Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Food Tips for Study Abroad

So while Angelic is letting y'all know how you can get thick fit, I'm just gonna let y'all know how you can get thiiiick. Pick your poison.

Study abroad is great, but I think one of the greatest difficulties is acclimating to a new diet in a new place. This is especially difficult when you're doing a homestay and eating meals prepared by the family. Unless you're a total butthole, you eat what is given to you so as to not seem like the rude American, barring it's something you're allergic to, health reasons, etc. Even common dietary restrictions in America, like being a vegetarian, can put a relative strain on your host family for any number of reasons -- veggies can be expensive and sometimes not as readily available as they are stateside.

For me, it's been difficult transitioning to a diet that where meat is a staple. Back in Chicago, I just about never cook or eat meat -- the rare occasion is when I am cooking for friends and roommates, or eating out. But I'm a broke boy anyway, so eating out doesn't happen often. My host mom has been gracious enough to not serve me any beef or pork, and only makes dishes with chicken, turkey or fish. I also get lots of fresh veggies everyday, which is so great, but also not common when speaking to other students in my program.

This is my second time doing a study abroad program and along the way I have picked up a few things about living and eating in homestays. Oh, and some pics of what I've been eating in my homestay are included, too.

1. Eat all your veggies + fruit! And eat some more! This is the most elementary rule from when you were young. Bring it back and say it over and over again as your scarf down the broccoli and squash you haven't liked since you were six. Here in Mexico, the vegetarian options I have encountered in restaurants tend be dishes with mushrooms...mushrooms are great, but a diversity of veggies is even better and nutritious. So, when you get the veggies at home, just eat 'em. Fruit is easy because it's sweet, but eat that, too. It's rare to see fruit available at restaurants here; it's sold widely on the street, but as with street food anywhere, you have to be careful.

Breakfast: Quesadillas filled with cheese and turkey ham, tomatoes, beans, and fruit cup of watermelon and pineapple

2. You can ask for more or less food. There is nothing wrong with letting your host parents know that they give you too much or too little food. Nobody is tryna waste food or go hungry. In Spain, I sometimes asked for more food, but here in Mexico, I asked for less food. My host mom here is like the grandmother who is always worried you're not eating enough, so she gives us *lots* of food. But, in the end, it's better for everyone when there's less food waste. It might seem weird to ask for less or more food, but your host family wants you to be well at the end of the let them help you be well.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

¡Bienvenidos a Oaxaca!

I think a different sun shines on, the sun down here is something special. I have been in Mexico for almost a week now and it's been great. Mostly great because I have managed to escape the cold in Chicago.

I'm still getting acclimated to everything down here (s/o to the altitude...5,000 feet above sea level) and wanted to quickly share a few snapshots of my first few days in the sun. I am here on a study abroad program with about twenty other students from my University, so I've got lots of friends and *potential* friends to explore the city with. Our school is absolutely beautiful and, outside of the public parks, one of the few places I have seen with green space.

There are these gorgeous, tall palm trees at our school and we warned not to sit under them because sometimes the branches fall off. Either way, gotta love nature. 

 It is also custom to eat large meals for breakfast and lunch, and coffee and bread or pastries around dinner time. I have taken a bit to the custom and have been trying iced mochas all over town. 

Last, but not least...a photo of me! I'm wearing a dress from Zara, a denim Ralph Shirt from the 80s, Birkenstocks, rose gold Marc Jacobs watch, and a beaded bracelet I picked up on my second day in Oaxaca.

Keep up with my time in Mexico on Instagram @all_worn_out. And keep an eye on the blog...some new, new content will be popping soon! 
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