It is crazy how quickly things change. And that's just what's happened here; things changed. I am sitting pretty stateside, more than content with whatever happens. Wherever I land, I'll wrap that place in positivity, and I'll call it my home.
The last time I felt like this was less than one year ago. Having been uprooted from the truest home I've ever known, my college community, I felt lonely in the Northern Chicago suburbs where my AmeriCorps position housed me. I didn't learn to like my job or how to make my own happiness in that difficult situation until about November or December. From August through October, I wondered what was wrong with me, though I sort of understood. My thoughts mostly consisted of, "I'm an adaptable person, but I miss my college, I miss having my close friends around me constantly, I miss feeling valued, I miss being treated like I'm important, I miss feeling like part of something significant. I miss feeling at home."
From August through October, there was really only one way I established home in Highwood. That one way was the pear tree in my backyard. You could easily see the tree from my second-story kitchen window; the tree was tall, glorious. The pears on that tree were the best I've ever tasted. Soft, juicy, and brimming with flavor from having waited patiently on their branches under the late summer sun. But you can have too much of a good thing. At some point, I did. I accumulated way too many pears (I guess once you find home, you safe-keep and stockpile it)! So, I put some in a sweet quinoa salad, and I began working on perfecting a vegan pear bread recipe. Here is what I came to last fall. Here is how I began to establish home during my year of service:
Vegan Pear Spice Bread
2 diced pears, unpeeled is fine
1 cup unsweetened plain pear sauce (apple if you can't make/find pear)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the butter, pear sauce, and diced pears. Add in the sugar, vanilla, and walnuts. Once thoroughly mixed, stir in the dry ingredients. Pour mixture into greased bread pan (or muffin tin) and bake for at least one hour. To determine if bread or muffins are ready, insert toothpick or fork into the bread, when it comes out clean you should remove from the oven.