Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Taste of Home

One of the best ways that I’ve discovered to combat homesickness is to recreate the traditions that you miss most. This is how the idea of All-American Brunch was born.

Sunday brunch is a New York staple, as much about the company of friends and the excuse to drink champagne in the morning as it is about the food. We rounded up the American staff hailing from Seattle, Tennessee, DC, New York and Massachusetts, coordinated days off, and dressed in our finest red-white-and-blue for a little taste of home without anyone making fun of the way we say “tomato”.

We scoured the grocery store in town to find bagels (surprisingly scarce in this country!), eggs, smoked salmon, hollandaise, bacon, fruit salad, mimosas and coffee and dove into our feast. Saturday Night Live’s the Best of Will Farrell provided the perfect entertainment, making it tough to chew through laughter.

To top off the afternoon, Helen and I dove into a Sex and the City marathon, which turned out to be a bit of an overkill. It’s one thing to enjoy the benefits of a good brunch, and another entirely to taunt yourself with visions of the things from home you can’t have: good friends, a different restaurant everyday of the week, and all of the perks of cosmopolitan life.

So, I just reminded myself of the humidity of an East Coast summer, bundled underneath a blanket and drifted into a nap. Central Park grass can’t always be greener.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mother Nature is a Tough Boss!

One of the largest adjustments from moving to a concrete jungle to a mountain environment has been conceding major decisions to the whims of the weather. As a pedestrian town, New York is somewhat affected by the forecast - do you carry an umbrella to the subway? Do you eat at an outdoor cafĂ© or seek solace in an air-conditioned room – very rarely will the weather actually disrupt the flow of daily life.

On the mountain, we are at the mercy of the skies. My work schedule is dependent on access to the ski areas: if they’re open we can expect to be busy later in the day as families come down after a day on the slopes, but I get called in early on days that the slopes are closed to accommodate guests who settle for tea and scones as opposed to a day of snowboarding. Deliveries and trips to the nearest towns depend on the roads being open and ice free, and whether or not the car available has chains or four-wheel drive.

It can be a humbling experience, and a frustrating one. Ski and 

snowboarding fans are stuck sleeping with crossed fingers that they can take full advantage of their days off. A heavy snow can turn the walk to work into an obstacle course, dodging the snowball fights that automatically ensue after a heavy snow.

Even our moods can be affected. I worried about the idea of living through two winters in a row when I chose to change hemispheres. I may have soaked up the sun in Las Vegas before arriving, but the idea of snowstorms in September is still tough to wrap my head around- especially with pictures of friends from home lounging on the beach taunting me on Facebook.

I’ve always respected the power and beauty of the weather - lightning storms and sunsets are a few of my favorite things – but there are certainly days when I wish Mother Nature took requests into consideration.