The Supermarket Chronicles XII: Shuck and Slurp

Cigna's first oyster. Sarah's not much of a raw shellfish fan

Cian’s first oyster.  Sarah’s not a fan

Faithful readers may recall a couple years back my sister’s fiancé’s daring initiation into Cape Cod cuisine.  That particular post was featured on the Cape Cod Times website and to this day is still one of my most viewed articles (you’re welcome, Nathan!).  Clearly, my family has an unusual fondness for seafood.  Now, you may not feel that landlocked Vermont would be the ideal venue for shellfish experiments.  We were visiting the Green Mountain State to enjoy winter sports (post coming soon), and the Powell clan descended on The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington for a sumptuous New Year’s Day dinner, including $1 raw oysters from choice New England beaches.  If you’re trying to navigate the array of downtown Burlington restaurants, The Farmhouse comes highly recommended.  My father and I sucked down a half dozen oysters each before our meal, and intrigued by the process, Cian wanted to try one (he’s our more adventurous eater.  There are only about seven foods Áine deems acceptable).  Since consuming raw shellfish in Nigeria is, um, not suggested, we thought we’d give it a go.  Tender, sweet and cheap, it was the perfect opportunity, and Cian was feeling brave.

 

Signs of a New Year III

Another amazing year abroad, another weird sign safari year.  2016 features gems from Nigeria, Norway, and the USA.  If you’re new to Domestic Departure, please also check out the Signs of a New Year collections from 2015 and 2014.

Happy New Year, folks!  As always, thanks for reading and we wish you an adventurous and inspiring 2017!

Behind Handlebar and Steering Wheel: Across America

Reserved motorcycle parking in our Connecticut drivewayMy love affair with motorcycling began as a coerced blind date.  I used to think bikers were a bunch of self-absorbed douche bags who cut you off on the highway riding a direct extension of their dicks.  Sarah’s brother (not a douche bag) has anywhere between 6 and 11 motorcycles in various states of repair, and he prodded me years ago to “just give riding a try”.  Half-hearted promises put me one evening at the local community college for the motorcycle safety course.  The first day was like an out-of-body experience, detached from the goings on as I wondered what the hell I was doing there.  It was in the parking lot, when the instructors put down cones for us to weave between, that I felt it.  I can’t quite describe the ‘it’- bike and body melding together, leaning into turns over the moving road, defying gravity- ‘it’ made the blood drain from my face in exhilaration.  At the end of the exercise, I ripped my helmet off and looked in astonishment at my instructor.  A trained motorcycle racer who noticed my previous scepticism, she nodded at me knowingly.  I bought myself a Suzuki V-Strom soon after and began commuting, touring New England, and riding through all four seasons while my truck stayed parked and abandoned in the driveway. Continue reading

Life, Great and Small, on the Salt Marsh

Salt marsh house

Salt marsh house

As we pulled our anything-but-chic rental van down the secluded gravel driveway to the house, we knew we had landed something special for the summer.  Flanked by the thick Northeastern coastal forests native to much of Connecticut, the lawn flared out on either side of the drive in a V, with the house settled in the center.  Through the multi-paneled front door was a breathtaking view into the house and out the back wall of windows to a vast tidal salt marsh.  As we got out of the van we were gobsmacked, awkwardly catatonic as the owner of the house sat inside waiting for us to enter.  The kids, however, a bit too accustomed to house rentals, ran inside screeching with delight before us, helping themselves to an excited and rapid self-guided tour.  Fortunately, our gracious hostess patiently smiled, as she was happy children would appreciate her home we rented for the summer.  After a few lessons on the house’s ins and outs, the owner left us and we found ourselves wandering around the property trying to take it all in.  “Well, it looks like your wife really came through for you,” said Sarah, who found the home on Airbnb. Continue reading

This Summer’s Blockbuster

I’m sure like you, faithful readers, it’s been a busy and adventurous summer with lots to regale. I would tell you I haven’t had a moment to write, but somehow I did find hours of editing time to put together another movie trailer with Cian and Áine (you may remember last year’s award winner).  Posts on boating in France, an intrepid trip across America, and life on the Connecticut shore to soon follow.

Without further adieu, the kids and I humbly present to you this summer’s film drama.  Just soak it in.

Winter’s Glamour

Cian, Aine and cousins Tavia and Lexi testing the sleigh

Cian, Aine and cousins Tavia and Lexi testing the sleigh

“I can see my breath!  It’s white!” Cian said excitedly after he walked out of Logan Airport a few weeks ago and, purposefully puffing, entered the New England Winter.  Our last Christmas in the States was in 2012, Áine was almost two and Cian was just entering the Age of Santa.  That year was a brutal winter, brutal enough to ensure our move to tropical Indonesia.  In fact, we couldn’t attend the international teaching job fair in Cambridge, MA that February because of an impenetrable three foot snowstorm, leading to our sudden and exuberant acceptance of the jobs in North Jakarta via Skype.  A stoic Nutmegger, I used to brave the four seasons with a certain gusto.  I vehemently refused the hydraulic log splitter and snow blower, because dammit, I could split wood with an axe and shovel snow like my ancestors with a shovel.  Now, with my return to New England just at the Solstice, when the days are gray and brief, my faux smile was put on for the kids and my feigned excitement for bitter, stinging, cold weather was a thin, pale veil of my current dread of winter.  It fucking sucks. Continue reading

Signs of a New Year II

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  My more sophisticated readers may find this post improper and immature, but then, so am I.  As we meander around our globe, I’m always on the lookout for some innovative use of the English language, misconstrued innocent mistakes, and the just plain weird.  At the end of this post should be a link to last year’s vibrant collection.

Another unbelievable year abroad!  Thanks for reading, folks, and Happy New Year!