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:

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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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)

Holiday Blues

I have holiday blues. Yes, there’s such a thing. I Googled it.


Seriously though, I feel so blue tonight. I am pinning it down to these:

Over-scheduling (see previous post)
You see, I only have 2 weeks left in Japan which is why I’ve been really pushing myself to see and do everything. Also, to keep my blog fresh and up to date. Because I truly enjoy it, it is my passion and of course to keep with my hot-shot writing dreams. However, amidst all the hustle and bustle and adventuring, I seem to have forgotten I’m not superhuman. I am exhausted. But here’s the problem. It’s not like I have anything else. I do a bit of free-lancing here and there but it’s not enough to occupy an entire day. And I know you all wish you didn’t have to work a 9-5 day and/or look after your needy significant other and/or rowdy children so that you could have even a spare moment to read a novel, go for a run, drink a coffee in silence, paint your nails etc but I swear, human wiring comes with the disease of always always wanting what we don’t have.

Holiday food
My general diet for the past year and half of Japan life has been a challenge. You can read about it here. Or in short, it’s been challenging learning to shop, cook and eat for one. I miss sitting around a table and eating with others. When I do eat with others here, it’s usually eating out. Which is exciting yes, and I feel should be done cos like when else am I gonna be in JAPAN to eat this authentic soba?! But at the same time, it’s not the healthiest. And even though I try to choose the healthiest menu items and exercise everyday (sometimes walking or cycling 10+ ks), it’s still not the same as eating and living on a normal schedule in the comfort of your own hometown. All this holiday food then, is starting to make me feel bad about my body image and myself.

Unrealistic expectations of myself
A quote I’ve mentioned several times here, “comparison is the thief of joy” by Theodore Roosevelt. During holidays, we meet countless faces. In Japan, most are settled in good jobs with babies and husbands. My current life is much much different in comparison. Again, it seems instinctive of human wiring to compare. I keep forgetting that this won’t be my life forever and that I too am chasing my dream/working towards a good future. When I compare my very undetermined life with theirs, I feel sad.

Lack of sleep
A combination of the above.

I know I’m probably being too hard on myself but I, 1. needed to get this off of my chest and tell someone seeing as I’m all alone in this wah and 2. wanted you to know that it’s not all castle and croissants and that there is depth to the pretty pictures.

Last, am going on a money and food diet.

1…2…3… (a goal-starter countdown I’ve always done as a kid for which my father would always mock me)


Too Much Perfection Is A Mistake

Sometimes the people who give contrary advice to your life’s calling aren’t always doing it in a menacing way. I just came off a Skype call with my mama where she spent a good 30 min advising me to blog less. She said, blogging should be done in moderation, that it shouldn’t take away from the now and that some things, some special things should be kept secret. To all of which, I concur.

Now, my mama, she’s my number one fan. She’s always wanted the very best for me so I know that she meant well. But, I like to think that my blog is different to the average travel bloggers (see here). This is because, I’m open about my financial problems, my weight problems, my homesickness, my singledom, my worries and my stresses as well as my joys and triumphs. Further, I write because it’s my passion. It’s what I love to do more than I love myself. To blog or to be continuously active on social-media with the sole intent of constructing some fake image, I couldn’t loathe more even if I wanted. But what I’m trying to do and I hope I have achieved thus far to some extent is to share my truth in order to inspire others. As I’ve said, time and time again, traveling solo isn’t easy, mingling with opposite cultures and living and breathing different climates doesn’t come with an instagram filter. It isn’t a piece of cake (or a bowl of ramen). It is what it is and I hope to share it. Too much perfection is a mistake.
image-26.jpgPS she means “natural”.

Eating For Two…

So I have a confession to make… I think it’s important you know…

Hehe did it work? Did you click the link thinking I was pregnant? Ha, well it’s pretty hard here without any human interaction. As much as I love Asian babies that isn’t my confession. Yet. I want to talk to you about food bloggers. I want to tell you that contrary to our beliefs, they don’t always eat everything they make. Like, all of the foodporn on their Instagram is often just that. After they’ve put a filter on it and shared it on the World Wide Web, they, like me, probably share it with their friends or only eat a quarter and pack the rest for later. Don’t be fooled y’all. Remember the old adage: “never trust a skinny chef.”
In other words, no one stays fit off sweet potato, medijool, cashew cream cake for dessert.

Best Thing I Ever Did Was Believe In Me

My life has improved immensely. I don’t know why exactly, the change in weather, God, my own efforts, or a combination of all three, probably a combination of all three. But I am so happy. So excited for the future and all of the adventures that await me. I guess I have learnt that life will always have ups and downs but if we persevere through our heartaches, we really do come out the other side a better and a stronger being. This concept is no longer a cliched Pinterest quote for me, it has become my reality. I am enjoying and appreciating the small details of every day and making the very most of my time here. At the same time, I am eagerly awaiting my sure-to-be-amazing future.

If the world were a village of 100 people

I’m probably going to get in trouble for this. I’m breaching copy-right laws but I read this wee book on my self-given coffee break this morning (because I just can’t work as hard as my Japanese counterparts) and it affected me big time. The fact that it was written 14 years ago but still applies most specifically today, for me, holds significance. I hope you too, can enjoy it’s eye-opening message.


If a the world were a village of 100 people 
by Douglas Lummis 

My daughter’s junior high school teacher is
a wonderful woman who sends out an e-mail
every day to her students,
in the form of a class paper.
Among those messages there was one
that so moved me that I want to send it to you.
Sorry if it’s a bit long.

When you woke this morning,
did you look forward joyously to the day?
When you go to bed tonight,
do you think you will be filled
with satisfaction?
Do you think the place you are
is precious?

It is to you who cannot say
“Yes, of course”
that I send this message.
If you read this,
the things around you might start to
look a little different.

In the world today, 6 billion 300 million people live.
If this were shrunk to the size of a village,
what would it look like?
If 100 people lived in this village,

52 would be women,
48 would be men.

30 would be children,
70 would be adults,
among those,
7 would be aged.

90 would be heterosexual,
10 would be gay or lesbian.

70 would be non-white,
30 would be white.

61 would be Asians,
13 Africans,
13 from North and South America,
12 Europeans,
and the remaining one
from the South Pacific.

33 would be Christians,
19 believers in Islam,
13 would be Hindus, and
6 would follow Buddhist teaching.
5 would believe that
there are spirits in the trees and rocks
and in all of nature.
24 would believe in other religions,
or would believe in no religion.

17 would speak Chinese,
9 English,
8 Hindi and Urdu,
6 Spanish,
6 Russian, and
4 would speak Arabic.
That would account for half the village.
The other half would speak Bengal, Portuguse,
Indonesian, Japanese, German, French
or some other languages.

In such a village, with so many sorts of folks,
it would be very important to
learn to understand people different from yourself,
and to accept others as they are.

But consider this of the 100 people in this village, 

20 are undernourished,
1 is dying of starvation, while
15 are overweight.

Of the wealth of this village,
6 people own 59%
-all of them from the United States-
74 people own 39%, and
20 people share the remaining 2%.

Of the energy of this village,
20 people consume 80%, and
80 people share the remaining 20%.

75 people have some supply of food and a place to
shelter them from the wind and the rain, but
25 do not. 17 have no clean, safe water to drink.

If you have money in the bank,
money in your wallet and 
spare change somewhere 
around the house, 
you are among the richest 8. 

If you have  a car,
you are among the richest 7. 

Among the villagers
1 has a college education.
2 have computers.
14 cannot read.

If you can speak and act
according to your faith and your conscience
without harassment, imprisonment,
torture or death, 
then you are more fortunate than
48, who can not. 

If you do not live in fear of death
by bombardment, armed attack,
or of rape or kidnapping by
armed groups,
then you are more fortunate than
20, who do.

In one year,
1 person in the village will die,
but, in the same year,
2 babies will be born,
so that at the year’s end,
the number of villagers
will be 101.

If you can read this e-mail,
that means you are thrice-blessed.
First, because someone thought of you,
and sent you this message.
Second, because you are able to read.

Third, and most important,
because you are alive.

Someone once said:
what you send out
comes back again.

So sing
from the bottom of your heart,
with your body waving free,
and live,
putting your soul into it.
And when you love,
love as though you have never been wounded,
even if you have.

And love the fact that
you, and
others, live
here, in this

if enough of us learn to love our village
it may yet be possible to save it from the
violence that is
tearing it

three truths behind blogging

Yesterday marked my blog’s one year anniversary. One year may not seem a long time but when thought about as 365 posts, each approximately 500+ words, to me, it seems like an eternity of work.

By now, we should all be aware of the true workings of social networks such as Instagram and Facebook. If not, let me remind you that these sites only exhibit snippets of an individual’s life. Snippets that are carefully selected and often manipulated, too . By no means are  your “friend’s” posts an all-encompassing representation of their life. After some reflecting on the year that has been, I’ve come to realise that most blogging is, if not the same, worse.

I’ll explain in points.

1.Edited photos.
Suddenly my lunch is better than yours.

Don’t get me wrong, the only reason I do this thing is for likes and followers (yes it’s a sad sad world) but seriously, when one has acquired a following one simply cannot disappoint. So, sometimes I post because I have to. This especially applies to recipes and food. Obviously I love food, I accidently ate the whole thing and all but sometimes I hate food too. Just like spending too much time with a certain someone can drive you up the wall, so can continuously discussing food or fashion or motherhood.

I don’t know about you but the first thing I learnt about story-telling was the importance of having a likeable character. Cinderella, Alice, Tintin, all likeable. Meaning, no blogger is going to gain/keep a readership by being cynical. “I baked this sugar-free chocolate cake for my daughter’s third birthday which was an absolute joy” is much nicer than “I hate birthdays, they suck out the very last ounce of energy left in my tired soul because no-one, including my husband helps out and I end up having to do everything on my own.”

So, a lot of blogging, especially professional ones (I’m thinking food, travel and fashion) is fabricated. This, I know, from my own first-hand amateur experience and a quick scroll through the internet.  So why am I bagging my own vocation? I  guess it has something to do with honesty and a sense of obligation. So what does that mean for iaccidentlyatethewholething this coming year? Well, apart from the ripening of the ever so awaited Japanese figs and persimmons, God willing; a little more soul, a little more purpose.