I don’t mean work; I’m sure I’ll have plenty of projects to keep me busy there. But outside work, I need something to distract me from living alone – or rather, something to take advantage of all the extra time I seem to have when I’m on my own.
1. wine (because good wine is comparatively cheap there). I need some kind of constraint; I estimate I could go through a full-sized bottle in a week or so, because I don’t want wine every night and I don’t like to go through more than half a bottle max at once). Organic wines? French ‘garage wines’? It might be best to ask the guy at the wine store, and that way I can base my choice on what they have.
2. Perfect my New Orleans shrimp. Ted always thinks mine is too sweet – I’ve concluded I should probably leave out the Worcestershire sauce entirely. I’ve still never gotten it as good as a few restaurant versions I’ve tasted.
3. Perfect something involving beef chunks, like beef stew or boeuf bourguignon. We didn’t like the beef there all that much – the steaks weren’t cuts we’re used to (or weren’t great, but it may well be us not knowing how to deal with them properly) and we didn’t like the texture of Dutch ground beer, so the obvious solution seems to be a dish that involves cooking small chunks of beef for long enough to soften them. Or I could adapt my chili from ground beef to beef cubes.
4. Knitting: I could do something like knitting everything in the Favorite Socks book, but really I learn something from each individual project; not sure I need an overarching theme.
5. Travel? Given how much I saw of the Netherlands last time, I probably won’t worry about it.
6. Shopping: need to learn to shop a bit more like a Dutch person. If I can’t go to the local Eindhoven market (Tuesdays, and I’m at work) I need to check out the Woensel market north of me (on Saturdays, and not an unreasonable bike ride). The markets are the best place for fish and produce and probably also cheese. Also, I need to find a real butcher; I bet that would get me much better mean than buying it in the grocery store.
7. Rowing: I should really pick something specific, like an upcoming race, and plan my training to prepare for that.
I suppose I could do a reading challenge, like reading fifty books by writers of color, but reading is my necessity and my refuge; I don’t want to make it into work. And I hardly have a need to push myself to read more! Though I’d be very happy to broaden my outlook and my reading; if people have suggestions for authors you think I’d like, particularly ones that might broaden my horizons, I’d love to hear those.
I’d appreciate suggestions for other projects that might be fun to work on during my time of living alone. Last time I lived alone (the three winter months in Worcester, MA, during which I started my first blog) I did far too much shopping, and that’s not really either desirable or even really possible, thanks to more limited store hours and lack of storage space.