If there were a theme for the last few weeks since you heard from me, it would be this: perspective. When I really think about it, both everything and nothing have changed, but I still consider it serendipitous, nonetheless.
To start, I taught my first yoga class! And though it went nothing at all like I had planned-focusing instead on alignment and pranayama (or breath)-it was successful. I discovered that I actually DO have a relaxing yoga voice, that I can teach proper alignment WHILE IN PLANK (oops!), and that, despite all my nervousness and preparation, it is genuinely possible for me to fill a 75-minute period with meaningful practice. Some beautiful, familiar faces were there to support me, I received a commemorative GIFT to celebrate the occasion, and, when all but one person refrained to go along with the balance sequence I had crafted for the class, I learned to improvise.
From Florida, I headed to Montreal to meet up with my darling after our summer apart. For those of you who don’t know, Montreal has been on my hit list for years; I had dreamed of a North American city that could replicate the beauty of all the things I had encountered in Europe, and I had been told that Montreal was it. But almost instantly, I knew it wasn’t my place. Sure, it offers a lot of the things that everyone talks about: scenic views, cool shops, weird eateries, cobblestone streets. With those things came several unexpected challenges: unwelcoming accents that made my background learning French useless, many a wasted dollar trying to find a delicious meal (resulting, in part, because we were unfamiliar with the city itself), and an unfortunate ankle injury thanks to a combination of my excitement, my poor wardrobe planning, and the unevenness of the old world sidewalks…In truth, the only part of my trip that felt right was standing under the setting sun with my sweetheart, admiring the breezy, blowy trees around us as Arcade Fire performed their last show on their Reflektor tour, setting off fireworks in front of me (and in my heart). In that moment, with some jerk’s smoke blowing in my face, with a happy belly full of delicious food from Olive and Gourmando, with my darling just within reach as my favorite band wailed away before me, I could not have cared about where I was, and everything we had encountered became valuable. Worth it.
So then, I returned home to find all the things I had gone without this summer. I missed my sweaters. I missed my fireplace. I missed my backyard. I missed my bed. I missed my table, adorned with a vintage scarf that was given to me by an old friend (whose blue and white pattern you can see in the picture above). Venturing outside, I found that my favorite coffee shop opened up a new location IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I found all the amazing pizza places I already knew were here. I got Rice Krispie treats downtown. Someone was “Minnesota Nice” enough to turn in my darling’s lost cell phone at Barnes and Noble. I got some of the best hugs EVER upon returning to my coffee shop. And I finally found myself, peering into my own fridge, craving some salad. Here’s where the real magic occurred.
I chopped up some bell pepper and minced some garlic. I wreaked havoc on a poor lime for its juices. I rinsed some canned corn and black beans, sprinkling them decoratively with aromatic fresh cilantro. And then I found myself spooning my black bean “salad” into my mouth with the help of tortilla chips. As serendipity would have it these last few weeks–there I was, accidentally changing my perspective on what was in front of me in a very fortunate way.
I suppose this is premature, but I am just going to tell you this now and save us both some time: you’re welcome.
One Year: Black Bean Chili. I think I am sensing another theme to the tune of “black beans.”
Black Bean Salsa
Adapted from All Recipes
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime*
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 15-oz can corn, drained and rinsed
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 heaping tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper until combined. In a medium bowl, add bell pepper, corn, black beans, and cilantro, stirring to combine. Drizzle olive oil-lime juice mixture over the black bean mixture and stir until evenly coated. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. Store Black Bean Salsa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*It’s important to really obliterate the lime to get the most juice out of it. To do so, I slice the lime in half and then use a fork to extract as much juice from each half as possible.