Cinco Dias: Reality Check

When life gets real hard, or I feel like I’m limbo, or overwhelmed I can’t organize my thoughts into a cohesive post.

I want to write, but I hold back. I feel:

Dramatic. Ridiculous. Uninspired.

I’m my biggest critic. I criticize every post I type, to the point that I hinder authenticity at times.

Mostly my circumstances recently have made me feel:

Frustrated. Guilty. Childish. Like One who Lacks Faith.

The Cancerian in me wants to crawl into my crabby shell and come back out with more confidence. More than half of the time, I write to inspire myself. To soothe my worrywart mentality, to remind myself that I’m not the first or the last to transition to a new city, to push myself to have a better outlook when things aren’t going according to my schedule.

I won’t sit here and brag like I’m the most positive person ever. God’s still working on me.

I call myself a realist, which in my eyes is the happy medium to between an optimist and pessimist. But time and time again, I get the same test of faith. And I fail in my eyes.

This past week in my new city has taken me up and down. I’m over the honeymoon stage, I did realize that much.

My first encounter with this City happened on the eve of my 24th birthday. I was in a serious relationship then, younger, in a dead-end job that was barely paying me enough to take 2 week vacations that left me wanting more. But I was working towards goals, so that kept me going.

Initially, I got really good feelings and vibes from this place. There’s lots of culture, history, and growth happening.

I still feel that way.

Me, at 23

Today, the good vibes are still in the air. Although I want to fast forward through this time known as graduate school, I know that this discipline, time and commitment is for my own good.

Like the motto from the last post: No one said it would be easy… but I have no doubt it’s worth it.

Being out of my comfort zone has also opened my eyes to other truths.

If someone happens to ask me for the time, I am inclined to shake my head and say “Sorry, I don’t have it.”

When I get off the metro and walk on the sidewalk in certain neighborhoods, I’m holding my clutch purse to my person and walking purposely and rapidly.

I will probably never enjoy listening to music in my headphones traveling at night.

I will think twice when I wear my flashy little watch, especially at night.

Purchasing mace online is on my To Do List.

Call me paranoid, or someone who’s OD-ing. This is City life sometimes. I take safe over sorry any day.

So Life, I have no idea where you are taking me for the next 2 years. But I’m gonna keep walking. And when I can’t walk anymore, I’m going to TRUST that He will carry me.

Yours,

She

 

Cinco Dias: Reality Check

My Summer So Far…

I know it’s not technically summer, but since classes have been over for awhile (maybe 2 or 3 weeks, who’s keeping count?) I feel that my summer is already under way.

What have I been doing besides wearing the same Interview outfit over the past couple of weeks? (in no particular order)

Making cheesy collages like this one…
  • Decided against straightening my hair for the summer to prevent the battle against humidity
  • Fell in love all over again with blogging
  • Have been blessed by God beyond belief not only to be attending my dream school for Grad Studies, but to have an awesome community of people who are supporting me along the way
  • Joined some other new social site where people are signing up to meet people aka Flirt: Badoo
  • Also joined LinkedIn- and cringe every time I’m notified that I’m connected to someone by e-mail
  • Read Animal Farm and started 50 Shades of Grey
  • Have felt like I’m loosing my religion by continuing said journey through 50 Shades of Grey and since then have not read past page 125ish
  • Washing my hair almost every other day (a practice I’m not used to)
  • Acting kinda skankish
  • Responsibly gotten my mid-yearly Status check-up
  • Adopted a little sister of sorts
  • Have lamented over countless hours behind my computer screen
  • Experimented painting my nails in some funky summer colors
  • Have contemplated doing my follow up vlog to Rejection
  • Have suffocated on humid nights trying to sleep in a room that gets no outside ventilation
  • Fallen asleep late night next to my bed buddy aka my laptop
  • Pondered over paying any mind to the new season of Love and Hip & Hop: Atlanta
  • Found out about the political climate in certain states while performing telephone surveys- my unofficial ‘job’ of the moment
  • Have set intentions to start reviewing my coursework/start refreshing my memory before Grad school begins
  • Am contemplating having a quiet birthday, although I’d rather be spoiled.

As you can see, my summer so far has been filled with all kinds of trivialities. I can’t say that I want it any other way right now.

What are some habits/plans of yours that mark the official beginning of summer?

My Summer So Far…

Au Revoir 2011

Reflection Question: Write a love letter to your future self a year from now.

Dearest She,

You are strong. You are beautiful, and you are unique. Anybody would be blessed to know you as a friend because you are supportive, loyal and write some damn good birthday cards. Although you don’t have many people that you call friends, there’s nothing wrong with you because you are picky. But there is something wrong with holding on to people you know should no longer be in your life. Friends do come with expiration dates.

This year you’ve learned not to take what friends do or don’t do, personally. You’ve let go of holding grudges against people because they don’t call you, or they don’t respond to your calls, or they don’t check up on you. You’re understanding that there are different types of friendships, and not everyone is like you. People show love in different ways, and they may simply not speak the same love language you do.

Career-wise, the seemingly unfortunate series of events earlier this year have actually given you the kick in the behind to get back to school. Truth be told, it’s hard to take the initiative when things are comfortable. Right now you may be unsure about a lot of things. You think you’re not smart enough to Ace these speech-related courses. You think you’re too old to compete with the 20 and 21 year old brains. You think you won’t get accepted into graduate school, and you secretely hope you don’t get accepted so that things could be easier. So that you have a reason excuse not try harder. It’s easier not to try. It’s easier to give up when you have faced rejection.

But you’ve faced rejection OVER and OVER again this year. You were rejected by your ex-boyfriend. You were rejected by your former boss who let you go. You were rejected by the camp supervisor who didn’t give you a job this summer. And yet, you survived. You finished your first semester of accelerated pre-req’s with a 3.4 GPA. Not too bad. It was a shock; the country town, the coursework, the lack of a real life social network, the style of teaching…but you still came out on top. So you have no idea what school you’ll be accepted to, where you’re going to live, if this field is really your calling, but will you be paralyzed by FEAR? Or will you learn how to work to your full potential and carry on? Will you finally trust in God’s unchanging hand? Not only to say you trust, but to act, and talk like you trust?!

Things you need to work on in 2012:

  • motivating yourself- self-talk works!
  • stop interrupting people when they are talking. Interrupting people shows them you don’t honor their opinion, and that what you have to say is much more important.
  • not relying on having other people around to have a good time
  • being generally more positive, and not cynical
  • restoring faith in the institution of marriage
  • devotional time with God (Bible-reading and mediation)
  • eating healthier
Key Moments you shouldn’t forget of 2011:
  • Making beet salad (in Costa Rica, we call it ensalada Rusa) for houses you visited for Thanksgiving, just to have people look at you like you were offering them cocaine.
  • Your god-daughter’s fascination with cameras.
  • You are smarter than you give yourself credit for.
  • What you focus on, increases. (The Noticer by Andy Andrews)
  • You kissed your first white boy.
  • You had your first real extended hangover.
  • You let yourself be loved.
  • You were introduced to Citizen Cope and have a crush on Drake.
  • You met some inspiring bloggers, click on names for sites (@blaqdaisy, @up4dsn, @moetwithmedusa, @minusthebars, @BrittShelton1, @cgryp, @mindofadiva@IAmNikks, @inspired_enigma  just to name a few)
Remember that there is life after heartbreak, people who seem to be living more comfortable on the outside may be living in hell internally, and that walking down the street with a smile on my face can brighten someone else’s day.
Here’s to a memorable 2012! I wish all of you a safe and amazing New Year celebration.
Until next year,
She
Au Revoir 2011

Foie Gras in Montreal

The second greatest thing about actually seeing a new place, is tasting something authentic and original to that place. Maybe you’ll find that you never knew the potential of Thai food until you go to Thailand, or that you were deceived by the Mexican food of the North until you’ve had something decadent South of the Border… no doubt gastronomy is a big part of experiencing a new culture.

I am no Andrew Zimmerman, but I do consider myself adventurous. I’ll try most things once (except something that would cause a stir on Fear Factor). I did not go to Montreal with the intentions of eating duck liver. Actually the one thing I’ve been hearing everyone rave about (poutine) didn’t even make it in my mouth this trip (we area all adults here, right?) I am a big fan of real people reviewed websites. On an uncharacteristically warm summer day in autumn, YELP led us to Les Deux Gamins restaurant on Prince Arthur Street. The review about this elusive and exotic sounding foie gras read as such…

foie gras has become my star-crossed lover. it’s the most decadent, and possibly most delicious thing i’ve ever put in my mouth but i’ve yet to decide if i will eat it again because of how controversial it is. but this was amazing. smooth and creamy, categorically different from pates and other livers. a bit of salty flavor, but mostly just broad, deep, and intense. the best part was a rind of yellow duck fat surrounding the block, that i could mix in to my liking. i think it may have come with a tiny salad too but no one cares about that.

A little history about the dish:

“Foie Gras is literally goose or duck liver. The name actually means “fatty liver” in French. Throughout the 20th century, Foie Gras was most predominantly produced in France, with the exception of a few other European countries. A luxury item once only enjoyed in the most affluent of homes, foie gras became largely unavailable in the 1980s when the American government banned the import of raw poultry foods. This spurred American farmers to take matters into their own hands, and several foie gras farms started appearing in the New York- Hudson Valley area. ” (from GourmetFoodStore)

SOLD! I want to try some of that. Here’s how the dish was served:

Before

Here’s VIDEO of me digging in (sorry guys, I tried to embed but apparently I’m inept) Disclaimer: I was biased before tasting it because my date had already expressed his reaction.

My foodie review: The texture of the liver was what pretty much did it for me, not so much the taste.  It really was just drenched in extra virgin olive oil, and that’s why my whole mouth was lined with oil and I needed to cover it up with the bread. I am not a big fan of weird textures in my mouth and the best way I can describe this dish is like flan (a Hispanic dessert). It wasn’t chewy, it was actually very tender, not much chewing necessary. Table etiquette dictates that you swallow a bite that you put in your mouth, no matter how bad it is, but this was just way too much for me.

Here’s how we left the plate.

After

Do I regret this? No way! Will I try it again? No way!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten at home or abroad?

Foie Gras in Montreal

Tico Mini-Lesson #2: Where is Costa Rica?

Today´s lesson is short and sweet. Let´s disspell some common myths, shall we.

#1: Costa Rica is not an island.

I know it sounds like Puerto Rico, so it´s easy to assume. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, and Panama to the south.

#2: Costa Rica is located in Central America, not South America.

Costa Rica suntans gracefully in the center of the small waist known as Central America, kissed by the Caribbean Sea on the east and Pacific Ocean on the west coast.

Tico Mini-Lesson #2: Where is Costa Rica?