Another Year, Another Beginning

>> December 31, 2013

My 2013 was such a dynamic year. It was the  year of big changes that came with great challenges. The greatest highlight would be moving my entire life to Berlin, with my husband, and my 6 cats - all in one trip. I won't bore you with the details, but I must say this is by far my biggest accomplishment for 2013.  All those months spent in saving up and other preparations so that we can start a new chapter of our lives in Berlin has finally came to reality and succeeded.

But was it really successful for me?

It has only been three months since we moved and it might be too early to expect myself to completely adjust. But most of the 3 months has been quite difficult for me. My cats adjusted way better than I did. In a week they were already settled and adjusted to the Berlin weather. Even Nishi, my hostile epileptic cat, has changed for the better. I, however, have underestimated the impact of the move to my personal life. I think I spent more time than needed focusing on how I will move my 6 cats with no hassle than thinking about how I will rebuild my life in Berlin. There were only 2 most important things in my head - move my 6 cats; be with my husband - and everything will be fine. Unfortunately, that's not all it takes.

For someone who has never lived abroad long term, I did a pretty bad job planning for myself. The language, the weather, the transportation system, and our 3rd floor apartment which I strongly insist a 4th floor unit, with no lift - all a shock to me. I've got no friends, and I have no chance to make friends since I work from home. I also don't care so much about making friends. And although Berlin is a very beautiful city, I don't have the desire to explore places around me. I don't get out of the house unless I really need to (grocery, or mark dragging me to go out). I have this inexplicable fear and hesitation to plant myself in Berlin. No matter how hard I try, I can't feel the comfort I'm used to.  Mark is my home, but Berlin isn't. Countless petty fights, cryings, dramatic moments, all because I couldn't (and probably resisting) adjust. It's emotionally exhausting, specially that I get this constant pressure from my husband to get a life.

Mark has been supportive. He's doing everything he can to make me feel at home. It must be terrible for him that after all his hard work, he doesn't feel that I want to give this new city a chance. The truth is, I'm just slow to adjust. I do want to give myself a chance to be part of the society of this wonderful city. It just took a while to sink in that I will be stuck here for a while. It just took a while for me to digest that I have already given up the comfort of my life in Manila, and that Berlin is now my new home.

And because I'm really tired of always struggling and being unhappy of a lot of things, I decided to get this project up. I know the 365 project is so yesterday, but this is a perfect time and use for it. I figured, if I want to be happy, I should work on it. I should keep my eyes open and appreciate what's life is offering me. So at this moment, I really feel the drive of working on my happiness, and at the same time document it. Welcome to the 365 days of lekker!

Oh, and Happy new year!


Cherry Tomatoes and Mushroom Salad

>> February 3, 2013

There was a sudden kick of inspiration to cook and to take photos today. I was really feeling good. On Saturday I finished all my cleanup tasks and had an 8 hour sleep, so I woke up well rested, and with a clean house. The feeling is just great and positive (and it lasted for a day, hurray!).

I love fresh salads, especially easy to prepare ones. So here's my quick cherry tomatoes salad with bits of mushroom.

- a bunch of fresh greens. This one looks like alfalfa (but I'm not sure). I love flavourful leaves.
- 5-10 pcs cherry tomatoes, depending how much you want to consume.
- slices of fresh or preserved mushrooms. (White button or baby portabello)
- a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Vinaigrette (optional)

1. Toss them together and give it a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. That's pretty much it. You can also use vinaigrette to dress it. In my case, I used my own favorite dressing - mixture of olive oil, white wine vinegar + a teaspoon of honey. Then drizzle dizzle!


My Weekend in the Weekend Markets

Hello 2013!

This is my post for 2013! I'm really glad that I finally snatched some time to do blogging. I know I have mentioned this a thousand times that I'm not feeling inspired to cook nor to even take photos. But I'm happy to say that this weekend I got in the mood to take photos.

First things first. I love farmers organic markets that opens only on weekends. I get to find hard to find produce, plus they are all organic. I go there almost every week, to either to shop or just look around for something interesting and then eat with friends. But I never took photos in all the years I've spent going there. So I did some last Saturday:

 L: My "must buy" in the market. I love jackfruit! R: A young girl looking at the cotton candies.
Fruit stall that sells tropical fruits.
The same fruit stall also sell freshly roasted chestnuts.

This vegetable stall  I think is the biggest stall of vegetables in the market. They got almost all of the veggies I'm always on the look out for. However, I recently lost my fondness of buying my stuff here because they are too pricey in my opinion, after buying I felt like robbed :P;  they are always crowded; they sometimes say different prices for their produce, I guess because they get confused and can't focus due to a lot of buyers; and this weekend, they forgot to put my cherry tomatoes in my grocery bag, and unfortunately realized it when I was already home - i had to buy it again today. Long story how it happened and not exactly their fault because I could have checked, but I was absent minded. I guess the bottom line is they are just quite a bit unorganized when they get crowded.

This is the first stall you'll see in the entrance. These kiat-kiat shrubs(?) look adorable. Kiat-kiat is also known as mandarin.

So this was my Saturday. On Sunday I went to Legaspi farmer's market, which basically the same as this, but only more options in the produce, and more diverse food selection, arts and crafts. In summary, I ended up with a lot of fresh produce that's resting now in my fridge. I went crazy with cherry tomatoes though:

The left most is the most common tomato size. The second one was the cherry tomatoes I'm used to. However, the last one was just super cute I can't resist, I must buy! It reminds me of alatires.
Cherry "alatires" tomatoes up close.   (segeway : I used Fuji finepix X10 in this photograph, not bad for a compact camera, eh?)
So since I have so much cherry tomatoes, it has to go first in the menu.


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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