The smell of nostalgia

There’s no denying that autumn is upon us: endless scarves and knee-high boots stroll through the streets; pumpkins adorn every storefront; and the crisp breeze carries whirlwinds of leaves to the ground. Even before the fallen leaves accumulated enough crunch under my feet, the air began to smell like autumn.

It’s cliche to reiterate that the autumn scent evokes a feeling of melancholy, but this year, I can pinpoint the source of my nostalgia. Though I’m excited to be in New York, and I’m happy with my studies, I think I really miss Cambridge! Every time the sun scatters through the leaves of the trees lining the streets just so, I can picture myself walking to class from King’s fellows’ garden, and when the wind in my ears is especially cold, I am reminded of hurrying to a warm cafe between lectures to have lunch with friends.

Cambridge autumn is drawn out and beautiful, golden and bright. Though I’m glad to be back in a country that appreciates my favourite holiday (Halloween!), and where mini pumpkins and squash are considered more appropriate seasonal decoration for October than christmas lights, I miss the glowing leaves reflected in the Cam, I miss sketching the majestic buildings in the glimmering twilight, I even miss the draft in my room and the ladybugs in my window frame. And though many Americans might find it hard to believe, fall weather in Cambridge is definitely better!

Nonetheless, I love this time of year, and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly. A few weeks ago, in an effort to fight off the depression I felt creeping back after a two year hiatus, I took a long walk in Central Park. At that time, the leaves were still almost completely green, yet the smell of fall was nearly overpowering.
Central Park Central Park Central Park Central ParkCentral Park

Then, on a hike with the Yuste lab (where I’m currently rotating), I got my fill of the changing colours. Though the forecast predicted rain, the clouds remained light until we got back to the city.
Lab hike

Finally, I’m even making the most of fall when it comes to food: now that I have a real kitchen, I’m actually doing my best to cook–something I never did properly in Cambridge. Last night, I even bought fresh fish, and prepared it all by myself. It’s embarrassing how proud I am. As for the fall-related food, I’ve already roasted a pumpkin and a delicata squash. The squash was delicious (I can’t wait to get another one!), but the pumpkin somehow wasn’t very sweet and its skin was too tough. So rather than just eating it straight from the oven, I decided to be more creative.  For my first experiment, I pureed half the pumpkin and added banana, yogurt, garbanzo bean flour, and eggs, and baked it into a something of a cake. It wasn’t sweet at all: I forgot to add any sugar to the already non-sweet pumpkin! But I poured a bit of agave on top and left it in the fridge overnight, so the next morning, it actually tasted pretty good!
Pumpkin cake Pumpkin cake
Then, today, I used up some more of the pumpkin to make a pumpkin-beetroot chia pudding, blending up the pumpkin with beetroot, banana, yogurt, milk, and chia seeds, as well as some leftover pieces of fruit (apple and plum) and spices (cinnamon, vanilla, fresh ginger, and I think even a sprinkle of fennel seeds). The resulting concoction sat in a mason jar in my fridge all day (to let the blended chia seeds thicken the pudding)–now that I’ve finally tasted it, I can confirm that it worked our really well!
Pumpkin beetroot pudding

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This entry was posted in Education, Travel, Life Philosophy, Environment, Food, Nature, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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