Occasionally, I have recently experienced pretty painful abdominal cramps and have been exploring what might be causing this. One of the items I have a feeling could be to blame is coffee.
I enjoy coffee, especially a nice flat white, although not as much as I enjoy tea. As I began looking online for items about the sorts of things coffee could cause, I was amazed at just how bad for your digestion this drink can be…and that decaffeinated coffee (which I’m not overly keen on anyway) still has caffeine in it and isn’t necessarily that much better for you.
Anyway, I thought I would see if there were alternatives and came across something called Teeccino which is an American brand which is mostly organic and uses chicory, carob, dates, figs, nuts and natural flavourings to create a slightly sweet alternative to coffee without the nasty potential side effects. I was rather surprised that I really liked it, that it was not dissimilar to coffee in taste…and that with figs in there, it can only have positive digestive impact I suppose!
On telling parents about this, they mentioned something called Camp coffee (again chicory-based but with sugar (!!) and water added) which has been around a while which seems to mainly be a baking ingredient (but you can add water to make a drink). It is interesting that old ideas can come full circle to create a new market which can have health benefits.
Anyone else tried Teeccino? What do you think?
It isn’t something I ever thought about until recently but when you move to a foreign country where you know very few people, it can be very isolating.
It had never entered my mind before that I didn’t have many friends here or that I would actually need to work on gaining new friends. I would choose quality over quantity any day too. It also makes you appreciate the value of those friendships you have had, and have maintained, over a long period of time (and over a long distance).
Over time friendships just happen in an organic way, but thrust yourself into a foreign land and you become aware of how there is almost a necessary ‘process’ involved.
Cultural differences even though you speak the same language of course play their part but it is important to focus on shared experiences, maybe similar personalities, and shared passions and keep an eye open for people who you get on well with…and if so, don’t be shy to suggest meeting up sometime in a more social setting. Not always easy to do especially if you are quite reserved. It is so important to say “YES” more as well. You have to put yourself out there into the ‘friendship market’!
I was thinking recently about the new perspective you get on life when you live elsewhere in the world.
It occurred to me that I could think of only around half a dozen friends who instigate contact with me (either by post, text or email) on a relatively regular basis – and two of these friends do not live in the UK either. I am not sure this was any different before I moved to NZ but in the UK I had regular meetings with people and was more immersed in shared experiences and life in general. The relationships were more organic. It might not seem much but when someone says “Hi, how are you?” once in a while, it can mean a lot. Everyone is busy just living their lives I guess and a one-size-fits-all approach with social media seems to be how people conduct ‘friendships’ these days which is pretty strange when you think about it.
It will be interesting to see how well I settle back in to these relationships when I return to the UK for a holiday this year. My life has changed quite a bit since I last saw these friends and perhaps theirs has not. I wonder whether a lack of interaction over time starts to render us strangers or if that just melts away naturally as some friendships are stronger than time and distance. I obviously hope that the latter is true. A lack of familiarity should make these new interactions more fulfilling and interesting though.
In some ways I think this stranger-element could also be true of family relationships but to a much lesser extent. It is interesting since being in NZ how little family seem to instigate FaceTime or similar regular interactions. I am not sure if the 11-13 hour time difference is just too tough to work out or if they think we are likely to be too busy off doing something – which is no different to living in a different place in the UK really – but you would think this would be a natural two-way street. Such is life I guess.
Does anyone have any similar experiences from extended time overseas and how have you found returning “home”?
While on holiday recently I did not have telephone or internet access for a week. Not because it wasn’t offered by the hotel but because I chose not to want it for this time.
It actually felt quite liberating not to be a slave to answering emails, text messages, responding to Facebook posts or even to writing blog posts (but it is nice to do so now). I instead used any downtime to get back to reading and engaging with the world around me! It has made me think about the way I live my life.
It led me to think about whether the Internet (and I will include modern smart phones in the heading even though they are different), one of the most impressive inventions in recent history is a blessing or a curse…what do you think?
- You have knowledge at your fingertips. You are never lost for answers to almost any question you can think of.
- You can always find where you are and what is around you. It is truly remarkable how your location can be pinned down.
- It is incredibly easy (and cheap) to keep in touch with friends and family, do online banking, keep across your interests etc. Time saving.
- It has enabled all of us to record our own lives and thoughts in some way for sharing and future posterity (where is it all stored?)
- It can be hard to escape…think of those who think it is OK to send you emails in the dead of night or phone you in the evening (depending on your job of course).
- We are supposedly now breeding a generation of lower-IQ individuals who are reliant on computers and all it brings. The knowledge contained therein cannot always be trusted.
- You actually waste your time looking at it – it tells you so much that you really don’t need to know but people still become addicted to it. Surely we could all be doing something else?
- Is anything really private any more?
After discussing the idea of going back to the UK last time out, how about discussing the experience of having visitors to NZ?
There have been a several now, mainly family, and there have been a number of things I have observed…
- If you communicate using FaceTime or Skype the euphoria of seeing someone again is lessened because you basically only saw them last week. You certainly realise how marvellous technology is nowadays.
- With each new visit, it gets increasingly difficult to play the tour guide as you want to try to keep it fresh for yourself while showing the popular best bits too. Surprisingly, some visitors give little thought as to what they want to see and do after flying to the far side of the world and instead want you to think of things. Showing folks around your new home is a real pleasure for a few days but is not something you could really do for the same person twice (unless you also want to do something yourself of course) so anyone planning a second visit should be prepared to get out there and explore more on their own!
- How long until you outstay your welcome? It doesn’t really matter where you live or who your guests are because you will eventually run out of things to do and talk about and at this point it is can be challenging if you can’t fully relax because of the constant task of hosting. I think that a week at most at both the start and the end of their holiday seems like plenty of time for visitors to stay with you – that way you get to hear about their trips too in the interim period in addition to any shared adventures.
- Accepting that visitors might want to chill out a bit (and recover from jet lag) while on holiday, it can be awkward if they are content to stay in your house all day for several days in a row. When you run out of tour guide options this can be frustrating, especially as it feels a tad impolite to go out on your own. A run of poor weather won’t help with this either – especially when NZ TV is so bad.
- Going away from your house and staying elsewhere with your visitors is a good plan as it is fresh for all but definitely consider multiple vehicles otherwise you could end up being a tour guide again when you really want to relax. A group of people generally doesn’t all want to do the same things at the same time…especially if there are niche interests involved. Best to work out if one car works for everyone beforehand.
I will need to note my own points when I eventually return to the UK for sure because I want to see people but not outstay my welcome, respect their space and try to find activities to make it feel like a holiday for all (host and visitor alike). It is of course great when people make the effort to visit, but everyone needs to be realistic, pragmatic and respectful of each other…especially where family members are naturally abrasive and prone to argument.
Anyone have any creative ways to approach this kind of thing?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of going back to the UK for a holiday recently. I have a few reservations because I left the UK for various reasons and the idea of spending a lot of money to go there, maybe relive some of those frustrations and feel like nothing has really changed (or even that it is worse than it was) is concerning. I also worry that maybe I have such a good time that I don’t want to leave again (just to give a glass half full perspective).
When I think about what such a holiday could look like, I’d love to catch up with friends, 99% of whom I haven’t seen for almost 3 years now. I’d also very much like to see family who have not visited NZ yet, and of course those who already have.
I wonder if I would be able to treat being in the UK like being a tourist and revel in sights such as Durham Cathedral (above) as there is nothing in NZ like that? I wonder how many people would visit me if the holiday involved booking somewhere in a different part of the country (or even another country) and inviting folks to come there? How would people feel if you just saw them for a day or two and then moved on to the next person (which is pretty likely)? Could family be trusted not to be jealous if you just happened to spend a little more time with someone else than themselves? What if the UK part of the trip was just part of the trip with a holiday somewhere else tagged on at the start or end of the trip – would people understand the need for that too?
So many questions. Anyone got any thoughts?
I recently noticed that my Facebook app was taking up a huge amount of space on my iPad – around 700MB.
I did a bit of digging by asking Uncle Google and apparently this is a known issue caused by caching (Spotify also does this) which Facebook are not doing anything about. I decided I would delete the app and start again as this was the only reported way to “solve” the problem. This crashed my iPad and I then had to do a factory reset. Such fun.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I realised somewhere along this journey that I was spending far too much of my time in Facebookland when I could be doing something more useful so I did not reinstall the app. I decided I would have a break from it altogether and just log in occasionally via the internet. Problem solved.
I did wonder what this means for my keeping in touch with people and I realised that so much of what I and other people like, share or post is quite honestly meaningless nonsense – if you could only filter somehow to genuine life-related posts it would be great. When did we stop focussing on actual meaningful conversation and relationships in life? Aren’t those your real friends?
Something to think about.