Writing has always brought me some inexplicable form of comfort; of reassurance; of belonging. And here in this brand new year 2018, I know that I need some of that.
The past year was intense, to say the least – with two wedding celebrations in two different corners of the world, and the whole period of planning before that; then packing up our apartment and flying to relocate in New York, where we started our newly married life at the same time that Juan’s LLM term in Columbia began; and ending the year with a glorious road trip in the West Coast, during which we received some very heartbreaking news from friends back home – the word intense seems like such an understatement.
Life has been immensely good to us of course, but living overseas far from family and friends on either end can sometimes be tough. Naturally, homesickness, or more accurately, longing for loved ones and friends whom you’ve known for life, is nothing compared to other more serious, difficult things that people go through.
Yet, it’s also undeniable that in the thick of winter, when the winds are howling outside and temperatures are sub-zero in Celsius, that the need for having this circle of comfort and familiarity amplifies.
In the past decade, I’ve moved from Singapore to Buenos Aires, then to Washington DC, then back to the Argentine Capital, and most recently, to the Big Apple.
One thing that these years of constant uprooting and re-settling down have taught me that there will always be a phase during which you’ll have to readjust to a new city, learn its nooks and crannies, and find your place in it.
Finding your place in a foreign land also implies making new friends; which is usually fun and feels like a cool adventure, but sometimes can also be difficult, tiring, and frightening.
Some days it feels easy and simple; coffee in Brooklyn with one acquaintance, then lunch in Bryant Park with another; or a walk in Central Park with someone who also happens to live in the same student housing.
Other days, it brings me right back to my childhood, and I’m brought back to the first day of secondary school, wondering which of the girls out there I’ll click with; which group I’ll eventually belong to; with whom I can talk to about my biggest dreams and deepest fears.
As Juan and I move into our second semester here in Manhattan, as we try to figure out our way in this giant maze where we are slowly but surely building our home – we are also starting to build friendships and bonds.
Perhaps it may not be happening as quickly as we’d like, but slowly and surely, we are doing so.
Here, as I sit in our apartment in Morningside Heights, warm from the heating despite the freezing cold outside, I’m reminded of all the beautiful things we’ve been blessed with.
As I look at our wedding photos that hang on burlap strings across one of our living room walls, or at our honeymoon pictures we have framed up on the other; I see happy, laughing faces of our family and friends celebrating our union together – and I am constantly grateful for all the love we’re blessed with.
The word “faith” is inscribed in gold on the cover of the grey 2018 agenda that I bought at Marshalls, and it feels so apt for the start of this year.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for; and this year, I’m hoping for love and friendship, praying for belonging, and believing in a future that God has planned in store for us.
As I type at the light brown wooden table that came as part of the furnished apartment package, familiar feelings that I haven’t felt in a long time come flooding back. I remember starting this blog back in May 2012, and how one of the things I loved best about writing on the blog was connection.
The connection that I could make with those who read what I wrote, and the connection I felt with other like-minded bloggers who were also out there somewhere on this big wide web, who were just like myself, baring their thoughts to whoever would spend a few minutes to read them.
I started writing here a couple of years after moving to Argentina, and being able to put my thoughts out there in English, and having an outlet to share what I was feeling, filled a need that I didn’t realize I had. I was unknowingly searching for friendship and a sense of belonging, and through blogging and writing, I found an unexpected peace and a connection thanks to the Internet.
Today, in 2018, almost six years after this blog was first launched, as I seek friendship and connection in our New York adventure; I am aware that my loved ones are far away in Argentina and Singapore – but I also know that in the meantime – in this transition period before meaningful bonds are formed, I have Juan, and I have this beautiful blogging community that I love very much.
In the meantime, I’m sharing this recipe for gluten-free almond butter coconut flour cookies with you – a recipe that I made a month ago to bring to my friend Silvie’s new house.
We munched on these as we sat on her red carpet, working together to assemble her walnut brown coffee table, first reading the instruction manual and then putting the screws in later.
These cookies have a really long name, but you can simply call them friendship cookies. They’re incredibly simple to make, and I’m guessing that you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. From then on, all you need is 25 minutes to bring a fresh batch together.
They’re perfect when friends unexpectedly pop over; or great to pack in your bag for a picnic at the park when the weather’s warm and sunny; or simply as an ice-breaker on the first day at class or work. Since they’re not overly sweet, these cookies are great for breakfast with a steeping cup of tea; or for a late afternoon snack alongside a mug of hot chocolate and a novel; or an after-dinner treat as you binge-watch The Crown on Netflix.
Most importantly, they taste best when eaten with friends. So make a batch of these, and share them with friends old or new, as a token of your friendship.
- ¾ cup creamy unsalted almond butter
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (175 deg. Celsius) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the almond butter, cane sugar, coconut oil, and eggs together until combined.
- Sift in the coconut flour and baking powder, and then mix with a wooden spoon until you have a homogeneous cookie dough.
- Let the dough chill for at least 10 minutes, before scooping out dough by the teaspoon and rolling the dough into balls.
- Place each ball of dough on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches of space between each ball.
- Bake the dough for 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown a little. Let the cookies completely cool before removing them from the rack and storing them in an airtight container.