“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
– Miriam Adeney
Last weekend marked five full years since I gathered what little belongings I had in Singapore, and boarded the Malaysia Airlines flight that would take me around the world, eventually landing in what would be my new home, Buenos Aires.
That’s half a decade, or 60 months, or 1825 days.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, five years is no short amount of time.
Yet it’s also neither long enough to feel completely at home in a place that while is now familiar, once used to be foreign and strange – with a completely different culture than mine; with faces that I’d never seen before; and with a language that would take me three years to finally feel comfortable speaking.
But in my dear friend Rosanna’s words, we who have left our home countries in search for another life, whether it is for love, or work or a dream, should see it as having two homes instead of being neither here nor there.
Miriam Adeney’s quote above nails this feeling of being in-between right on the spot.
It is also likely true that those who have lived overseas for a long period of time, will probably never feel completely at home anywhere in the world, because a part of our hearts will always be somewhere else. Yet what we gain in exchange for this feeling of never being completely at home, is the “richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
It is this richness that stirs up that longing – some call it wanderlust – to conquer new lands and get glimpses of the foreign.
It is this same richness that makes us “homesick most for the places we have never been”.
After my previous post on this particular homesickness, my best friend Jin wrote to me, questioning whether this desperate need that our generation has to travel and see the world has to do with us wanting to escape our mundane lives; and whether it is a derivative of our insatisfaction with what we have.
I replied, with all the sureness in the world, that perhaps it could be due in part to a desire to escape what we see as ordinary and normal and boring; but mostly, our generation also knows how much more is out there to be touched and felt and experienced.
Jin’s comment sparked off many thoughts, and after half a day of pondering, I came to the conclusion that this deep, profound longing to be in a place that’s completely new and novel, stems from the understanding that we know too little about the rest of the world.
There are so many roads out there that my feet have not trodded on; so many landscapes that demand to be seen through a large train window; and so many languages which hold secrets from those who cannot speak nor understand them.
There are tribes and cultures and nations of people whose ancient traditions and deep customs may forever seem strange and weird compared to what I consider the norm. And surely, I believe, these people would think the same about myself and my way of life.
The more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I really am; the more people I meet, the more I am struck with a necessity to embrace new cultures and be part of them, even if it were for just the brevity of a meal.
I don’t have a bucket list of places to travel to, at least not one that I have written down and crossed out accordingly. The yearning to visit a particular city or country changes over the years, beginning as a small prompting and finally manifesting into something real and close enough to reach.
The internet has made virtual travel a thing of commonplace. We can visit countries through documentaries and movies and travel blogs, but still, it is never the same as being in that country (whichever you wish it be), inhaling the air that the locals breathe; stepping on the grounds the locals tread, and eating the food that the locals cook and eat.
Lately, I’ve been yearning to visit New York, a city that I once overlooked but today wish I could experience. I’m not thinking about the snow-covered freezing New York in the winter, but more like the beginnings of spring, where there’s golden sunshine and a light jacket is enough to keep you warm. I imagine riding a bike in Central Park, walking through the city, taking in its metropolitan heartbeat, and then swinging by a store for hot tea and a salmon bagel.
Which bring me to today’s recipe – grain-free bagels. While these aren’t cooked in the traditional New York-style, they are still a pretty decent substitute for the typical gluten-filled bagels.
I made these a couple of weeks back, after being inspired by Elana’s Pantry. The batter is simple and comes together quickly, and I made these bagels in my trusty nonstick 6-cavity donut pan (an investment I’m really pleased with!).
I must say I was truly impressed; they looked just like the real deal, and they tasted really good.
The best part? They’re completely grain-free/gluten-free, which meant that Juan could eat them too, despite being Coeliac, and he loved every single bite.
You could eat these bagels alone, these lovely babies that I topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Or you could make it even better, but slicing the bagels into half horizontally, spreading them with a generous hand of cream cheese, then topping them with smoked salmon and fresh green dill.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
- 1½ cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup golden flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour (or dessicated coconut, as in my case)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (for sprinkling)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (for sprinkling)
- Grease a non-stick donut pan with coconut oil or butter
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit (175 deg Cel)
- In a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well together.
- Add in the beaten eggs and apple cider vinegar and mix well until you get a homogeneous batter
- Pour batter in a resealable plastic bag, then cut off one corner, and pipe the batter into the prepared donut pan
- Sprinkle the top of the batter with poppy seeds and sesame seeds
- Bake batter for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of a bagel comes out clean
- Let bagels cools in the pan for at least 30 mins before removing them carefully
- Serve bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon and fresh dill, or eat bagels by themselves.
- To store bagels, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.