The summer months of July and August are always the slowest in terms of sharing and updating. I am so behind, I think I really should lay this to rest. Writing on here has helped me clarify other parts of my life, because writing, in a weird sense, commits me to ideas, and allows me to check on progressive changes (such as failing to post 3 MoMe's). The month of meals project seemed like a great way to utilize a short amount of time to streamline an entire month of planning, shopping, and meal prep. It went out the window during the moves, and it was nonexistent during our 2-week road trek. But because of it, I sought out the farmers' markets, and planned some canning activities (chipotle salsa and nectarine vanilla bean jam, thank you very much). I have a back log of recipes, including purple potato salad (well, ok, just that one, but I recently roasted some fresh okra and served it alongside some spicy roasted pepper peanut sauce).
It feels really nice to be living back in the states. The convenience of American society feels unmatched: public and well maintained (clean) bathrooms in every major store, water fountains, friendly service, the plethora of dining choices, food ingredients (black beans, poblano chili peppers, corn meal, corn tortillas, quinoa, pearl couscous, etc, etc), Starbucks in Target, and being able to load up a car with bags of heavy cat litter as opposed to biking them home, or walking them home. There have been many moments where I have enjoyed being able to converse in English, and not think a second about trying, or forcing someone else to speak English.
Before the multiple moves this year, I found myself involved in a lot of personal projects. One of those personal projects was maintaining my job search while abroad, and as an extension of that search, and all the frustrations that job searching can bring up, I launched a job search site. I rarely write about my "professional" life on here, but it has been growing slowly and steadily. At least for me, my own job searching (and overall maintenance of the site) led me to finding a teaching job within community nutrition and public health. Coming back to the states was a tough decision, but having a job opportunity and offer in something that was such a great fit for me, made the decision to return full of energy. I've started teaching undergraduate community nutrition and public health through a coordinated dietetics program. While we lived in the southeastern US before our Euro-move, this relocation takes us into the deep south. It is hot, humid, and a huge American football epicenter. Biking will be challenging, but I am going to try and keep at it. If anything, I can bring what I loved about the Belgian bike infrastructure into an extremely poor bicycling environment.
My approach to Khavanu has been filled with a lot of uncertainty. I neglected this space, when it was something I really enjoyed pouring a lot of energy into in the past three years (it also improved upon my photography skills by forcing me to not overlook the blurred trying-to-be food shots). I'm not sure what direction I will go.
I haven't been writing and updating, but I have been taking a lot of pics with a new smart phone. After arriving back in the states we took a road trip up the east coast, visited friends and family, had sticker shock at beer prices in the US, drank said beers anyways, tried lots of new beers, discovered that the US supply of Belgian beers is better than in Belgium, packed up and did a self move (100x easier than the trans-Euro move), visited Sweden, visited Belgium, and started new jobs. Oh, and I am so completely appreciative of having a car. There I said it. And warm weather.
(This pic is for you, Nico!)