Things do really fall apart

I call my own bullshit. Amor Fati. And idiot’s idea.

Our needs are about the same as a junkie looking for their next high. There is no meaning in anything we do, a greater cause or divine plan. And for those who argue that life is now and we must seize every moment, don’t. Or do, whatever. I don’t really care and it doesn’t really matter.

And that’s what I’m trying to say. Its all meaningless. White noise. We distract ourselves believing that these fleeting little moments of happiness (high), of now are the ultimate goal, are what makes everything worth it and sum up to this intangible sense of accomplishment that fills whatever void we developed while growing up.

Now is so fleeting that its mere acknowledgment annuls its existence. Truly a beautiful idea. Everything else is a lie. The past is tainted by feelings, however that made us feel then, will shape the memories that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. The future, instead, will shape our “now” and will become the fantasies we wish to chase.

It’s all carbons and hydrogens. Compost. And why does it still hurt? Why does it still make me cry? On the one hand, because of all the things I could have done differently. But on the other hand (and this is the one that truly gets me spinning), because it doesn’t add up. And of course human emotions and feelings aren’t going to add up like a math equation. But every action has a train of thought and motive that falls into some sort of logic (to that person) and that adds up (in its own way). Anyway I look at this it just doesn’t add up. And that bothers the heck out of me. Like an itch you can’t scratch, like a drop of water falling on the floor of an empty room, one after another, like a sneeze that won’t just happen.

And I don’t know where I am. I feel i never came back from where it all was lost, I’m stuck in some sort of emotional purgatory that is neither where it happened nor where I’m physically at.

All there is, is pain. The same hand that helps you walk into the light, stand in the sun is the one that pushes you into the dark. Why? All I can think is because things fall apart.

Amor fati

I believe its darkest before dawn, in its metaphorical construction. A few months ago I said yes to adventure, I was open to whatever happened in the name of bliss. I had no idea of what was going to happen.

I had foreseen challenges and I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy free fall into the future but in the snap of a finger I was spiraling down a never ending void. Darker and darker, rock bottom didn’t seem to arrive soon enough. The challenges came from unexpected places, I lost the floor underneath and everything else. Suddenly my demons were others.

I had lost more than I could bear in so little time, and so I’m sitting there in the stillest hour, surrounded by darkness and I’m thinking “now what?” I still don’t know what. I’m still sitting here wondering. I know pain is a place we go to from time to time, to lick our wounds and to find closure. I know its not a place to dwell. I also know we are where we have to be. And I know we feel however we feel because of the perspective we decide to embrace in any particular circumstance.

In the stillness of chaos and the deafening silence of the unknown I know nothing, I know less than before. It’s all a wreckage now and I don’t know how long it will stay like that. So for the time being, however long that may be, I’m accepting that this is what I need.

It takes three weeks to start/break a habit

I’ve been here, in a strange city, a big city nonetheless (at least I know the language) for 14 days in a quest which sole purpose is to follow my bliss. It’s exciting at first, with disbelief and then it darkens and it becomes daunting. Like every time I’m about to cross the street to take a bus or the subway I think anything could happen to me and it would take a long time for my family to know. That’s a scary idea, let’s not dwell on that. *coughs*

Undoubtedly changes are hard, specially when you’ve never been on your own before, let alone 6000 kms away from the closest person you know. But life has no safety nets. During these fourteen days I’ve been lost more than twice, once at 1am, which would have been slightly more scary if not for the resemblance to Times Square and its busy streets filled with people. I’ve witnessed my uncle being mugged while attempting to cross a streetlight just a feet away from me. I’ve cried several times, I’ve wanted to go back, then I cursed at my self for even considering it.

It all comes down to the fact that I’m having a harder time adjusting than I had foreseen. That and the fact that I have too much free time in my hands.

Not all those who wander are lost

We are the heroes of our stories. We all go thru the same journey, different in hue but not in essence. When I first read Campbell’s The Power of Myth it shook me to the core. It embraced my uneasiness with where I was at the moment and where I wanted to be, with who I was and who I was suppose to be.

We lose our call to adventure as we grow. We may dream about it, we may even go as far as to plan it in our heads but in the meanwhile we’re not actually doing anything to purse it. We look for excuses and obstacles and we do our best to convince others and ourselves that it is really out of our control, that we have tried our best and its just not possible. We resign, we pack our dreams and our crazy ideas in that box we hide in the back of our minds that we seldom take out to play. We may settle with people’s idea that a hobby can sustain the fire that should be driving our lives.

Bliss was such a foreign concept for me. A sort of urban legend if you may, that was not meant for me. And then you stop and think, but why? Why must I choose anything other than following my bliss? And things start to become clear.

I think we all need that moment of sudden realization, that something that leaves us feeling like a shore just washed by the tide, that loss of everything and nothing, that rock bottom, that on hindsight becomes our turning point.

Circa Feb ’14 I had that do or die moment. Things shifted and the ground underneath was shaken. I laid there confused, but mostly mad at myself because I had convinced myself that thinking was all I needed to do, that the plans I had in my head were enough. That I didn’t actually need to lose anything. To certain extent I was worse, I knew what I needed to do and I was letting fear take me to accept a life that seemed laid out in front of me, instead of the life that is waiting for me. Which is when I realised that you need to let go of everything, every preconceived idea of what you should do or do not and command yourself to live by your dreams.

I woke up, I decided excuses were not acceptable and whatever needed to be done was going to be done and if it didn’t work so be it, ways are plenty. I accepted the call to adventure.

I found myself working at another call centre. A much more pleasant environment than the previous one, but still at heart a constant struggle with the same demons. It was better this time around. It allowed me to take that leap down the rabbit hole. I kept things for myself because I owed no one any sort of explanations. A lot of people were hesitant to be supportive of what I wanted to do, and so they forfeited the right to hear about it.

Many months later I’m sitting here with boxes in my room, an uncompleted suitcase I’m already late in preparing and a heart beating too fast. The promise of the challenge that lies ahead allows me to smile and say “nothing” when people ask what I’m doing or what are my plans (not because they care, but because they want to feel better about themselves because they’re doing whatever it is they’re doing).

So in a few days I will be saying goodbye to a few and I’ll be taking on a quest that it is both scary and exciting. A new country, living by myself, doing what I want to do, fighting demons and slaying dragons.

Paraphrasing Gandalf, home is now behind me, the world is ahead.

London calling

Last night I had a craving for english muffins. I’m sucker for them. It probably comes from my fascination with everything English. I drink tea (granted I actually like it), I use UK grammar (blame it on my english school. Only had one british professor) when possible and much more things I’ll save saying.

After much recipe research I came across this one from Honest Cooking and decided it was the one it fittest best. (I had all the ingredients at hand). Although the end product was delicious and I shall never buy frozen english muffins ever again, the recipe is sketchy, or maybe I was. I’ll have to see next time I make them.

All was well until step 3.  “Once dough comes together (it will be damp and velvety), transfer to a floured surface and roll out dough to a 1” thickness.”

Yea my dough looked like cake, liquid not even closed to be rolled out. I was almost on my way to throw it out but I thought if it is damaged I can keep adding flour to see if it fixes it. And it did.

And they tasted awesome.

Note: Two things. They don’t grow as much when they you leave them for 20 minutes, don’t sweat about it. They grow in the griddle, they get filled with air. And I found it unnecessary to bake them. They were fully cooked out of the griddle. Now I don’t know if I did something wrong or not, but I didn’t care.

I’ll have to try the recipe again and see what happened.

To change or not to change

We all have that one friend that we haven’t seen in a long while, but we used to be close with before. That every time we see their names in our social media we are compelled to write and say hi, but we don’t because life and more urgent maters (like catching up on a tv series) come our way. This is what this blog is to me.

Or like swimming. I used to swim 4x a week and one day I stopped going for whatever reason and well its been a year o maybe more.

It’s maddening to me because I’m exactly where I was a year ago. Even worse, its been a year later and well I haven’t really done anything. I’ve learned things about me. That’s…. well that’s gotta something.

People change, that undebatable, but we don’t. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We grow (or not) of old habits, of relationships. Things shuffle in our priority lists. We fool ourselves trying to adapt, to fit in but it becomes stronger that we do not belong, that we are who we are. We mold ourselves based on this idea of what we think it should be but its already been played. This is it. We are who we are since forever and everything is do or die.

Let them eat bread, she said

I’ve been MIA for about a month, I have had quite a handfull of posts I need to write but I haven’t had the time nor disposition to do so. Last Thursday it was bread making in class and that kinda got me in a good place. Here’s what happened. My teammates are by far really neat to work with, I was hoping to get the focaccia or the herb bread but they were rooting for a venezuelan jam bread ( not me). As the universe wanted we got the ham bread. On the same class we were making cinnamon rolls, parmesan biscuits and pizza (if it can be called, ill got back to the “pizza”)

Oh that's me.

Oh that’s me.

So here’s the herb bread:
4 – 4 1/2 c of flour (at home I used bread flour but all purpose works well)
3 tbsp sugar
4 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of blend (marjoram, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary: 1/4 tsp each)
3/4 c milk
1/2 c water
1/4 c butter
1 egg

To brush after baking:
1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp of aforementioned blend

Making of the bread:

– In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 c of flour, sugar, salt and blend. If you’re using ready to use yeast go ahead and add it too, if like me you have to activate it, take 1 of the tbsp of sugar and 1/2 c of warm water and mix and let it be for like 10 minutes.
– Heat water, butter and milk.
– Add wet mix (this includes the yeast) to the flour. Blend.
– Add egg until smooth. Then add remaining of flour.
– Work the dough until soft and elastic, about  5 – 6 minutes.
– Cover and let stand 10 minutes (I had mine stand for 20, inside the oven, off of course)
– Divide the dough in 3. Work it with a rolling pin and roll it into a long thread. Make a braid.
– Place on a baking sheet and let double. About 20 – 30 minutes. If not double, wait longer.
– Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. (Recipe called for 25 -30 but I found that to be far too long for my oven; try yours, after 20 check until its light golden.)
-Brush the butter and herbs. Let cool a little bit before eating.

Proofing #2

Proofing #2

My beautiful braid

My beautiful braid

Focaccia. It was too good. I don’t like that thin crap people make and call it a focaccia.

Ingredients:
1/4 c of olive oil
1 /2 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tbsp fresh thyme brunoise
4 tsp fresh rosemary brunoise
3 1/2 c of flour
2 tsp salt
parmesan. Lots of parmesan

Method:
-Lightly brush a baking tray with olive oil
-On a standard mixer with the bread hook mix yeast, sugar and 6 tbsp of warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes until foamy.
– Add olive oil, 1 c of warm water, thyme and 2 tsp of rosemary.
– Add flour, salt and mix at low until all combined. (About 2 minutes)
– Increase speed to med and continue to mix for 3 minutes until dough is sticky and wet.
– Transfer dough to working station and work it by hand for about 2 minutes
– Place dough on baking tray and even out borders.
– Cover and let proof until double it size. About 45 mins to 1 h.
– Make holes on dough with fingers and brush olive oil and rosemary and cheese
– Bake at 400C for 20 – 30 minutes (check until golden)

Focaccia almost ready for oven

Focaccia almost ready for oven

Focaccia ready

Focaccia ready

As for the rest I’m only posting pics, I’m tired. I’ll try to upload the recipes tomorrow.

Parmesan biscuits wannabe

Parmesan biscuits wannabe

Parmesan bisuits

Parmesan biscuits

Cinnamon rolls pre rolling :P

Cinnamon rolls pre rolling 😛

Cinnamon rolls pre oven

Cinnamon rolls pre oven

Cinnamon rolls pre glaze

Cinnamon rolls pre glaze

Cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Well, anyone has any tips for herb breads?

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