Recap: The B’s and a Few Detours (Ethiopia, Iceland, Syria)

Before we move onto the C’s, we figured we should do a quick review of the twenty countries we’ve been to since our first recap.

Favorite home-cooked meal:

Jess: They were a ton of work, but the salteñas we made to eat as a mid-morning snack when we were in Bolivia were pretty fantastic, if I may say so myself.

Derek: I grew to love chechebsa from Ethiopia, a spicy breakfast dish that Jess made on many mornings last fall because she had had extra spice mix, but the dish that really knocked my socks off was her foul bean breakfast from Syria.

Favorite restaurant meal:

Jess: I already liked Ethiopian food a lot before our globetrot there, so maybe it’s not completely fair to say our lunch at Blue Nile. In terms of ambiance, Fusion Andina, part of our Bolivian weekend, was very charming.

Derek: I, too, enjoyed our trip to the charming Fusion Andina in Beverly, though my favorite gastronomic experience of the Bs was eating moules frites (mussels) at the Publick House during our Belgian weekend.

Most memorable “live” experience:

Jess: The Icelandic film festival was a great way to see multiple perspectives on Icelandic life and culture. I’d already been interested in visiting Iceland someday, but the films—particularly the short documentary on horses in Iceland—made me want to book a plane ticket even more.

Derek: Watching the Syrian artist Kevork Mourad paint in real time during the performance of Home Within at Brandeis left a huge impression on me, both emotionally and in terms of my academic research into the nature of creativity.

Film I’d recommend:

Jess: I especially liked Everybody’s Famous!, which we watched during our Belgian weekend. The protagonist is clearly in the wrong here, but you can’t help rooting for him anyway.

Derek: I really enjoyed watching the episodes of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency during our weekend in Botswana. How about a cup of bush tea?

An activity I wish we had been able to find/try:

Jess: Since the Bulgarian Rose Festival wasn’t what we had hoped for (we’d imagined an event that was open to everyone, but definitely didn’t get that vibe when we arrived), I do wonder what it would have been like to go to some of the other Bulgarian events we had also heard about instead, like the party for the Bulgarian women’s chorus.

Derek: During our visit to Blue Nile, the restaurant was sold out of honey wine, an Ethiopian specialty. We’ll have to seek it out in the future!

Most challenging country:

Jess: I’m not sure if much of what we did for Bahrain was authentic.

Derek: I had a great time in Brazil, but our weekend didn’t teach us very much about the country’s vast rainforests, nor the indigenous peoples who live there.

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