Where did the time go? Sometimes it seems like it was only a year or two ago that we entered the new millennium with a lot of hoopla and fanfare. And while the ten years passed in a flash, it also seems like lifetime ago. When 1999 slipped into 2000, I was still living in Switzerland. From my apartment outside Geneva, I could look out and see the French Alps. I was traveling somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 miles a year, managed a team of sixty or seventy sales people and had a cell phone permanently glued to my ear.
There was a great deal of excitement and anticipation as we approached the end of 1999. There is nothing like a new century to get people excited, thinking about change and the promise of a brand new era. Along with the excitement, giant red flags were raised and dire predictions that computer systems around the world would crash, taking hospitals, stock markets, airplanes and most businesses down with them. Not sure of what to expect, many people filled spare containers, including bathtubs, with water, stockpiled food and topped their gas tanks.
I was working for a computer company and as we approached December 31st, all the executives in my group were on high alert. Assuming the phones would work, we were assigned shifts to take calls from customers. Since I am technically illiterate, my job was not to fix anything; just make reassuring noises to irate big-wigs to convince them that we were both sympathetic and working on their problem. Since I was in the States on vacation I got the most critical shift, midnight to 6 a.m. central European time (6 p.m. to midnight in New England.)
I dutifully phoned the call center in Vienna at 5:30 to make sure they could reach me with any emergencies. For the next hour my phone remained silent. Not a beep, not a buzz, not a ring. I called back. Nothing was happening. No frantic customers. No escalations. It was the biggest nonevent in IT history. By 8:00 I decided it was safe to relax, enjoy a glass of champagne and think about my plans for the new millennium.
I made three resolutions for 2000. The first was more melodrama than drama and quite simple to achieve. I decided it was time to change my look and cut my hair. Before the twelfth day of Christmas had come and gone I had several inches of my curly locks chopped off. Next, I took to wearing skirts and twin sets. I called it my Jackie Kennedy look.
The second and third resolutions were indeed major life changes. I decided that it was not only time for a new job but after almost two decades abroad it was time to move back to the United States. These two goals took a little longer but by August I had a new assignment in California, by October I had closed on a house and by November I was packed and on a plane.
It was just the start of a decade filled with change. In spite of my new assignment, my enthusiasm for corporate life was waning and before long I was more than ready to flee the West Coast. Seeking the familiar, I returned not to Switzerland but to New Hampshire, my childhood home away from home. I became a corporate dropout. With a muddled mix of confidence and enthusiasm, fear and trepidation, I began my new life as a writer and cook.
Wishing you a wonderful new decade filled with new adventures and happy changes. Happy New Year and bon appétit!
Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
My years as a road warrior took me to all four corners of the globe. I have many wonderful memories of delicious meals and interesting conversations in four-star restaurants and humble street cafés. This soup is full of flavor and budget-friendly; perfect if you are feeling the pitch after the holidays. Enjoy!
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon or to taste sweet paprika
1 (14-16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces frozen leaf spinach
- Heat a little olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and bell pepper and sauté until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the spices and garlic and sauté a minute or so.
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir well. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove the soup from heat. Use a potato masher to smash some of the chickpeas and thicken the soup. Stir in the spinach and let heat through, check for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup, drizzled with a little extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
Feel free to make a comment; I’d love to hear from you. Just click on Leave a Comment below. To subscribe to my blog, just scroll back up and click on the Sign Me Up button.
For lots more recipes visit my website at www.susannye.com. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010