My uncle once told me that a conversation is dead when it turns to the weather. Sometimes, I want to start conversations with a long monologue about the wind, bone chilling rain or some other weather-related hum. I’m trying to listen to the advice of my elders more these days, maybe because I’m getting up there myself or maybe because I’ve finally slowed down enough to hear their advice. Sometimes, I can hear myself drumming on about the weather with a stranger, while whispering to myself, “What the heck do I talk to this person about?”
Not many people know that I’m really shy. A lot of people know me from professional settings, where I can just flip a switch. It’s easy to be on when you have to be. I know that it’s easier to tell somebody something, rather than conversate with one another. If you put me in a room full of strangers, then I’m the first person to feel like I have nothing to say. I get really quiet. I can’t catch my breath. I prefer to hide next to the food table because I can investigate the cuisine and simultaneously run away from party goers. My other personal favorite is jamming away on the dance floor in a I’m-just-so-psyched-to-dance-I-can’t-talk kind of way.
I don’t know where I picked up this shy bug, but it’s a hard one to shake. I sometimes feel it in moments with strangers on the train. I guess in the end, we all have to overcome the fear of being found out. For what, I’m still not yet sure, but I know every time I get the shy bug it’s usually all the stuff I’m still working through. A giant puddle of things I am still sorting out in my own life. So instead of running into last week’s Nor’easter or the bizarre 70 degree weather in October, I have been trying to talk about things of substance.
Afterall, a conversation is an exchange. It’s a way to share thoughts, ideas, feelings and the nonverbal with one another. I have to remind myself of this, often. Conversation is different than argument, persuasion or lecture. It’s the soup & mud of communication. It is where we give & learn the most if we are brave enough to put our hearts on the line. One of my best friends from California called me the other day on her way to her boyfriend’s house just to catch up & then my dad called me the other night on his way home from work to tell me about his day & talk about my weekend plans. It’s these mundane check-ins that mean more to me than ever. I don’t check-in with my friends as often as I should & definitely don’t pick up the phone to call anybody during moments I most need to chat.
This fall, I guess it’s time to teach myself how to conversate again, how to stay up late and listen, how to cry for tragedies that are not my own and celebrate the small day-to-day wins of those around me. No weather talk tonight, just me and a baking loaf of bread in the oven. No lamenting the last couple days of rain, just putting my heart on the line. Telling stories that I had forgotten were my own.
– Apple & Sour Cream Breakfast Couscous –
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup almond milk or cashew milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 block tofu
4-5 tbs lemon
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 apple, diced
Heat up almond milk in a small saucepan on low heat. Once the milk starts to simmer, add couscous, cinnamon & vanilla. Turn off heat & cover for 10-15 minutes. While your couscous is absorbing the sweet almond milk you can make the vegan sour cream. In a food processor or blender, mix together tofu, lemon, almond milk & apple cider vinegar. If you are having trouble getting a smooth consistency, then slowly add additional almond milk 1 tbs at a time.
Once your couscous has completely absorbed the almond milk, then garnish your couscous with sour cream & diced apple. This breakfast bowl has the perfect tangy taste. I was out of nuts for the week, but you can also add cashews, almonds, pistachios etc. I also added a sprinkle of brown sugar and a slice of vegan butter to the mix.