It wasn’t a White Christmas

Travel, University

Christmas has come and gone and I spent it at home this year. One thing is for sure, it was absolutely different. A different type of chaos, a different type of noise, a familiar but new atmosphere, it was just different.

My last Christmas at home before I left on my adventure, was spent with family and so was this one, but something about it was vividly different. This year I spent it inside, on chairs unwrapping present after present, eating food around a table, something my heart has always know as Christmas, but I almost felt… lost.

It was no train riding, mountain climbing, loaded backed potato eating kind of Christmas, and there was family missing, family in heaven, but it was the kind of Christmas that we usually had… at home.. with a tree.. wrapped presents.. and a turkey on the table.

IMG_4701

I have to admit though, these Christmases will always be here, but Christmas around the world is an experience alone, and I miss the hustle of the airports, I miss the stamping of my passport and the taking off of the plane.

 

Im home for now, but I’ll be off again soon.

 

Here’s to the next adventure,

In safe travels!

 

Meg xox

It’s not goodbye, until next time!

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

My final night in Europe, I spent it in London again. I was going to head to Colchester to stay with my friend, but decided it was a bit too far and not worth it with how much time I really had, so the good ‘ole Kiwi I met in Poland offered a space in his place for me to crash for the night, quite close to the tube station.

I met him and dropped my bag and then we decided to check for dinner – and this girl was real tired because as we got on the bus, I checked my purse and thought I lost my passport – we had to turn around and go back to his house. As he pushed the button to stop the bus, and we stood up I saw my passport on the ground in front of me, it was really time for bed.

 

 

IMG_6379

We grabbed some pizza for dinner, and than headed back to his place to hangout for the night. There wasn’t much to do it was late and I was heading to the airport pretty early.

 

Europe really was a blast, heading back to reality was certainly not what I wanted to do, but the opportunities to travel and see the world for Christmas was fabulous. There will always be more Christmas’ in Bowmanville, Ontario, this was the Christmas to enjoy being abroad and seeing the world.

 

To finding myself, growing and coming back changed!

That’s it for the Europe segment, but until the next adventure!

 

In safe travels,

 

Meg XX

#Chronicles of a girl who can cook part 2

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, University

I was given the name ‘the (white) girl who can cook’ by the girls who live the floor over from me as your may have read in the last post Chronicles of the girl who can cook because I spend as much or more time in the kitchen than them making actual substantial meals and not just mac and cheese from a box or reheating left over pizza from 2 or 3 weeks ago, and I have shelf space in the fridge which I basically fought for and have claimed as my own because I actually buy groceries (hello people I do have to live here to). Except the perception seems to be skewed here, that the minority, aka us “white” people can’t cook, or we don’t cook, so we don’t need fridge space and we are a rare sighting in the kitchen.

Well folks you are mistaken and that is wrong. I actually enjoy cooking (and baking, to an extent) and when i do cook, it’d often something that will last for a few days, no not as left overs, but meal prepping.

So this weeks feature, homemade shepherds pie.

Ingredients

4 Medium Potatoes

1 Package Ground Meat – I use ground turkey because I don’t eat beef, but use whatever you prefer

1 can corn – sub other veggies or add other veggies as you choose, I usually add peas and carrots

1 package Turkey gravy

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

2 Tsp milk

3 Tsp butter

 

Directions

I a large pot bring 6.5 cups water to a boil, add potatoes and boil until potatoes are soft enough to run a knife through without obstruction.

Meanwhile in a medium-large frying pan brown meat with clove of garlic. Drain.

Add corn and continue to brown.

In a small sauce pan make turkey gravy according to package details. Pour over meat and veggie mixture.

Once Potatoes are cooked, drain, add butter and milk and mash.

In large casserole dish, cover bottom of with meat and veggie mixture. Spoon potatoes on top covering evenly.

Top with cheese if desired and serve warm.

You Crazy sun of a beach

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

That’s right, next stop, the beach, the Mediterranean Sea, the French Riviera… Nice, France. An afternoon flight landed us in France in the early evening with time to find our way to our hostel, get acquainted and grab some Nachos and a drink with the guy on the lower bunk next to us.

France also reminded me that just because I’m a born and raised Canadian, there’s a part of me the enjoys the warm weather, found when I moved to the island, and has grown on me since living in the Caribbean for 7 months so far. French weather meant no jackets for a few days and I was ready to not be so bundled up.

France was also the end of Pey’s travels and the beginning of my solo travels, so on the first day we fit the best of Nice into one day, but I revisited the sites that I wanted to spend more time at and others after she left. First stop, Crepes and thank you France for gluten free Crepes. Honestly the lady who served us, served us 2 more times after and would have known our order if we didn’t change our mind every time we went in.

Next stop beach, and I’m positive the locals though we were crazy because 2 Canadians and a Colombian put on bathing suits and swam in the Mediterranean sea on January 3rd 2018, to us it was warm and the water wasn’t that cold, but to the locals, it was still winter.

Not at

IMG_5504

all disappointed by the view or the warmth of the weather, we headed to the castle, and took it upon ourselves to walk our way there because nobody pays for what you can get for free. We intended to see the waterfall, but little did we know it had started to dry up. So after all we had to find another picture perfect spot, which involved scaling the side of the restaurant deck because it was under construction to the ledge with nothing to hold onto except each other with every gush of wind hoping nobody fell over the edge. Worth it for the photos, and added to the stories we get to tell when we return to Ontario..albumtemp

Our next stop was down to the light house that you can see at the end of

IMG_5540

the road pictured above…. We got all the way down there to barriers in front of it, but that hasn’t stopped us yet, so naturally we climbed over and under and got as close as we could because every picture speaks 1000 words, and the story to get to it speaks even more. We started to make our way back towards the beach and found the #ILOVENICE sign, and unlike in Amsterdam, you want a picture with the sign here, you have full rights to tell anyone near the sign to remove

IMG_5554

themselves from your picture as the kind lady who was also taking pictures did to us, so we patiently waited and then told the guy who tried to sneak in to get out of ours. It seemed to be a common theme here and everyone took their turn at the sign instead of cramming in and having thousands of people in your picture. We spent time walking the streets before heading back to the beach to watch the sunset, and that was absolutely worth the stroll back down the rocky, sandy beach, “it is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.”

.albumtemp

My favourite colour is sunset, and I have never met a sunset I didn’t like

There’s something about starting everyday on holidays with good food, so Crepes for breakfast every day just seemed right, I was now alone, excited to start my adventure in a new country by myself, sad that my Canadian best friend was leaving but looking forward to the Countries I had left to see.

My last day was spent at the marina, and wandering the streets looking at the Nice statues, nothing like those of Belgium, iconically peeing in the streets, but still naked.

My Next adventure involved cardboard crowns, a lot of polish, Pirogies, and a boy from Trinidad.

Until the next one, stay tuned and in safe travels,

 

Meg XX

Chronicles of the Girl who can Cook

Exchange, Food, Gluten Free, Travel, University

I’ve been craving a good Lasagna, or really a “home cooked meal,” some “comfort food” anything a little home based. After 6.5 months of searching high and low in the grocery stores around Trinidad I finally found Gluten Free Lasagna noodles, though I’ve never heard of Nnova (pasta brand) but I bought the store out of their noodle, mac and cheese included and tried them.

The Mac and cheese isn’t half bad, just don’t let it get cold before you finish it.

The Lasagna though, that’s why we’re really here. I was honestly amazed. It’s hard finding gluten free pasta that doesn’t taste like cardboard, it’s also hard finding a brand of pasta or really any gluten free food that is relatively
“normal” tasting. I guess maybe mixed with other ingredients you don’t notice the difference, but I hope that the grocery stores in Trinidad, Massy especially continue to carry these noodles until I leave.

Ingredients

1 Box Nnova Pasta noodles
1.5 Cans Tomato Sauce (24 Oz Can)
1 Can Tomato Paste
12 Oz Water
1/2 Green Pepper, diced
1 Roll Ground Chicken (substitute for any meat you prefer)
1/2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Oregano
1 Tsp Onion Powder
3 Cloves Garlic
10 Oz Container Ricotta Cheese
24 Oz Mozzarella (more if desired or needed)
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Directions

*Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

1. Boil Pasta to al Dante according to box instructions

2. While pasta is boiling, put oil and garlic cloves in a large sauce pan and begin to brown

3.  Add diced green pepper to sauce pan, brown

4. Add ground meat, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano and brown

5. Drain fat and return to pan

6. Add Tomato sauce, Tomato Paste, Water; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook for 20 minutes, stir occasionally

7. Spread a small amount of meat mixture on bottom of Lasagna pan

8. Add noodles (approx 5) they will overlap

9. Cover noodles with meat mixture

10. Add 1/4 of Mozzarella cheese and spread evenly, 1/2 Parmesan cheese and 1/2 the Ricotta Cheese

11. Repeat steps 8 and 9

12. Add the rest of the Parmesan and Ricotta Cheese

13.  Repeat Step 8

14. Add the rest of the sauce mixture

15.  Top Lasagna with the rest of the mozzarella cheese

16. Cover With Foil and cook for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes

 

IMG_6907

Until the Next one,

 

Meg XX

 

 

 

Poutine… Poutin… A Sociolinguistic Look

Food

About 2 weeks ago (almost) everyone in my class neglected to complete a homework assignment for a University sociolinguistics class, to which we were then given the task to head out on our campus during our tutorial time (almost as punishment) to complete an experiment discovering whether and how people pronounced or called objects and items by different names.

 

Being for a different country, I turned to social media, thought of theIt one thing that I’ve heard in Canada phonologically pronounced differently and posted a poll on FaceBook asking my social media friends how they pronounced the word.

It started out small, just my facebook friends, but slowly people started to share the post and within 6 hours it had hit 300 votes and 50 shares. I started seeing votes coming on the poll from people that I didn’t know.

What I wanted to know was how those around the word, but mainly in Canada pronounced the Canadian food, Poutine. I was then criticised for stating that Poutine was a “great food of Canada” sure it was made by the Quebecois, but it has become a National Canadian food, and the pronunciation of the food has been a nationally debated  phenomenon.

Comments started flying eventually

It’s really pronounced “putsin”

 

I am from Quebec I can assure you the pronunciation is not Poutine

 

“Its Poutine!!!Not poutin or pouteen….and its very good…with cheese curds and gravy…or Italienne any way made in Québec.Je Me Souviens” 

To which someone responded

“She wrote “Poutin” and “Pouteen” that was so people would understand what she meant for pronunciation. I’d probably take the bet that she knows it is Poutine.”

and another

“She even put “poutine” in the question.”

 

It reached all the corners of Canada, many corners of Europe, New Zealand, the USA, and Australia. With 270.9K votes, 18K comments, 877 shares and 2.2K likes 79% of people voted the pronunciation as /puːtiːn/ (poutine) and 21% /puːtIn/ (poutin).

There were many comments made about the Russian president, but even more made against my ability to spell the word properly and that I didn’t know where the food came from – excuse me friends I am

Canadian and I have had some fantastic Poutine in my life.

So as it stands, it seems that the debate still stands, the pronunciation of a majority of people may be poutine, but it seems that it still stands that there is a major debate, something that may never end.

This wasn’t an adventure,

but until the next one,

 

Meg