Laundry is odious. The single biggest drawback to our otherwise awesome living situation is the lack of on-site laundry. We made a pact that we would never go alone, and the laundromat is next door to a Chipotle, so after we put stuff in the washer we go split a burrito. But still. Ew.
YES. Pot pie is one of those awesome recipes. It's also great to take to people who are sick/mourning/just had a baby because you can deliver it in a disposable pie plate and they don't have to worry about returning a dish. Yours sounds much more delicious and healthy, but my version cuts out all of the chopping in favor of a can of Veg-All and two cans of cream of potato soup with the milk and thyme and chicken. You just stir it all together, pop it in the crust, and throw it in the oven. Mmm...now I want chicken pie...if only it wasn't 90 degrees out...
Ok I've never done this before, but should!! My 1 thing is to call Bank of America to find out why my ATM card isn't working. I kind of hate BOA, but it's where the joint account with my boyfriend is and I'm broke, so I need it. And I don't wanna. But now that it's on the internets, I hafta, right? Also, write my dissertation. But Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
I have been to SOO many weddings in the last few years (although not as many as Jia -- holy crow 11 is a lot!). My go-to gift is something reasonable off the registry plus an extra something small because if it was me I would not want to only get the things I registered for. I usually shoot for something in the $50 range, but will go higher if it's a particularly close friend or I find the perfect thing, etc. The last wedding I went to was my room mate from my first year of grad school. I was excited to go to her wedding, but hadn't really seen her since then (3 years ago), had never met her fiance, and had never been to their house, so I had a hard time picking things out. She also only registered for like 3 things under $100, so thankfully I got one... but they were ridiculous Martha Stewart spatulas that cost like $20 and Macy's charged me $10 shipping (I was out of the country and didn't trust my dear boyfriend to get the right thing). I also got her a small dish and a dish towel and some sassy cocktail napkins to go with. I think this one wound up being closer to $80 by the time I got all of the stuff and the giftwrap (ugh. Why was that gift bag $6?!).
First of all, LOVE the Steve Martin picture. "WHERE is the arugula?!" Living (temporarily and almost on my way home) in the Czech Republic, grocery shopping is an interesting thing. I go way more often than I do in the US partially because I have to walk with my stuff home and partially because things go bad/I run out more quickly. It usually goes like this: Walk to store. Grab basket. Produce first. I buy most of my produce at either the farmer's market or a mini-mart because they have better/cheaper produce, but I often buy a red pepper, a cucumber, and cherry tomatoes at the grocery store. Sometimes onions and garlic. Then cheese. Sandwich cheese (sliced) and snacking cheese (hunk of smoked cheese; I LOVE how readily available smoked cheese is here! No more waiting to get lucky at someone's reception...) Then bread. I don't like the sliced bread that is popular here and I also don't eat it fast enough, so I buy small round devoid of nutrition but strangely delicious buns. Granola bars, chocolate and gummi bears, wafers (Czechs love wafer items with varying combinations of chocolate/nut/coffee fillings. I love the Czechs for this.). They don't do much canned food here, but I pick up olives most of the time for Greek salad. Almost always ramen (the kind with the goo. They have DUCK flavored Ramen here. It is amazing and I am a poor grad student) and pasta. Finally salami for sandwiches and snacks (microwave popcorn and either crackers or almonds). Czechs LOVE them some bottled water, so sometimes I pick up a big bottle of flavored mineral water. (There are about 8 brands of water that all have serious fan bases. Each brand has flat, a little bit sparkling, and very sparkling water, and usually flavored ones, too.) On my way home I stop at my corner store of choice (one of the six I can see from my door step. They're called Vietnamky here because they are always owned/run by Vietnamese immigrants) to grab feta and wine. I am looking forward to getting back to my Trader Joe's in CA where I can get meat at reasonable prices and frozen enchiladas...
Good for you! Figuring out that what you're doing is not right for you is scary and hard to admit! I'd say totally go for it! My only thought is that having gone from undergrad straight to grad school and having seen other people who have taken time off and done other things, I feel like those who were out being "real grown ups" and making "real salaries" had trouble adjusting to being back on a student budget. Being realistic about that (which will be easier if you're implementing austerity measures before you go) will probably help your overall happiness. Good luck!!
Right now I'm living in Prague, which has excellent public transit and student discounts. I pay 750czk (about $35US) every three months for an unlimited transit pass, so that's about $12/month. Sadly, when I move back to America in July, that number will be much higher..
Right now, about $40/week for just me (living alone, eating cheap things that are not good for me because I'm lazy and cooking for 1 in a foreign country). When I move home in the fall and move in with the boyfriend, we are budgeting about $50/week for two.
Loving the love from fellow former IES-ers! And all of you -- glad I stirred up some nostalgia in folks :)