It’s funny how easily you can slip into the rhythm of any city, and feel as at home as in your own country.
My body and mind both do some sort of auto re-set whenever I’m in a different city or country – be it in hot, humid and sunny Singapore, down under in Australia or exploring the capital city of Argentina – and uncannily adjust to the time differences, the changes in schedules and eating timing, and the weather.
I’ve barely been back in Buenos Aires for a couple of days now, and after a harrowingly uncomfortable 30-hour plane journey (including pit-stops in Dubai and Rio de Janeiro), I went straight back to work the morning after I arrived. I returned to the gym on Wednesday, after almost a month-long sabbatical during which I worked my stomach and fully tested its eating and food-absorbing abilities.
It dawned on me that in some weird way, I’ve developed a beat in my life here in Buenos Aires, one which involves rituals, habits, a constant frequency and is filled with amazing people – acquaintances, friends, and almost-family.
On the taxi home from the airport, with my two heavily-stuffed luggages bobbing in the trunk, my eyes grazed the night scene on the roads which had unknowingly and unconsciously become as familiar to me as the palm of my hand.
It’s pretty crazy (and also tremendously comforting) to feel that you’ve left one home only to arrive in another.
Home in the sense of easy familiarity, which I become aware of when I realize that just looking at a street for 2 seconds has allowed me to determine which part of the city I am in, and how many blocks I am away from where I live. Home being that I walk into my Curves gym and am immediately greeted with welcoming hugs and kisses from gym friends and my instructors, who relentlessly ask me to tell me about my trip to the far East. Home because I know the streets upon which my feet trod, my footprints one of many among the millions which make up this cosmopolitan city, Buenos Aires, also known as “the Paris of South America”, for its beautiful European architecture.
Home which signifies a place where you belong, even if you weren’t born there. A nest where you look forward to getting back to after a tiring and immensely long stint at the office, knowing that the warmth of the kitchen and the beautiful company that complements it will smooth any rough days life may throw your way. The little cove whose very sight brightens up any weary face and replaces it instead with a big, bright smile.
I know I’m thousands of miles away from Singapore, my real home, but still, it’s such a beautiful feeling to know that at the furthest corners of the globe, there are people welcoming me into their lives, and few things can replace this.
So even as I’m eating a healthy, light and refreshing dinner (in hopes of shedding the Singaporean carbs), despite the fact that I’m nowhere near an Asian dish or restaurant, I feel completely at home.
Avocado goes surprisingly well with fresh-cut tomatoes, sliced onions and your choice of greens.
It throws in a punch as well as helps you put together a tasty meal with whatever you can find in your fridge. Plus, can any meal really get any easier than this?
AVOCADO, TOMATO & ONIONS SALAD
(Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer or side dish)
1) 1 avocado, peeled and sliced thinly
2) 1 head of butter lettuce (or whatever greens call your fancy), roughly cut or torn with your hands
3) 2-3 teaspoons of dried oregano
4) 1 large tomato, sliced
5) 1 medium onion, sliced finely
6) Salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste
1) Combine lettuce shreds with sliced avocado, tomatoes and onions
2) Sprinkle dried oregano on top
3) Salt to taste, then pour a bit of balsamic vinegar, and finally olive oil (follow this order)
4) Mix it all together and you’re ready to go!