food talk while having flu

just when the summer finally starts here in Finland, i caught a nasty flu. you know how it goes… first you feel the pain in your throat, and it starts to climb up to your nose… the next thing you know you start blowing out your nose and coughing, and at the same time you start losing your sense of taste.

when i was still living in Indonesia, i heard all kinds of stories from my friends and family members who lived abroad, and always, there would be stories about the food abroad. i should mention that most of this “abroad” living means somewhere in the western world, where of course the food culture is a lot different than in Indonesia.

the main thing was always the same: food abroad (in the western world) sucks. they have no taste.

since i never had the experience of living abroad back then, i could not say otherwise. the least i could say was, “huh, is that so.” but since this happened a lot of times, and everybody always said the same thing, well, i was starting to believe it. okay, okay, you are right, Indonesian food is EVERYTHING, we’re the gods of food, there’s really no hope of good food in the western world.

and then without even planning it (i mean, well, not like a life-long plan), i happened to move abroad. and that’s not all… i couldn’t cook any Indonesian food. AT ALL.

so i was aching and crying and panicking while i tried to learn to make my fave Indonesian foods, using 32 different ingredients just for one tiny meal, because how the h**l was i supposed to live without them?? foods here have no taste, that’s what people had been saying!

it took me a long while to “master” cooking some Indonesian foods, and to this date the varieties of Indonesian food i can make (without seeing any recipes) still can be counted only by using one hand. yep. but how then did i survive all these years living in a western country?

it may shock Indonesians, but i actually eat these tasteless foods. these good-for-nothing foods they were talking about, i proudly make them and enjoy eating them. to me, they’re not tasteless. they are good.

once you can open your mind to a world of tastes, no matter how simple and true-to-its-core, you will appreciate food even more. why does everything have to be full of sauce, you can’t even taste the real taste of a green bean? if these Indonesians say that food with no spices or sauces are no good, then i wonder how come they like sushis so much?

even here in Finland, when i met a fellow Indonesian and got into a small chit chat, and my husband asked him how he liked Finland so far… guess what he said? “it’s nice… but the food is not so good.” so my husband asked, “oh, so you don’t like the gravlax?” and the Indonesian man said, “oh, yes i do!”. my husband went on to ask other Finnish foods, to which the man answered that yes, indeed he liked those (out of politeness or was it the truth, who knows). so… um, what was it again about the food not being so good?

strange, huh. but anyway, i generally don’t care what other people think and feel about things that don’t concern me or my loved ones, and really dislike to judge others. but this one makes me feel sad to realize, are Indonesians generally that closed minded when it comes to simple food? it’s sad to think what kinds of simply good food they’re missing around the world just because they don’t have enough spices in them.

so back to my present flu. when i was just beginning to get the full blown flu, goo dripping from nose all the time, feeling unwell, painful headaches, fever and stuffs, i was fortunate to be invited to eat at my dad-in-law’s place. i nearly canceled it, but pushed myself to go after all, and did not regret it once. the menu was simple: grilled whole corns, grilled tenderloin steaks. all grilled by my dad-in-law, served straight from the barbecue grill. and of course, no BBQ sauce used, just tiny hints of salt and pepper.

at first i was afraid that with my flu, i wouldn’t be able to taste a thing. and though my initial craving whenever i have flu is to have a hot & spicy soup (i am still Indonesian at heart), i decided to just enjoy the time with family. miraculously, after a bite of the grilled corn (eaten with melted butter), my sense of taste came back. even if it’s just a simple taste, it tasted really good and heavenly to my tongue. and once i tried the steaks (eaten with garlic butter), there was no doubt about it. these simple foods can do wonders to your sense of taste.

i had a lovely night, and though i am still currently recovering from the flu itself, i will forever remember how it was not some spicy and heavily sauced food that helped me get my sense of taste back. good food is always good no matter if it only uses 1 spice ingredient or 32. sometimes it’s good to stick with the simple things.

i’m not saying that i can get over Indonesian food yet (i still jump at the chance of eating it whenever there is one!), but when i learned how to enjoy every taste of food, be it elaborately seasoned or plain, i find that living–abroad or just wherever–is much easier and i get to feel contented more easily. 🙂

unfortunately fortunate

so i went back to work for a couple of days earlier last week… and right away i ran into some unfortunate events.

like how i fell at work right on my first day back. that’s right, a full-on fall down the floor because somebody put en empty plastic box (the kind you use for when you’re moving to a new house) where it didn’t belong, and i wasn’t paying attention to where my legs were going. it was a nasty fall, but i managed to get up from it myself, and the day continued normally.

the next day i started to feel the pain in the part where i hit my leg, but whatever… i was still in a good mood to start working again, and went to work normally… until suddenly around noon i felt weird. like very exhausted, and started to feel pain everywhere in my body, plus a cunning headache. so i sat down for a while, and when i felt like i couldn’t think anymore because of the pain, i took a painkiller, just to let me get by to the end of the day.

of course, as soon as i got home that day, i got a high fever. well, that was it then. i got myself checked the next day, and got a 3 day sick leave right away.

it almost felt like a joke that as soon as i had to get back to work, the universe was telling me that i needed to stay home some more. but i wasn’t laughing, far from it. the next night my fever went higher, almost as high as when i got chickenpox. it was just terrible.

at the health center, i was told that the symptoms sound like influenza symptoms. but i didn’t have any sore throat or running nose. days and nights passed, and finally, right on the third day, my fever started to go away. and yet still no sore throat or running nose. to this day, i still have no idea what it was, but now that i think about it, could it actually have something to do with the fall or the bruises, as i still have a bit of pain when i walk, even now. gonna have to keep an eye on them, i guess.

so anyway, while being ill, in true fashion of ‘looking for the silver-lining’ as per the supposed theme of my blog, i started to think of all the good things that came up with this unfortunate events.

1. obviously, i got my summer holiday “extended”. though it wasn’t that pleasant when you have 39C degree fever, lying in bed in a room that’s 31C degree hot. with no AC. oh, right, this is supposed to be the good things. sorry.

2. since i was super bored yet nearly motionless because of the illness, i managed to finish a book i just borrowed from the library in like less than a week. it was… entertaining. not the best i’ve read, but still, i’m glad i could finish reading it that fast… so i can now move on to the next book!

3. i also managed to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of watching TV series, much thanks to Netflix. my current addiction? The Killing.

4. when i didn’t have my fever anymore, we went out to take walks in the night (so that it wouldn’t be too hot anymore out there). during this walk, i finally, for the first time in my entire life, saw a wild hedgehog just under some bushes. ❤ i’ve never seen a wild one, though of course i saw some “pet” hedgehogs a long time ago back in my hometown. this wild one was a bit tiny, not fully grown yet, but also not a baby anymore. however, since it was afraid of us, all i could see was just the back (spikes) side, breathing up and down. still, cute!

5. the next night after seeing the hedgehog, we walked out again. this time we were hunting the super moon.WP_000560we didn’t want to attract attention, so we didn’t bring our better camera. so this was taken with my phone’s camera. if you see the middle part, under the bright streetlight where there are a bunch of other streetlights… the biggest circle of the bunch is the moon. well, it’s the only one hovering in the air, should be easy to spot! it may not look awesome here, but it was actually quite huge. i’m happy i got the chance to see it live. after seeing the super moon, i was again given the chance to spot a wild hedgehog (different bushes this time!). it looked at us as we were backing away, so i could see its button-like eyes and small nose… so very cute! (no pics as it was very dark already.)

that last point probably has nothing to do with the fact that i got ill, but it definitely brings positivity back to me while i was feeling down for almost the whole week. i got reminded of how little it takes to find beauty everywhere around you, and that even when something makes you feel low sometimes, there are a thousand other things that you can still be thankful about.

with this new good spirit, i’m gonna go back to work tomorrow. i’d better not fall again this time!