It is a beautiful winter day out. It isn’t too cold, and the snow is falling in a magical straight-down curtain of powder, and the air is so perfectl still, it all comes off looking like a movie special effect.
It isn’t, though. It’s Nordic winter.
I am on my sofa with a large mug of coffee with a generous helping of irish cream liqueur, and I am exhausted. It’s ok, though, because last night I have submitted my dissertation for a Masters of Laws in European Food Law. I don’t have the degree yet, obviously – that waits on the grading of the paper – but my part in it is (nearly) done. The ‘nearly’ is because I still have to schlep to town with a pdf file, and order a few copies of it bound at the university print shop, and mail those to the program coordinator, but that’s not work, it’s an errand. One that I will do tomorrow.
It feels somewhat surreal. I have finished Law School.
The answer to the obvious first question about me finishing Law School is no, I am not a ‘lawyer’ (barrister, advokat) now. Once my degree is awarded, I will be a legal scholar, which is to say that, if you are doing any sort of business related to food in the EU, or wanting to export food to the EU, I’d be the person to ask for advice about how to avoid ending up in court in front of actual lawyers. That said, I can’t help but look forward to ‘LLM’ behind my name, which stands for Legum Magistra, ‘mistress of laws’. Yes,
you I am never too old to want a cool title. The answer to the next obvious question is, I don’t know, give me a few weeks to uncramp my brain, and then I will think about the next step. After 147 footnotes, I feel pretty wrung out, and don’t really want to think hard for a few days. I think I’ve earned that.
I do, however, have some plans regarding food, the universe and everything, which weren’t made around New Year’s Eve, but that I wrote down privately for myself as New Year’s Non-Resolutions 2016. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions – I watch the social media go nuts with those every December/January, and then everyone forgets about them a week later. Instead, I wrote down a realistic and non-exclusive set of goals for the upcoming year, achieving which should put the year on a good track, and if I get more done, that will be even better.
Finishing the dissertation was high on that list, so that’s that one ticked off. Other items on the list are things like “eat more fruits and vegetables” (which will be doubly welcome after the frozen pizza and sandwiches of the final weeks of writing dissertation), finish the Swedish language course I’d started last year to such good effect (it was put on hold for dissertation-writing), run a few administrative errands, book a time to talk to start-up advisors (they have those here free of charge), and the like. No particularly time-limited items other than the dissertation are on that list, and none of these things are in any way critical – I believe that making a long-term to-do list is more useful if it doesn’t stress you out. Because if it stresses you out, you will start ignoring it because it’s easier to ignore it than to work on it, because stress sucks.
One of the goals not written down on that list (non-exclusive, remember?) has to do with me wanting to write more on this blog, and get back to its roots of writing more than just recipes. I feel that there’s been a dearth of opinions posted here lately, and I can only say that it’s because I’ve been busy, and tired, and busy with dissertation, and things other than the blog. But I have been collecting notes about things that I want to write about in a notebook, and, once I’ve slept the dissertation, and the subsequent party for finishing it (not the same as graduation party, that waits till this summer), I’ll get to those.
I have also collected a number of new favorite recipes which I’ve been making over and over these past few months, and which deserve their spot in the sun, or at least on the blog. Since the sun is slowly returning to these latitudes, I will actually get the chance to photograph them without a flash, which always turns out better. In short, stay tuned, more is upcoming – including the recipe for the super-awesome chocolate, dulce de leche and mascarpone birthday cake mentioned in the previous post, which totally deserves its place in the sun, although I do feel that it needs a bit of work before I write it up and share it with you. I don’t mind the work at all, since it means that I will be baking myself a celebration cake (yay!), and inviting people to help eat it.
I hope everyone is having a lovely February, and if you haven’t stuck to your resolutions – who cares? I certainly don’t. It’s a new day, so toss out any superfluous resolutions you felt pushed into last December (the sooner you get rid of them, the better you’ll feel), write down a few useful goals that you think are realistic – I find that I am more clearheaded about useful goals when I am not hung over from all the champagne on January 1st, which is why I don’t make resolutions then – and start on those.
They feel damn good to tick off.