Saturday, January 26, 2013

Being a Best Friend

First of all: this is my 100th blog post!!!!  YAY!

OK, enough celebrating, now on to the post.

For those of us that have been fortunate in our lives to have found a handful of friends that we are fortunate enough to call our "best friends," we know that we would do ANYTHING for those people that stand by our sides.  Leaving Wesleyan, I was petrified to be ripped away, once again, from the close friends I had made and thrown into a new city on my own.  I knew how hard it is, and how long it takes, to form those tight bonds like those I have with my home friends and college friends.

However, by some magical stroke of the stars, I found a few close friends at MSPP right off the bat.  I met all of them during orientation.  One of them was placed in my clinical seminar group, and we sat next to each other at our first meeting during orientation lunch.  I had noticed that her plate looked like mine, in that it only had fruit.  I asked if she was vegan too, and she just smiled and said, "no, I just have a lot of food allergies."  At that moment, I knew we would become best friends.

Nicole has become one of my closest friends at MSPP and Boston in general.  She sends me "have a good day" text messages before I go to the internship that stresses me out and goes for walks with me as we complain about grad school and life.  She also has almost all the same physical and mental health problems that I do.  We are pretty much twins.

I found out yesterday that this girl would literally do anything for me, as she held my hand during an OBGYN appointment that I was particularly anxious about.  There are not too many friends that would stand by you and talk about shopping to distract you from passing out while a doctor is doing scary things with metal clamps and brushes to your lady parts, and listen to you tell all your sexual problems.  And afterwards, we even took a fun trip to Good Vibrations, where I bought Nicole her birthday present.  If that's not close, I don't know what is.

Since Nicole would do anything for me, I decided to return the favor, and bake a crazy cake free of anything that makes her sick for her birthday.  I am really not good with weird rice flours, so I decided to forgo the cake route and come up with a fancy tart instead.  It took three separate shopping trips to find all the ingredients, and I had to make up my own recipe, but in the end, I made it, and it's beautiful.

It's vegan, dairy-free, peanut-free, gluten-free, soy-free.  Make it for that special person with food allergies in your life.  Or maybe just for yourself for Valentines Day, because it's beautiful and decorate and of an appropriate color scheme.

Chocolate Tart with Raspberries (vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and soy-free)
Recipe: completely made up out of my own head
Yield: 1 9" tart

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making Decisions and Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake

For those of you that haven't heard from me in a while, I've been having a really tough time lately.  I've been faced with the decision of whether or not I want to continue graduate school.  There are a lot of factors coming into play in this situation, but I'll try to give you a boiled-down version.

Why Hannah Wants to Drop Out of Graduate School:
1.  I feel like I am drowning all the time.  The workload is close to impossible.
2.  I am working 3 part-time jobs to support myself, and really don't ever exercise or sleep.
3.  I don't like my classes.
4.  I hate Boston and city-living and Masshole drivers.
5.  I spend all of my free time or commuting time crying or having anxiety attacks.
6.  I am just not sure I like therapy anymore.
7.  All I want in life is a bakery and a baby, and this is not getting me there.

As you see, the pull to leave is fairly strong.  But I don't want to be the girl that drops out of grad school and then regrets it the rest of her life.  I'm also not sure that I wouldn't love psychology in different contexts, like working with kids.  The question is how much time, money, and energy do I spend before I make up my mind?

I still don't have an answer, but I know that somehow, I'm going to have to survive this semester.  Baking is always my go-to stress-reliever, but as you've seen, grad school takes away a lot of the time and money that baking requires.  Luckily, my friends here have a lot of birthdays coming up, so I have an excuse to do the one thing that makes me happy.

First up is my good friend, Tegan, from MSPP.  She was a valuable support in getting me through last semester, and in convincing me to stay this one.  Her birthday was last week, and when thinking of what to make her, it was incredibly cold in Boston and I was PMSing, therefore craving hot chocolate.  Ding ding ding!  The idea for a hot chocolate cake was born.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from my brain, but cake adapted from Heather's cake
Yield: 1 double-layer 8" cake