Often times, when I’m not certain which paths lie ahead for me (which seems very often these days), I tend to withdraw back to the familiar, well-worn routes.
In the uncertainty and need for stability, I seek comfort in the habits that have become so much a part of me, I don’t have to think about them to find myself doing the actions that have gone on repeat for months if not years of my life.
There’s an 8-block walk from our apartment to the subway station, and every morning, whether heavy rain (like today) or blisteringly burning hot sunshine, I take the same well-trodden path, and in the past three months that I’ve taken it, I now know which tile not to walk on (because it always sinks into a puddle of water); I know which part of the road I need to cross to get to the station just a little quicker; and in those 10 minutes or so that it takes me from point A to point B, there’s a new comfort that washes over me.
It’s my time to think before a long working day begins; and when I take the same road on my way home from work, it’s my space to breathe a sigh of relief or to be lost in my thoughts, reflecting on the day just gone.
Changes can be terrifying, even when you’re the one fighting and asking for change; re-location after four years in one same city (even if it doesn’t fully feel like mine) is still daunting.
But more than that, it’s knowing that by uprooting for the second time in my life, the process of re-building will have to take place again, especially if we move to a country that belongs to neither of us. It’s starting from scratch and learning to speak a different language again (hopefully not this time!), or looking for a new job again (I’m praying hard it’s something I love), and making friends from zero once more.
I was having dinner with a girlfriend of mine who’d moved from Spain to Buenos Aires a year ago, and as we sat by the soft light of the restaurant – she with a bowl of Yamini rice stir-fried with prawns, and me, with grilled salmon and a beet root and sprouts salad – she recounted how the past one year has resulted extremely difficult in her making new friends. Our conversation, only interrupted by the soft chatter of other people in the background, made me think back on my first year in Argentina – a time where I’d succumb to tears because of homesickness and the lack of having my own social circle. It’d taken me two years before I started making friends on my own, and before I started feeling comfortable in my own skin in the Argentina capital city, and I often recall that first year here one of the toughest.
But still, despite the challenges and knowing that uprooting will bring forth growing pains; I also know it is time for change – physically at least, in terms of location.
The Argentine economy is being stretched to its limits with a government that publishes fake inflation data (as well as underestimates the amount of foreign reserves the Central Bank has); and the recent devaluation of the peso has left many wondering what their savings will disappear into. The air is rife with economic worries and there is a feeling of impotence in the general public – anger at the destruction of free market laws and angst at the Kirchner government’s contradicting stances. There are severe import controls; the black market USD rate is at its highest ever, and inflation is estimated by private analysts to reach 40% this year.
The economy is probably the main reason why I feel so strongly about moving; and I know that if I want things to change, for us to live and work in a place of political stability and economic growth, I will have to be willing to uproot myself again, even if it takes strength and courage.
It’s what they always say – that you can’t expect things to be different if you keep doing things the same way.
And just like that, I’ve decided that I will try to change things, a little at a time, and learn to be comfortable with the unfamiliar.
Unfamiliar routes; new friendships; knocking on different doors; stretching myself a bit more each time; and eating new foods and testing out strange ingredients.
I’d never heard of chia pudding (pudding made with chia seeds), until about a month ago. The idea of it was completely weird and novel – it made me lift my eyebrows as well as intrigued me. In fact, it amazed me so much that chia seeds, when in contact with liquid, forms a gel that covers the seeds, resulting in a pudding – and I was determined to try it out the very same day.
Chia seeds have numerous health benefits, including providing us with more fibre, omega-3, calcium, manganese and protein. Apparently, chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance, which is positively linked to abdominal fat and a cause of diabetes.
So all the more reason why I wanted to make this pudding, which is a simple combination of chia seeds, milk, cocoa powder and honey. It really is as simple as that, and once combined, all you need to do is leave it to chill in the refrigerator, for at least 2 hours or better yet overnight (if you like your pudding thick and rich like I do).
If you’ve never eaten chia pudding before, it may take a while to get used to the taste, but it sort of grows on you.
By the time I’d finished all the chia pudding, I was wishing I had more.
I challenge you to try this unfamiliar but healthy dessert; do something different; make changes in areas where you haven’t for years.
You’ll be the better for it.
CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING (Serves 2)
Adapted from: Oh She Glows
1) 1 ¼ cup milk or almond milk (or a little more as needed to thin out the pudding)
2) ¼ cup chia seeds
3) 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
4) 1 ½ teaspoons of honey
5) Shaved chocolate for garnish (optional)
1) Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl until there are no more clumps.
2) Place mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours or if time permits, preferably overnight, until mixture is thick.
3) Still well before serving, and if you think it’s too thick, add a tablespoon more of milk until it reaches the consistency you like.
4) Serve chilled sprinkled with shaved chocolate
P.S. If you’re wondering why I’m trying to eliminate wheat from my life, I strongly recommend Wheat Belly – a book that will empower you and make you determined to get rid of wheat and it’s terrible health effects!