Monthly Archives: August 2014

Communication

P1000405

Moving to the other side of the world can be particularly difficult when you have lots of friends at home who you’d like to keep in touch with. I am so close to my friends and family that being away from them is a real heartache. I remember when our family first moved to Australia; making phone calls was expensive and coordinating times to speak meant calling to check whether someone was free – you couldn’t just send them a text. If the person wasn’t there, you’d have to wait for a better time to speak. This meant that you would speak to your loved one once a week if you were lucky.

Then came emails. I have been writing emails to my grandparents in Australia since I was about ten years old. This was an incredible chance to write long and rambling messages about what I was doing at school, the trips I had been on and everything you’re supposed to be able to share with your grandparents. I have always really enjoyed writing, especially making family members happy about receiving a thank you letter or a letter of correspondence, or even a postcard.

P1000400

Perhaps one of the best inventions of the last few years, though, is Skype –  seeing and talking to your loved ones around the world from your computer. It’s equipped with an instant message function so that you can check whether someone is online before you call them. Skype has been a life-saver for me since I moved to Australia because moving to a new place can be incredibly lonely. Knowing that there is someone at the other end of the computer, phone or iPad is so comforting; hearing news of home, letting friends know what you’re up to and keeping up the banter you had when you were with your loved ones in person.

Of course, the physical distance is hard, but once you start making friends in your new city, the loneliness begins to ebb and the need for communication begins to lessen. It’s important to remember that your friends from home have their own lives. It’s also important to be considerate of time zones and not expect friends to be awake too early or late. Once a balance has been struck things get easier and compromises don’t seem as difficult.

As a traveller, next to staying in touch with friends, money is probably one of the most important considerations – mostly so that you can afford to stay in the city you’ve given up so much to move to. P1000396

Luckily, there are so many free apps and websites which mean that you can communicate with loved ones with little or no expense. I have already mentioned Skype and email, but also find myself using WhatsApp; so much better than texting because it’s free and you can have group conversations. This works better as well because you can send messages and photos and then get a reply when the person on the other end has woken up. It applies for pretty much any phone you can download apps from in any country.

Another thing about being a traveller is always being on the go. When you are staying in a hostel, hotel, with a friend or moving around often, it’s inconvenient using your laptop to Skype or Facebook someone so I completely recommend making sure you are able to use a mobile with a good data plan on it (because it’s often not possible to connect to wifi). Since arriving in Australia, I have been using an iPhone which, of course, has FaceTime on it; another great way of communicating with friends, who essentially all have an iPhone or iPad… Thanks Apple. P1000408

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I moved abroad was that I didn’t realise how much I would miss home. I didn’t think I would need to depend on those at home as much as I have had to in the past few weeks. I am lucky to be blessed with very patient friends who have made sure I’m ok and convinced me that going home is the last resort. I am meeting new people in Melbourne and really enjoying their company but I will always want to talk to my friends from home. Communication is about balance and giving as much as you are given. However, it is so important to remember to live your new life because otherwise the temptation to throw it all in and come home will be too much.

So, remember to stay in touch – I love hearing from you all and your communication is invaluable to me. 

Experience Life | Create Adventure

Ready, Steady, Cook

I spent so much of my last post talking about food that I thought it was time to revert back to what I used to want to write a blog about. I have therefore created a Food section on my website where I will post recipes of things I have made with my new adaption attitude and reviews of food I eat if I have enough money to eat out ever again. I will still be posting in my travel section, but I cook more than I travel at the moment, so it might be easier for me to post items about food. Ok, you catch my drift.

In the spirit of adaption, I caught the train to Erin’s house last week on the promise that she was going to cook us dinner. When I arrived I was incredibly hungry, having not eaten since breakfast. What I was greeted with was a hyperactive Erin and a glass of Shiraz and no dinner. Erin had bought the ingredients and in true Ready, Steady, Cook fashion, had placed them on the side in a carrier bag for me to then come up with a method of cooking them.

It seems a fair trade; Erin buys the food and I make the food. My inner control freak was delighted that I would be the one cooking. My inner control freak was also cursing that I hadn’t been there when the items were purchased, but the chefs on Ready, Steady, Cook have to put up with that all the time.

The bag contained the following ingredients:

–          Bok Choyphoto 1 (1)
–          Ginger
–          Mixed capsicum (pepper)
–          Red onion
–          Bean sprouts
–          Chillies
–          Bean sprouts
–          Ginger
–          Coconut Milk
–          Snapper

Now this may seem like a fairly generous choice of food, but in my hungry state, all recipes I have made before went out of my brain. Erin insisted on a Thai-style dinner. Stir-fry seemed like the best option. Luckily, Erin’s housemates were able to oblige with a series of sauces, as well as Asian cooking utensils (massive chop sticks).

Erin also had some quinoa and rice, so she decided to make a coconut rice type dish, which was interesting. Perhaps we’ll try a different method of cooking rice next time.

Another thing I will note is that I have no method of measuring these things, so it’s all fairly random… That’s actually the best way to cook.

Apologies in advance that this recipe is essentially a random train of thought from my brain.

Ingredients

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, crushed or finely sliced
clove of garlic, minced or finely sliced
crushed or minced fresh chillies, plus extra to garnish
tsp oyster sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 fillets snapper with optional herbed crust
½ red onion
½ packet of mixed chopped capsicum (peppers)
1 bok choy
2 handfuls of bean sprouts
3 handfuls of rice and quinoa mix
1 mini can of coconut milk

photo 2 (1)Method

  1. Preheat oven to about 180°C. Mix the soy and oyster sauce, olive oil, chilli, ginger and garlic together. Leave to marinade.
  2. Chop the red onion roughly and check the capsicum pieces to make sure they are bite sized. One of the biggest errors people make when they cook stir-fry (or any vegetable really) is over-cooking, most vegetables don’t actually need to be cooked and their nutritional value begins to decrease the longer they are cooked. In the instance of stir-fry, what you should do is make sure they are hot when they are served, but still crunchy. This way you’ll get the best taste and texture. Anyway, don’t cook them yet, just chop them.
  3. Boil some water (however much you usually do, you’re not idiots and I didn’t have any measuring implements) and the coconut milk together – I would add some seasoning, Erin didn’t. Put the rice in the water coconut mixture and let it go crazy for 30 minutes or until done
  4. The snapper Erin bought came with a crust for you to add to it. That’s quite straight forward – you sprinkle the crust over the snapper and then put it in the oven for about 15 minutes. However, given the choice, I would do snapper parcels (this is the best way to cook any flakey fish: use a square of baking paper and sprinkle it with smoked paprika, chopped shallot, salt and pepper. Lay the fillet over the top and then add a pinch more salt. Fold the paper up so that it covers the fish but steam can be released out of the edges. Place each parcel in the oven for around 15 minutes, depending on the type of fish you are using, some fish are better if they are underdone, but if you do this make sure they are fresh fillets). Heat the plates in the oven for 2 minutes prior to everything being ready.
  5. Once the fish has been in the oven for let’s say, 7 minutes, start to heat your wok. This is where the awesome massive chopsticks come in. Add your marinated mixture to the wok. Once it is hot, add the peppers (because peppers actually taste nice when they are not raw). In quick succession, add the remaining vegetables and stir them with your giant chopsticks, ensuring that the marinade is evenly coating the vegetables. Please do not cook these for longer than two minutes or the amazing fresh taste will be ruined an no one will eat them.
  6. If you are a genius, everything should be ready at the same time. Remove the heated plates and the snapper from the oven (use a tea towel or an oven mitt because you are not Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons). Drain any remaining fluid from the rice and then divide it equally between the plates, distribute the vegetables between the plates and then place the snapper on top of your rice/vegetable mountain. Sprinkle with fresh red chillies.
  7. Serve with soy sauce as a garnish too, because some people just love salt.

Apologies for the quality of photos in the post – I hadn’t thought about uploading these to the blog when I took them. I promise the next foodie photos will be good.photo 3 (2)

I actually enjoyed being creative on the spot and everything is better with good wine and good company. The meal turned out very well, and we enjoyed ourselves. The portions were slightly too big for us I think – too much coconut rice – so you could leave out the rice and add more vegetables, or just do less rice; you know how much rice you usually make, so that’s a good place to start.

If you enjoyed this post and want more like it, please let me know. Don’t forget to like and share on Twitter and/or Facebook. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

Experience Life | Create Adventure