Goodbye, it was good though.

tumblr_nhfhajdu2o1rkao3fo1_400As 2016 is finishing we have to manage to say goodbye to one part of us. One whole year of experiences, challenges, memories, opportunities, people. As any other cycle it must have its end or it might turn into something harmful to us . So let’s embrace these last days and get ready to whisper goodbye as the fireworks light up the night sky of the first day of 2017.

The task that comes together with beginning a new year is not easy, somehow we have to look through all what has happenned on these 12 months and decide what to keep and what to let go. Of course, we fill up our “luggage” with everything we can but as in any trip there is a maximum weight, so no… You cannot take everything.

So, what are we supposed to take?

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And I Asked Myself WHY?

Taiwan has been the best experience in my life until now. No doubt. Still I need to accept the journey has not been easy, it has actually been pretty hard. It has lots of ups and downs, and more than a 100 times I have wondered what the hell I am actually doing here… This post is about that: the answer to that question. Why being 14,000+ kms away from home is worth it every centimeter and how every misfortune and mishappening is nothing but a chance, a blessing, a new open door in disguise.

乾杯 to Taiwan, to 蛋餅s and the minutes used in this post instead of studying!~


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SAL-LAX Flight 2013

I left home 2 years, 8 months and 23 days ago. That day I was weeping my heart out, hugging my best friend while he was trying to calm me down by telling me I was going to be back home soon. SOON?! I would think, I am leaving for five years and cannot visit until 2 years later from today. TWO YEARS. At that moment in the airport I was questioning all the set of decisions taken in the past two months. The call in the cellphone telling me the great news about Taiwan and asking me right there in the spot “Do you accept this opportunity?” my shaking voice replying “Yes, yes… of course!” and from that point on it was all a serious rush of events. Documents, shopping, places I wanted to go, a series of farewells, overeating all the food I know I was going to miss (what I did not know was that I was going to miss plantain as soon as I sat down on my first flight… yeah, that was fast.)

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Being Human, Human-Being

I’ve read a couple of times (I would love to say that in some classical books, just to sound sophisticated, literated and cultural, but actually I bet it has been in Tumblr-like pictures, Facebook posts and such) that you have to lose yourself before finding out who you actually are. For me this has been completely true, and in addition to that you have to also be criticised, brought down, fall into pieces… and then when building yourself back up you find out what you are made of.

I would love to say there has been a key moment in herewegomy life: a ray of light trespassing the ceiling and bringing with it the answer I have so long needed without knowing. Or maybe a key person: an old man who once told me under an oak tree that I should find the light inside myself before wanting to leave the darkness. But… no. I actually believe I have lost and found myself once and over again along the years and every single time I am totally different. Oh, and not to forget that I will probably lose myself a thousand times more before I shall rest in my grave… hoping every single time to come back to an Ericka ready to keep on walking along. Continue reading

When You Fly, but Fall…

…against concrete and rocks and boom bam BOOOOM… blood.

champagne-celebration-gifFirst of all… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE BLOG! Well, it is not today but it was in February, a couple of days before of Valentine’s when I wrote my first entry while I was in one of Inese’s class which were taught in Latvian so I did not understand anything. Since then it has been a year of writing nonsense but feeling great about it, plus thanks to this blog I’ve gotten to know better more people and all of you have gotten to know me as well. Just in time for this special date someone wrote an inbox to me, she is not my friend, I have never seen her before and I got this amazing inbox in which she told me about reading me and liking it a lot. Her words were so beautiful that made me realize how worth it is to write all these messy thoughts and share them with all of you.

So, thanks to all of you. I am really happy about this small blog and hope to continue it through the pass of months and years.

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Recently I was on a trip around Taiwantumblr_o0p9rn4CUP1v3tw04o1_500… on bicycle. It has been one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The goal was to go around the whole island but on Saturday, pass half of our way I had an accident in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to God no bones were broken but I swear I flew from my bike and for a moment I felt like time stopped and I just thought “This is it”… but it wasn’t pheww.

Now my knee has a hole, or well it had a hole now it is just full of stitches. My right hand is not really useful. My chin has a scar… and I am traumatized after having stitches being made without local anestesia or anything to soothe the pain (yep, that badass I am… ignore the fact that I cried like a baby during the whole process and I was trembling like a chihuahua after that).

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The whole point of this is that:

I am thankful for all the wonderful people that exist in this world.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetStarting with my adventure buddy Natalia who has been with me through all this mess and now is taking care of me even when our trip ended (because of my fault). We took two rides and three trains to come back to Taipei, the accident happened in the middle of nowhere and it felt like the end of everything, we were rejected from buses and trains since we had our bikes with us, I am pretty much an invalid so I can’t help with anything… and she does not hate me but keeps a strong positive mind.

Let’s continue with the scooter man who stopped in the middle of his way to somewhere just to help two foreigner girls. One almost dying but eating a protein bar because she did not want to faint and the other one having a nervous laughter attack. He called one of his friends to help us get to the police station after seeing that I had no way of gettin back on the bike.

His friend came with his blue truck, and let me in even when there was a high risk of me messing his car seat with blood stains, taking us to the nearest police station which was not that close at all.

Following this hero, we have the two police Processed with VSCO with t1 presetmen and the lady of the police station. They gave me first aid, and then asked us if we had eaten anything. So they shared their lunch with us (the greatest fried rice and sesame noodles I’ve had), made us peanut butter, chocolate and jelly sandwiches for our way back home. Packed lunch for us, gave us cookies, candies and everything they could find in the station that was edible. Then they packed our bikes, and took us to the nearest town.

Snapchat-4228567293218695639In Hengchun (the closest town) the police man who drove us there helped us contact SongGe, a guy who has a mini bus and takes people around all the South area. For a minimum fee he was going to take us to the station which was actually really far, but then he decided to take me to the hospital where a doctor healed me really badly (he filled my knee hole with cotton… technically, and told me stitches should be made three days after). While this happenned SongGe was taking a nap on the lobby of the hospital waiting for us. Before taking us to the train station he made a stop and bought us three types of different breads for us to take on our way home since we would get hungry. Oh and on our way he kept on singing and dancing and teaching us Taiwanese. Cool guy, right?

We arrived Kaohsiung in train, since no trains went directly from Fangliao (the station SongGe delivered us to) to Taipei. There we received the terrible news that no train left for Taipei that night and the HighSpeed trains rejected us since they wanted us to take off the wheels of our bikes, fold them (how the hell was I supposed to do that?), and put them inside some fancy bags (that we did not have). Oh, and I was still bleeding during all this time… so I was pretty much weak, stressed, crying, hopeless and planning to stay on a 7/11 convenience store until 10am to wait for a train that would take us… but I decided to bother Maru.

Person #8: I called Maru and in less than an hour she was there… scolding me for not calling her before and taking me to the hospital in Kaohsiung which is a bigger city than Fangliao. In the hospital I had X-rays taken and… No broken bones. Then they tortured me for what seemed to be an eternity but at least my wounds were closed and I had pain killers. We went to sleep to Maru’s house and next day we were on our train to Hsinchu.

5 hours later we were on Hsinchu, taking another 2 hour train to Taipei… and finally back home. Where Jose Mario went to pick us up to the station and helped us take my bike to the store we rent it from while I took a cab home. Oh, by the way… it was Valentine’s! So when they came from the store we decided to celebrate with two pizzas and a movie.

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During all this time I walked around through train stations half hopping and half cursing so I decided to leave shame aside and ask on Facebook if anyone in Taipei could lend me crutches. No long after, Aura had already commented offering hers and Irina brougth them to me the day after… in bicycle.

Adding to this I have not been alone in all these two days back home. Natalia is staying with me, Irina has spend all day with me today also, Luisa came to visit and brought me Oreos (I LOVE OREOS), Ari (my roommate) dropped by to say hi and prove with her own eyes that I was still alive, Laura (who also lent us her house while our stay in Tainan during the trip), Adela and Michelle came on the afternoon bringing cheesecake, coffee and a cat (no, we did not eat the cat)… love, love, so much love. (and food)

And last but not least… the persons who have kept their love and caring coming through phone calls and messages, even when they are far far away,  travelling around the world, or somewhere in Taiwan. A thousand million infinites THANK YOUs.

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In conclusion, I can’t help to smile for all the love and caring I’ve received during this mess. I hate the fact that I cannot do almost anything on my own but… it is not so bad to be pampered for a little while, I guess.

I am blessed for all this. Still alive. Had an amazing trip even though it finished a bit earlier than expected. With a future pirate scar on my chin. And with hell of a story to tell to my someday to be grandsons and granddaughters.

Oh and of course, with Natalia we are still thinking on finishing the whole island in bicycles… someday.

Meanwhile I will read all the books I have on my list, finish my painting, write on my blog more nonesense, have serious long meetings with Netflix, and jump around in my crutches.

 So, see you soon! And for real guys, thanks for being soooo amazing.


PS: Blog entry of the AMAZING trip is coming soon. Wait for it.

Food-stories

First of all: thank you to my Facebook friends who replied to my status. This is for you. 

Second: Yeah, I know I have been away from the blog for a bit, but these vacation weeks have been crazy. It was already my second week of vacation and I was STILL going to university to solve some small issues and by the time I was done with that I had to start planning for my bike trip around the island. Adding to that, crazy random “business” meetings with the owner of the future best pizza restaurant in Taipei… when I mean business it is like 40% eating, 30% talking nonsense 20% being mean to each other and 10% actual business talk.

So now, what I come to talk about…

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For the ones who don’t know the story behind this post… I posted a status at 12:00am on my Facebook asking my friends “If I should write a post tonight, what should it be about? First comment goes.” (big mistake) I was actually waiting for something deep. Love, forgiveness, how is my winterbreak going, the most romantic gesture I’ve had, what I believe a prince charming should be like, my plans for a future, etc… But, of course, I did not count with the fact that all my Facebook friends are food junkies. So the comments were the following:

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Exactly what you read. Pizza, tamales, mojitos, BBQ, and baleadas. 

When I ended up with that list I felt the same way a competitor in Master Chef feels when he is told he needs to do a soup of marshmellows, spinach, cranberry and sour cream. But as any someday to be artist and bad writer, I should try to be able to be write about anything. So… here it goes.

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Pre-Christmas Challenge.

tumblr_ngo3syPdwS1rqak9yo1_500.gifHello! On Friday I went around Taipei101 and guess what? CHRISTMAS IS EVERYWHERE (but no holliday to be seen, come on Taiwan give Santa Claus some love). So I wanted to bring to you a small challenge for this December. Actually I just thought about it and will come up with this ideas as I am writing the blog (improvisation, yeay). Every challenge will take up to two days, since sometimes we need a bit more of time to get things done. So, NO EXCUSES.

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Healthy In All Its Defintions

Hello there! I tend to focus a lot in the topic of emotional health when I write on my blog: appreciating yourself, loving others, being happy, a healthy relationship with family, blah blah. But today I want to talk about the other health. Yeah, the one in which you are supposed to eat boiled broccoli and exercise at least three times a week (scary, I know).

I should warn you I am no role model for this topic so, if you are someone who’s looking for pro-healthy-tips or how to lose weight in under a week… Well, my tip is: read the next blog. I am the girl who serves herself a whole plate just of desserts in the buffets, sleeps less than 7 hours a night, eats at least 5 servings of Häagen-Dazs at the Korean-All-You-Can-Eat-BBQ restaurant, and has huge OREO cravings at midnight. But because I am THAT type of person, the type which can’t diet or say no to a slice of cheese pizza, I’ve gotten around my way and found a balance (sort of).

First of all: The real struggle. I live in Shida Rd, for those who don’t live in Taiwan let me describe it to you: I live near four pizza restaurants, two burger places, I have two 24/7 convenience stores (full of all the unhealthy quick snacks) accros the street, Starbucks is the first floor of my building (for real), I have three bubble tea shops at less than 5 minutes walking distance, two Mexican restaurants around the corner, plus three cafes, oh and a night market just in front of me where you can find a variety of deep-fried things. I guess you get the idea, right? So I come from university, and there’s no plate of food waiting for poor tired Ericka and I have all these options, which some of them can cost me less than 2USD by the way, and I have to decide between cooking or just “get something downstairs”.

But that’s okay, you get used to it. And having some fruits, diced vegetables, whole-wheat bread, cheese and ham can be even a better lazy option than going 5 floors down and deciding what to eat. (My building actually has an elevator but shhhh…)

Second part. Sleep hours. There’s not much you can do when you are the queen/king of procrastination and your brain starts being functional around 10pm. All of a sudden it is 2 o’clock and you are just halfway of all the things you knew you had to do but… didn’t. Getting 8 hours of sleep is something that happens once or twice every two weeks and it might be after not sleeping more than four hours for three consecutive days. And that’s bad, since that leads to consumption of caffeine or anything you believe that can keep you awake, and sleep hours are BASIC in a healthy life.

And this is not so okay, since I still don’t know how I can make up for sleep hours, and I actually don’t think there’s a way to actually do so. But I have changed my sugar-overloaded cups of coffee by green tea, which is a healthier source of caffeine.

Third. The Potato Tendency. There’s nothing I love more than Netflix and chill… no, seriously. I am a lover of just laying on the flat’s sofa, or my own bed and watch whatever movie or series I find online, or why not even spend all my time reading useless but pretty interesting articles around the internet. Or just talking with my flatmates for hours until one of us brings the words “I’m hungry” up, and we all get something to eat. How you can see this involves little, or no physical activity and… I LOVE IT. 

But, that’s also okay. I actually do like exercising as well (not as much as being a potato, but oh well). This semester I’ve not sign up for the gym yet, but last semester you would see me carrying around a HUGE neon-pink gym bag around the whole campus, plus my heavy-laptop-food-notebook-loaded bookbag just to force myself to hit up the gym in any break or after class. Plus, I like running a lot. Besides all the restaurants I mentioned above I live at a 2 minute bike distance from a running track and at a 6 minute bike ride from my favorite park to jog, which is next to a river. (It’s name is Riverside Park, clever name) So I might not be as potato as I pictured myself just in the paragraph above.

Fourth. Those lovely things pieces of heaven named desserts. I am not kidding when I say I love desserts. I love desserts to the point that the way to get to my heart might be through desserts, or at least that’s what some people think. I’ve received cheesecake as an apologetic or romantic gift more than the times it is allowed for to call something just a “coincidence”. And on my birthday week I had approximately… 15 pieces of cheesecake. So, yeah… I have a soft spot for sweets. (I must remember you my sister is an engineer-baker, so just picture how my summer was regarding desserts terms, PAAARAAAADISE)

But then, guess what is also sweet: FRUITS. I love fruits, so I tend to buy lots of them at the supermarket and carry one or two in my bookbag as snacks. I add banana to my oatmeal, and even a bit of cinnamon to give it that sweet dessert-like taste. I drink my tea with no added sugar… and that’s about it. Of course, nothing can replace my sweet desserts, but I can lie to myself from time to time and say no to that Starbucks lemmon pie waiting for me downstairs.

So, how you can see… I don’t do anything out of this world. I still prefer a Swiss cheese mushroom burger over a bowl of salad, I don’t have a runway model body at all, and I am not proud of my sleeping schedule, but I think those small differences account for a lot when it comes to healthy terms. Since that’s actually my goal: keeping up healthy, or at least healthier than what I would be if I didn’t try.

So, let’s list everything up! (I love lists almost as much as I love parentheses)

  1. Drink water. Carry that bottle around and DRINK IT.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of green tea. it’s awesome.
  3. Add green to your smoothies. I promise that kale or spinach doesn’t even taste over the fruits (add at least a really sweet fruit, like banana).
  4. MOVE IT. Run, jump rope, bike, walk around the mall at least six times, go to the gym, dance, zumba, kick-boxing, hoola-hooping (I do this, don’t laugh), ANYTHING.
  5. DO MORE. It’s easy to settle down. “Oh, I’m doing 5k in a really good timing, great! I am the best!” Yes but… nooooo, now do 10K and set yourself a new goal.
  6. Get a partner. (Did I tell you the big news? I have a running buddy. FINALLY. And it’s so great to receive a call at 10:45pm when I have already lost the hope to go for a run and have Gabriel tell me “Meet you in the track in 10 minutes?”)8
  7. Motivate yourself. I actually love Nike Plus, it boosts me up everytime that voice tells me I’m marking one more kilometer, or congratulate me because of running 5x in a week. I don’t know about you, but I like a bit of appreciation for my efforts.
  8. Don’t focus on looking like an Instagram fitness model, the real goal is to be healthy.
  9. Tryyyyyyy to say no to all the junk food. And cut out the sodas, I swear after a couple of months you won’t miss them.
  10. Get a good playlist or make your own.
  11. Invest on yourself. MAKE IT RAIN with the sport clothes!!! Okay, maybe not to this extreme but I did find myself feeling a bit of a commitment when I bought my babies (my running shoes) and then I just get something new every once in a while. My last purchase were some Puma socks and I am sooooo glad about them, they do make a huge difference when running.
  12. Don’t do this for someone else, do it for yourself.

And probably you have read this tips in a thousand more fitness pages. But maybe it’s not bad to remind you of them and tell you that if I can stick to them (most of the times) you can as well. And why wait until mainstream January to start? Or boring Monday (though today is Monday over here)? Do it now. So you go and do it, yeah you, sexy beast.