Those dreamy shoes!

It’s been a while since my last post, lots of stuff going on right now. Even though, I wanted to start this section at this blog before, I didn’t find the time to do it. This section is more about my eccentric personality and a passion I’ve developed through time: fashion. And this passion goes beyond extreme shopping, is more about finding and expressing myself through new styles, is about feeling comfortable in my own skin.

I see old pictures of myself and compare the clothes I used to wear with the ones I wear nowadays, the results are remarkable. Anyone can easily notice how much I have grown. I feel that through my style I transmit a message of fortitude -at least to myself I do. A younger version of myself wore clothes that sometimes make no sense as a whole, and to tell you the truth it was because I was a complete mess: I had very low self esteem. Now, little by little, those scenarios are changing for better, not for worse.

So I chose this picture because it mirrors my favorite part of fashion… yes, shoes! And I can proudly say I did not buy them at any store. I design these shoes all by myself to make the perfect match to my outfit. Hope you like them as much as I did. ūüôā

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Leaving Hometown

Today I’ll like to write about migration. This topic awakes my attention under any circumstance because I happen to know many people that have moved from one place to another. I know for a fact that moving away from home is not easy at all. We leave behind our family, friends, lovers, jobs and so many things. It takes a lot of courage to take this decision, pack your bags and leave. Going to a new place, make new friends and have new experiences sounds so exciting because it seems like an adventure. Just imagine moving to The City of Light or The Big Apple, where you’ll find so many astonishing museums, buildings and people. All the experiences you’ll have on a daily basis will be extraordinary.

But have you ever wonder what happens if you fail to adapt or to find the dream job or just don’t like the city’s personality at all? These scenarios come handy when you have to make a balance between comfort and challenge. As I wrote before, moving is not easy. I was born and raised¬†in¬†Monterrey, Mexico and I still live in this beautiful city, but a few years ago I also lived the experience of moving far away and I moved from my hometown to a smaller city. What happened next? I came back. I failed to adapt. I hated the city where I lived in, couldn’t adapt to the rhythm of life and I certainly did not enjoyed my job. Despite the fact that it was a great opportunity in my life, personally and professionally. After, 4 years of coming back to Monterrey, I still wonder from now an then what did I do wrong.

For those who don’t know me, my husband is from Venezuela. After two years of being in a serious relationship, he took a plane and left his country for Mexico, or more accurate, for Monterrey. He left everything he knew behind. He got a new job, new friends and new family. But I know that it was not an easy decision for him to make and it is still hard for him to learn every day that his family and friends are away. So, why did he habituate so quickly? Monterrey is a great city. We have great food, lovely people, a lot of job opportunities but it has also many flaws. There is not enough openness in Monterrey natives when it comes to new people or ideas getting into their social circles. Although it is still evolving, there is a lot of prejudice against foreign people. So, yeah, I admit it, Monterrey is not an easy city to move in and adapt.

Then again, how does anyone can move to a complete city or country or CONTINENT and still feel like they are at home? I believe that creating all over again your family is the key to success. I failed to have a family of my own when I moved away. I believe that is the reason I never remodel myself to the new place. I did not have anyone to share my new experiences and challenges with. Although I did had friends, there are only a few who I still have any true relationship with.¬†And I don’t mean getting married and having children when mentioning family, I mean having friends and making a bond so close to you and so intimate, they can be called brothers or sisters, mom or dad. Pick a person that can comprehend your issues without any judgement in between. Pick someone else who can back you up when any problem comes along. Pick a friend that listens -and laughs- even to the stupidest joke you tell. ¬†Pick a friend that no matter what happens he or she will be there for you, in sickness and in health, for better, for worse, until afterlife comes along and you keep sharing your life.

Quinoa Paella

So I was bored of having same dishes over and over. This is how I fixed that problem.

DSC_0033

Ingredients:

400 g uncooked shrimp

200 g sliced dry-cured chorizo

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

500 mL chicken broth

1/2 green pepper

1/2 red pepper

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp olive oil

pinch of saffron

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a wide pan heat the olive oil and brown the garlic cloves for 3 to 5 minutes, be sure to constantly stir the cloves so they don’t burn. Take the garlic out of the pan and place the shrimp until they turn red (that means they are cooked). If you like the shrimp extra flavory you can add garlic or onion powder. Take out the shrimp and set aside.¬†Meanwhile, in another pan, heat the chicken broth until boiling point.
  2. Now, put the slices of chorizo in the heated pan and they will start to release flavored oil. At this point you’ll add the minced garlic cloves browned earlier and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the quinoa grains, and the red and green peppers. After stirring for one minute add the boiling chicken broth and the shrimp.
  3. Add the pinch of saffron. Let the flavors mix together for 10 to 15 minutes at maximum heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Next, reduce heat to a simmer and cover, keeping the pot boiling. Constantly stir and add salt & pepper to taste. Continue until most of the chicken broth is absorbed. Be sure to thoroughly cook the quinoa, you’ll know is well cooked when the grain gains size and moisture.

Tips:

  • You can add more vegetables if you want, like zucchini, peas, carrots.
  • If you want extra flavor, when reducing heat to a simmer you can add a zest of lemon and coriander.
  • Remember to be creative. If you like other flavors, just imagine them mixed together with the other ingredients. If it seems right add it to your dish. Don’t be afraid to explore your senses.

Note: The picture was taken with my cellphone, that is why it has terrible resolution. 

Breakthrough Gender Stereotypes

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of news, books and articles on gender equality. Or maybe more than gender equality is reaching female equality. We all heard about Emma Watson’s speech at the launch of the HeforShe campaign. I did, and I too agree on what Emma is saying. This fight is not against men, is against discrimination towards women with men on human rights side.

As a female engineer undergraduate, in a very (VERY) “macho” country such as Mexico, it was really hard for me to get a job interview where the questions such as “do you have a boyfriend?”, “does your father gives you permission to work?”,”do you have plans to get married?” were not done. I completely understand that companies want to know better their candidates, but why do they ask¬†these kind of questions?

They have not stopped there. Now that I am actually married, the questions just keep coming at job interviews: “are you married?”, “do you have children?”, “are you planning to have them anytime soon?”. No disrespect, but I don’t think¬†those questions have any relation¬†with my performance as an employee. On the contrary, for the moment my husband is my inspiration to be a better person -emotionally and professionally. I do not expect to have children for the moment, but when that day comes I’m sure I’ll have more reasons to be more demanding on myself.

Not many people understand how hard is to live on stereotypes. I don’t know outside Mexico, but at least in Monterrey (Northeastern Mexican city) girls must be feminine by not swearing, by being quiet and friendly but not too flirty, by staying at home when marriage comes along, by being submissive. Most of these characteristics do not belong to my personality, so I sure had a hard time when I was younger. The role of being a “girly” girl and fit in my gender stereotype, developed confidence issues with my younger self. Nowadays I have conquered most of those fears but it was not easy.

A young boy in London wrote a letter on this matter. I admire him because of the courage and the maturity of his words (sorry I used words that relate to gender stereotype, I wish to be more eloquent).

This campaign is just the sequel of a movement that started many years ago with women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, among others that we may not know about (thank you historians of the past). A lot has been said on this topic and I know is not the kind of information easy to digest, but we all need to do something about equality of the sexes.

Turning 30

Recently (this week), I’ve been thinking A LOT about my age. Yeah, I am leaving the lovely twenties and going for a new whole decade… the mighty 30’s. It is actually not that hard to know that I am entering a new era in my life, is the fact that I started to feel like I haven’t done anything really memorable, like writing a book, creating my own future-billion-dollar-worth start-up, inventing the time machine or even reaching the ultimate goal: world peace. So, I talked to my friends and family about how I felt and they all said “are you crazy?” and I think they are right, but sometimes you just need a third party to give you a reality-slap on the face and bring you back to Earth.

I mean, sure I haven’t written a book, but I wrote a paper on consumer analysis¬†(all by my self) during my Master’s Degree studies. And it happens that this paper is going to be published in an academic journal. I also haven’t created my own multi-billion dollar company, but I do have many ideas and just because I am turning 30 doesn’t mean is too late for that. And forget about the time machine or world peace!

Instead of keeping those depressive thoughts, I started a mental list on some of my achievements, and men I do have many of them!

1. I graduated from BS Chemical Engineering

2. I worked at a very -VERY- demanding company where the environment is more men-friendly than anything else

3. I changed my career path

4. I got married to a man who I love more than anything and that is more than I ever asked for (or deserve)

5. I finished my Master’s Degree and paid tuition all by myself (and a little help from my husband too)

6. I managed to travel and know the world

7. I lead the research to write a paper for an academic journal

8. And I successfully presented that research paper at a World Congress

And the list goes on…

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to brag about anything. Is just that there are moments in life where sadness, melancholy and loneliness seem to be skin-deep and you simply cannot avoid to question everything in your life. For me, is more common than you may think… So maybe there’s no easy way to go on walking around with a smile in your face, but don’t worry, you are not alone.

Just like that, my twenties are gone. But after all this wondering around and getting semi-depressed and quietly thoughtful and talking about my feelings, I finally get to know that I couldn’t be better if I’ve taken a different path in my decisions. Maybe one of these days I’ll finally get the knowledge of how to create the time machine or contribute -big time- to world peace, but for the moment I am just me… and I am happy with that.