Back in Connecticut it's about a twenty minute drive from my house to Stew Leonard's, touted as the world's largest dairy store. It's quite an experience, with animatronic cows greeting shoppers in the bakery and dancing bananas singing the praises of a fruit-filled diet, all while the masses make their way through the maze of aisles--my personal favorite attraction is the huge wall of pistachios. Just down the road from Stew's, however, a small and markedly more quiet store attracts its own fair share of visitors. Penzey's Spices is set up like a smaller and specialized Stew's, with little showcases of baking and cooking spices and flavors decorating the wood-paneled visage of a small country store, with samples available for scent-tests. One of my favorite stores, I was delighted to find another location in nearby Arlington, MA, and on Saturday my friend Kim and I drove down to visit the storehouse of goodness. We encountered vanilla sugar (and a recipe to make cocoa pancakes), Chili3000:the chili of today!, Chili9000:the chili of tomorrow!, and saffron, which as the most expensive (and hard to harvest) spice available goes for $114.89/quarter of an ounce. After we were satisfied with our purchases (I got "pasta sprinkles" and "hint of mint hot chocolate") we journeyed into Cambridge, settling on a smoothie place to quench our thoughts. Much as I love Gordon, it is nice to be reminded that the world is a very big place, and so very accessible. This was again affirmed on Sunday morning when I went into Boston again with some of the girls on my floor to visit an Orthodox church that one of my girls attends every Sunday. What I've been learning about my relationship with the church is that I do actually love tradition and history, and this church, with icons of saints of the faith decorating the walls and a service based so closely on the eucharist, was a beautiful witness to the enduring faith of the servants of God. I also love cities, and to worship with such a diverse group of people all incredibly accommodating of the strangers who didn't know any of the melodies to the prayers made me so happy to live within such easy access of a close-knit community of people who love God.
Not that I'm unable to find that here at school; my roommate and I just got back from a Ben & Jerry's run, and now we sit content and full of good conversation.