Monday, March 28, 2016
American Eagle top | Uniqlo pants | BCBG boots | Charming Charlie necklace (hello high school) | Aldo bracelets | Michael Kors watch | Kate Spade purse
It's almost April and I still wouldn't be able to go sans-outerwear here in Copenhagen. December-in-Dallas, how dost thou exist? (These pictures were all taken back at home.)
I'll admit it. I fell solidly in the turtlenecksaredorky club when I was little, so I always put up an (usually unsuccessful) resistant front every time my mom tried to clothe me with one. Thus, I wasn't initially drawn to this sweater, but I fell in love after a sweet friend encouraged me to try it on. The olive tone, thinly weathered texture, and soft drape make it a perfect winter-to-spring transition piece.
Simple on black on black: one step closer to being Danish, let's go!
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Sometimes I find it easier being abroad and being exposed to people I otherwise would have never encountered. It's like we subconsciously know that we might only be in each other's lives for a season, and that somehow liberates us to be vulnerable. The frequency of soul-digging conversations I've had here is quite refreshing, whether with American or Austrian or Australian. Mental illness, cultural identity, racial justice, family hardships, faith (or lack of), life direction, poop cycles: everything's laid out on the table.
I've wondered why these interactions—the challenging and risky yet brave and hopeful ones—don't naturally arise as much back at home. I've admired the emphasis on relationships in Danish culture, in large part because they don't have pesky little things like monumental-socially-conditioned career + life ambitions getting in the way.
The irony is that we don't wish to consume ourselves as such, but these concerns somehow become ultimate life goals as opposed to natural parts of life.Yet concurrently, sharing those struggles allows us to further empathize with each other. So it's not that certain cultures or peoples pursue depth more than others; it's moreso an matter of wherever you call home or find comfort. I think we as Americans gotten comfortable in our ambition, our busyness. Perhaps the Danes have gotten comfortable in their own pace of life. Maybe Eastern cultures have gotten complacent in their tradition. There's more to everyone, but living life and building relationships the same and only way we've ever known doesn't always draw out that moreness.
So now what?
There are different ways to go about cultivating relationships. You can pursue breadth, but there is an unavoidable tradeoff in depth. We're limited by time. Given our earthly constraints, all our strivings become smaller if you look at life and realize there is rarely a "good" time to do all the things we want to do, know the people we want to know, see what we want to see, etc. Rather, life is good, regardless of pace. So what are we waiting for?
At the end of the day, I don't know if there is anyone that would say that they feel more fulfilled by the small talk than the big. Not to say you're meant to deep dive with everyone you ever meet, but there's a reason why you especially jive with some people. This is where we need to be able to discern when you're gonna go all in.
Because why are we even alive?
Could it be that our purpose for living is greater than death?Interracial issues are a great area of application. Our problem is that we don't consistently engage on deeper levels with those from different backgrounds as ourselves. We're lazy, fearful, and unsure of what the outcome could be (or also uninformed). I mean yeah, the greater the risk, the greater the potential for misunderstanding and hurt…but likewise the magnified potential for love and mutuality. I asked a Dane who studied in the States what he saw as a strength of American culture, and he replied with diversity. Considering the current drama over race in America: OHHH SNAP! We don't realize what a blessing that is—that being crosscultural is conducive to that depth we're searching for.
How is it so paradoxical that it isn't in our human nature to pursue depth—yet at the end it's what we seek to bring greater fulfillment in our life?All in all, depth extends both beyond and within. Differing cultures or not, we reflect each other, so reevaluate who you're surrounding yourself with and what your relationships are built on. Is it comfort, convenience, just some instant connection? Or is it intentionality?
Take a relationship and take a risk. Then witness the depths to which that carries you.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
¡Ah, cultura latinoamericana! I find Central & South American cultures especially intriguing since they fall in a more conciliatory range within the Eastern vs. Western spectrum. The warmth and hospitality of the people remind me of Asian customs while the institutions feel more Western-influenced. And as with Asian cultures, they're very close to their food—a concept I'm glad we're moving toward in America. It's refreshing how Latin American culinary culture is inherently based on natural, simple eating; cuisine has evolved yet still stays true to its roots (the raw ingredients, the seafoods, the fruits!!).
Casco Viejo (or Casco Antiguo) is the historic district of Panama City, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997. If you ever visit Panama City, this is probably where you'll find yourself for much of your stay, as the trendy restaurants, historic sights, and picturesque vistas make it foreign tourist central. Grab some fresh ceviche at any one of the stalls at Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood Market) and then walk down by waterfront boulevard Cinta Costera for a beautiful day in Casco Viejo.
Some extra tips:
- I hope you remember some of that high school Spanish cause it does wonders.
- If you're not staying nearby & don't wanna be ripped off by a taxi home, ask a hotel receptionist to call one for you (or have ready a phone number from your hotel to call). They should have set prices.
- Fried yucca! ¡Muy delicioso! Eat lots and lots.
Bajareque Coffee House - Coffee aficionado heaven. A world-award winning coffee producer with a family run estate in a renown coffee-growing region in Panama (Boquete, Chiriqui - you can also go there for coffee plantation tours but it's a 6-7 hour drive out). Geisha pour-over is $9/cup but hands down one of the best cups of coffee I've ever had. Deduced from my interaction with the super down-to-earth barista: mas concentrado. Deduced from my tongue: soooo smooth, so rich, so balanced, so perfect with the best almond croissant of my life.
Café Unido - Cafe portion of American Trade Hotel. Beautiful interior, quality beans. Perfect for casual afternoon chillin'.
Casa Sucre - Very personable staff. Local Panamian vibes, warm empanadas, sparkling sodas.
Tantalo Rooftop Bar - Where all the gringos are but great views nonetheless.
Raspados - Freshly shaved ice pumped with fruit syrup and topped with thickened evaporated milk. Simplicity at its finest. Can find a stand around every other street corner but Raspados Julio is more well-known.
Granclément - LOCALLY MADE ICE CREAM & SORBET. Enough said.
Madrigal ($$$) - Michelin Spanish chef & 90% Panamanian ingredients, recommend reservations. Courses ranged from great (ceviche with coconut and passionfruit) to alright (tiramisu mousse dessert). The intentionally undercooked duck was surprisingly good.
Nazca 21 ($$) - Peruvian and open on Sundays! Huge portions, hearty food, and great pisco sours. Get the grilled octopus.
Fish Market ($) - Didn't have time for this but sounded awesome.
American Trade Hotel Dining Room ($$) - Obsessed with the v chic Panama outpost of boutique hotel chain Ace Hotel.
Las Clementinas ($$-$$$) - Cozy, ambient (boutique) hotel with local cuisine and stellar service.
Museums, cathedrals, plazas, monuments galore. Incredible architecture and graffiti as well.
Danilo's Jazz Club at American Trade Hotel - Jazz is huge in Panama! Great for post-dinner weekend shows - buy tickets in advance.
Waterfront - Picture perfect vistas & great for family portraits.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Living away from home always reminds me of how fresh seafood is such a luxury. Colleging in DC, living in Copenhagen - it only gets progressively harder to obtain mah quality seafood. Gone are the affordable Asian supermarkets and come are the mad expensive specialty fishmongers.
But hey some days you just need a little extra pizzazz! Grocery shopping is kindofmajorly my thing, so I had a ball when I encountered the sweet, sweet stench of fishies on fishies over ice at Torvehallerne. Granted, it's a bit more of an investment but still cheaper than eating out and a great way to incentivize grocery budget priorities (less
Growing up in a small business owning family, I feel as if I've been inherently tuned to empathize with vendors and artisans of all sorts. It's rewarding to take ownership of your work yet also challenging beyond what you could ever imagine. Give me a native fishmonger and quality, locally sourced fish, and I'll gladly support. It's really all about the hands-on experience and increased proximity to a craftsman and his/her craft, and I'm glad our consumerist society is coming to re-recognition of it.
Anyhow, poké is a raw fish salad bowl traditional to Hawaiian cuisine + now trendy in the states (er, the two coasts). It's super simple to prepare, refreshing, and totally awesome over rice. I've never had an authentic poke bowl (#goals), but here's my take on it with ahi tuna!
(Side note: I don't measure anything, so take my approximations as you will heh.)
Makes 1 bowl
Ahi Tuna Marinade:
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh sashimi-grade ahi tuna, cubed
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 small stalk scallion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp ginger, chopped or grated
- 1/4 tsp garlic, chopped or grated
- 1/2 cup white rice, room temperature
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
- 1 small radish, sliced
- 1/2 - 1 sheet seaweed
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
(I didn't have any on hand but def rec)
- Sesame seeds, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
1. Mix together the marinade seasoning ingredients and then toss in the ahi tuna. I found it most effective to just use my hands. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Assembly is a quickie! Lay out the tuna and cucumbers over a bed of rice. Tear up the seaweed sheet and stuff it in. Top with radish and sprinkle sesame seeds to taste.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Though I do hear pockets of the US are also enduring rough weather patches - stay safe and stay hygge, everyone!