Frage Foto Freitag

This is my first try at the Question Photo Friday hosted by  Ohhh Mhhh.
I guess we’ll do it bilingual today, let’s start :)

1.) Schönes Gefühl?
(Beautiful feeling?)
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/Einen Sekt Orange trinken während man die Füße das erste Mal in den Pool steckt.

/Sipping a Mimosa while sticking your feet in the pool for the first time.

2.) Schöne Idee?
(Beautiful idea?)
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/Mal schnell ein paar Marshmallows grillen – wozu gibts nen Feuerkorb denn sonst?
/Quickly grilling some marshmallows because… it’s what a fire basket was made for, no?

3.) Schöne Kombination?
(Beautiful combination?)
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/Kaffee-Topfen Eis (von Bortolotti auf der Mariahilferstraße).
/Coffee-Curd cheese ice cream (from Bortolotti on Mariahilferstraße).

4.) Schön einfach?
(Beautifully simple?)

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/Mein Lieblings-Accessoire diesen Frühling. Mehr Infos gibts hier.
/My favourite accessory this spring. More info here.

5.) Einfach schön?
(Simply beautiful?)
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/Frühlingsmoren im Stall. So ruhig, so warm, so friedlich.

/Spring morning at the stables. So quiet, so warm, so peaceful.

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Coconut butter

I recently saw a tutorial on how to make coconut butter and thought “Well this looks easy enough, let’s give it a try!” I do love almost everything coconut related after all.

It really is super easy to make – you basically put dried coconut flakes in a mixer and mix it until it is a smooth and somewhat liquid mixture. The recipe I used said to add salt by taste, however, I added sugar instead. You could also not add anything at all and just put it on later – that’s really up to you and your personal taste.

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[Above: the first few minutes it looks like this. | Below: the (more or less) finished product.]

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[Above and below: 200g dried coconut made around 1 small jar.]

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[Above and below: Super yummy on toast and with fruit.]

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Note: When the butter dries it gets very hard and it’s best to put it in the microwave for a bit so you can spread it easier. Ergo: don’t use a jar with metal (like the one pictured in the photographs above). Be smart, learn from my mistakes ;-)

Reflection

What did I know – or thought to have known about life? About living standards? Adventure? Poverty? What did I know about myself?

I was in Kathmandu in February once, and I remember being so, so cold. The cold was inside of my bones, seeping through my entire body. I felt like I’d never get warm again. We didn’t have warm water for showers, no heating, next to no electricity, and I woke up more than once in the middle of the night because I was freezing.

So I thought I knew how to appreciate electricity and warm, running water. I thought I wouldn’t take it for granted anymore because I knew what it was like to have to live without it.

The reality is different, though. It’s frightening how fast and easily you adapt back to what you consider normal and take things for granted again once you’re home. And how, from that experience onwards, you think  “Oh well, I can go through anything now.”

How wrong I was.

My days in Africa were filled with difficulties: the language barrier was the most obvious one for me, but it was something I expected to be hard. What I didn’t know about was the complete lack of electricity whatsoever. The lack of plumbing or running water – never mind warm water took me by surprise, too.
I carried buckets of water from the cistern to the main house, making a ten minutes walk seem like eternity. If we wanted hot water for the shower, we had to heat it up over open fire. Toilets? Ha! How about a hole in the earth that was used by the entire village?

Cooking dinner? Awesome when you can’t see anything at all. We sat around a tiny bench, torches in our mouths trying to cut tomatoes and the chicken that was, until a day ago, still living right next to our room.

I thought I’d seen everything. I thought I was conscious of poverty and I thought I was able to handle it all. Culture shock seemed to be a word I thought I didn’t know.  And in a sense I wasn’t shocked, it just took me by surprise. Never once had anyone mentioned that this was how I’d spend those two weeks. Never once had I thought all these things would end up complicating my stay – adding to the already established difficulty I experienced because I couldn’t speak the language that well.

However, my days were also spent with playing with kids, “teaching” mathematics and French, cooking meals, washing the dishes or collecting water. I went on wild taxi moto drives up to a waterfall – the true speed never to be known because the speedometer was broken. I was in a car with four French girls when the driver got lost in the African bush at four o’clock in the morning.

I danced around the fire, clapping and laughing to the sounds of a drum, drinking Togo Gin, eating Fufu, and having a great time.

It was difficult, yes. More so than I ever could have imagined. Was it worth it though, in the end? Yes. A thousand times, yes.

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