Posted in Anecdote, Colloquial, Couch Talks, Daily Life, Foreign cultures, Lifestyle, Spain, Tales of My Adventures, Visiting Spain

Spring and Window Shopping in Spain: Malls and Fashion trends

Hola Cttbies!

¿Qué tal? (How are you?)

It’s spring! (At long last). The weather is great here (an average of 20°C). The spring breeze is so sweet here, and the birds chirp so beautifully during the day!

On the other hand, it’s also good if you’d like to have a quiet trip, because there is less touristic affluence and hassle. I must say, the best months to visit Spain are March to early June, or September to mid November.  In summer it’s too hot, especially in August the temperature goes up to 40°C , and there blows a hot wind from the desert that is completely unbearable; in December to January it’s too cold and windy, not the best time either. All year long, it’s like the god of fire and the god of ice fight all year long in Zaragoza.

Busking at Paseo IIndependencia, one of the main streets in Zaragoza’s town center.

From 24°C to 11°C on the same day,  Spring is the time of what I call “quitaipón de ropa” (remove and wear clothes). Temperatures in my town are very unstable, with very high differences in intervals. at one moments you’re sweating buckets and at another, you’re freezing. The wind here (the infamous “Cierzo”) is mortal so you can catch a cold if you let your guard off.  It’s advised to take a light coat with you even if you don’t end up wearing it. Yesterday on my way home, I couldn’t walk properly because the Cierzo kept pushing me from behind. That’s how strong it is!

When the weather gets warm like this, I feel like I’m reviving after a long slumber. I’m in a good mood nowadays, and so are many others, seeing how the streets are busy with plenty of people. The covid 19 incidences have lowered so the authorities lessened the restrictions.

What a better way to celebrate than to go to window shopping or visit a mall?

I am mostly working from home nowadays, so every chance to go out is fine. I met up with a friend and we paid a visit to Puerto Venecia, the most beautiful shopping center in Zaragoza. Built in 2012, it caught the hearts of thousands of buyers and even caused the death of one of its predecessors, Plaza Imperial Mall, which was deserted. Puerto Venecia is bigger, more beautiful, closer in distance and even has a pond with Koi fishes. Sorry, you can’t beat that. The other malls luckily survived because they’re close to the town center and, very importantly, because one can’t go to the same mall all the time. We humans need variety…

This time, I only went window shopping because the economy is kind of low (Ahem). My heart was breaking as I saw all those beautiful things from afar… But still, I had a lot of fun. Actually, I’ve never laughed so much at clothes in my life. The fashion here is a bit peculiar, usually a lot of colours with a touch of eccentricity. Trend wise here, youth clothing is gradually turning Kpop-inspired or anime-inspired. It seems kanjis and dragons are in season. and nowadays, teens here are into colourful bob cuts or “anime skirts” (my bad, I don’t know the exact name).

In the perpetual quest for creativity, some brands went a bit overboard this year. I took some pictures of the clothing I found the most bizarre… Ahem… striking (pictures below). After a long, harsh year, maybe they’re trying to lift our mood… I’ll just take it that way. I just hope they’re confortable to wear…

Is it Spring where you live as well? How is it in your country?

Warm regards, and wishing you a wonderful week!

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Lifestyle, Nuna Blomevi's Meditations

Lady Justice and Lady Liberty: law, relativism and power struggles

Si, dans le nombre infini de choses qui sont dans ce livre, il y en avait quelqu’une qui, contre mon attente, pût offenser, il n’y en a pas du moins qui y ait été mise avec mauvaise intention. Je n’ai point naturellement l’esprit désapprobateur. ” Charles de Montesquieu, Préface “De L’Esprit des Lois”

If, among the infinite number of things that are in this book, there be any which, against my will, happens to offend, there is , however, none mentioned with a bad intention. It is not in my nature to be a disapproving person.” (NBPT: Nuna’s Personal Translation)

Today’s meditations brought me to the area of law and personal freedom. I enjoy reflecting on serious topics, but adding to it a pinch of humor.

My recent meditations brought me to cogitate over the concept of law. First, I wrote a previous article on storytelling and politics, then on power and influence , now I am drawn to talk about law and liberty. Mercy…nowadays,  I feel too rapidly compelled into adulthood …

Ultimately, I hear a lot on TV, the Internet and on the news a great mention of different topics related to freedom. Everybody is giving their opinion about what should be done or not, and sometimes there are so many different opinions about the same issue (my head hurts a lot because some say “do this”, others say “don’t”, it’s confusing).

It made me reflect on the notion of freedom in general, and on the role of the law in the regulation of society.  “Can Lady Justice and Lady Liberty be friends?“, I asked myself.

To understand better the concepts of law and liberty, let’s retrace them back  to the notion of good and evil and to the concept of authority.

1- The notion of “good and evil”

Human beings are social creatures bound to share time, space and resources within a community. There are things we want to do, and things we don’t want to do, and we wished we were free to live according to what we want. However, the acts posed by one person may affect another. In order to regulate society, the law was created, and actions were defined under the notions of “good” and “bad/ evil”.

The morality of an act and its level of  gravity can be measured based on various variables. For example; the circumstance in which it was committed, the level of the damage incurred and the intention behind it. For example, killing someone with premeditation isn’t dealt with in the same way as self-defense. Stealing food isn’t the same as robbing a bank.

Personally, I define “doing wrong to someone” as an act caused towards an individual that resulted in causing them a sort of damage. It may be physical, emotional, or related to material properties. Doing good, on the contrary, is posing an act that will bring the receiver some contentment or benefits.

Both “good” and “evil” can vary in levels; they can increase or decrease. Something or someone can be described as “very bad” or “very good”, or also “not so bad” or “not so good”.

A “punishment” can be applied to keep people in check by letting them know that something not very pleasant, or something painful will happen to them if they don’t follow the law. A “reward” is the opposite, it is a pleasurable return on an action committed.

On a macro level, the Law (a set of rules) is a summary of the most recurrents crimes (acts that cause a high level of damage) and the corresponding punishment that a certain society has agreed to apply to it. Those rules are based on morals, values and principles that govern a particular community. For example, some countries apply death penalty for certains crimes while other nations considered that no life should be terminated, so they rather applying a life sentence . In some past civilizations, they cut your hand if they caught you stealing. Nowadays, you will go to jail or pay a fine.

On a micro level, the term “law” can also be related to the set of rules that govern a household or an individual’s life.

2- The concept of authority

The concept of authority has always existed. It is the strength that enforces the law and can manifest in different forms. For example, parents have authority over their children, a boss over his employee at work, or a president over a country.

When two voices are raised against each other, the louder one silences the other. As the stronger voice leads, those who agree with it are happy and those who don’t… have no choice but to submit (or rebel, and wait in silence until the opportunity comes to overthrow the leading voice).

In the hand of humans, power takes turns.  (That’s why we humans are jealous of God and wished we were deities, because only He gets to do what he wants).

On a macro level: to save society from drowning into chaos, the world needs a strong figure that will superimpose its supremacy on other opinions. In the contrary case, it will be morselled and each part will constantly be clashing, one trying to overthrow the other. It doesn’t only refer to gunshots and bombing. It can also refer to“unrest”, the absence of peace. It’s a natural human need to seek for a leader, “someone who can show the way”. In our relativist era, I wonder who will be able to assume that position now… Our modern society teaches us that we’re all free to think and do what we want. However, it is impossible to accept every single opinion. The majority’s voice will always prevail…

so that kind of backfired on keeping order.

3- Lady Perspective: a friend or a foe?

If we follow the logic that it’s a free world, then why does the law exist? We should all be able to do what we want. Well, the law exists to establish limits to our actions and to ensure that we cohabitate peacefully with each other. However, it has the unique but great flaw that it can be modified at will: either, the principles behind it become obsolete, or when one has enough power to bend it. The Law is therefore directly linked to authority, and is one of the main causes of all power struggles and society uprisings, summarised in a nutshell: “You dn’t agreed with a verdict? Then get enough pwer to shift the tables and overrule it”.

The law can be altered at will according to the changes in opinions, perspectives and other variables that are relevant to each society (and personal gains of influential individuals). Even more, power dictates a lot in whether a law will be passed or not. The stronger opinion gets to have the law it wants approved, and if those against are weaker, they have no choice but to submit. The tables keep changing as power also changes hands.

The current society has taught us that we were free to do whatever we wanted to do (that’s what some higher ups said to compel our votes during the electoral campaigns). However, that grand promise has come to backbite them, because they didn’t tell the second part of the concept of freedom. I enjoy very much this particular quote in French that expresses it pretty well : “La liberté des uns s’arrête là où commence celle des autres”, meaning: “One’s freedom ends where others’ freedom begins” (NPT: Nuna’s Personal Translation).

Nowadays, when the people of law want to punish them, a common justification is: “It is my belief. We live in a free country, so I have the right to do what I want, and you must respect my choices”. I’m not sure why, but I’m hearing that excuse a lot nowadays… As long as the action done doesn’t harm anyone, probably. But if not, then there’s a problem.

For example, I saw on the news, that some folks organised a party to celebrate the New Year with about 500 people gathered in a closed place, with no mask, in the middle of this Covid pandemic . In the name of liberty, should their celebration be permitted? or in the name of law and the greater good, should they be sanctioned?

This is just one example out of many others.

Phew… Lady Justice and Lady Liberty must be having a hard fight up wherever they are. “The law was supposed to maintain order in society. Now we are told that every opinion is valid and we are all free to think and do what we want. Then, if the law is an impediment to liberty, why does the law still exist? ”

In conclusion… our world is a free world, but at the time, it’s not. It’s all about reaching the proper balance.

Oh, charismatic leader who will subdue chaos and at the same time ensure the freedom of all, the world is waiting for you…

I’m out for now… See you in my next post!

Forever meditating and forever overthinking,

Nuna Blomevi.

Sources consulted (click on the word to follow the link):

defintion of “law” and liberty

5 reason to abolish death penalty

New Year party

Posted in Daily Life, Foreign cultures, Identity and Culture, Lifestyle, Spain, Tales of My Adventures, Trips

Spanish ravishing strolls: discovering the city of Zaragoza

Hola CTTBies!

I hope we are all doing well, and that we’re all safe!

In today’s post I will be sharing more about an important aspect of Spanish social life: the art of taking strolls. I’m also taking you on a visual tour of Zaragoza, the town were I live!

In a previous post, I mentioned that Spaniards spend a lot of time in social interactions, and therefore, it’s very common to come across “improvised hangouts”. It does not necessarily refer to parties or meetings over meals. Spaniards also spend a lot of time outside their flats, walking, chatting or just having fresh air. Their cities are designed for that purpose. For example, in my town Zaragoza, there are a lot of public spaces of various sizes: parks, squares, green spaces or playgrounds between buildings. There are always public benches on every street. You can see families with kids, lovey-dovey couples, young people chatting with their friends, eating snacks or listening to music, or old people getting fresh air. It was really funny for me to that even the University’s park is visited for the same purposes and even to walk their dogs. 

They also go for “tapeo” which is going from bar to bar eating “tapas” (snacks or hors d’œuvre) and having a drink.

On weekends, after church, I like walking home. I sometimes take a detour to enjoy the view. There are days when my  friends tag along. We walk, enjoy the view, sit or squat somewhere for a while, there continue wherever our feet lead us too. If we’re hungry, we go to any supermarket nearby and grab some snacks to keep us company. My town is small and very safe, so we stay out until our legs give out (before Covid-19 started, sometimes till 1 or 2 am ).

There’s always something new to discover, or things that capture our attention… We have a local saying here: “Zaragoza te enamora” (Zaragoza makes you fall in love). Indeed, I have been here for years, but it is constantly fascinating.

After the Filomena snowstorm left us covered in white, San Valero’s strong wind gushes nearly blew us away, and now… Valentine came with love in its wings. The weather is pretty more merciful these days. We’re transitioning to spring so the average max. temperature is 14°C.

As it’s getting warmer and warmer, talking strolls around the city becomes even more agreeable. It is pure goodness to see the trees bloom and to feel the sweet rays of the sun slowly warming up… I love Spanish Spring very much, I feel like I‘m reviving after the harsh winter.

I know it’s still far, but as the tropical bird that I am, I can’t wait for summer to come.

Warm regards,

Nuna Blomevi.

“Expo” Zone

Valdesparterra” and “Arcosur” residential areas

I recorded traces of the Filomena snowstorm on my Youtube channel
Posted in Anecdot, Couch Talks, Daily Life, Deep Thoughts, Foreign cultures, Life Moments, Lifestyle, Story time, Tales of My Adventures, Trips, Work/Studies

The Joys and Pains of a Foreigner

Have you ever gotten frustrated by an obstacle which seemed small at first, but you can’t figure how to go about it?

That is exactly how I feel right now.

When one is a foreigner living abroad, it appears that the immigration service finds every excuse to not let us thrive and advance professionally. It’s so annoying… 

Background story: As many of you know, I am a foreign student schooling in Spain. Up till now, I didn’t have any necessity to find a job (financially speaking).  But as I’m growing older, I want to acquire some professional experience and, why not, make some extra bucks.

Look. I am fluent in 3 foreign languages. Also, my CV is overloaded with qualifications, trainings and extracurricular certifications… I have the required skills wanted for the jobs in my field and I’ve received offers from institutions who really wanted to work with me. But… 

My only hindrance is a freaking piece of paper: let’s call it the “Immigration’s green light”, a.k.a a work permit. The funny thing is, to get the work permit from them, I need a contract from a company. And to get the contract from a company, I need a work permit. In summary: They’re freaking toying with us, right?

There are small part-time jobs like tutoring or cleaning, etc which don’t need papers, but they don’t pay enough to make a decent living. So, except you’re from the European Union, the rest of us have to go through “the Overseas Aliens’ Transit Regulation”. (Excuse my language, I probably lost it out of annoyance, haha). Based on the absence of that sheet of paper, (even as a highly educated noncitizen) you are either forced to leave, or to stay in the country and not amount to much, or to sweat it (and buckets) before you can become anything substantial.

Because of that “system”, today was another failed interview for me. You know, that feeling when you’re in love with someone but the family is against you… Something like that. Worst thing, I woke up with a back pain today so I’ve been walking half-bent like a crab. Great… Awesome day…(sarcasm). I’ve chosen the title “Joys and Pains of a foreigner” because I didn’t want to scare you guys… And also because I decided to take all this positively.

By the way, when I’m feeling nostalgic or downcast, I like to play on Youtube some old songs from my childhood, or my favourite K-drama OSTs. Skillet also does the deal… When I got back home after the interview, I felt so deflated. I listened to “Saint Seya’s” opening theme and “Cat’s Eyes”, “Jayce et les Conquérants de la Lumière”, “Nicky Larson”, “Ken le Survivant”, “Sankukai”, amongst others (links below). Not only the lyrics are so corny, but the melody and the bad visual quality make me laugh so hard. And the reactions in the comment section are hilarious… Especially, the video for “Sankukai” is an antic…

Those songs from old mangas are full of warm memories. They remind me of when I was carefree and living comfortably in my family nest. Now I’m an adult living alone abroad and paying bills… Hehe (sarcastic laughter).

Anyway. My New Year resolution was to not be pessimistic. Where there is a will, there is a way. I must keep fighting for my future and to accomplish my goals. May God help us all.

Any expat friend here who can relate? You can comment below, I’d be more than glad to hear from you! 

Aside from that; maybe you’re reading this and you’re going through another type of difficulty. I’d like to share these encouraging words with you too. Whatever it is, let’s not give up! Let’s keep it up, let’s keep trying! We will knock until we get the right doors to open. Just like the lyrics say in “Jayce et les Conquérants de la Lumière”, “Si tu ne perds pas la foi, tu trouveras la voie.” (If you do not lose faith, you will find the way).

By the away, tomorrow in Zaragoza we celebrate San Valero, the holiday that I previously mentioned in the post on my New Year’s wishes. I’m thinking about writing a short article about it (with my personal quirk touch, without fault). Stay tuned!

Warms regards,

Nuna Blomevi.

Posted in Anecdot, Colloquial, Couch Talks, Daily Life, Fiesta, Foreign cultures, Life Moments, Lifestyle, Photos, Tales of My Adventures, Trips, Vlog, YouTube Channel

Spanish Wishes for the New Year

Finally!

The end-of- year celebrations are over. I get to have my first real day off since the holidays started. As an expat living alone abroad, I originally planned to spend the festivities by myself, but I got so many invitations that I went here and there, celebrating from house to house. Instead of spanning as “The Grinch” or “Home Alone”, my holiday season became “All I want for Christmas is you”. I tell you, it’s important to extend one’s social circle.

Until yesterday, I socialized, laughed my lungs out, slept, tv-binged and food-binged. (Now I am praying for discipline to go on an “effective” diet). I am not a difficult individual to satisfy. Including clothes and expensive perfumes (hehe), I find joy in these little pleasures in life. And personally, after going through certain bitter experiences, I have learnt to laugh and enjoy good moments while I can. 

In Spain, Christmas is not over until the 6th of January. From Nochebuena (24th Dec.), Navidad (25th Dec.), Nochevieja (31stDec.), Año Nuevo (1st Jan.), to Reyes Magos (6th Jan.)…  Spaniards commemorate “Los Reyes Magos”, the visit of the Three Wise Men to Jesus. Here, it’s also the day children receive their gifts. (Yesterday, I was at a get-together with some friends and we exchanged presents. I received a new bag, yay!).

Every excuse is a good reason to celebrate in this country. I heard that 29th January is also a holiday, “San Valero”. It even falls on Friday, bless God. Then we have 5th March, Easter, 1st May and many more all year long…. What a nice country to live in! They are the best at balancing work and rest. I’ve lost track of what we celebrate and why, I’m just happy to stay home or hang out. By the way, I  share videos about life in Spain on my Youtube channel. Please pay a visit, like and subscribe. Gracias! (I also created a special page on this website where I publish pictures of all the countries I’ve visited. (Click here to view Travel Gallery).

Oops… My bad. I got excited and forgot the main reason for this post…

Happy New Year, dear CTTBies! Health, Success, Happiness, Peace, etc. Amen, amen…

Ok, I will skip the usual protocol wishes, I’m sure you’ve already heard them a lot . Pardon my crudeness, you know I’m brutally honest and pessim… uh, uh, realistic. 

2021… We’re not sure what you will bring, but we are ready to take you on (since we’re already exist in this harsh world, we don’t have a choice but to keep going anyway, hehe). We are strong, we will bend but not break. There will be annoying days, but there will also be bright days. You might pick on us, but we won’t mind you. We will go through it and carry on with our lives. We will be firm until our very last breath, as we see you and other years pass by. That’s life. And we are humans, the strongest, ever-adapting creatures on planet earth. We always find a way out of the maze once we set our minds to it. And as long as there is food, housing and our loved ones with us, we can bear through anything. (My personal form of self-encouragment).

New year, bring it on! Maybe I should take that out, let’s not challenge the Universe.

On behalf of Corner and I; we want to thank every one of you who take their time to visit our blog and read our posts. We also want to express our gratitude to all of our followers. Thank you for accompanying us on this journey! We are grateful for your time, attention and affection. Thank you!

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo! 

 Besos,

Nuna and Corner Blomevi. 

Posted in Couch Talks, Daily Life, Deep Thoughts, Fiesta, Life Moments, Lifestyle, Tales of My Adventures

A Grinchy Christmas: overcoming loss and celebrating life again

A sweet and sour post, specially dedicated to lonely souls.

18/12/2020, a life recap.

As I was walking on the street today, I stopped at a traffic light to cross the road. I raised my head and looked around. Crowded shops, busy people, our town was bubbling. The queues waiting to enter stores or restaurants were endless. Pandemic or not, life must go on, it seems. I thought people might find it difficult to celebrate 2020’s festivities. Due to the Covid-19, we’re all a bit grinchy this year, but I guess human beings are good at adapting.

This year I really thought hard about how to celebrate Christmas. It’s not the first time I’ll be alone, but this year the feeling is different. I am ready for it.

When I looked at the happy people on the street, I thought: “Christmas is supposed to be a happy occasion, but it’s not always the case for everyone. There are some people somewhere who aren’t going through their best moment right now”.

Christmas celebrations made me reflect on the stages of life; it took me some years back.

When I was a kid, I really enjoyed the end-of-year celebrations. The gifts, the food, the cozy home atmosphere… Just like any child, I totally loved it. That’s the magic Christmas has, that special time of the year that we spend with the ones we love the most. A sacred period. It’s our society’s designated time to cut our hectic world some slack.

Well, it’s not exactly true every year. I remember, after that peaceful period of my childhood years, my family faced a stormy period due to one of our members’ serious illness. Then, the following end-of years, we faced death, the parting of a loved one. I was just a teen back then…

That’s when my feelings towards Christmas changed. “Arrrgh… It’s this time of the year, again. I hate Christmas so much! And all the new year festivities or what not. I wished the year would end quickly.” Hearing carols got on my nerves and decorations made my eyes itch. The allergy was severe…. I put extra effort in hiding in my room until the Christmas season was over and people stopped bothering me with their celebrations.

Many years have gone by, and our mourning has passed. We will never forget the hard memories, nor forget those who left us to a better world. Nonetheless, our hearts have healed since and we are stronger to continue the journey of life. After the tears, the living must go on living, they say.

Because of those past wounds, I always have on my mind people who have time during the Christmas season and New year. Whether it’s sickness, death, or any other difficult circumstance, my heart goes to them. Like a magic spark that flies in the wind, I hope my thoughts and sympathy can reach them. Like in cartoons, let us all gather some warmth and transmit it to them in these days, so that they receive the strength to make it through and come out victorious and stronger. Yes, the nightmare will end. Let’s say a prayer and light a candle for them. I’m sure people did it for my family too.

Back then, I cried so much that it felt like I was shedding tears of blood. I cried till my lacrimal glands emptied; my eyes got so stiff from the dryness. In those days, when people used to tell me that tomorrow would be a better day and that my tears would dry up one day, I was too torn to believe it. “Yeah, right. They’re just saying whatever to comfort me.” I hurt so much that I thought I would die too. When the pain pierces your heart through and through, it’s hard to believe.

Now I believe it. And I am more mature to smile at the future, no matter what happens.

I have survived my painful past, and I have grown into a beautiful adult. And now, I like Christmas again. Today, I was jumping on the streets like a deer, going from shop to shop and my eyes enlarged, all frenzy looking at the items. Gosh, everything was so nice and the stores smelled so good (I went to buy cosmetics). Oh, the divine fragrances! My lungs were so blessed today. Every woman has a shopping weakness; mine is expensive perfumes or similar scented products, aka exotic shower gels, shampoos, detergents or hand washes. (I bought three different hand washes today…)

Truthfully, as an expat living alone abroad, away from all family, I dread this year’s celebration a bit. (Last year I was sick with a bad flu so I wasn’t really in the state to worry about parties…). In past years it was harder, but I’m getting used to it now and I think I can pull it off. I used to get invited by friends to join their family celebrations, or  I “located” other friends who live alone like me and organize joint celebrations. This year I’ll skip. I’m in a “Home Alone” mood. I just feel like staying home. I’m going to break that everlasting law that says that we have to be agglutinated for Christmas. I just want good food this year…

Plot twist: I got invited by some friends last minute, and I couldn’t resist, Haha… I’ll be home alone only on the 24th on Christmas eve…

I’m planning to pamper me and spend lavishly on getting myself good food and nice gifts. I didn’t feel like decorating this year, so my house is as bare as it’s been all year long. I wanted to buy a little Christmas tree but I got lazy. I’m a foodie, so I’m going to invest in that instead. (There’s a particular Japanese menu that I’ve been targeting for these past weeks). There’s no issue in life that good food doesn’t solve.

I’m already planning the menu. I got inspired by Korean Mukbang videos on Youtube, so I’m thinking of organizing a virtual dinner with my family back in my country. (We did it for my birthday and it was great).

I guess I’m giving alternatives/  ideas to people who’ll be spending Christmas alone like me. I hope they are helpful. Hang in there. All depression,shoo! Be gone! Haha. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.

Will I hate Christmas again in the future? I don’t know. If you love Christmas, I can relate with you. If you don’t love Christmas, I also relate with you. I have come to learn that it is not a celebration with a fixed pattern based on the sparkly, merry, ideal image that society has drawn for us. Christmas is different every year. Christmas is what you make of it personally. Your Christmas is you.

Others may be unaware of what you are going through, or they may be pushing you to celebrate as a way to forget your loss. Your Christmas doesn’t have to be happy because theirs is. Ride the tides, mourn, until you feel confident to smile again without having to fake it.

Bend, but do not break. Survive your loss, and let’s meet on the other side.

A grinchy Christmas to you!

Warm regards from a fellow life warrior. Forever overthinking, forever meditating,

Nuna Blomevi.

P.S.: I prepared a special song for you. Enjoy!💋

Posted in Couch Talks, Daily Life, Deep Thoughts, Life Moments, Lifestyle, Tales of My Adventures, Work/Studies

Fighting against the odds: compete with yourself and win

Today’s meditations led me to this topic: fighting against circumstances.

We all have something that holds us back or stops us from getting to where we want to be or achieving certain desired results.

Personally, I mentally listed all the characteristics that, in my environment and my context, might not be in my favor. The perspective looks sinister. “I am a foreigner living in another country. My skin color demarcates me from others on the spot. No matter what I do, I remain an alien. Even more, though I have learnt the local language and fully adapted to the local cultures, the absence of the corresponding legal documents makes me unrecognised as part of the natives. I will always be ‘the one who came from another place’.

I am from a very small nation that many here do not even know exist. I went to a great school in the land where I come from, but since my nation is not known, my Cum Laude degree does not count. My physical features, my foreign name, my age, they all stand against me on my CV. Where the natives have it hard to get a job, I have to make a triple effort with no guarantee of success. In spite of my academic achievements and professional experiences, I never get chosen. I rather get discriminated against and at occasions people look down on me. When I am wronged because of my origins, many at times I cannot say anything, again because I am not from here and do not have any power in this foreign land.”

It’s easy to drown in discouragement and accept failure. “That’s how things are. That’s how the world works”. Yes, I could say that. It’s true that certain things don’t change no matter how hard we try and bump our heads against the wall.

Still, I want to give life my best shot. When I die, I will close my eyes without regrets and know that I have done my best. In case I don’t make it, I will still be remembered as the one who did all she could. Or maybe, things will work out for me. Why not?

This year, I did all sorts of crazy stuff I never imagined I would do as the risk-free and  highly “will-it-work”,“take-your-time”, “are-you-sure”, “did-you-think-through” person that I am. I started a blog, started a business, created a YouTube channel. At the last minute, I went back on my decision to return to my country where I planned to live a comfortable life with my family. Instead, I recently submitted my candidacy as a student representative in my university.  Part of me is saying: “You must be out of your mind! What have you gotten yourself into?” while the other part says: “Well done! It will take time and effort, but it will work. You won’t regret it!”. Truthfully, there are days where I just want to silence both voices and quietly go on with my life. I don’t know how things will turn out, but I’m glad I did something noteworthy with my existence. It will remain a special memory.

I don’t know what your limitations are. I don’t know what wall you are facing. Tonight, I want to give someone a bit of courage as we all strive and work hard to walk through this life with our heads lifted. Little by little, with wisdom and of course, integrity, let’s break free from what holds us down, step by step, and walk towards achieving our dreams. Yes, you failed before and might fail again. Keep trying. Yes, nobody cheers for you. Encourage yourself.  (And let me tell you a secret: I also got some encouragement from above). God has his ways of bringing us support, as well as the positive words we need to hear. He shows us the right path to follow and roots for us everyday.

Think about that great person you admire or that celebrity you’re jealous of. Do you think they had nothing holding them back? I’m pretty sure they were in the same situation as you and me: the roundabout of “all or nothing”, the turning point of “make or break”. I wonder what fear they left behind and what small steps they took in the past that converted them into legends today.

Is something keeping you from moving forward? There are different ways of dealing with an obstacle: either you remove it, or if you can’t, you go around it. Or if it’s very big, you keep on knocking and scratching it until it crumbles down. Think outside of the box, or create your own. What can you do to make the best out of what you have, and use your circumstances to your advantage?

December is, for me, a key month that represents both a start and an end. At some few days to the closing of the year, what big decision will you take that will propel you to the next level? The access to your success is within your reach. Will you let life pass you by?

I hope you take your leap of faith.

Farewell and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

Posted in Foreign cultures, Identity and Culture, Lifestyle

The story behind my webseries: “Three Expats and a Winter”

Hi CTTBies!

Three Expats and a Winter” is the first webseries I posted on CTTB. At the beginning, I wanted to talk about some cultural issues that I observed or faced as I travel around the world. Since all those experiences were too numerous to discuss one by one, I decided to turn it into a story.

The episodes of “Three Expats and a Winter” are published in a webnovel format, just like for my diary “A Writer Behind the Scenes“.

The purpose was to raise awareness about some sensitive topics such as cultural discrimination. For that reason I chose to create neutral characters to portray the story. Johnny, Malaika and Martins may be fictional, but the situations they encounter tell about the challenges that many expats face in real life. I got the idea as I started a promotional project called “Imagine Africa” to show the continent in a new, positive light, and not as a miserable, pitiful place struck by poverty, war, hunger and a cursed destination to a be avoided as the foreign media tend to display it. While I lived abroad, I realized that Africa has so many beautiful aspects (for example, its delicious food, its weather, the warmth and hospitality of people, the social culture centered on solidarity etc). I wasn’t quite content with how the foreign media seemed to always focus on the negative parts. That tendency has generated stigmatizing effects that greatly penalize Africans on the international scene. The good side is, things are changing for the better and many nationals from this beautiful continent have taken up on themselves to correct that label and foster change in people’s minds. I’ve decided to also join that great initiative, and I hope that my series will have a positive impact.

Until we meet again in my next post, take care! 😉

Nuna Blomevi

Posted in Food, Lifestyle, Work/Studies

No time+ No money: How do I maintain a healthy diet while living abroad?

Google Translate ⬇

I haven’t been eating well of late but money is so tight. What should I get?

“I haven’t been eating well of late but money is tight this month. What should I get?”

On many occasions, as students or as young adults living abroad go through this dilemma while going for grocery shopping. There’s no time for cooking between cramming, going for class or looking for a stable job. Pre-cooked meals, pizza, snacks, junk food etc… On the long run they end up not only increasing your weight but also affecting your health.

Here are some tips to improve your food intake and improve your health:

  • On the green side:

Fruits can sometime be expensive and vegetables may not be to our taste. Therefore, we don’t want to spend money on them. But you can add these affordable and tasty ones to make your meals more colourful:  * Bananas and apples are very common, and cheap.  *To replace brocolis (one of the greenies with most haters internationally aside spinach), carrots, zucchinis and cucumbers are a great choice. You may want to try a tomato salad as well (we’ll update you with the recipe).  Also, you may try cooking with frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones, it saves so much time!

  • Proteins

Sausages, chicken breast and eggs should be the first on the list. easy to cook, easy to fry! Compared to the other types of meat, the taste is also acceptable on the go without having to use them in elaborate recipes. Though you may want to add some little black pepper to season up the chicken breast (in case you may want to ask, note that the breast and wings are easier to cook than the drums, taste and time wise).

Chorizo is awesome too, but may feels greasy on the long run. Cut it in thin slices, then let them drizzle briefly on a frying pan to help reduce the fatty part (the little white dots). You can have it with some toasted bread on the side. Simple, but terrific!

  • Carbohydrates

Rice is king! Rice is king! And the queen, Ramyon! (Instant noodles). These two reign in the world of cheap, quick-fix and “goes-with-everything” category. Spaguettis are also tasty, but…. you have to boil it aside and then add a very good sauce (usually tomato) or another “topping” – let’s call it that way. Potatoes make another option, but leave you in the ordeal “How on earth to I peel this without getting burnt…” To shorten the cooking time, slice them into dices (nice rhyme). Also, take note that the skin is way easier to remove after you boil them. Last but not least, canned beans or chick peas provide to be really filling and don’t need much “retouching”. To enhance the taste, you may heat them with some onion, garlic and/or seasoning for some minutes, but it’s optional.

As we mentioned before, we’ll keep updating you with ideas for recipes and cooking tips. Stay in touch!

And all the best to our hardworking CTTbies. Keep strong, and all the best for your studies/ work/job search!

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Posted in Lifestyle, Trips, Work/Studies

Hectic rhythm and its consequences: how to reduce stress during a rat race moment

Google Translate⬇

In the current society we live in, avoiding stress has become nearly impossible. In school or in a workplace, it’s no surprise to sometimes be overwhelmed by the demands and challenges that we encounter. If you’re living in a foreign country, things may be more difficult to bear especially if you have no family members around. Everyone deals with stress differently, but when should one start being worried about its effects, and how to deal with it?

The alarming signs: 

  • When your lifestyle is affected

Do you feel restless and find it hard to sleep? Is it hard to cope with your daily activities, and do you feel lost? It gets hard to concentrate and therefore difficult to organize your daily tasks and finish the tasks within the required time frame, making you even more nervous. Your mood is usually cranky and your relationships may also suffer from it.

  • When your health is affected

Aside from constant headaches, the stomach is one of the common organs to feel the “impact”, especially if an unhealthy diet adds to the stressful rhythm. 

Even though it is difficult to completely get rid of stress, mainly because it’s impossible to have control over circumstances. About that, talking about getting enough sleep may sound too idealistic to someone who has extra work left to complete or a student who has a pending exam to write (It’s not that we don’t know we have to sleep early and in good condition, it’s just that it’s a bit complicated to do so). Nonetheless, there are some ways to alleviate it and minimize the consequences.

Some tips that could help: 

  • Natural remedies:

A cup of warm infusion usually works like magic! There are different types, but some of them are more efficient, in relevance to stress: mint, passionflower or valerian.  Available as tea bags, they can also be sold as pills for  food supplement. Another excellent supplement is made of Ashwaghanda extract. It’s an expensive option compared to the ones previously mentioned, but it is worth the investment as far as relaxing and improving sleep is concerned.

  • Self- Massages

While you’re sitting in front of your desk, take your eyes off the screen/ your book a few minutes. Try rotating your head a little, left, right and then vice-versa. Use your hands to gently massage your neck from your ears down to your shoulders.

  • Beauty care

Working hard usually brings with it looking like a zombie (PhD students will understand it well). Does the greasy, rough skin with pimples sound familiar?

To try and minimize the damages, it’s good to wash your face before sleeping and apply a hydrating night cream; it’s not only agreable and refreshing, but your skin will also be grateful.

  • Interacting with other people

It may sound like a simple and habitual remark, but sharing with others helps a great deal. We all have different levels of socialization, some may be mor introverts while others are more out-going. However, it’s important not to bear the weight alone. It’s no shame to recognize that one is going through a hard time. Don’t forget; try and share your burdens with a trustworthy person.

You may also consult a specialist if things get unbearable (universities for example usually provide a counselling center where you can receive psychological help).

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