Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now

So yesterday marked my last day in Europe. I’ll miss being there, but I really couldn’t wait to see everyone at home and turn my phone off airplane mode (in that order, I promise).

My friends and I basically spent the whole day reflecting on what an incredible, life-changing experience this has been and how lucky we are to have gotten it. I could go on and on about all the things I’ve learned about myself since coming to Ireland, but that’s not what this blog is about. Instead, I want to impress all of you with all of the things I will willingly eat entire plates of now that I’m such a big girl. And if you don’t believe me you can ask my suite mates–they’ve seen me eat this stuff with their own eyes!

So last weekend a couple of us went to Spain where we stayed with a family one of my friends knew. That means I automatically had to eat whatever they gave us because they were being so nice letting us use their apartment and I couldn’t be rude or high-maintenance. Believe me, this realization was very daunting to me.

Our first day there we had the biggest plate of seafood paella I’ve ever seen. I had tried paella when I was in London (because obviously), but it didn’t have seafood in it, so this was very scary for me. I ate most of what was in it, and I can’t even confidently tell you what that was. I did start picking around the squishy stuff after awhile, but my friends can attest to the fact that I ate a full serving of seafood paella. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

Look at all that seafood

Look at all that seafood

During lunch we also had chipirones which are basically Spanish shrimp. They are slimy and squishy and a weird purplish-grey color. And I ate TWO! They didn’t have a very strong taste, so it was just the awful texture that I had to get over. To be honest, I think I only ate the second one so that I could write on my blog that I ate two.

So slimy. So squishy.

So slimy. So squishy.

For dessert we had ice cream with fresh strawberries and cinnamon. First thing, this ice cream wasn’t quite vanilla. I can’t remember what made it special but it was this very white, sweet ice cream. Second thing, do y’all remember my post about strawberries? I basically forced that little sliver down my throat. Well, I’m happy to report that I am a bona fide berry-eater now! Third thing, I ate my first bite of this dessert without the cinnamon because I was being ignorant. Once I put the cinnamon in everything changed. It was so delicious. I strongly suggest all of you put cinnamon in your vanilla ice cream. I know I just said whatever I ate wasn’t vanilla, but I’m sure the same principles apply. So yeah, do that.

The rest of the weekend consisted of mostly tapas. I tried lots of them when we were in Madrid (if you don’t know about that, you have been neglecting my blog and I’m mad at you). So this trip just confirmed that I will, in fact, eat these tapas and be very happy to do so. With everything from Spanish tortillas (which are my favorite, by the way) to more jamón Ibérico, I ate lots of tapas for the second or third time that four months ago, I wouldn’t have touched. Good job, me.

Side note: drink sangria de cava

Side note: drink sangria de cava

Conclusion: Besides all of the valuable life lessons and incredible experiences I’ve had in Europe, I’ve also gained a much more balanced and normal repertoire of foods that I will happily eat. At the beginning of the semester I titled my post about eating a strawberry “I’m Such a Big Girl” sarcastically. Today, I titled this post pretty sarcastically again, but also with a little bit of seriousness. I’m probably as big as a twelve-year-old now based on the foods that I’ll eat. And when you compare that to the three-year-old I was in January, I’ve really made a miraculous improvement.

Now that I’m home I will continue to keep this blog going due to popular demand (just kidding), but I’m making no promises that I will continue to improve at such a rapid rate. I spent the semester eating lots of new foods in quick succession. That’s very new for me. I have an excessively long summer break. There’s no need to overdo it too soon.


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