What I'm Into Right Now: 2019 Summer Edition
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
I started writing this blog post thinking about the end of summer and how happy I was when I realized I had missed one of my closest friends’ birthday. Urgh. It’s so frustrating because I had been thinking about it the day before, telling myself not to forget… And of course I forgot. Funny how shitty our brains can be.
I have just come back from a 10-day ‘vacation’ in Belgium. I put vacation in brackets because it was more of a marathon than a restful holiday. Still, I had a blast. It was the first time I was coming back to my hometown since I moved to Canada. Being back was soothing. Familiarity brings a certain kind of calmness I hadn’t felt in a while.
I spent all of my days catching up with friends and family. I organized a surprise birthday party for my mom’s sixtieth birthday - and yes, it was a success! I also saw most of my closest friends, visited new apartments and homes, congratulated another on her first pregnancy. I travelled back and forth between Liege and Namur, getting ready for one of my best friends’ wedding. It felt like I was running around non-stop, most times feeling exhausted - because jet lag. My days were full in the best of ways. I ate kilograms of cheese, paté, and charcuterie. I drank litres of Belgian beers and French wines. I hugged and kissed and smiled. I laughed and danced and drank some more.
I had a blast and all in all, I enjoyed every single minute of being back in my hometown. Still, at the end of the trip, in the train to the airport, I couldn’t help feeling guilty. I was disappointed because I couldn’t do everything I had planned. I told friends I would come and see them, just to cancel last minute because I couldn’t find the time. There were a couple of new homes I couldn’t see, a walk with some of my favourite dogs I couldn’t make, friends in other cities I didn’t have time to visit. I also felt guilty for not helping more with my best friend’s wedding planning, for not being more involved when I had been honoured with the title of maid of honour.
The pressure we put on ourselves can be overwhelming, and I definitely felt it. It has been tough not to berate myself and to accept that I did the best I could. I have been scared I disappointed some of the people I am closest to when all I wanted was to tell them how much I have missed them. In the end, I know I just have to let go and remember this precious time for what it was: ten days to catch up with a lifetime worth of people. I am grateful for what I’ve got.
I am now back home in Toronto, and as I was writing at the beginning of this post, I feel happy. For those following me on Instagram, you will already know why: I am now officially a PERMANENT RESIDENT OF CANADA! Damn it feels good to say it. I will talk more about it in the next blog post, but I can tell you I feel amazing. It has lifted such a weight off my shoulders, I now feel ready to conquer the world.
This summer has been busy and so much fun, but I am looking forward to settling down into a routine again. This is the first time in a while where I can plan long-term. I am excited to what’s to come. I know, I know. Winter is coming. And in Canada, winter means business. We’re like the Starks of Winterfell. We’re like the Night Watch on the Wall. We’re about to see some serious sh*t. Still, I’m excited.
Life is good, y’all hear me?
WHAT AM I INTO RIGHT NOW?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
I had this book on my reading list for a couple of years now. I liked it a lot, and surprisingly, it resonated with me a lot more than the autobiography of Martin Luther King J. I had little knowledge about Malcolm X and I discovered the story of a man that struggled all his life with the notion of race and what it means to be a black man in America. This book takes you on a journey - a journey filled with hurt, injustice and racism. But also a journey of love, of inclusion, of how to reconcile people of all races and religions.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens is a must read for anyone interested in understanding who we are as humans. It’s a fascinating, very well written history book that covers everything you are supposed to know about us Sapiens. It has a similar theory as The Social Leap by William von Hippel and argues that what made the difference between humans and the rest of the animal world is our ability to socialize and cooperate with one another.
I have started using this leave-in conditioner every day or so after my morning shower. Afro hair needs to be hydrated almost everyday, but I didn't like how oily my hair would get with coconut oil. This is a great, effortless and easy way to make sure my hair stays hydrated throughout the day.
I bought some tea tree oil after listening to the Deliciously Ella podcast on skincare, and both my partner and I loved it. I apply a few drops - mixed with another oil - before putting on my moisturizer. It has antiseptic properties that can help with redness, irritation and inflammation. I use it to treat acne.
Vegetarian Mediterranean Nachos
One of my home near-weekly activity is to watch UFC fights on Saturday night. We’ll try and go watch it at a sports bar whenever we can, but sometimes we just like to stay home. On those nights, nachos have become our signature dish. Well last weekend, I made some dope nachos, so I thought I’d share the recipe. I might remake the dish to take pictures, but I’ll have to make them during the day for that natural light. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and try those out.
Nachos chips, 320 g bag
Tex Mex shredded cheese mix, 300 g
Half of a red bell pepper, diced
Half of a small yellow onion, diced
Black beans, ⅓ cup
Feta cheese, ⅓ cup crumbled
Black olives, ⅓ cup roughly chopped
Nachos are so simple to make, you can’t really go wrong.
Preheat your oven at 450°F.
Arrange half the chips on a baking tray covered with foil. Sprinkle with ½ of the red bell pepper, onion, black beans, feta cheese and black olives.
Add another layer of chips on top, and add the remaining half of all your ingredients.
Top with the Tex Mex shredded cheese mix.
Bake in the oven at 450°F for about 20 minutes. Depending on your type of oven, you might want to broil it for a couple of minutes at the end to get that perfect melted cheese.
Voilà! Let me know below if you try it!