Monday, August 31, 2009
No, I didn't cut a cake the size of a small country bedecked with a dozen candles. I didn't get drunk out of my skull and take pictures that cannot be uploaded on facebook. I didn't even eat a year's worth at a restraunt that costs the GDP of a small country. I was indoors for the most part, unpacking large brown boxes and two large suitcases to get settled in for what promises to be an exciting, and sadly, my last semester at grad school.
A new city, a new course load and an experience that is anyone's guess at this point.
But apart from the "newness" factor, this birthday was special for the people who made it great. For a first birthday spent away from all family, I had to settle for their gorgeous smiles crowding for space on the webcam on another morning spent with Skype. Friends called from overseas and within the country. Old friends, new friends, school friends, friends I haven't spoken to in years - all called to say Happy Birthday Ayesha.
And my facebook wall is looking pretty cool right about now.
That's what made me the happiest. If I've gone 23 years living in a way that makes people make the effort of calling to wish me a happy birthday, I must be doing something right. Thank you to everyone who made this day special.
To a whole year of being 23 and fabulous!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
When I think back to a year ago, I remember the gripping pangs of uncertanity that knawed at my insides. I stepped out of one of my first late night classes at COM and remember feeling petrified at the night that seemed to swallow me in this new city. I was scared of getting lost, scared of speaking to new people, scared to try anything different. And now it feels like I've known the Bay State almost forever.
Boston is a great place - large enough to feel like a city, small enough to make you feel a part of it. The people smile, when the sun is out, it's the best, the air is clean. Boston's spirit is warm and fuzzy, welcoming and accepting of a largely migratory population that flock to its borders for a world-class education at one of many colleges. And when a student finishes their course and begins to move out of the city, Boston gives them a pat on their back, nudges them along their way and reminds them they always have a friend on the east coast. No strings attached.
I'm extremely excited about beginning a new chapter. But I love Boston. Always. For taking me in and making me one of its own. Yes, love. Not just like. I intend on being back for commencement. Until then, Boston, and the neighborhood in which I lived, Brookline, will be missed. Sorely.
This summer, the culinary pursuits were a top priority The Cheesecake Factory - M introduced me to this one which I thought served only cheesecake an hence the name. Turns out, they have some of the most delectable pastas and chicken creations that you can enjoy in adelicious settings. Dim lighting and booth-seating with great music and a brightly-lit, glass-paned kitchen. Portion size is fantastic. I enjoyed the Chicken Bellagio, served on a bed of noodles, and the Honey Caramelized Chicken. Liked the former more than the latter.
Qdoba - Not a big fan of Mexican fare but tried this one for the offer that was available with Coolidge Corner Theater. The tortilla bowl was insanely oily, the chicken smelled of chicken fat and I wasn't allowed to trade my free drink privilege for a cookie instead. Although the price was steal, I don't find myself returning.
Zenna Noodle Bar - I felt like taking my pretty self to dinner one day, so I did. To the noodle bar at Coolidge Corner. The food was very similar to that of Noodle St., on-campus. But the decor definitely more upmarket.
India Samrat - Total diamond in the dust, this gorgeous Indian restraunt on Mass. Ave. G and I ate the thali meal here. By far, the most authentic food I have eaten on foreign soil. Affordable, great portion, great service and the oh-so-India-feel, complete with a television that plays Hindi film songs.
Addis Red Sea - Reluctantly, Pu agreed to join me to this Ethiopian restraunt in Cambridge. And we're both so glad she did. A tiny space made to look like the country whose cuisine it represents, with a thatch roof over the bar and traditional mesobs, or wicker tables, instead of wooden ones. We ate Yebeg Wot, or spicy, curried lamb and Lega Tibs, or mildly seasoned lamb, with Ethiopian bread, whose name evades me. Very similar to the Indian dosa, or crepe. Absolutely fantastic. And Pu is great company - the kind that does not think good food must be accompanied with good conversation. Strees-free eating!
P.F. Chang's - Finally tried this one at the Prudential Mall. Ordered the Singapore Street Noodles, intended to be a recreation of the original. I was disappointed with the vermicelli preperation although I'm inspired to improvise on the rough draft.