at the very least, say they love me.

Cooking amplifies, joy. Slows it down and sharpens it. Whatever it is I’m making, the entire process of cooking, from start to finish, provides me with exactly what I need to remember that everything is just fine, just as it is. Instead of choosing to doubt, worry, or wither, I choose to mix, knead, and rise. 

The Recipes:  Tangzhong and Milk Bread.


Cambodian Inspiration

This was the inspiration.

Danee sent me a picture of all the ingredients her mom uses to make pork curry and I was just taken by it. When her mom left Thailand, the one thing she decided to carry with her, was her mortar and pestle. She uses it to pound and grind and release all of the above into what I imagine to be, the most heavenly, aromatic, pungent, delicious combination of curry – ever. I regretted for days, that I couldn’t make it over to her house to have some. What on earth was that important? I don’t know. All I know is, I made, a mistake.

For dinner last night with Chin Chuan, Joe, and Danee I tried to make some semblance of Thai curry. I made the best of what I could find with store bought green curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, Thai chili, eggplants, sweet basil, mushrooms, bell peppers, and chicken. It was good but I imagine freshly made curry paste, from a well seasoned mortar and pestle would have been infinitely better.

Eating Nectarines

Sugar runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is nothing sweeter than this.
I have been eating nectarines.

My fiancé does not believe what he sees.
His eyes are wide
and he walks with his hands in his pockets.

The nectarines are gone.
The wine bottles are empty.
The guests are standing by the door and coming in.

Their eyes search,
their legs shake like branches.
Our poor friends begin to stamp their feet and weep.

They do not understand.
He gets on his knees and begins to lick my hand,
I scream.

I am a new woman.
I purr at them and meow.
I carry the pitcher to them, dripping with joy.

Inspired by: Eating Poetry by Mark Strand