WOD 9th of June

Today I went to Crossfit training and it was nice to be back after a bit more than a week of break. The reason why I chose to take a break was, because I did not wanted to get cold as I though that all workouts, due to gym reconstruction, would be only outside and it was raining almost all week. But, finally I managed to get there and for the first time I got there by my bike, which is an excellent way to make a warm-up.

Todays WOD consisted traditionally of 2 WODs which were both time challenge. I have to say, that I am happy to announce that even though I don’t like running, I don’t suck at it and I run pretty fast, well, at least comparing to the the others today as we all started at the same time and only couple guys were faster than me. For me it is a great encouragement, because I always thought that not only I don’t like running, but I also suck at it. Yuppy!

WOD1 – 3 rounds of:

  • 400m run
  • 20 KB tappers (35lb)
  • 30m burpee broad jump (come back by running backwards)
  • 30 squat (35lb)

it was really hard to run after making 30 squats, but even though I did not start being fastest, I needed up finishing first, though, of course, guys had 53lb kettle bells, so it does not mean that I am strongest :) My time was 17:38 min. and the guy after me finished 17:39min :)

WOD2 was3 rounds of:

My time was 5:33min. This time I wasn’t the fastest, but still I was pround of making it really fast. And I have to admit that riding a bike made my legs even stronger, because I was surprised how easy it was to make 16lb wall balls, when before I was always kind of struggling with them.

That was my workout of the day which I really enjoyed. Tomorrow plans for some yoga (in the park there will be over 350 yogis doing yoga session tomorrow, so I plan to join them, though I haven’t practised any yoga since Barcelona) and defence wall rock climbing as it is at the same park :)

Urban gardening as a future project

It’s been a long time since I have been dreaming about having my own little herb garden. I think I have been thinking about that for past 5 years, but never came make it happen. But I think that this year I just gonna do it, because we have two huge windows with lots of sunlight and more than enough place on the windowsills for the plants. So, my next project would be to have a vegetable and herb garden. I can only imagine what a great pleasure it would be just to go to the window and pick some herbs for a dish…I though about having small garden back in Barcelona, but as I am quite bad with plants (i forget about them and that I need to water them) and as in barcelona you can buy fresh herbs really cheap or just find wild ones (I always had fresh rosemarie and thyme at home because you can find loads of bushes on the way to climbing sectors), so I did not had a big need for growing them.  But as I prefer now to eat everything fresh and organic and it’s much more expensive to do that, I thought why not to try to grow my own. If I had a backyard probably I would be growing a chicken to have fresh organic eggs at home, but I don’t…

So, I started making some little research to build up the knowledge about urban gardening:

Maybe you have any recommendations regarding this question or already have a little garden in the flat of your own?

Roasted chicken with cauliflower curry and mint and parsley pesto

Since I started to eat paleo and especially since I started to check all the labels and eliminate everything that contains words that I don’t understand or that sounds unnatural I had to get rid of a lot of things in my kitchen or simply stop using them. One of them is stock. So, I decided today to make my own chicken stock, so we got some nice grain fed chicken and couple of chicken quarters. My intentions were to roast chicken and use carcase for the stock and use quarters for the stock as well. So, I dug into almighty Internet and came up with a mixed recipe (I never can follow just one recipe, except when I am making desserts). So, my chicken stock is being made in crock pot on the slow and consist of:

  • 2 chicken quarters
  • carcase of roasted chicken
  • 2 carrots (washed and roughly chopped)
  • 3 celery sticks (with leaves)
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, bay leaf, oregano
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 7 cup of water

While I was roasting chicken ( I made a dressing of almond butter, olive oil, chopped mint, salt and pepper that I rubbed into the skin) I started searching what I could accompany it with that I still haven’t made yet (and I haven’t made a lot, as usually my recipes would consist of some type of diary, grains, legumes and pasta or some other wheat products, so to have raw carbohydrates is a new thing for me).

I had some pineapple in fridge that I definitely wanted finish and I bought today a lot of cauliflower as they were on sale and cauliflower is carb-dense veggie. So, I used for inspiration recipe from Melisa’s amazing website where I am quite an often guest now. The recipe that inspired me is called Curry Fried F’rice and it ws super delicious:

Ingredients20120422-092121.jpg

  • 2 cups of chopped cauliflower
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
  • 2 leafs of baby bok choy (chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground curry powder
  • dash of coconut milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat nonstick pan to medium-high, add 1/2 tsp of oil and sautee pineapple until lightly brown in some spots. remove from the pan and set aside. Then sautee almond slivers until lightly browned. Remove from pan and add to pineapple slices.Heat the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the same pan, add cauliflower and stir-fry 2-3 minutes,until it starts getting a bit roasted. Add chopped bok choy, curry powder, salt & pepper, pineapple, and almonds. Fry until it is all heated and nicely mixed. Add a dash of coconut milk and mix in through.

I also had some fresh mint that I bough yesterday and that reminds me of my life in Barcelona and mojitos that we used to make. In Barcelona you can get bunch of mint for 1 euro or less. I used to go get my fruits and vegetables in Boqueria market where I would get pull hands and spend maximum 20 euros. Here in Canada it is at least twice more expensive…So, anyways, I decided to use Melisa blog again and her recipe for Medditeranian Mint and Parsley Pesto, I just modified it a little bit.

Ingredients:20120422-092052.jpg

  • 1 bunch of fresh mint (about 2 cups)
  • 1 big handful of fresh parsley (about 1.5 cup)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of chilli flakes

Put all ingredients in food processor and puree until desired consistence. It came out so fragrant and delicious and it worked really well with curry cauliflower. It was just missing some sort of the dessert, but I am not allowed any sugar during my Whole30 challenge, so just had some nuts with raisins and loads of tea. I have to admit that sugar dragon is definitely killing me softly and I would like so much to indulge into some paleo treat or have a glass of wine. But I haven’t even yet finished my first week of challenge, so just have to toughen up….Even though….cashew butter is gone…I won’t buy new one as probably I would finish it in a week and it would not be that good for me…

 

This weekend Couchsurfing experience

CouchSurfing

Image via Wikipedia

So, this weekend I had my first Couchsurfers in Quebec. I have been hosting people in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Barcelona (Spain),  now it came time for Quebec. I have been member of Couchsurfing I think since 2008 when I went to Brazil for my Capoeira workshop. It is really nice experience and culture sharing. I have met a lot of wonderful people from couch surfing that either surfed my couch, or I have been hosted by or even just meeting at the CS meeting. Finally, I had my CS experience in Barcelona. It was great. I was hosting two women from Washington who came to Quebec to stay in Ice hotel for a nigh and decided also to do some couch surfing. Sasha was the one to write a request to me and Marcy came along with her. I accepted Sasha’s request because she read my profile, found common interest point and put an effort in writing a request. Often, too often, I get lame requests where people don’t even manage to write my name or write a wrong name or just provide detail of their arrival rather than including why should I host them. Sometimes people just don’t understand that Couchsurfing is not only about free accommodation and I am not interested in letting someone to stay in MY house just because they are arriving to my city. CS is about sharing experiences and meeting people that you would want to meet anyway. As I always say, it is hosting a friend that you haven’t yet met. Maybe because I do have requirement for the people that I host most of my experiences were great from both aspects: being host and being guest.

Getting back to my guests…So, we had lost of fun as there is a winter festival happening in Quebec, so there are lots of activities. We also went to Crossfit training as the girls do that back home. I really enjoyed it and even consider maybe start doing Crossfit as well as I like challenges and competition. Then we went to do some rock climbing in my indoor climbing gym. I think they enjoyed it, even though probably Sasha was a bit disappointed by herself as rock climbing is much harder than just pushing weights and require a lot of coordination, strength and endurance. Sasha for me appeared to be very competitive, even in some sense negatively competitive as she had to compete about everything. She w as competing in every conversation either with Marcy or with me. So, I found it really interesting to observe. I like to compete, but I like silent competition, because I think that you don’t need to talk about your strengths, you need to be able to demonstrate them without showing off. So, all in all, I would conclude that Sasha is feeling very insecure inside and she always need approval by the others that she is worth something. However, I think that there are many people like that out there is the world. Don’t get me wrong, but I think that western society model, especially american culture has a lot to do with people not feeling secure about themselves and feeling a need to prove themselves in every step. I just wanted sometimes to say to her that there is no need to prove anything that I don’t care at all if you are better than someone,  that you are on vacations and should just simply relax. There was one thing, however, that I  disliked….that was her continuous mention of money and saving and showing me if they made something for us. First of all, if you are staying for free, there is no need to say that you are staying for free, because it is obvious. If you do something nice to me, like get me bottle of wine, there is no need to say that you got that, because it makes me feel uncomfortable as if I should be grateful for something. I should not, because in CS in it normal to do something for your host as a sign of appreciation as it is normal for the host to make sure that your guest are feeling comfortable and share your meal with them. But I don’t accentuate after lunch or breakfast that I got them lunch or breakfast, because it is not about that. I simply share and I felt from Sasha that it was rather calculation than simple act. I don’t know exactly how to explain that, it just did not feel authentic. I am sure that she doesn’t even know that about herself and definitely had no bad intentions, she just has a lot of insecurities that come out in somewhat inappropriate ways. And regarding me, I just feel better writing about it, because it makes me feel better as I don’t want to have any negative feeling and her general behaviour and respect to my house was great and I could not expect for better guest.

But I really liked Marcy and I felt instant connection with her, because she has really nice personality and had no need to prove anything.  We shared a lot of common character traits and passions and I feel that she is the type of person that could be my friend.

Concluding I would say that this couch surfing experience was definitely positive one, I had a lot of fun and great conversations, I had a chance to experience something new and maybe found new activity. The girls  in general were really great, respectful, clean and friendly.

On Acting My Age. What does that mean?

 

Do I act on my age? Actually, I don’t know what that would mean. I act as I feel would be best for me. Would it be similar to what other people of my age do? Definitely not majority, however I don’t think I would be unique. I just like experiencing things differently. I stopped drinking my moms milk too early, i started walking too early, I started going to school at the age of 5, i was skipping classes, I dropped out of high school couple month before final exams and graduation and went to hitch-hike around europe at the age of 18. At 20 I studied in 2 universities simultaniously: law and philosophy, because I wanted to see my limits, at 21 I also started working part time in marketing, willing to push my limits even more. Then I graduated, kept working in marketing related area. Dropped everything after couple years and went to volunteer in farm in Italy and Spain for few months. Moved to live in BArcelona and worked in various jobs, like bars, hostels, pub crawls, because wanted to experience that. After couple years moved to Canada, try to enter to do MA and Phd and while waiting for results and immigration papers, started learning french and working as a nanny. If I Plan to have children, better get experience before. Am I acting by my age? I don’t know. I just keep following myself and my sometimes crazy life projects…Life is a gift, I just try to use it as much as I can and try not to forget this simple fact…

Finding Job in Barcelona

I wrote this little article some time ago, but I decided to post it here, maybe someone will find it useful :) Plus, it is nice to remember the times there….I would not go back right now, but I am sure that we will be back at least for half a year at some period in our lives.

And so…yesterday Vida got her first job in Barcelona. She will be working in an irish pub pretty close from home as a bartender. the salary is pretty good – 6 euros per hour and she will be working 5 hours per day. however, for her it was a pretty shock as she is carrier oriented, so she was hoping straight away to find job in her area and start making a carrier. but in Barcelona usually it is not working that ways, unless you are spanish, french or at least very qualified native english speaker. I remember, when I came to Barcelona I lost any illusion  to find job as a project manager, especially not knowing spanish language. And even though I consider to have almost perfect English, it is not helping either. So, what do expats usually do in Barcelona:

Job number one: teaching English, that is what Milli is doing. She is earning pretty good money, around 10-20euros per hour, depending where she is teaching. The only difficult thing is to get enough hours to make living, but once you are on the track, everything is pretty fine.

Job number two: working with sales over phone. Luckily I did not have to do this type of job as I simply hate phone and can’t imagine myself selling something.

Job number three: working in a pub, restaurant, hostel, hotel. I tried some  of it, working in a restaurant and now I work in a hostel. There might be pretty hard and pretty easy jobs, depending where you find it and depending on the owners. Luckily, my current job is amazing and I am proud of working in ecological hostel, so even though it is not what I want to do for rest of my life, I am really satisfied with it, plus I satisfy my urge for ethical job.

Job number four: working with promotion. I have done it myself, it is amazing how many clubs are needed to be promoted and how many promoters you can find around beach are and Las Ramblas. Club, pubs, coctail bars, restaurants, pub crawls, flamenco shows. So, if you will ever come to Barcelona, search for flyer people, at least you will get discount for entrance, maybe free entrance, maybe some little extras…

And for sure there are much more…just need to search and believe. Some people find it really easy, some harder. But if you want to experience the vibrant energy of barcelona, give a try :)

Barcelona

Image by zkvrev via Flickr

Spread your love

Some time ago via couchsurfing website  I found out about an initiative, called Korakor and their goal is to spread love around the world…they do many projects, but the one that is the most easy one is called Making love carpet…check their website. Even Couchsurfing project actually is about sharing and opening yourself to the others. First I participated in Hospitality Club project, but CS is much more user friendly and open. I had so many great experiences through this website and I still use it. I should receive couch surfers at the beginning of February. Just it is sad that sometimes people mix it with free accommodation and they don’t understand the main idea about sharing knowledge and experiences. Too often I receive copy-paste request from people who don’t even bother to write my name or mention anything that would connect us. I don’t expect a huge letter, but simple things would make it easy. However, I have met one of the most wonderful people in my life through Couchsurfing and a lot of new things came in my life trough this experience and I could not be more grateful.

It is amazing how many beautiful initiatives there are around the world that help us to realize that we live here and now, for instance, free hugs campaign, raising money for helping the others…there are so many websites that help you to raise money for the cause….even the hostel where I was working back in Barcelona is doing charity project …

I am happy to live in the world where we care about the others and most importantly I am happy to realize that :)

Universities

I’ve been thinking to go back to study. Basically, to do graduate studies in

Canada

Image by Wherever I Roam via Flickr

philosophy, because I would like to be a teacher or professor. So, I have been doing some research and applied to couple universities here in Canada. My initial interest was McGill university in Montreal, but I did not want to pass GRE exam, mostly because of the costs and then it would still not ensure me a place. So, I skipped that. I chose to apply to Toronto University as it has strongest philosophy department in Canada and Queens University as they are strongest in ethics field. Application for Toronto was finished last week and today I completed application for Queens University. It took time to receive the documents from Vilnius University back in Lithuania, as universities here require official transcripts in sealed envelopes. I thought that it should be enough for application to provide certified copies of my diploma and supplement to it which are approved by foreign affair ministry, but nope. So, yesterday I received my documents, today filled in application. Then I had to print out my writing example, which I chose to be from my BA thesis which was “Can self-realization be considered as an ethical problem”. Finally I send it out. Now just make sure that my referees will provide references and then wait for response. I should know whether I get accepted to universities around march and then I would be clear where we gonna spend next year. If I do not get accepted, probably I will apply to university here in Quebec, just the thing is that it is french university, so I need to be fluent in french. I should be by September obviously. It just takes lots of energy for me to keep studying language as I feel that my brains are a bit tired of language learning. I lived past 2 years in Barcelona, Spain, so I learned Spanish and as Barcelona is in Catalunya, so catalan. Then from before I had to learn Russian, German, Italian, Latin and Ancient Greek, bit and bites of Brazilian Portuguese, not mentioning English, that is not my native language. So, I have lots of languages in my head and it would be nice to use them somehow, not just know :))))

Anyways, I am glad that application process is over. It took lots of effort to translate my thesis, to write motivation letter, to communicate with possible referees and many little things that you don’t even think counts.