Hello friends…. I had an AMAZING recipe planned for today but I left the post it with the recipe at home and I’m in DC so you will have to wait until next Thursday to drool over my Veggie Filled Chicken Lettuce Wraps!!!! Make sure you stop by next week, you won’t want to miss this recipe!
As a little treat, since I’m in DC with my love, CARA, I thought it would be fun if she guest posted today! Her and I have been friends for FOREVER and I’d love for you all to get to know her a little better! I know you’ve seen her photo on here lots! Also make sure you check out her blog Grub Actually!
I’m writing this from seat 37H on a flight from Beijing airport to Washington DC.
When Alex asked me to do a guest post I genuinely had to “Google” what to do when someone asks you to do a guest post for a blog. I am very new to the blogging world and still trying to find my voice, as I also attempt to develop better blogging habits.
To give you a taste of our non-traditional friendship, here’s how it started! Alex and I met our junior year of high school. I had transferred from a very different school, in many ways. I went from knowing or recognizing almost every single person in the school, to a giant public school that reminded me of the movie Mean Girls. What struck me the most was how exclusive each group of people was. Alex and I were on the swim team in the beginning of the year, although I’m not sure she remembers. (Editors Note: I REMEMBER you from swimming, we were just in different lanes so we never really got to know each other during the swim season). I’ll never forget seeing her face at the end of the lane cheering me on while swimming the breaststroke (I wasn’t the best swimmer, but I tried!). I was dying! And really embarrassed as I was the slowest one in the extra heat. Even though we were on the same team, I don’t think I had opened my mouth at swim practice once, let alone at school for the first few months. If you knew me, you’d know how weird that is for my personality. This school scared me speechless! Long story short, we met again later in a more personal environment in the school’s rag tag rugby team. We became instant friends and I was so insanely grateful for Alex’s presence in my life. I knew she was a keeper. 😉
If you read Alex’s blog you probably know that I live in Beijing, China. Living overseas has been one of the most enlightening as well as empowering decisions I’ve made for myself. My first stop in this journey to expat life was Korea. A year long, and clichéd, find yourself time, i.e. teaching English for one year. I LOVED IT! I enjoyed the work I did every day. It led me to be able to find out exactly what I wanted to do with my career. This was also the time when I discovered my joy of the kitchen. My dad is a sensational cook, which is how I initially fell in love with food. I grew up in the kitchen. For me it’s a comfort area. This is where I Skype Alex, drink my coffee, read cookbooks, and, as always, think about life while stirring a pot. Moving abroad meant I actually got to cook for myself. I wasn’t instructed and there was no assisting anyone. My kitchen, my rules. Being in Korea meant learning how to make EVERYTHING from scratch. There were numerous Skype conversations with Alex while she had to walk me through making fried rice properly (I thought I was going to die of food poisoning from the egg). Thank goodness for technology. (Editor’s Note: I always loved out Skype cooking lessons!!)
Korea helped me laydown a good foundation of basics and forced me to be as creative as possible. I learned how to shop by the season, what it meant to have a pantry staple, the difference in pan quality, ETC. Now that I’m in China, I feel like the world of cooking has opened up so much more! The fresh produce and countless delicious dishes put so many new ideas in my head. I feast on food blogs and try to make something new every night! I’ve taken some Chinese cooking classes and befriended a couple of old people to teach me a few things (I have a weird soft spot for 70+ people). They usually wind up doing the cooking themselves, as we get lost in translation. My Chinese is dreadful, and their English is non-existent.
I started Grub Actually to start sharing the food I was making. I’m really hoping to start using it more in the coming months. I thought it could be a good tool for expats in Asia. Sometimes you just need a little inspiration to cook up some non-Chinese goodness in a very Chinese kitchen. I was shocked by how many people didn’t know how to cook at all! Or had no desire to because they didn’t think they could make anything western with all Chinese ingredients. We would have people over for dinner and they would be shocked when I told them that I had made everything with ingredients from the farmers market down the street.
For the last 2 and a half years I’ve lived through more change than I ever imagined! I’ve grown in ways I never knew possible. I’ve learned new languages, met fascinating people, and I’ve seen sites and places I never knew existed. One thing that truly surprised me was how much stronger some friendships became, and how some you lose for the better.
Even though Alex and I were apart for so long, I felt like we grew much closer and more reliant on each other with each passing month. Although our outlooks on life are strikingly different, the one thing that has kept us glued together permanently is our strive to make each day the happiest one. Doing everything you can to love yourself and your surroundings, including appreciating what makes other people happy, no matter how different, is so important. Life is way too short to be anything, but truly happy. (Editor’s Note: That is totally my day to day motto! Thank you Cara for an amazing guest post!)
Was your high school super clicky?