Friday, September 2, 2011

Bittersweet Endings

For those of you that have been following my blog this summer, you know I haven't had an easy last few months.  After only a week of being home, I was ready to go back to Wesleyan.  It was this glowing light at the end of the tunnel, and I couldn't wait to get out of here.  I barely slept, I fought with my family, I watched the woman that raised me lose her spirit, mind, and eventually life to lung cancer, and then took an exam that in no uncertain terms determines my future.  The amalgamation of these things drained me to the point where I didn't know myself.  So why is it that after all of that, I'm suddenly not ready to go back to school? 

Well, some things have happened this week that have made my return to school rather bittersweet.  It seems as though all of the positive things in my life have been released in the span of  one week instead of spread out over the course of the summer.  What happened?, you may ask.  Well, let me tell you.  The GRE is over.  I've repaired my relationship with my mother (and best friend) that had been strained by the stresses of my grandmother's illness.  I returned to Rochester to see the friends that put the life back into my veins.  I shook and shimmied one last time at Zumba with the women that inspire me.  I finally did things for me, on my own time.  Oh yeah, and I was swept off my feet in a true, Nicholas Sparks fashion.  (It just so happens to be the boy from this post).

I have a lot of thank you's to give as summer comes to a close.  To my mother, to Hospice, to my friends, to the Princeton Review's studyguide to the GRE, to my Zumba ladies, to the sunshine, and to the new boy.  One person in particular that I have to thank is Kim, my Zumba instructor this summer in Canjo.  She took me under her wing and showed me what it takes to be an instructor.  She trusted me as her substitute when she couldn't be there and the times when she was she gave me the tools and the confidence to teach my own class at Wes this semester.  She is not only an incredible instructor, but one of the most wonderful women I know with the kindest heart.  I can't possibly thank her for all she's done for me with words, so I thought I'd say it with cupcakes.

Zumba ladies: I'm going to miss you!!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon-Coconut Buttercream
My baking buddy, Meg, helped me brainstorm and sent me this recipe, which I adapted slightly.  They are by far the easiest cupcakes I've made, although are slightly on the dryer side.  It also didn't yield a full dozen, so you might want to consider doubling.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs lemon zest
3 Tbs unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract

Whisk together dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Combine wet and dry ingredients until smooth.
If you have no cupcake liners, grease and flour your muffin tin.
Bake at 325°F for 20-22 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
Once completely cooled, top with frosting of your choice and garnish with coconut and lemon peels.
Thank you, Kim, for a wonderful summer of booty-shakin.  And thank you everyone else for all the love and support you've shown me to get me through this summer.  Now marks the end of one difficult time, and simultaneously the beginning of many more wonderful things.  It's my last year at Wes, the beginning of my path to grad school, and the start of a beautiful new relationship. 

Here's to turning over a new page.

Love and cookies,

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