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.

School in Dublin

First week of classes in Dublin done! It seems like it will be very different from Paris–much less time in classes and more work at home, like I’m used to. It’s also very different subjects. The big project this semester is prototype development, and then we have more business-focused classes–regulatory affairs, new food business creation, marketing and consumer behavior, and innovation management. Should be interesting!

I’m also taking a couple of extra culinary classes to get some formal training on that side of things, and the first ones were so fun! The other students were super confused about who I was (which is fair, when you have to take a class and someone else is literally just taking it for kicks) but also very nice when I had no idea how culinary classes were supposed to go. We made meringues and breads and apple crumbles, and I think it will be a funny mix of things I’ve made a lot of times already and very new things that I’m excited about. So far, they’re some of each and I’m having a blast.

Between school, extra classes, baking at home, and marathon training, it was a busy week and it’s shaping up to be a busy semester. But I’m having way too much fun to mind, and I’m excited for the time we get to spend here!

New year, new city

It may be because we don’t have classes or any real responsibilities, but so far I am LOVING Dublin. Between good beer, imposing stone buildings around every corner, and locals who call all sorts of things “grand,” it feels like a good place to be. Plus people are super friendly! Maybe I just got used to the, ahem, reserved nature of Parisians, but I went to a local running group and was pleasantly surprised to find everyone super chatty and welcoming.

Because I’m me and I can’t help myself, I decided to start training for the Limerick Marathon in May. I forgot how much work marathon training is–in addition to the actual running, there’s the planning and stretching and showers and feeding myself (I’m even more hungry all the time than usual). It’s a lot, but I’m also loving the motivation to get out there and explore the city on foot.

Classes start tomorrow! This semester is more business and regulatory focused, and we have a big development project. But because we’re technically in the school of culinary arts, I’m also taking an extra class–on cake baking! I’m stoked.