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 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 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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