14 May 2011

peanut butter

I used to hate the stuff, really, I did. I wouldn't even eat it in sandwiches. I'd have jam and butter or preferably meat and cheese, with lots of mustard, but peanut butter just didn't cut it. Not even with bananas: I didn't like bananas, either; a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich - some kids' idea of lunchtime heaven - was my kind of disaster.

I'm not sure when I started liking peanut butter. It might have been when I started college and my meals became based off of whatever I could scrounge up in the dining hall (to this day, I still make bizarre meals in the dining hall. The selection overwhelms me) and I put peanut butter in stuff for protein.

Or maybe it was earlier. Maybe when I was in Sweden, where nobody eats peanut butter and the rivalry between crunchy and creamy (crunchy!) is a non-issue, that I began to develop a fondness for the salty-fatty, and it, along with bluegrass, was something I embraced when I got back to America.

But my real love for nut (or legume) butter has only developed in this past year. While living surrounded by vegans, nut butter - along with avocado, the true king of California - was one of the few sources of fat and protein that just about all of us embraced. Plus it came for free, sometimes, among the deliveries of recollected bread (leftover from grocery stores) and vegetables at the Trailer Park. Every once in a while I splurge on almond or sunflower seed butter, but for the most part, peanut butter gets me through.

It's funny, isn't it, how things change? How things can be stagnant for a while, and then all of a sudden everything is changing. I think it's called exponential growth. A friend of mine recently pointed out that there's no room for growth in Santa Cruz, and that's why almost all the students leave after finishing at the University. His theory is right in keeping with the widely-accepted one of Santa Cruz being a bubble. A beautiful bubble, but a bubble nonetheless.

In a month I will graduate from UCSC with a degree in Language Studies. I feel good about that, and I feel good about moving out of Santa Cruz afterwards. My time here is just about done. I've done what I came here to do. This is a similar feeling to the one I had this time last year in Copenhagen. In mid-May last year, I was just about fluent in Danish, had seen the whole city inside and out, jaunted a fair amount around Europe, and, most importantly, established firm connections with friends. Of course it is right when everything falls into place that it is time to leave. It always is.

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for Denmark - for 4 a.m. sunrises, for riding tandem on one-person bikes, for bars that stay open until sunrise (hearing "last call" at 2 a.m. still surprises me even though I've been drinking legally for nearly a year) and for a city built on water - in the last few days, so I just read through my notebook from this time last year (one of six I've filled in the last twelve months). Here are some excerpts:

lørdag 8 maj 2010

My dreams are so close to my waking life that I have a hard time differentiating the two. When I woke up this morning, I was surprised not to find mascara on my eyelashes, because I distinctly remember standing in front of my bathroom mirror and applying it last night.

Trying to write my final exam. I think I spent more time cooking today than working. Also, I went to Nørrebro Festival, the gadefest [street party] in Blågårdsgade with Indigo, where I got very cold and bought a pair of vintage swim shorts for en tyver. Afterwards, we tried to go dumpster diving but not only was it freezing but there was bleach all over everything. The best thing though was that there were three little boys, probably around 11 years old, already all over the Superbrugsen dumpsters when we got there. They asked us, Har I heller ikke penge for mad? [Do you not have money for food, either?]; we were like, What? Don't your parents feed you?

tirsdag 11 maj 2010 

I speak an illiterate Danish. At the library - I hate coming here but I love being here. Den Sorte Diamant is calm and purposeful once you finally make it into the reading room. I almost cried this morning for not having the right change for the lockers they require that you use - you can't take a bag or backpack of any sort into the reading room; if you need a bag, you have to carry all your supplies (pens, pencil case, eraser, notebook, folder, papers) in in a transparent plastic bag. The pool demands twenty-kroner coins, the library only takes 10s... fuck. 

It's only five degrees today and I got soaked on my way here despite my rain pants and jacket - I made the mistake of wearing canvas shoes that keep my feet wet.

onsdag 19 maj 2010

Seagulls, for one thing. Pedaling through the fog with my eyes closed I love this city, nevermind the bus exhaust. I've signed so many petitions but it's just not enough to stop the ball rolling. I left the cafe early, that's the other thing. Overextended - wound up with a strained brain. I thought I was going to fall off my feet making that last soya latte although I think if I could have just hung onto the espresso machine for the rest of the evening things would have been okay. In the bathroom mirror my pupils were large. I don't know what I want to hear so I am listening to the silence that comes and goes in waves. Last night I saw the worst poet, Denmark's Monika Lory of poetry. At least there is someone in the world who believes that we can 'dive into the river of emotion / and swim around in the sea of love.'

søndag 23 maj 2010

Staying up late these short nights (the sun sets around 9 if not later). It's finally warm enough to spend hours sitting around outside in Kødbyen drinking not-too-bad wine and eating cake & focaccia with my favorite Italians, Marcello and Fab. In the middle of the night, the city is dark but there is midnight birdsong. Biking new routes, the city snaps into place, west to north to south. I come home doused with strangers' sweat, smelling like the cigarettes I don't smoke; in the morning, I sleep late, don't shower. There is always so much more to do. 

I love music but no one ever pays attention to the opening bands. Except the one who opened for Best Coast last night made us jitterbug and swing. My smile is tired of hiding and my heart is about to leap out of my chest and my skin needs the sun, so, California, I'm coming home. 

Things have changed so much, but whatever new music I discover, my favorite bands are mostly still the same ones I loved at fifteen. Joni Mitchell. The Modern Lovers. Pavement. I try to keep my perspective at three hundred-sixty degrees and spinning.

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