Last week, V from #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS posted a tag in which she shares several lists of her “top five” things that she likes (e.g. food, blogs, destinations…). More specifically, she recounts her favorite things as means of getting through this current pandemic, and I was inspired to post my own “top five” favorites, too (thanks for mentioning me, V!). This will be a light, breezy one from my usual travel posts, so enjoy!
5 Things That Have Been Getting Me Through Quarantine:
1. My workout mat — Granted, my workout routine hasn’t changed since the pandemic, but I still love my mat. Investing in it was the best decision I’ve made, as it offers a cheap and effective workout within the comforts of home.
2. The Internet — seriously, we would have a hard time functioning without connection to the virtual world (myself included). This is where I can stay in touch with friends, entertain myself with YouTube and Netflix, and write on this blog!
3. Tea — lots and lots of it.
4. My sweatpants — I rarely go out, and as a result, I can’t be bothered dressing up while at home. It’s security over style, and I wear my loose, comfy sweatpants from the time I wake up to when I go to bed.
5. Wine — I purchased a huge pack from a Groupon deal several weeks ago, and I’m slowly drinking my way through each of them. I’m limiting myself to one bottle per week, just because we don’t know how long this will last!
5 Blogs That Are Worth Checking Out:
1. #MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS — I have to start out with the blog that had mentioned me in the tag! V is a Canadian blogger who I started following last fall, and I really enjoy reading her thoughts on unemployment, marketing, and the struggles of growing up a Millennial in this day and age. Awesome blog, awesome blogger!
2. Baguettes and Bicyclettes — With a cute blog name and an aesthetically-pleasing website, American expat Camden writes about her adventures teaching abroad in France. She dedicates her posts to lesson plans in both French and English, all the while keeping up a YouTube channel. The effort she puts into her posts and videos is astounding, and I can see her hard work has paid off!
3. forevernads abroad — This is a recent blog that I started following a couple of months ago. Nads is a South African flight attendant whose photos of the world give me inspiration to travel whenever I can. Her posts are likewise beautifully-crafted, more like postcards to a loved one back home. She might have a small blog, but no doubt does she have the potential to go far!
4. The Captain’s Speech — Paul is *another* Canadian blogger I follow (as well as being the sole male blogger on this list), and I’ve been following him for years. His posts are super funny, and they feel effortlessly-written– I honestly wish I had his talent for quick wit! There hasn’t been a post I didn’t like from Paul, and I remain a loyal follower through and through.
5. La Grenouille Anglaise — I’ve also been following this blog for several years now, and I still look forward to the posts that British Francophile Rosie puts out! It’s a ceremonious blend of travel, baking, and books, all of which which are her passion. Her persistence in bilingual French-English posts (especially baking ones) is admirable, and I continue to read each and every one of them whenever she publishes.
5 Foods That I Love:
1. Noodles — this applies to pasta, too. I like just how versatile it can be, whether it’s to make a hearty dan dan mian, a comforting tonkotsu ramen, or a rustic carbonara. Bring on the starch!
2. Hot sauce — okay, this isn’t a dish but a condiment. Even if I may not have the best tolerance for spicy food, I really enjoy layering my dishes with hot sauce. I like the heat and flavor it brings out– plus I like the challenge.
3. Stuffed cabbage rolls — this is a popular dish that’s commonly found in countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania. It’s a filling plate of meats, grains, and vegetables all wrapped inside of cabbage leaves. You can get your daily nutrients in just one bite!
4. Hash browns — probably the few American foods I really enjoy eating. I grew up loving the hash browns from McDonald’s, and I sometimes have cravings for that crispy, tender, and greasy goodness.
5. Shortbread — for a sweet tooth, I enjoy consuming a biscuit or two of this Scottish specialty. What’s even better is that it’s incredibly-easy to make, and it can be used for other delicious desserts like lemon bars and millionaire’s slice!
5 Places I’m Dreaming of Going When It’s Safe to Travel Again:
1. New Mexico — I’ve gone to Albuquerque before, but I want to return to see its annual International Balloon Fiesta, in which hundreds of hot-air balloons are sent to the sky in October. I also want to make the trek south of the state to the White Sands National Park near Alamogordo, which look out of this world. There’s so much to this southwest US state than one might think!
2. Singapore — Cliché as it sounds, Crazy Rich Asians inspired me to want to visit this tiny city-state and country in Southeast Asia. Besides a beautiful harbor, it has a vibrant blend of modern skyscrapers and colonial neighborhoods from its previous British rule. I’d love to spend time at its airport (a tourist spot in itself), wander its cosmopolitan streets, and indulge in delicious food at the hawker centres!
3. Ukraine — Still haven’t gone, despite efforts to visit in the last two years I lived in Europe. After visiting its neighboring, former USSR countries (including Russia itself), I became fascinated by Soviet history, and I would like to see one of its biggest annexed territories to fully understand the severity and life back in the 20th century, compared to how it is today.
4. Argentina — I also wanted to include other South American countries (e.g. Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil) on this list, but I’ll just stick to the one I want to visit the most. Argentina looks like a beautiful country, with its vibrant capital of Buenos Aires, lush Iguazu Falls, and access to the otherworldly Patagonian landscape. Plus, trying its famed steak and Malbec wine doesn’t hurt!
5. United Arab Emirates — I recently became interested in countries that belong to the Arab League (the UAE included). I think it’s because Arab nations aren’t really spot-lighted in the Western world (or looked down upon). But look closer, and they offer an abundance of history, culture, and architecture that rivals that of any European nation. The UAE would be a solid introduction to the Arab League, and I’m keen on visiting.
5 Things I Want for This World:
1. Transparency — I get it. Truth hurts sometimes. But having a wall up on social issues, politics, and even personal relationships hurts even more. I liken transparency to honesty: if people took the time to show their true intentions, there wouldn’t be guess-work to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, e.g. socioeconomic gaps, corruption in government, marketing campaigns…
2. Working for the greater good — I.e. collectivism over individualism. Not saying that we should go either extremes, but I’m finding the latter problematic. We think about nothing but our own happiness, whether it’s in earning the most money or finding our “soulmate.” I understand we need money to feed and cloth ourselves, as well as find someone whom you love, but at some point, it becomes selfish and detrimental to others. It’s rare to find someone who’s unconditional in their love, and I think giving back without expecting anything in return is a skill that needs to come back.
3. Authenticity — This goes hand-in-hand with my first point. I personally find the “fake it until you make it” mantra overrated– while a small dose of it can boost your image and confidence, it also must not be taken to the extreme in which you lose sight of yourself. Even if it can be painful, never forget where you came from, because that shows your true self and everything that comes with it: your strengths, your flaws, your talents, etc.
4. Decreasing the wealth gap — This is a huge problem everywhere in the world. The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer: without a middle class to keep things afloat, it’ll eventually lead to financial chaos. “Being comfortable” nowadays is synonymous with being wealthy, and we need to take a hard look at the distribution of financial power and its effects on politics and social thinking. Being stricter on taxes for the elites (“the 1%”) and shifting spending to assisting the less-fortunate are a start, and we can hope more measures to smooth out the gap will come later.
5. Improved education system — I used to be a teacher, and through the years I taught, I grew increasingly jaded over how ineffective the education system was. Perhaps one can’t avoid it, but I think it’s possible to avoid spending so much on higher education (and its crippling loans) while also learning material that are applicable in real life, e.g. finances, home economics, understanding contracts… We put too much emphasis on tests and grades, not so much on the curiosity to learn. We also shouldn’t overlook other options: there needs to be more emphasis on alternatives to the traditional university route (e.g. trade school, military), and less so on promising a “rich, successful career” after graduation.
…feel free to partake in this tag, too. I’d love to read your answers!