The endless, occasionally disruptive chorus of cicadas (I’m thinking of morning meditation today, when I chose my meditation practice over perpetuating the functionality of my eardrums). Charles chanting post-lunch to break the silence that we humans impose on ourselves for one lunch per week. The sweet breeze swooping in almost silently to provide some respite from the ongoing heat that has yet to be broken by any precipitation in over a month. The occasional yip from our canine companion who shares the ups and downs of our day with us. This is what 13:34 on a Wednesday at the Art Monastery sounds like.
Finally, one cannot ignore the fading tickle of our tastebuds having just been tantalized and awakened by Emma’s casually outstanding meal of vegetable chow mein for lunch. Sure, we may be in Italy, but Emma has found an enchanting way of replicating (foreign) tastes of home with local ingredients and those that have been imported, thanks to our discovery of a multicultural grocery store squeezed between the bus station and the train station in Terni—a key location, it seems, given the constant transit of foreigners in that part. Though the produce at this store varies, we have been fortunate to have plantains, sweet potatoes, and ginger grace our p(a)lates over these past six weeks.
Side note: I used to despise peas—like, they would incite a gag reflex in me. The only way in which I could consume them without a consecutive display that would make people in my surroundings quickly disperse was if I ate them in a samosa or in curries. Here in Italy, I don’t know what happened, but I have on occasion crowded the rest of my food on my plate to the side in order to delight in peas’ unadulterated taste. WHAT HAPPENED? I mean, it’s not like I’ve started eating that unruly, disgusting spawn of the soil cilantro (shudder). No, they're just peas... and they're not eggplant (swoon) or anything, and, in theory, peas still gross me out, but I have grown to love them.
Don't tell my mom.
|Peas in chow mein!|
|Peas with a ridiculous assortment of food!|
|Peas and white beans!|
|I made myself rice pudding for breakfast a few days ago. Ta-da!|
|On days off, when our spectacular cook is entitled to not cook at all—but she often does—we sometimes order pizza. Of course, there’s no delivery, but we live within walking distance of three pizzerie. Life ain’t so bad, eh?|
|Our humble dining area at sunset|
|VEGAN COOKIES AT THE GROCERY STORE! Breathe. Okay, I've seen vegan foods at the grocery store in the past, but seldom do I ever see the Vegan logo. Rock on! On a side note, these cookies weren't very tasty, but they were tasty when dipped in coffee.|
|Emma felt like having sandwiches, and I have to say that I totally dig when her cravings match my own. She made the panini from scratch and we chopped up all the fixings. Heeeck, yeah!|
|Polenta... fresh rosemary from our garden... rock salt... Aaaahhh, the little things in life...|
|Bread. All kinds. All the time. Fresh. No order of adjectives necessary. Just periods. Period. Bread. Face. Yes.|
In short, living amongst the Art Monastery community is a delight and treasure for all of the senses. For now, let’s ignore my trying to avoid burning my wrists and thighs on my laptop as I sit in the sun, not to mention scalding the soles of my feet on my black flip-flops that devour the merciless heat, or being blinded by the reflection of my MacBook’s shiny metal. Oh, Sun, your touch is a vital part of this experience, too.
Gratefully and scaldingly yours,
Vegan in Suburbia