It’s easy to forget who you are when you first move to a new place. Before I moved to Ireland, I had been living in the same apartment in Los Angeles for over three years, and had settled into a relaxed but fairly regular routine. If I were to speak about myself in the third person, a la a voiceover description of a character in a film, it would go something like this:

Clare wakes up without an alarm clock at around 8 a.m. every morning, unless it’s a Saturday or Sunday as she would have been out with her friends trying a new restaurant or lounge which meant a few several glasses of wine that night and a bit of a headache the next day. She works from home, often in her pajamas, though lately she’s been making an effort to ready herself in the morning like every other working person she knows. In the shower, she always shampoos first, then conditions her hair, and soaps up while the conditioner sits in her hair. After rinsing the soap and conditioner off, she washes her face. She always saves the face-washing for last, though she doesn’t know why. For breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week, Clare whips up a variety of healthy dishes as she enjoys cooking. Her gym, just up the street, is a place she visits at least 5 times per week. She’s addicted to LOST and – though she wouldn’t admit it publicly – loves to sing along to old lounge tunes in her living room (with the curtains drawn, of course).

If that same voiceover were to magically come over my stereo speakers in my new apartment in Ireland, it would go something like this:

Clare wakes up without an alarm at about 8 a.m. every morning. Tune in next week, and hopefully we’ll have some more updates.

I do know this: Here, I’ve been putting makeup on even when I go to the store, because…well, I don’t really know why, to be honest. Maybe I’m trying to make a good impression, maybe I don’t want to look haggard in case I run into someone (I’ve already told you how small this town is), etc. Here, I’ve eaten about two cups of vegetables – TOTAL – in the last two weeks, and have consumed more fried food and chocolate than I’ve had in the last several months combined. I have yet to join a gym because I’m still shopping around for a car and there are no gyms within walking distance of my new apartment. Though my shower routine is the same, everything else is thrown off. Don’t get me wrong; I do not want to resume the same routine here that I had back in LA – that would defeat the purpose of moving to a new place! But I guess right now I just don’t know who I am here, which is both unnerving and exciting at the same time.

One thing I do need to get back to is the healthy eating, so this morning I made a lovely potato, onion and pepper hash with an egg for breakfast. It was a little taste of home, as I used to make hash for breakfast all the time when I lived in LA. I think keeping a bit of old habits and nuances, while being open to my new surroundings and influences, is the most comfortable approach for me at this time. Now please excuse me while I close my drapes and put on a little ditty…

Healthy Breakfast Hash
(serves 2)

What makes this hash so satisfying is that I use just a half slice of Irish bacon and only three small potatoes per serving, but lots of onions and peppers to really bulk up the dish. When served with an egg, it makes for a balanced and hearty breakfast that’ll keep you going all morning!

6 baby potatoes, skins on
Non-stick oil spray (or you can coat pan with olive oil using a paper towel)
1 slice Irish bacon, sliced thinly
½ white onion, sliced thinly
½ green bell pepper, sliced thinly
½ red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon of olive oil
Pinch of dried red pepper (chili) flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, cooked any way you like
3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn

Take the baby potatoes and cut a slit through the skins. Wrap potatoes in a paper napkin, and microwave for 3-4 minutes on high heat, or until the potatoes are just starting to get soft. They should be slightly undercooked. Slice into thin wedges and set aside.

Spray a sauté pan with oil spray and heat to medium. Put in the sliced bacon, and cook for a 2-3 minutes until just cooked through. Add the onion and both of the peppers, and sauté all together over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the peppers start getting slightly soft. Push the vegetables around the outer edge of the sauté pan, creating space in the middle. Drizzle the olive oil into the middle of the pan, and put the potatoes right into the oil, allowing it to coat the potato wedges. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional), and then toss/stir all of the onion/bacon/pepper mixture and potatoes together. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until all the potatoes are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Split the mixture onto two plates, and top each with one egg. Garnish with torn basil leaves and enjoy!