Tag Archives: travel

Matcha Mango Macarons

 

 

Matcha and Mango Macarons

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Wanderlust. 

I’ve always loved adventure and I’ve had a craving for travelling the world since I was just a youngin. I don’t know where I got it from. My parents hate travelling, they just don’t have the energy for it and they’re too tied down with careers, bills and well, me and my sibs. I haven’t done a lot of travelling in the 21 years of life that I’ve lived so far (heck, I haven’t even been to Disneyland or Disney World, even though my parents have promised to take me there on multiple occasions), but I can’t wait to start.

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The phrase “it’s a small world” never resonated with me. The world is a HUGE place and I yearn to explore every nook and cranny of it. I wanna see, feel, hear, taste and touch the face of every country. I want to reach every ocean, every height, every depth and every edge of the world. 

My itch to travel has never been this enduring. I used to put it on the back burner, waiting to finish another term, waiting to graduate, waiting to stabilize my place in my career and earn a steady income. I can’t ignore it anymore, gotta scratch this itch! 

My trip to Guatemala was my first taste of travelling alone (sans ma famille) and experiencing worldly wonders. It ignited my wanderlust. 

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Priorities have shifted around a little. I’m going to try to travel as much as I can now before I get tied down like my parents. At the same time though, I have to be realistic, I can’t just ditch my life in Vancouver. I still have to finish my Dietetics degree which can’t be put on hold. In the meantime, I’m making small trips to nearby places to get my travel fix. Last month, I went on a spontaneous trip to Olympic National Park for 5 days. (I’ll write a post about it soon!)

Anyone else have a bad case of wanderlust? What are your top places to travel? Here’s my bucketlist:

1. Southeast Asia
2. Central America
3. South America
4. US Roadtrip
5. Europe

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Matcha Mango Macarons

Ganache Montee Vanille

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 50g and 150g heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

1. Chop white chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl
2. Bring 50g of heavy cream to a boil and pour over white chocolate
3. Stir until all white chocolate is melted
4. Pour in the 150g of heavy cream and stir to combine
5. Cover and refrigerate overnight
6. When ready to use, whip the mixture using an electronic beater (your arms will thank you). DO NOT overwhip, you will get butter not ganache.

Mango Confiture

  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

1. Cut mango into cubes, place in a pot and softly cook it over medium heat 
2. When mangoes are slightly cooked down into a more paste-like structure, add lemon juice
3. Cook and stir until you get a smooth mango paste. You can also strain or blend it to make it smoother.

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Day 5 – Construction

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One of our many caretakers. This man and his family kindly let us stay at their home. Here he is HANDMAKING tools out of wood. Just goes to show resourceful and talented he is!

So I actually didn’t have time to write anything for this day in my journal! I think this speaks to how great of a day it was 🙂

We spent the day half working on the construction of a kitchen at the local elementary school in Bueno Vista and half teaching English lessons. Two things I learnt: 1) I’m no good at construction. and 2) an 11 person tickle fight is both hilariously funny and frightening at the same time. 

By the time we arrived back at the homestay for dinner, we were all famished! Those of us who had snacks, brought out our stored secret stashes to stave the hunger. But the mere sight of food brought out the savages in us. The next thing I knew, we were climbing over each other, jumping on each others’ backs, and reaching with arms and legs everywhere just to get food. The more agile ones of the group (I’m talking bout you Kyle!) were swiftly taking food out of others’ hands. No food was safe from any predator, which in this case were 13 starved university students! In the end we all got some good laughs at how crazy we were acting. I mentioned that it reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies because our innate instincts to do whatever it takes to survive showed us a different (uglier) side of ourselves. Now, we fondly recall this moment as our “Lord of the Flies Moment”. 

At the end of the day after our dinner, someone  decided that it would be funny to assign animal characters to everyone in the group based on their personality. The hilarity of us trying to justify how a certain animal fits into someone’s character got me laughing until my (fl)abs ached! It was probably the first time I’ve ever been compared to a pufferfish… for reasons I have yet to understand. 

8:00 am – breakfast at our homestay 
8:30 am – arrive at Bueno Vista, first day of construction, plastering walls, mixing cementing, and painting   
1:30 pm – lunch 
2:30 pm – back to Bueno Vista to teach English via interactive games, got attacked by a lot (like a lot) of kids in a tickle fight. It was like me against 10. 
6:15 pm – LORD OF THE FLIES
6:30 pm – dinner back at homestay
8:30 pm – shower relay race and deep talks into the middle of the night

 

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it doesn’t look like much but I was actually quite high up and it scared the bajeezes outta me

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outside of the kitchen. the school has decided to paint it red and white in honor of their Canadian volunteers 🙂

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plastering is waaaay harder than it looks. arm workout of the YEAR

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Play time! Meet Juan Jose and Juan Jose. Those two boys are some of the sweetest kids you’ll ever come across.

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Ashley aka the Boss.   P.S: I need to work on my selfie skills

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I was plastering away then Yedrin, this sweet little guy, grabbed me by the hand and took me away from all the cement to get my hair did!

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That’s Yedrin right there on the right. Isn’t he a cutie? He had a massive crush on the girl with the blue headband *teehee*

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I swear he had a great time taking pictures with me!

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Day 4 – Arrival in Sibilia

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(more pics below)

7:30 am – breakfast at Casa de los Amigos
8:30 am – drive to Sibilia
11:30 am – stop at outdoor market
1:30 pm – arrive at Bueno Vista in Sibilia
2:00 pm – lunch in the school, presentations and speeches, English games, soccer game
6:00 pm – coffee with the mayor of Sibilia (Juan Francisco) and vice mayor
7:30 pm – night time pick up truck ride to our homestay. Sang into the dark night with Isabelle, Na, Steph, Derrick, Julie, Yuki
8:30 pm – dinner

After a couple days of relaxing and travelling for ourselves, we finally made our way to Sibilia.

The drive there was something special. The scenery was absolutely stunning. It was unlike anything that I’ve seen in Guatemala so far. According to Sheily, we were in the actual countryside. Totally explains why I love it so much right? The landscape and natural elements looked more similar to Vancouver. Instead of rolling green mountains like in Guatemala City/Rio Dulce, the mountains were much taller and more sharp. Layers and layers of evergreen-like trees and tall jagged mountains fell behind one another and extended into the the distance.

As we wound down one curvy road after another, I saw Guatemala’s country side in every angle possible. While everyone snoozed away, I stared in awe at what I couldn’t believe to be the most beautiful scene I’ve ever seen. I know I get lost easily in any landscape and all landscapes but this one was truly truly unique and it just took my breath away. 

The scenery only got better when we arrived in Sibilia and neared the community that we will be working in. The community is actually called “Bueno Vista” and it literally translates into “Beautiful view”. One look around and you’ll understand why. Hills upon hills layered each other as far as the eye can see. There was a medley of forest and small neighbourhoods. Clusters of vibrantly coloured houses studded the narrow dirt roads. Here and there amongst all the natural lushness, you could see faces of the hills evenly ploughed and tamed into nice straight lines. Horses, cows, chickens and goats roamed the place. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I coudn’t help but feel my heart yearning to stay here for more than just a week. 

When we go to the school in Bueno Vista, we were greeted with the warmest welcome. Traditional festive music was playing. Balloons of every colour were neatly hung in the order of ROYGBIV. The moment we got off the van, elders and other important people came to hug us and give us kisses our cheeks. Everyone was so amiable and greeted us like we were old friends whom they haven’t seen in a while. 

We had a fantastic lunch of rice, tamales and beef stew. Then we watched the ceremony that the teachers and kids planned for us. You could tell that the entire community put a lot of work into this. There was AV equipment, an adorable dance performance by the girls (Yessica, Jenifer, Stephanie and Julie) and boys (Calvin and others). Even the mayor (Juan Francisco), vice mayor (Aldof) and district mayor (Senor Daniel) made an appearance.  Of course, I had no idea what anyone was saying but I was so appreciative of everything that they have done for us. Everyone made us feel like a huge deal

After lunch, we played some games with the kids to teach them English. But honestly, I felt like it helped me more to learn Spanish (ha!). 

Later in the evening, we had coffee with the mayor and vice mayor of Sibilia. The mayor personally invited us himself!! I wish I knew more Spanish because he made a great effort to have a conversation with me but I just didn’t understand! He asked each of us for our names and what we were studying in school. Then… he recorded it all in his notebook! He is the sweetest person ever! 

The ride to our homestay will probably be one of my most unforgettable memories. I got to live my country dream of riding in the back of a red pick up truck and winding down old back roads underneath the stars. Let me tell you about the sky. It was gorgeous. The stars burned big and bright above the purple twilight and the silhouette of the mountains. I couldn’t have asked for a clearer night. If I could listen to one song during that ride it would’ve been “Golden” or “Tim McGraw”, but I didn’t bring any music playing devices with me.

What happened next was better than listening to music though. Me, Na, Steph, Isabelle, Yuki and Derrick were riding in the pick up together… and we spontaneously broke out into song. We sang “Part of Your World”, “Tale As Old As Time”, “I Want It That Way”, “The Jungle Book” and other songs into the night sky all ride long. So nice to be in a truck full of people who like to sing and have beautiful singing voices. 

I really really didn’t want that ride to end. It will probably be the highlight of my trip.

Now if only they liked to sing country and we got a banjo-guitar duo going… 😛

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