I was surprised when I noticed that it had been almost a week since my last post. Here's an update about the last week, which was busy academically and medically, but calm in all other adverbs since I mostly wanted to sleep and drink tea.
Sunday I had a sore, swollen throat and self-diagnosed laryngitis. However, then I got a headache, fever, chills, and sore muscles, and Wikipedia said that it added up to flu. Whoopee.
Monday I was down to muscle pains and a sore throat, which are typical dehydration symptoms, so I self-treated accordingly.
Tuesday my throat felt pretty normal (good, because I had choir rehearsal) but I had a headache.
Wednesday the headache was gone, the sore throat was back, and I decided it must really be laryngitis after all.
Thursday my cough worsened until it got bad enough that it could be bronchitis. That awful racking, scratchy cough that leaves your throat raw and your lungs hurting.
Friday, after consuming about twenty cough drops and six cups of herbal tea, back down to sore throat (I haven't spoken or sung a word all afternoon to prevent the cough coming back), general ache, and possibly a fever, so it must be flu.
All in all, my two most common activities this week have been sleeping and coughing.
However, the week wasn't all bad!
Anthropology was really interesting. We've started talking about how to define types of groups (community, tribe, ethnicity, society, etc.) and what defines a culture. It's very interesting, and one of the benefits is that it's a good way to help me notice things about the culture I'm living in. Unfortunately, any revelations I had on Wednesday are somewhere locked in my mind behind the dominant thoughts of "make another cup of tea, and then have another cough drop."
Linguistics was fascinating too. Yesterday we had a guest lecture about translating subtitles. It's challenging because time and space constraints make it impossible to do a direct translation, but important because subtitles help to preserve audio-visual documents (whether it's movies, documentaries, or even advertisements) as the works of art they were intended to be. Friday class was in a computer lab, and we used the techniques we'd learned and professional software to create subtitles for a scene of "Life is Beautiful." If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. We subtitled the German audio in the rule-explanation scene. It was technique and style that were important, not content, which is great since my German language skills don't go much beyond telling people that I'm a potato.
Thursday, Becky and I went on a "field trip" to Carrefour, which is a lot like a Super Wal-Mart. They have everything that the local supermarket doesn't have, so if I'm ever stumped for food ideas I can go there for inspiration. Also, we discovered that France still has Crispy M&Ms, which America doesn't have anymore (yes, Scott, I will bring you some). I got purple and teal erasable ink, another notebook, mangoes and plums, more cough drops, and... two new flavors of Pringles.
Quick explanation: last summer when Kristen and I were in Europe, we tried a number of interesting flavors of Pringles, such as Paprika, Hot Holland Hot, Feta Cheese and Avocado Oil, Thai Spice, and so on. I try every bizarre Pringles flavor I come across, but nothing has come close to what I discovered at Carrefour: I present, for your chuckles, two really weird varieties:
1) Steak and Caramelized Onions
2) Tiger Prawn and Crushed Garlic
HA! Made my day. Then I coughed all the way through Dutch, though I am now confident in my ability to count to a million (if I had the time and no sore throat) and chat about how people are feeling today.
And finally, here's a recipe that I invented that's really really good. My sole inspiration was that zucchini was on sale and that I really needed to use those tomatoes.
These amounts are enough for one serving as a main dish, or two servings as a side.
Slice a zucchini (about 1/4 inch slices) and spread out the slices on a plate.
Sprinkle them with pepper, salt, and a lot of basil.
Heat a teaspoon or so of butter in a non-stick pan. Toss in about ten olives, sliced. I used green ones. Then add the zucchini and toss it around a bit. Cover the pan and let the zucchini steam a bit.
Meanwhile, slice two tomatoes fairly thinly. Sprinkle the slices with basil and add them to the pan. Let the vegetables cook for about four more minutes while you get other food ready. For the last minute of cooking, take off the pan's lid so that the tomato juice can cook off a bit. It goes well with a piece of turkey (even if the turkey is slightly burned) or with a couple eggs.
[Speaking of eggs, I've branched out! Now that I like fried eggs, I googled other ways of cooking them and decided to try poaching them. The method I like best is kind of weird, but it works really well. All you do is crack an egg into about a foot of cling wrap (line a little bowl with it so that you don't make a mess), then twist the excess tightly to make a little pouch. Try not to let any air stay in with the egg, or it'll float and not cook fully. Drop the plastic-wrapped egg into boiling water and let it bounce around for three minutes (use a timer, don't guess) then take it out, towel-dry, and unwrap. I like poached eggs because they still have a gooey yolk like fried eggs, but they aren't fried. I know this seems like a weird way to cook eggs, but you'll be impressed if you try it.]