Complete and utter euphoria. I've experienced it a handful of times in my life, in different places and different times, but with one shared thread: sheer dopamine drunkenness.
When it strikes, time seems to both stand still and speed up at once, as if life itself is stopping you in it's tracks to deliver one massive high five.
I've felt it a few times at concerts, when buzzed and in the heart of the crowd, everyone moves as one under the pulsating lights, like the heartbeat of what seems like song and humanity in one. I reached a state of nirvana, half-stoned and sprawled out on a hot pebble beach on the isola of Lipari, as a warm breeze hugged my body and the transparent Mediterranean water tickled my toes.
Last week I felt it floating in the perfect bathtub of a converted barn next to fields that lead to the sea off England’s South Coast after running a half-marathon. As I pushed the hot water lever on and off with my toes, refilling my little pool of bliss, I thought about the day, the race, the fantastic charity I ran for and its founders that I had finally met. Downstairs were the friends and family that has taken me in and amazed me with their genuine realness, imperfect honesty, hilariousness and kindness. I backtracked the months to think about how the hell I had even gotten here. And suddenly, there it was - euphoria.
"The English Patience" is a smooth and creamy chocolate cupcake swirled with sweet chèvre and stocked full of chopped chocolate. Upon first bite you taste the crunch and the cocoa, but the aftertaste pure musty and tangy goat cheese. Paired best with a swipe of honey, sea salt, and a tart slice of Granny Smith apple, it's rich and decadent, and unexpectedly refreshing.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even if those reasons aren't immediately obvious. A good friend recently told me that being patient helps; my mother always says that being present does too.
If you told me a year ago that I would be here today, I would have called you crazy. But that moment of ecstasy in England, fleeting or not, made me realize just how unexpectedly wonderful life sometimes turns out when you live it just so. Because in the end, if you're open to the possibility of everything, anything is possible, just long as you are patient enough to watch it unfold exactly how it was meant to be.
Anyone that knows me well is aware of my affinity for all things breakfast. The fervor with which I approach my day's first meal is unparalleled. I am so certain of this, that if dinner ceased existing, I still would not have a care in the world. Just give me a good cozy brekkie, and I'm set for the day, literally.
I'm not quite sure how all of this reverence began, but I've got an inkling that it somehow evolved from a childhood of Sunday mornings spent snuggling in bed with parents and coffee (a ritual that still carries on, despite the fact that our family has grown, and clearly, so have we). But I'm certain that some of my most lovely life moments have been logged while breakfasting in bed. Whether it was the sweetness of waking up the mumsy on Mother's Day with french toast and orange juice or day-long nuzzling with bagels, lox, and capers with an old love - let's be honest - dinner in bed? It's just simply not as romantic.
Breakfasts in bed spawned a full on love affair with good boozy brunches with friends. I'd take the Bloodys, Mimosas, and Pancake-filled ones or the kind where you drag yourself to a diner at 2 pm to grease-cure your hangover any day. Regardless, I'm convinced that the best/worst "what the hell happened last night?!?" stories are brewed alongside those endless coffee refills poured by the waitress. I've also never known agony like that of having to peruse a menu containing both breakfast or lunch items. Let's just say I am the queen of game time decisions.
"The Purple Haze" is a fluffy blueberry pancake cupcake with gooey maple buttercream, a little drizzle of syrup and a sprinkle of raw sugar. Paired with coffee, bubbly-spiked juice and your best breakfast companion, rainy Sunday mornings are more drool-inducing than ever.
Most nights, I get excited for breakfast the next day before I go to sleep. With the passion that some people plan their dinners, so I strategically map out a plan of attack for the most importantof daily meals. Besides, some day, when I have babies in my own bed, I'll have to join the rest of society in perfecting my bella cena for the evening. But regardless, you can bet a stack of silver dollars I'll be passing on the beloved breakfast tradition to them the next morning.
It's Friday afternoon, and I'm daydreaming. The sun is shining, the puppies are snoring, and I swear I can finally taste spring in the air from little my deck spot. But my mind is somewhere else.
In a few short days I'll skip the pond for greener, and likely rainier, pastures. I was 21 during my last trip, and spent my time spinning records on a penthouse deck overlooking Hyde Park or in the back of a cab drunkenly screaming Spandeau Ballet songs at the top of my lungs at 4 am. So this time, I plan on frolicking through London, maybe whirling through another rabbithole to bid a quick salut! to Paris, and after a quick little half marathon in Fleet, making a mad dash to the waters of the South Coast. Guided by a ruminating art historian, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumish Bristolian physicists, and the inhabitants of one Mad Neon Tea Party, I'll play the wandering blond through my own sort of Wonderland.
"The Wonderland Trifle" is a Victoria sponge cupcake, sliced in half, and layered in a glass cup with vanilla bean whipped cream, fresh sliced strawberries, a strawberry reduction, and Grand Marnier. Fresh and fruity, it's the perfect light spring treat for an afternoon of pondering.
The first time I landed in England, I woke up at Stonehenge. I snuck into a head shop in Liverpool, and hummed "Here Comes the Sun" along with a long-haired street musician in Bath. The food was beyond terrible, and I took shelter in a luxury hotel with my parents by the London Eye one night, promising myself I'd never go back with my classmates, so long as I currently had good takeaway and plush robes.
But everything aside, there was nothing quite like my last night in Wales. We had pulled up to a church and unloaded, as a group of gap-toothed Welsh teenagers rolled spliffs in the parking lot under an eroding gray steeple. It was freezing inside, and the echos seemed unending as we stood on the cold marble, a bunch of American kids next to an white-haired English choir. But then a song broke out: Procul Harum, "A Whiter Shade of Pale." And in a sort of haunting moment, the room started humming harder, and the ceiling really did seem to fly away. It's funny how when you're 15 and full of wonder, the accents start to sound the same when you sing.
With some big decisions on the horizon, I look forward to losing my way in the good old UK again. And until then, I'll take to daydreaming on my well-lit deck. Here comes the sun, do do do do...