Eat

“Eat Pray Love”. It’s an amazing book. I read it when it first came out years ago. I was young. I had just started college. I admired the book but had no real connection to it because I hadn’t experienced enough of anything yet.

I didn’t know how I wanted to blog about this book. How to present it and the impact it now has on me. Now that I am older, wiser and experienced. Since the last time I read ‘Eat Pray Love’ I have been married, suffered a devastating miscarriage, divorced, changed jobs, changed states, married again and overall just had a lot handed to me.

It’s very, very easy in this life to get caught up in becoming so much better than you are currently that you forget who you are altogether. That happened to me at one point and I have spent the last six months getting to know myself again. Isn’t it sad? We are with ourselves all the time but most of us do not know who we really are, what we really like?

Last month, I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and thought “I should re-read Eat Pray Love.” So I began it again last week. I think I made it to page 12 before I knew exactly how to blog this. Exactly how I want to show you the way this book impacts me.

This will be the first of three posts. You may have already figured it out, but there will be a post for Eat, a post for Pray and a post for Love.

This is my post for Eat.

Page 12, Elizabeth Gilbert says “I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life-so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?” This was a serious question that made me stop reading and think about my own life. Does it look like me? Somewhat. I love my apartment, I love my husband, I love my dog and I love my job. Not necessarily in that order. I’m happy with how I look. At 28, I am firm in who I am and content with myself. What I lack is pleasure. I assume responsibility.

Days I just want to lay in bed and read, I will myself to get up and clean, do laundry, workout. And I hate all of those things. I love sitting on the porch with my dog, but I rarely do it. I’m actually doing that as I write this. I miss a lot in the name of responsibility. I always try to chose the most responsible, mature option. The option that will gain more respect. I eat greek yogurt for breakfast, veggies and lean protein during the day. I love banana splits but only have them to treat myself. Damn it I miss carbs! Or I did. For the Eat portion of this book, I indulged who I really am.

I took two hour long, steaming hot bubble baths, I had a whole bottle of wine. I ate exactly what I wanted when I wanted it. I sat on the porch. I stayed in bed. I’ve never been happier. The moment I stopped denying myself was the moment everything fell into place. My apartment is actually cleaner, I am more coaching focused at work. I haven’t bitten anyone’s head off recently. All of this can always change, but it’s important to note when I stopped denying myself, everything else looked like an open door. My honesty with God got better in my moments of prayer.

“In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple. It’s like this-I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about ten different breeds, but seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me, “What kind of dog is that?” I would always give them the same answer. “She’s a brown dog.” Similarly, when the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” My answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.” -Page 15

“That’s the thing about human life-there’s no control group, no way to know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.” -Page 57

This next one is probably my favorite thing from the chapter.

Planet Advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat. This Bud’s for you! You deserve a break today! Because you’re worth it! You’ve come a long way, Baby! And the consumer thinks, Yeah! Thanks! I am gonna go buy a six-pack, damn it! Maybe even two six-packs! And then comes the reactionary binge. Followed by the remorse. Such advertising campaigns would probably not be as effective in the Italian culture, where people already know they are entitled to enjoyment in this life.” -Page 68.

When did we start believing that we deserve enjoyment only when we do well? Life is way too short for that.

I am married. Happily married. I am rarely alone. That is not to say that I do not get lonely. I get sad the same way everyone else does. Which is probably why I related to this quote so much.

When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it. For once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another persons body or emotions as a scratching post for your unfulfilled yearnings.” -Page 71.

I learned a lot about the history of Rome while reading this book, specifically about Architecture. I even put my book down several times to Google certain landmarks, buildings or fountains and studied more about them separate from what Elizabeth Gilbert provides in the book.

I especially became interested in the Augusteum. Im not going to give you its history. You can look that up yourself if you like. Suffice to say it’s been a billion different things in its life.

I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may have once intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough-but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the eternal city, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.” –Page 83.

Giovanni smiles and says encouragingly, “Parla come magni.” He knows this is one of my favorite expressions in Roman dialect. It means, “Speak the way you eat,” or, in my personal translation: “Say it like you eat it.” It’s a reminder-when you’re making a big deal out of explaining something, when you’re searching for the right words-to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman food. Don’t make a big production out of it. Just lay it on the table.” –Page 96.

Here’s another example of the difference in our worldviews. A family in my sisters neighborhood was recently stricken with a double tragedy, when both the young mother and her three-year-old son were both diagnosed with cancer. When Catherine told me about this, I could only say, shocked, “Dear God, that family needs grace.” She replied firmly, “That family needs casseroles,” and then proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this is grace.” –Page 100.

That last quote reminded me that sometimes acting on who you are and your first instinct could be a blessing, grace to someone else. Which is why it is important to know who you are and live genuinely to that knowledge.

“If you could read people’s thought as they were passing you on the streets of any given place, you would discover that most of them are thinking the same thought. Whatever that majority thought might be-that is the word of the city. And if your personal word does not match the word of the city, then you really don’t belong there.” Page. 114.

Sometimes, I think Greenville’s word is “eat”. So it synchronizes nicely with this blog post that I currently live here. I walked you through my favorite passages from this portion of the book, now I’m going to walk you through the best things I ate while in this part of the book. And wouldn’t you know it, the top two are from my favorite spots in Greenville.

1. Koi Asian Bistro

From this first time I ate here, I was hooked. I always start with an order of the creamy tuna (not pictured because I could not wait to eat it) and a ginger salad (above) which is always fresh. This time I tried the Tofu Cashew and was not disappointed.

The macaroons with vanilla bean ice cream were a fabulous way to end our meal. But, being in a state of “do what you know pleases you”, I ordered my usual Mango Sticky Rice. It is sweet and delicate and the mango is ripe and fresh. It is always a beautiful meal regardless of what I order. I always leave content and full and happy.

Pro tip: ask for Susie as your waitress. She is sweet, polite, has great knowledge of the menu and honestly, half of the reason I go here. Follow them @koigreenville

2. The Pretty Taco

This one might be biased. I’ve been a fan of The Pretty Taco before it even had a name. I’ve known the owner almost a year so I have had the pleasure and blessed privilege to eat her food for that time.

I went to her opening night last year and was blown away by the presentation and quality she achieved. Her menu updated for spring and it is no less amazing, it’s just amazing in new ways.

When I went to try the updated menu, I went all out! Tacos are by far my favorite food so here was the perfect place to go for it. I had two of the crispy chicken tacos (which are divine) but ended up negotiating with my husband to trade me one of his beef Barbacoa. 😊

Then, although I was pushing the limits of full, I tried the dessert Apple Taco which is proof God exists and loves us. Think of your grandmas Apple pie. Now think of it in a taco. Trust me on this.

Here’s the catch, you can’t just get up and visit The Pretty Taco anytime you want, unfortunately. It is only available on Tuesday nights 6 pm until sell out at The Cigar Boxx in downtown Greenville.

Pro tip: Get there early and try everything because they do sell out!

Follow @theprettytaco

3. I cook, too

Nothing fancy, but it got the job done. I also really, really love pasta.

4. Carrabba’s Italian Grill

I know it’s a chain but don’t sleep on it!

We started with an order of Tomato Caprese with Fresh Burrata. It was fresh and wonderful. Simple and perfect.

Then I had the Fettuccine Carrabba. I have to get gluten free pasta because of Celiac diseases but if you have to eat gluten free (which is admittedly a pain) here is a good spot to do it.

5. Pizza and Ice cream should be a food group

6. Cracker Barrel breakfast

I didn’t get turkey sausage as I normally do. I’m not kidding when I say this, I forgot what pork sausage tasted like.

I got the Sunrise Sampler, and since I wasn’t able to eat the biscuits and gravy that comes with it, I absolutely finished my breakfast with a Frozen Mug Sundae you see above.

Okay, I know that was a long post! Thank you for sticking with it and I hope you enjoyed it!

Comment below and be sure to follow on Instagram @booksandabrunette.

Do exactly what makes you happy today,

Jen

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