Baking Attempts (6/1/14)
So, my Italian flatmate had previously introduced me to this delicious chocolate biscuit called Pan di Stella. I found a recipe online and finally got a chance to try it out. It didn’t turn out so well, the recipe was pretty flawed, so I looked at several more recipes that are easier to find now that I’m on American Google instead of Irish Google. Turns out, most of the recipes call for butter AND margarine, while the one I used called for only butter – thus half the amount of oils required to make the dry mixtures stick together.
However, my friend and I managed to improvise a little and get the biscuit back “on track” towards being “bake-able”. It baked okay, but the biscuit turned out a little too crunchy and dry for my liking. I’m not sure it tastes right, but it’s definitely something you wouldn’t eat by itself – only with milk and/or tea, or coffee. I’m happy my host mom said she liked it – hopefully she wasn’t just saying that to be nice.
Sweet Simplicities (7/1/14)
I got a hair trim today. I had totally forgotten, but my friend’s brother had recently completed cosmetology school. When we went out to Eleven a few days ago, she reminded me and said that her brother would be happy to trim my hair for free and get some practice in. So, I invited him over to the house and he gave me a nice, simple trim. Afterwards, neither of us had plans so we hung out at his apartment. He made me some medium rare steak with corn and rice for a delicious and simple dinner. Then, we had some fun and I watched The Goonies for the first time in my life. Now I know where another one of my brother’s silly phrases comes from.
Before going to bed, my host family took their new telescope outside for the second time during my stay. We got to look at the moon. I got a good picture of it through my camera on the telescope, much like how I do my microscope pictures. It was dandy.
Flying to Texas (9/1/14)
Today, I had an early flight for Lubbock, Texas at 6am. I had my “twin” pick me up way too early at 2am. I figured 2 hours for traveling because LA freeways can get crazy, and 2 hours for the airport security and things like that. Nope. We ended up arriving at the airport in 45 minutes and the terminal didn’t open until 4am. Lessons learned: check what the terminal opens if you have an early flight.
On the plus side, I met this nice, Jewish guy. I can’t remember his name because it’s Hebrew, but I learned something new from him. He told me he was born in Israel to American parents. This allows him to legally have dual citizenship since children of Americans are automatically American citizens – or something like that – and being born in Israel gives you an Israeli citizenship by birth. So that was interesting.
Then, we parted our separate ways and I went to my gate. My flight ended up arriving 45 minutes late. That was not fun. Thankfully, I had saved an hour or so between my two flights and the airport in Denver isn’t too big. Flying into Denver was rather exciting, as the cloud cover was gorgeous and the landscape looked like a giant piece of artwork with the snow covering every last inch of it. However, upon landing I dashed across the airport in 30 minutes and barely made boarding for my flight. The oddest thing I noticed at the Denver airport, while I was speeding across it, was that they had signs for tornado shelters. TORNADO SHELTERS! Californian thinking: WHAT?!
Anyways, I boarded the flight, which was supposed to be booked full. Only 60-70% of the passengers showed. The flight attendant was rather nice and after they had closed the gate and finished boarding she told us all over the intercom, “Change seats now or forever hold your peace.” Funnies. In midair, we passed some crop circles. I’d seen them before on a previous flight, but never the amount I saw this time. Some designs were interesting, though most were just like pie charts.
Upon my arrival in Lubbock, apparently located in West Texas, my friend’s “boss” picked me up at the airport with my friend. Then, another friend of his took us out to a “Thai” restaurant for dinner. It wasn’t as good as the Westernized Asian food where I come from, as I come from rather Asian area. However, it was alright. The oddest part though – in my opinion, was the fact that the chefs and the servers were all non-Asian. There were very few Asians in sight, and definitely none visible among the staff. The food wasn’t what I expected, but it was alright.
Delicious, Spicy Hot Pot (10/1/14)
My second night in Texas and my friend’s “boss” had invited us to her house where she made us a traditional Chinese/Asian dish. In Chinese, we call it “hot pot”, but it’s also known as “shabu shabu” in Japanese restaurants back home. Essentially you start off with a broth boiling on a stove set in the center of the table. Then, you add veggies, meat, seafood – pretty much whatever you want – to the soup. Once you fish out whatever you put in, you dip it in a sauce to cool it before you eat it.
This hot pot she had made us was rather spicy. I was dying and I had to drink two whole bottles of water, something I NEVER do over the course of one meal. It was crazy hot, but I survived.
Oddities of West Texas (11/1/14)
Today was quite exciting. My friend’s friend picked us up and took us out for a movie day. Along the way, I noticed some oddities about Lubbock that don’t occur in Southern California. First and foremost, they have drive-thru smoke shops where people can buy their cigarettes and such on the fly. What a strange concept. Also, their 7-eleven, a convenience “store”, is attached to a line of gas stations called Alon, instead of being a stand-alone shop.
We barely made it for the movie because my friend’s friend was late picking us up. Thank goodness for previews though. We watched Saving Mr. Banks. It was a pretty gosh darn good movie. Now that I know Mary Poppins was based on a book, I must look for the book and read it.
For dinner, my friend and I walked to Chick-fil-a. I was so excited because I didn’t get to have some while I was out in Southern California. The odd thing was seeing a Chick-fil-a without an In-N-Out next to it, since that’s how it usually is in Southern California – probably because both restaurants have a religious background.
After dinner, my friend and had some fun setting up his Wi-Fi, since he didn’t have any for his apartment and his router had been previously been causing us problems. He found a new router today and we got it all hooked up and set up the Wi-Fi. It was much easier than I expected. After all that jazz, we watched Bridesmaids because we found the DvD for it in his house while I was cleaning up the living room. He fell asleep while we were watching it, it was an okay movie.
A Little Exploring Fun (12/1/14)
I woke up rather late this morning, unsure of what I wanted for breakfast. I had spotted an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) restaurant yesterday, and I had said I wanted to go at some point, if possible. So, my friend took me on a little walk to the IHOP nearby and had breakfast. It was SOOOO delicious – as always. My how I’ve missed IHOP. I’m glad they have it here in Texas, since my IHOP date in California had cancelled on me the night before we were supposed to go.
Anyhow, after stuffing myself like a little piggy that I am, we took a walk around the Texas Tech University campus for the first time. My friend showed me some of the cool sculptures on campus and things like that. It was pretty fun. Although, I must say: the buildings on this campus are rather drab looking, with sand-colored walls and clay-colored roof tiles. There’s nothing really all that noticeable besides the art sculptures on the campus. Though, I have to admit, some of the sculptures were pretty fascinating.
So, I hadn’t gotten out of the house much other than the little that I did when my friend’s friends drove us out and such the past few days of my stay in Texas. During the days, I had been cleaning his one-bedroom apartment. It was surprisingly fun and today I finally reached what I’d consider a “liveable” condition. There’s still a little more to do, but it’s pretty good. I’m proud of myself.
“Panoramic” Pictures of Texas Tech: