A whole new macroenvironment

This week marked a big first for me: it’s the first time I’ve seriously used words like vertical integration and macroenvironment in a presentation. We did case studies of a Brazilian ethanol and sugar manufacturer for my business class, which is a far cry from the chemistry and baking I’m used to. I found the state of the world’s ethanol markets surprisingly interesting, but I prefer dealing with tangible things rather than examining the state of the competitive environment.

Side note: we had to discuss the difference between PESTE and STEEP analysis this week (there is none, they’re anagrams of the same letters) because all of this is sort of made up.

Another highlight of the week was discovering a new running path! (Yes, my life really is this exciting.) It’s by a lovely canal and has swans and herons to watch along with an abundant supply of very cute dogs, so it’s basically perfect. I thought I had made it to its end point, but apparently it goes all the way to Mayo, so I’ve got plenty of distance to go before I run out of path (that’s about 150 miles. I guess I’d better get going on that training).

Per usual, pastry classes were excellent. Highlights included Danishes, roll cakes (always my favorite), and chocolate lollipop swirls. So cool!

PS I think I found last week’s Baby Guinness all grown up…

Swans, Roses, and Valentines

We made so many fun things this week! I have a bit of a history with cream puff swans (they may or may not be called devil swans in my house), so it was very vindicating to come back to them and have them turn out so well. Plus those apple tarts–swoon.

I ventured out to a comedy show this week, which was excellent and quite funny, but the best part was the host seeing my Portland Timbers scarf and immediately recognizing the team! (If you don’t know who they are, no one does, it’s Portland’s soccer team.) He said he plays the FIFA soccer video game Timbers vs. Sounders (Portland vs. Seattle) as the ultimate hipster show-down, and it made me so happy.

We also had an Irish dancing lesson put on by the international office at the school, which was mostly a lot of very confused people spinning a lot and trying not to run into each other. It was very fun, although I wouldn’t say we were particularly, you know, good.

It turns out that you can get a shot glass of Kahlua and Bailey’s and it’s called a Baby Guinness, so obviously that happened. Both adorable and delicious.

Settling into Dublin

The problem with writing these updates is that I periodically have big news (I live in a different country now!) but mostly I spend a lot of time doing a whole lot of normal things (going to school, baking, running–okay, my normal is still weird). But I love it like that! And I promise more pictures of castles soon, maybe when the sun comes back.

In my very normal news, my roommates and I had people over for dinner last weekend, which is one of my very favorite things to do. I know you won’t enjoy reading this from across the ocean (Boston people, you know who you are), but I come home from our pastry classes with breads, scones, cakes, eclairs, you name it and I need to find hungry people to feed. Luckily I’ve found some very accommodating taste-testers over here as well! This dinner was basically a ploy to get friends to eat all of our class projects, but no one seemed to mind 🙂

The bakery classroom has one of those angled mirrors above the demo station so everyone can watch the teacher work. So cool!

My roommates and I have also started an Irish breakfast habit–on Sundays, they go to church and I do my long run and we meet up for coffee, eggs, and as many kinds of pork as they can fit on a plate. It’s so good! I still can’t get behind the black pudding, but other than that it’s pretty much the best recovery meal I’ve come up with. Everything is delicious after 12 miles, but somehow this is particularly delicious.

School is doing that annoying thing it does where they actually make you work and do assignments and stuff, which really limits the amount of gallivanting around the country that we get to do. So inconvenient! Luckily we’ve managed to get our act together and plan a few trips coming up, so I promise I won’t always be so boring.

Christmas 2018

Man, getting two weeks of holiday break is incredible and makes up for all the rest of the work of grad school. I’m just heading back to Paris now and have done an excellent job of ignoring the paper I should be writing in favor of baking, hiking, drinking lots of coffee, spending time with family, and generally having a great time.

The whole family made it home, so we spent a good amount of time just hanging out and catching up. Before daylight saving’s time, my sister and I were fully 12 hours of time difference apart, which means I think we can legitimately say that we span the globe. After being so far away, it was so nice to be home together! I tend to come home, immediately take up residence in my favorite comfy chair, and read a whole book. I also did the classic college thing of pushing so hard to finish everything before I got home that once I made it back, I got sick and spent the whole time sniffling only to recover just in time to return. Oh well!

I took full advantage of my parents’ lovely and just redone kitchen for baking plenty of cakes, cookies, and tarts—after months of my tiny dorm kitchen and very minimal equipment, my mom’s cupboard of baking pans of all shapes and sizes feels like the height of luxury. I think my favorite was the butterscotch roll cake, done vertically as inspired by Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes. So delicious!

I also got to stop in Boston on the way back and crammed in seeing as many people as possible in the three days I was there. My friends were very generous in their rescheduling and dealing with the general mayhem, and it was such an amazing time. I got to celebrate a birthday and my dragon boat team even threw a party for me! (To be honest, I was crashing an erg session, but I took full advantage of the chance to see everyone.) I even got a medal!

Finishing this up late because I got to Paris, went straight from the airport to class, and haven’t stopped yet. Less than a week of class left, so we’re full steam ahead on a final paper and a few presentations. And Dublin in one week!

To everyone I saw over break: it was so good to see you. Thank you for your hospitality, flexibility, willingness to overlook my radio silence, and pretending to care about my school stress. It meant so much to me to get you see you all!