Survival game: How to outlive the Spanish summer

“We’re going to Spain for vacation. Awesome!!!”

Yeah, right. But you didn’t know you’d have to face an unbearable temperature with hot wind blazing on your face like an oven.  Especially if you’re travelling in August, get ready to get roasted like popcorn. Madre mía, hace un calor que te mueres… (Simple translation: the heat is unbearable).That, tourist pamphlets won’t tell you about it. So, Super Nuna is here to save the day!

The following advice also works if you’ve just settled down in the country and are learning the ropes of the local life. (I’m sharing with you all I wished to have been told earlier).

Here are some few things to consider when travelling to Spain in summer:

Schedule your outings to go outside at cooler hours

Want to take a stroll with some friends and enjoy the painting like landscape and its sunlight? No problem at all. You might just want to make sure you either go a bit early in the morning, or in late afternoon. In my town for example, the “most blazing hours” are between 4pm to 6pm more or less, so program your outing consequently to avoid unnecessary heat exposure. Don’t worry, the sun sets late (around 10pm) so you have all the time in the world.

Lower your curtains and close your windows

Yes; as funny as it may sound, that is the best way to keep your house cooler in this country and prevent the hot wind from choking you at home. Like a vampire in a bunker, we live in darkness during day hours and open back everything when the sun sets. Truthfully, this custom was funny to me because I am from a tropical country and there, we rather do the contrary. You have to open the windows as wide as possible… So I was quite skeptical when the locals told me about the closing alternative, and left my windows open. Then I went out of my room to realize that the rest of the flat that was closed up was way cooler… I learnt my lesson.

“Ice age hydration” required

If you’re taking a water bottle, freeze it. It will last longer, and frankly, warm water is not so agreeable to drink when it’s 45°C.

The early bird “cooks” the worm

Cook early in the mornings or in the evenings to avoid accumulating heat in the house. You don’t want to stir a saucepan while feeling dizzy. Like the natives, also include in your diet cold dishes like salad, or gazpacho (etc).

Check the opening hours of your favourite shops

Most shops and establishments reduce their working hours or even close for days. Especially during the month of August, many locals leave their habitual residences to stay at neighbouring towns with mountains and beaches. “Cerrado por vacaciones” (closed for vacation), you might come across that signboard on many doors, so do check the schedule of your favourite shop and prepare in consequence to avoid surprises.

Happy vacations y’all, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

It’s not all about paella: discover more dishes from Spanish menus (Part II)

Hola CTTBies! Howdie?

In my last post I began a “profound”  journey, diving into Spanish cuisine. Today we’ll conclude with part II! In this article, we’ll be looking at some common items that are served in restaurants, or eaten at home.

In one of my previous posts, I discussed the Spanish custom of taking  strolls and spending a lot of time outside. I also talked about tapeo, which is going from restaurant to restaurant eating snacks. Because of that, many items on the local menus are designed to be quick, “portable” while remaining delectable.

Common home ingredients or restaurant items

Fideuá

It’s a sort of “pasta version” of paella. I’m personally not too fond of vermicelli in general (because of the texture), but the taste is good!

Huevos rotos

It’s a combination of fried eggs, potatoes and ham. Fun fact: in Spanish, the name means “broken eggs”.

Patatas bravas

Simple yet satisfying, this pommes sautées dish is topped with a colorful, delicious intertwining alliance of aioli sauce and a special, slightly spicy “ salsa brava” (some restaurants use ketchup instead).  It’s a perfect choice for a quick but savory and filling dinner.

Croquetas

Looking cute and lovely, they are crunchy on the outside yet soft, creamy, on the inside . A perfect match!

 They are usually stuffed with ham or mushrooms.

Bocadillos

¡Señoras y señores, más pan! (Ladies and gentlemen, more bread!)

Aside from potatoes, Spaniards eat a lot of baguette as well. Anything that can fit in it is good to go. There are therefore a variety of stuffings: chicken breast, chorizo, bell pepper, etc… Ta-da! A sandwich is born. I love how they are generously filled until they can’t hold it in again; it’s a nice way to show love to customers!

The most baffling combination for me is baguette stuffed with a piece of tortilla de patata (potato omelette)Nice, but too much carbs at once (in my opinion)… Anyway! If it fits in the mouth, then it’s fine.

Calamares rebozados

I love these squid rings. Crispy, stretchy and delicious, they have everything to make me happy.

Just a by-the-way joke: I still remember the day I munched into a similar meal, just to realize they were onion rings. Moral of the story: onion rings and squid rings should not be confused.

Tapas

Tapas is anything that qualifies as a snack (based on the cook’s opinion). The requirement: be small in size.

From mini skewers to battered shrimp, majority of tapas are made of a slice of bread topped up with some salad, or a piece of meat, fish vegetables with some dressing.

Churros

Crunchy and cracky, It is a very common snack sold at any time of the day. On demand, it can be accompanied by a cup of thick, smooth hot chocolate a la taza.

Jamón

The Spanish national treasure that they cannot live (and even leave anywhere) without.

Gazpacho and Salmorejo

Eaten cold, the two following dishes are soups made of blended vegetables (mainly tomatoes, bread, oil and garlic). They’re really popular in summer when the heat wave strikes and one doesn’t feel like cooking with the stove making the house even hotter. Nevertheless, they’re eaten all year long ; they aren’t exclusively summer-specific.

Migas

Made of bread crumbs savored up with some chorizo, they’re one of the specialities of the autonomous community of Aragón.

Arroz con leche

A widely spread dessert, this sweet rice porridge is cooked with milk and flavoured with an exotic touch of cinnamon.

Those that cause international arguments

Queso y vino

Some say the French ones are best, others say the Spanish ones are best. I like both. I consume the product of the country I’m in.  Simple.

Though I must say that French pastry wins over the Spanish one. I said it! Now I’m out.

Take care, and see you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi

5 reasons to visit Zaragoza, Spain

I’ve always said that among all the sites I’ve ever visited, Zaragoza is that one place that exerts a special unexplainable, magical attraction on people…

It’s a small city , not as well known as Barcelona, Bilbao or Madrid which are the great international poles. But once you come here, you either stay forever, or you end up longing for it wherever you go.

Compared to other places I’ve visited in Europe (here is the link to my travel gallery),  this is where I enjoyed my stay the most and consequently settled in afterwards. Here come the 5 reasons why!

1- It is a small town where the life cost is ereally low compared to other Spanish locations. Yet it has everything with everything you need: shops, entertainment, banks and food, etc.

2- The lifestyle rhythm here is more relaxed so the  level of stress the reduced compared to bigger European metropolis.

3- The town is extremely clean and there is less pollution.

4-  People are nice, easygoing and they take the time to attend to you when you need help, for example while asking for direction in a street.

5-  It has a unique culture, where medieval , mediteranean and modern trends blend in perfectly,  creating a special touch. You definiyely won’t be bored; there’s always something new to do or a new place to discover!

It’s a hidden gem, waiting for your visit. Cariño, cuándo te vienes? (Darling, when are you coming?)

See you in my next post!

Nuna Blomevi.

#ZaragozaEnamora #ZaragozaMakesYouFallInLove

For more photos of places Nuna has visited, please click here: Travel Gallery

Some of the photos are avalaible thanks to the courtesy of my friend S. I. (She took them during our strolls). Gracias por las increíbles imágenes, amiga! (Thanks for these incredible visuals, friend!)

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!

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

Spanish Wishes for the New Year

Corner The Talking Brain Puerto Venecia

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. 

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!💋

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.

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

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

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!

Was this post useful to you? Let us know by rating it!

Rating: 1 out of 5.