The first time I visited Florence, I knew there was something special about this place; there was something that made me feel connected to it.
And I was right.
Every day we were there I felt more at home, more connected to Florence’s life, Florence’s vibrant energy, and Florence’s history. It felt like an old friend that I was getting reacquainted with. Although it would be hard to choose one part of my trip over another as a favourite, this is where I felt happiest. In Florence, I felt at home.
When my mother first brought up the idea of adding a few days in Paris to our trip, I heard nothing but mediocre things. “Paris is dirty,” “I hated it there,” “anymore than three days and you’ll want to get out of there.” Even the weather network lied to me, telling me to expect rain and cool temperatures. I even bought new rubber boots for all the rain I was anticipating between Paris and Dublin! (Luckily they’re cute.) I was starting my trip with low expectations; almost looking ahead to Florence.
Everyone seemed to be so down in the mouth about France, that I was overcome by how much I fell in love with this city. But how could I not, when this is where I was sitting as started writing this entry.
Last week, St. John’s had a beautiful day. It was one of those days where even though you knew spring started ages ago, it was the first day of spring in your heart. The sun was shining, it was nice and warm, and when I drove around with my windows rolled down, there was only one album that fit the day just right.
Guys, it’s a magical time to be in St. John’s right now. It’s East Coast Music Week here in town! Musicians from all over Atlantic Canada have gathered here to perform, mingle, and share their talents. And during ECMW you can see shows with a half dozen amazing bands at a time, often for less than you’d pay to see one of them on a regular night.
This week honestly makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Just in case you’re unsure of where to start, here is a collection of bands and shows that I am excited about this weekend!
Something that newer readers may not know is that I am only half proud Newfoundlander Nan. The other half of me is proud Italian Nonna. There are many correlations between my two cultures, including fierce love of family, a passion for food and cooking, and the deep ties between the two.
On March 10, I lost one of the most importation people in my life. My Nonno (grandfather) passed away just shy of his 88th birthday. Nonno was a funny man who loved his family dearly, and loved to cook for us. He kindled my love of cooking.
So on the last night we would all be together in his house, we cooked his signature Sunday dinner; a feast to remember.
You know the days when like, yeah, it’s still winter, but it’s crisp and clear, chilly but bright, and the only snow falling is like little fluffy cotton balls. That was today.
Today I had to wake up early, for an itty-bitty shift: 8 am to noon. The early rise and the early finish meant that I had the day at my leisure. So once I roused Liam out of bed, there was only one thing to do. Head straight downtown for a stroll in the sun, and brunch at the Bagel Cafe.
Before I start on today’s review, let me paint you a picture. You’re driving along, and on the side of the road you see a small, nondescript building. It may have white clapboard, and it almost definitely has a Pepsi symbol on its sign. You pull into the parking lot and before you step out – before your door is even open – you smell it. The air is heavy with grease and deliciousness. You walk in the door to a small dining room with small booths, or a few basic kitchen tables and chairs. You squeeze in wherever you can in the crowded room, and in a short amount of time you have a fresh, hot, delicious plate of greasy goodness in front of you.
This is what my friends and I affectionately refer to as a “baygrease joint.”
Last week, Liam and I went to The Rooms. Located on top of the one big hill that is downtown, The Rooms is St. John’s’ largest and loftiest house of culture. The building itself is a piece of artwork on the face of the city, but the real beauty is inside. Equal parts art and history, the building’s interior is masterpiece in itself.
Last night, Liam and I went to The Rooms for the evening. We were there until the building closed, and realized that we’d missed out on our opportunity to eat at their beautiful cafe. So sitting in the car on a blustery evening, we mulled over what would be a quick and easy late supper.
Last summer on one of my trips to beloved Bonavista, Liam and I were lucky enough to catch the duo Fortunate Ones at the Garrick Theatre. And let me tell you something: there is nothing in the world like hearing two voices who fell in love, with hearts and minds that followed suit.
Earlier this month Fortunate Ones, aka Andrew James O’Brien and Catherine Allan, released their debut album The Bliss. And I am here to tell you that you need this album in your life. I got an advanced copy at the aforementioned show, and it’s been in prominent rotation ever since.