stories

Old Ways Won’t Open New Doors

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Tried this before? Coconut yoghurt with turmeric and mango. It has been surprisingly hot. I have been enjoying eating outside in the sun and in the space of a few days, I have gone from no job, well 1/2 job (freelancing for Savvy Tokyo) to 2 and 1/2 jobs. The first is to do with the education of 5-10 year olds. That’s pretty much all I can say without breaching privacy rules. And the second is serving delicious homemade organic gelato, vegan sorbets, and coconut ice-cream for the freakishly talented Utopia Ice. Hashtag life-as-a-wannabe-writer.
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Plum and earl grey. Yes, earl grey! CHCH friends, you know where to get your ice-cream fix this ice-cream-weather long weekend ;)
image-1FINISHED. This one is my favourite (so far). I really related to Heidi. She, a real writer, me, a wannabe writer – let’s just say reading it, I had numerous: “for real? ME too!” moments.
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Today my mom, my sister and I (dad, God bless him, was working as usual) had a Persian breakfast for lunch. Persians eat bread and feta cheese (here sprinkled with cumin powder) with vegetables like cucumber and tomato (the avocado is a personal addition) with herbs and nuts. And sometimes watermelon makes an appearance, too. Washed down with black cardamom tea. Until the age of seven, all I knew of breakfast was the Persian kind. When we arrived in NZ, I was introduced to cereal for the first time. Also sliced bread. We never had that in Iran. Our bread was huge and round and I had to line up for it with my mom. It would come out of a large round oven filled with little stones. Sometimes, if we were lucky (or so I thought back then) our bread would have one of these stones attached to it. This was my childhood. Walking down the street on my tippy toes, scanning the bread my mother held for lucky stones.

So What Was Galicia Really Like?

During my short time In Galicia, I posted a lot of photos and vague descriptions but I didn’t really give you the low down. So. Here’s a list:

Loud 
Galician people speak very loudly. Or maybe, they are just loud in comparison to the Japanese. More often, I’d mistake a casual conversation for heated arguing. Actually, during my first three days, I developed a horrible migraine. At first, I put it down to jet lag or a change in environment but then I realised the real culprit. My ears were buzzing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Galician are hooligans. Rather, that they speak with much heart and emotion and sometimes our hearts are yellers.
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Meaty
Of course due to their location, the Galician people consume a lot of seafood. But they also consume A LOT of meat. Chorizo, cured ham, steak, you name it. Luckily for me, the exception were Jose’s family. Everyday we ate fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.
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Tortilla and empanada mad
I guess these are the two most popular dishes here. A Spanish tortilla (not to be confused with the Mexican wrap) is like a potato omelette. It’s oily, carby and delicious. Empanadas are a pie pastry like dish usually filled with tuna, red pepper and onion but there are many variations. Anyways, these dishes are honestly everywhere. And people are always eating them.
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Tomato overload
There’s a lot of tomatoes here. That’s basically it. And apparently, a lot gets wasted every year because if it was all put out into the market, the prices would drop to mere cents and the government wouldn’t be making any money off of them. So sad. What is this world we live in? (I know this is not confined to Spain and that food is a business everywhere).
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Long days
I think I already mentioned this. Apparently this is very Spanish. Breakfast around 9. Lunch around 3/4 and dinner around 10. Can you believe it? No wonder I’ve been having migraines. One day, Jose called to book a table at a local restaurant for 9pm and was warned to leave by 11pm as that’s when another couple had booked it! Is that insane or insane?
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Food rules all
Obvious by now. Before coming here, Jose had warned me that the Galicians live and breathe food. I hadn’t really understood this until now. You know the old adage; you eat to live not live to eat? Well here it’s the other way around. Perhaps the previous point on long days has something to do with this but also because the Spanish are such fantastic cooks! And, they have great produce: olive oil, seafood, tomatoes, legumes, to name a few. So food rules all.
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Unpredictable
Mainly in two ways. One, with weather. Much like NZ, weather here is always changing. Four seasons in one day type of thing. Two, with plans. Again, at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Japanese, the Galician people hardly ever plan anything. This is because plans are always changing. You may aim to do one thing and end up doing the complete opposite. For instance, one day we planned to sightsee a historical town nearby but ended up going to a friends’ place after lunch and spending the entire evening swimming in her pool, listening to Galician bagpipes and eating peaches.
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1 2 3 ziiiiip.
I played this “game” with the children. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Anyways, following up from the previous point, Galicians never give a direct answer.

How long does it take from here to…? Not far. 
Where does she live? Near.
Are we going to …. today? If you want?
Shall we go for a short walk while the empanada cooks? Shall we? 

These answers are often accompanied with a shrug. You don’t believe how much this annoyed me. In Japan, there is a direct answer for everything. When I mentioned my frustration to Jose, he burst out laughing. You know Anisa, he said: “in Galicia we have a saying that if you meet a Galician in the middle of a staircase and ask them if they’re going up or down they’ll say: do you want me to come up with you?”
image2Sugar overload
I don’t like writing this. I don’t want to be too judgemental. And maybe this is a problem everywhere but kids here consume A LOT of sugar and other junk foods. Actually, there are entire stores dedicated to Junk food. Seriously, all they sell are ice-cream, chocolate, candy, cookies and Cheetos. I am surprised the kids don’t have black teeth like my Japanese pre-school students. One day we went out for tapas and a huge bowl of candy was placed in the middle of the children’s table. Some of them ate more than 10! I couldn’t believe it. I hope I will be better able to control my future children’s sugar intake. Also Cheetos. Cheetos are everywhere! Even inside 1 year olds! :O
image[1]The good life.
Last but not least, Galician really know how to live. Everyone seems to be on holiday here. They are always eating tapas, relaxing on their boats, drinking at local cafes and talking with their family, neighbours, friends.
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Goodbye rivers, goodbye springs
Goodbye, rivers, goodbye, springs,
Goodbye, trickling streams;
Goodbye, all I see before me:
Who knows when we’ll meet again?

Oh my home, my homeland,
Soil where I was raised,
Little garden that I cherish,
Fig trees I grew from seed.

Meadows, rivers, woodlands,
Pine groves bent by wind,
All the chirping little songbirds,
Home I cherish without end.

Mill nestled between the chestnuts,
Nights lit brightly by the moon,
Tremor of the little bells,
My parish chapel’s tune.

Blackberries from the wild vines
I picked to give my love,
Narrow trails between the corn-rows,
Goodbye, forever goodbye!
Goodbye, glory! Goodbye, gladness!

I leave the house where I was born,
Leave my village so familiar
For a world I’ve never seen.
I’m leaving friends for strangers,
Leaving prairies for the sea,
Leaving all that I love dearly…

Oh, if I didn’t have to leave!…
(part of a poem by Rosalia de Castero)

Pear Festival

A unique town:
Pontedeume serves as the gateway to the Fragas do Eume Natural Park, one of the last Atlantic forests remaining in Europe, whose origins lie in the Tertiary Age, with a dense covering of oaks, chestnut, laurel, strawberry trees and firs. It is also the home to an extensive range of fauna. The Romanesque-Baroque Monastery of Caaveiro in the heart of the forest offers excellent views over the area, giving visitors an idea of its grandiose nature.

The park area and the vicinity of Pontedeume play host to the pioneering project known as the Eume Cantina Network, with a series of typical restaurants offering local and regional dishes based on the strictest quality criteria, to the delight of visitors to the area.

Don’t miss:
The feirón, an attractive weekly market held every Saturday where it is possible to buy nearly everything, although the emphasis is on small stands selling local foodstuffs, and it is the ideal location to buy the local specialities known as costradas (pies made using puff pastry), or local pastries such as the proia mantecada (a flat, sweet butter cake), fritters, almond cakes or sponge cakes.

The Festa das Peras (Pear Festival) is held on the first Sunday in September in honour of the Virgin of As Virtudes and San Nicolás de Tolentino, where it is possible to enjoy the fruit prepared in a multitude of different ways. The festival is accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and drums, as well as sporting events that include climbing a greased pole over the water, fireworks and a large barbeque.

Words plagiarised from HERE.
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Getting a too close closer look.
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Climbed a wall with much difficulty to take better pics for you.image4
Creepy.com
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Chuuu (kiss in Japanese).
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Spot Sara and Jose.image8image1
Oops!
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Ciao!
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I keep on fallin’.