Being half Japanese comes with it’s perks, one of those being a broadened spectrum in all things regarding gastronomy.
Natto may scare the living daylights out of some, or have the others sighing in pleasure – the wafting aroma that can only be oxygen deprived bacterial growth accumulating on week old soybeans definitely stirs up some mixed reactions in people.
The little pocket usually comes with two sauce-type sachets, one is an amber fluid (soy sauce) the other is a yellowish smaller packet of mustard.
You can add both, or none! (though I would personally recommend adding the soy sauce) – otherwise the end product is quite bland.
Mix the two together and you create a marriage of flavoury goodness.
FYI: The sticky- ladyfinger/okra snail-like slime enveloping these once vibrant green legumes comes as a shock to many Westerners. Or maybe it’s just the smell?
Forget your Spirulina shakes or poached eggs with avocado for brekky. Like most health foods – Natto boasts some of the best macronutrients around.
A cup of this stuff contains HALF your recommended protein and Magnesium and over 80% of your recommended iron intake! (Take that steak!) Not to mention the generous addition of calcium and vitamin C contained in there too (1).
Add some avocado and you have yourself a… (yes I’m actually going to do this)
The combination of high protein, paired with the fiber and iron of this breakfast staple in japan will refuel my muscles with energy (still aching from that body attack class I did an hour earlier).
There was also a japanese study in the journal of nutrition stating that Natto had the highest single source of the vitamin K2 in foodstuff, this was linked to an endemic population that had significantly higher levels of bone health (2).
Maybe this is why you don’t see many Obachans (Grannies) confined to wheelchairs in their mid 80’s?!
You won’t find Natto in your local Coles or Woolies – check out japanese specialty stores such as GoGo Mart.
A few weeks left of my Uni holidays, can’t wait to go back and learn some more. My brain is yearning knowledge!
Kaneki, M., Hedges, S., Hosoi, T., Fujiwara, S., Lyons, A., & Crean, S. et al. (2001). Japanese fermented soybean food as the major determinant of the large geographic difference in circulating levels of vitamin K2. Nutrition, 17(4), 315-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0899-9007(00)00554-2
I’ve just received the conformation email for my seven day cruise next month, I’m officially going to be sailing the high tides on the P&O Pacific Dawn in February!
It was a spontaneous buy.
It all started with a late night text and laughs over caramel pecan icecream.
Ash: Meet me at Baskin Robins in 15 x
My best friend excitedly dropped me the deets as icecream was dribbling down the sides of the chocolate waffle cone, melting (like I was) in the humid summer air;
Anna, how do you feel about going on this cruise next month? It’s just before Uni starts!
And of course, in true Anna fashion; I replied:
OH MY (EXPLETIVE) GOSH – YES.
YES YES YES YES
It was the last minute sales, we nabbed our cabin – more like bunker of four, with two other mates that very night.
The following day they sold out.
The last cruise I went on was in the winter of 2006 (with the same company) – I’m a little more than out of shape cruisewise.
But the cool smell of the sea, dancing, smiles and mocktails in hand will never fade from my memory (even though I was barely 8 years old the last time I went).
THIS TIME THOUGH, I’LL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO DRINK
to be honest though, this will probably be me.
I distinctly remember one of the Islands we ventured to, it was a beautiful place. The twang of ukulele’s filled the air. Shade from the palm trees gave much needed respite from the sun kissed sand, and the snorkeling (though I don’t remember much of it).
Sea cucumbers dominated the seafloor, I remember being scared of them and refusing to go back into the reef.
Instead I decided to make a deep pit in the sand, in which I would hoard countless hermit crabs.
Those poor hermit crabs….
For 2 and a half hours there was this huge, strange, monster pushing them back into this pit when they tried to escape. Their attempts at climbing the sandy cliffs – an act of desperation – proving worthless.
I don’t know what came over the strange mind of the 8 year old me, but I loved having this hermit crab zoo more than the cruise itself.
When it came to leaving I had left some half eaten biscuit crumbs in the pit, tears streaming down my face – Goodbye friends!
Yeah, I was really social back then.
I’ll have to tell you about the time I found a trove of coconuts by a beach and absolutely lost it.
But that’s for another time.
====== Anna Freeman, Student Dietecian ======
Ps: So if you have any cruise tips at all, please let me know! I’ve forgotten the in’s and outs of the cruising life!
We haven’t met, but I see you all the time on television. I absolutely adore what you did with our forecast during June and July – you know, the WINTER months?
So now the compliment sandwich has finished it’s complement aspect…
I don’t know if you’ve had a rough week, or your boyfriend just broke up with you.
But girl, you need to calm the fuck down.
Yesterday I was in direct line of your BFF the Sun, and I was getting backsweat WHERE THERE SHOULDN’T BE BACKSWEAT.
Okay, i’ll admit it.
My mum (adorable as she is clueless), suggested I should have surgery ON MY ARMPITS – because they smell that bad.
When I’m trying to sell stuff, I really don’t need to have the wavering odor of corpses protruding from my underarms at the same time.
Hell, was it really that hard to chuck a random cloud in there sometime, you know to let my BLOODY PORES BREATHE?
What’s the go with the wind too girl?
like I had NO BREEZE yesterday.
I was drenched in sweat – my SOCKS were swimming in it, my armpits smelt like dead eggs, I looked like an absolute mess – combined with screaming at people to buy various cheap Chinese toys.
I probably looked mentally deranged.
Since we are a culture of lists, here’s my:
Top 5 things you can fix about yourself, you crazy bitch.
Now I’m not asking for much.
Some RAIN would actually be lovely, fuck the mosquitoes. I can complain about those when I feel them. Do I need to do a bloody Rain dance or something? Because I WILL DO IT. I don’t have friends and my reputation will not precede me. By all means, feel free to rain on my parade. I’ll even sacrifice some old carrots i have lying in the back of my fridge.
And when I say Rain, I don’t mean the thundery-stormy type (which I also know you’re a fan of at this time of year). Just the nice gentle drizzle that moves people out of the park and gets me home sooner.
What the heck is going on with this humidity too? Like I like my saunas just as much as the next person, but honestly, Do I LOOK LIKE I WANT TO GO BACK TO LIVING IN CAIRNS? I DON’T.
Also, feel free to rain all during the weekdays when I’m working. But girl, when I have my time off I want to actually get a tan this summer to prove I go outside. So please, just rain on certain days. NOT when I intend to go outside and look reasonably cute.
Finally, do you see my car just chilling out of the garage there? THAT MEANS RAIN ON IT. I don’t intentionally put my car outside for birds to adorn it with their shit. When I see clouds, I EXPECT rain. Don’t keep messing us around like this.
So Weather, I know you’re probably not feeling that hot right now, but can you just pull your head out of the clouds for a fleeting second and fix this damn psychedelic pattern you have going on?
Veterinary and Orthopedic research Scientists have shown that low magnitude, high frequency vibrations between 25-100 Hertz can actually aid in repair of bone tissue!
In a 2008 case report in the journal of Orthopedic research suggested that the application of mechanical low magnitude signals can improve bone healing and speed up recovery in the peritosteal region of sheep with fractured tallus’ (1);
At 10-weeks post-op, the callus in the Experimental group was 3.6-fold stiffer (p < 0.03), 2.5-fold stronger (p = 0.05), and 29% larger (p < 0.01) than Controls. Bone mineral content was 52% greater in the Experimental group (p < 0.02).
These data reinforce the critical role of mechanical factors in the enhancement of fracture healing, and emphasize that the signals need not be large to be influential and potentially clinically advantageous to the restoration of function.
And, the American acoustical society filed a report referencing the fantastic felines themselves :
Domestic cats, servals, ocelots, and pumas produce fundamental, dominant, or strong frequencies at exactly 25 Hz and 50 Hz, the two low frequencies that best promote bone growth/fracture healing.
These four species have a strong harmonic exactly at, or within 2 Hz of 100 Hz, a frequency used therapeutically for pain, edema, wounds, and dyspnea (2).
Perhaps the best way to heal a skull fracture after stacking it at your next basketball game is to put a cat on your face.
They went further to mention that this supposed ‘healing mechanism’ of purring may in fact, be used by cats purely in times of stress – when the cat’s are injured or sick.
So all along, when I thought Fuku was loving my weirdly close hugs – perhaps was getting over the stomach bug, or had nausea, a headache?
Next time I cuddle up to Fuku, i’ll make sure she’s okay first.
Goodship, A., Lawes, T., & Rubin, C. (2009). Low-magnitude high-frequency mechanical signals accelerate and augment endochondral bone repair: Preliminary evidence of efficacy. Journal Of Orthopaedic Research, 27(7), 922-930. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.20824
The B Vitamins, in layman terms; have the principal role of making sure you extract energy from your macronutrients- fat, protein and carbs.
This just highlights the sheer IMPORTANCE of these little vitamins in our lives. Glycogen being converted intoglucose and then
pyruvate on the left via Glycolysis. Triglycerides and fatty acids entering the TCA as the 2 carbon CoA in the middle,
and Proteins transaminating to amino acids and entering the TCA on the right.
If you are deficient in a certain co-enzyme you can slow this whole reaction down – you’ll NEVER stop the TCA, that’s impossible and would mean you’d be dead.
Vitamin B1,B2 and B3 are my chosen vitamins of choice, I could go all the way to B12, but we both know that’s not going to happen.
B1 = Thiamine
B2 = Riboflavin
B3 = Niacin
That’s a mouthful already right?
Where can I found them & how much do I need?!
Don’t buy overpriced pills, eat some bread instead!
I won’t give you an intense encyclopedia on the foods that contain the highest amounts of B1,B2,B3 etc… But I will give you a basic understanding of cheap and healthy food that will give you what you need.
B1 = Thiamine
Now, B1 is really easy to get your hands on. If you live in Australia (yay) or NZ, the food industry has actually FORTIFIED many staples of grain to be enriched with B1; Including bread, cereals and pasta.
Nuts and Soymilk are also a relatively good source of B1. One 85g lean Porkchop has over 90% of the RDI for thiamine (making it an excellent source) So unless you’re on some intense diet without carbohydrate you’ll probably be meeting this without thinking about it.
Was just doing some research on the side, and found that drinking loads of tea >1L a day can hinder your ability to adequately absorb B1 by interacting with the tannin compounds (1). I know this won’t affect many of you but just thought i’d point it out.
B2 = Riboflavin
Another important vitamin in the metabolism of energy, remember FAD? If you don’t I don’t blame you, it’s boring AF.
The highest concentrations of B2 are found in animal sources, especially liver (with over 150% RDI in an 85g fried serve).
Not a fan? try some yogurt or eggs instead. If you simply can’t do that, fortified breads and cereals will also give you an adequate shot of Riboflavin goodness.
And for those… Gluten-free,Organic, Vegan, Frutarian, (whatever I’ve missed) try 2 and a half cups of mushrooms or 11 bananas, that should do the trick.
B3 = Niacin
Another one which is relatively easy to get into you without noticing. Nician can transaminate with Tryptophan (it’s an a-amino acid), so if you’re ever too low or too high in one or the other they’ll balance each other out (the body is amazing right?).
Fun fact, since Christmas has just passed us… If you’re anything like me; you would have stuffed your gob with turkey a few days past and fallen into the deepest sleep ever?
It’s widely (and wrongly) accepted that tryptophan induces sleep, and for some reason… people associate tryptophan levels to be particularly high in turkey.
However studies have shown that tryptophan levels in the big bird are actually not significantly different to that of other poultry! (2)
“Paradoxically, what probably makes people sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is…dessert,” he adds, “Eating carbohydrates increases brain serotonin in spite of the fact that there is no tryptophan in carbohydrates” Ballantyne, 2016
So it’s not the turkey – but the trifle, that takes you onto the fast shuttle to snoozeville, post Christmas lunch.
The more you know right?
Niacin is found in…. like the above, fortified breads and cereals (you’d probably now know why you feel so lethargic without carbs – Carbs contain alot of the B-vitamins).
It’s also found in meat sources such as chicken breast, tuna and liver.
Veg lovers don’t worry, mushrooms and peanut butter also have a good hit of the stuff, you just need 2 cups of cooked mushies or 2 tbs of Pb.
The NRV’s (Nutrient Reference values) from the Australian Dietary guide will give you a brief overview on how much of each B vitamin you need daily. Ugh does that mean I need to click the link?
So much effort.
It’s alright guys, I’ve condensed a table for you all.
*already you can run into some confusion with this table (Damnit! why does Nutrition have to be so complicated!).
Two different terms:
RDI: or Recommended Dietary intake, RDI is centered around an average adult. Of course this value changes depending on such a host of different factors that it’s moreso a average framework rather than a set-in-stone guideline.
AI: or Adequate Intake: AI measures the adequate intake for the health and well being of at least 50% of the population.
You’ll also notice the measures: ug and mg
THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING
The latter is Miligrams the former is Micrograms! the difference between 1mg and 1 ug is 1000 units! You don’t want to be eating 100ox the recommended intake of the vitamin because…. well, for one it’s a waste. Secondly, (rarely) you could get a toxicity by ingesting that much.
B1 deficiency can be nasty on the body to say the least. The deficiency itself can manifest as the condition known as ‘Beri-Beri‘.
And it can certainly be…. Beri Beri bad
I’m sorry, that was terrible.
There’s two forms of Beri beri that can be diagnosed;
Wet Beri beri or Dry Beri-beri.
The former causes weakening of the circulatory capillaries leading to odema (swelling of the tissues with fluid) due to the reduction of oncotic pressure at the venous end. Patients may have increased heart rate, confusion and labored breathing (as milder symptoms).
Dry beri-beri is associated with nerve parenthesis (losing the sense of touch or pain), Emancipation and difficulty walking, talking or breathing.
Because this particular vitamin is most abundant in carbohydrate rich sources, first world countries do not often see persons afflicted with Beri-Beri.
In the first world it’s much more common to see conditions such as Wernikie’s Encephalopathy or WKS; in persons who are chronic alcoholics. Chronic Alcohol abuse can actually diminish the body’s stores of B1 and over time and can cause symptoms shadowing that of Beri-beri.
B3 (and to a lesser extent tryptophan)deficiency is witnessed as Pallagra.
Pellagra can manifest itself as a particularly severe deficiency. Usually characterized by the three D’s: Dementia, Diarrhea and, (left untreated) Dermatitis.
I call it ‘Sandman disease’ because patientscan develop sandpaper like skin, the consistency of which eventually turns a grey-blue- black colour.
Since NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and it’s phosphorolated version NADP are the cofactors of Nicain – a deficiency in Nician would lead to the eventual decline of all NAD available to the body. NAD is an EXTREMELY important co-enzyme in the body’s metabolism (remember that really ugly diagram)? NAD was practically everywhere.
So what’s it like to have Pallagra?
Imagine yourself with a inflamed beefy tongue that hurts when you talk, large angry scabs appearing everywhere on your body. Your constantly tired- but unable to sleep, hence you’re going to naturally be pissed all the time. You’re also now very sensitive to sunlight and you’re losing your hair. And to top it all off, you’re losing the ability to perform simple co-ordinated movements and eventually forget who you are and what you’re doing.
Doesn’t sound that great does it?
I think the main thing I wanted to emphasize in this post was the importance of having a balanced diet. Like I mentioned; it’s very uncommon to see these conditions in first world countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and parts of Asia. But they still exist to remind us of the importance of meeting those RDI values.
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and New year, filled with food, joy and happiness.
If you’re anything like me; the last few weeks in December race by in a flurry of colour, sound and madness. Almost like some bizarre play in which there is no sense.
Shopping becomes laborious, the energy sapped out of you the moment you walk through those automated doors at the shopping centre.
Almost like another world, you’ve entered ‘Humanity’s Christmas Zoo‘.
You see the circle of unmoving, relentless mothers picking through the clothes aisles. The children at their mothers hip holding a toy of somesort and begging for it to be bought, with big pleading eyes – and a cry to match. Or spotting the chance at escape….
The cheapskate or, last-minute shoppers; who buy the bare minimum and know it’ll just suffice. Eyes darting around anxiously, looking for another deal.
And then there’s those that buy too much… Extra of everything, cakes, bowls, presents, placemats, toys. They hoard the belongings with the excuse of ‘just in case‘.
And in the end, whether you compiled and completed your Christmas list or not; the 25th races by – all too quick for many, and all to slow for some.
The shops from whom you bought overpriced ornaments, have since slashed their prices overnight and you’re caught in the relentless cycle of buying, giving and buying again.
The Christmas zoo is an interesting place indeed. I’m left bittersweet; nostalgic for it’s passing but sure glad it’s over for another year.
Amidst all the chaos of Boxing day sales, overjoyed in the surge of new cash or presents that you’ve been eagerly playing with for the past few days…. you forget that the new year has been sharpening it’s claws – ready to strike when you’ve almost completely forgotten about it.
Then it hits you, before you even have a chance to recover from the massive feast you had on Christmas day – New Years Eve is upon us. And you’re left with multiple options; fireworks, dinner, partying or staying at home.
It’s like a double whammy of celebrations in less than a week. Complete with grandiose displays of fireworks and masses of drunk people who shuffle the night away.
Echoing cheers of ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR‘ – similar to the screams of a howler monkey; returned some distance away with the same (or more) enthusiasm from likeminded partygoers.
This year, I went out with a few friends to Surfers Paradise – a notorious spot on the Gold Coast for nightlife.
Well, it certainly lived up to it’s reputation.
Masses of people,young and old; dominated the strip by the beach. Music was blasting out of every nook and cranny – muffled only by the shouts of people who were singing, laughing and screaming.
I went to a few cheap bars with my best friend and partner in crime; Ash. Dancing to 80’s pop hits; we were the odd ones out in the group of 40-somethings that dominated the dance floor. People my age would usually be down at Shooters, Cocktails or even *shudder* Sin city on a night like this.
I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it though. Despite the mockery of behavior that us humans display in our drunken state; I danced with some very able bodied 50 year olds to Queen’s ‘I want to break free‘ that night.
Avocado, or as our friendly Aussie neighbours call them:
So why should you eat them?
Relatively low in sugars, commonly mistaken for a vegetable and described as having a ‘creamy’ or ‘neutral’ flavour.
Often labelled as a ‘superfood’, this green ancient wonder has been around for millennia, and was believed to have originated from Mexico.
Particularly high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; the avocado is in actuality a fatty berry of sorts. Which may be why the berry flourished as a source of valuable fatty acids and nutrients in the past. It’s high energy content would have kept many ancient Aztecians alive during famine.
Some literal translations from the Spanish, Mexican and Aztecian language believe the tropical berry resembled the human testicle, hence the translation would be ‘testicle berry’.
Don’t let that put you off though. In the English language, the name Avocado sounded relatively similar to the Latin ‘Advocare’ aka ‘Advocate’ (lawyer), and thus, was renamed so in the north.
It is theAvocado whom is responsible for that common green dip (Guacamole), you may see accompanying nachos at your next family gathering.
The versatile berry has nowadays spread across the world as an international favourite, smushing its deliciousness and health benefits onto toast, sushi (USA and Australia), milkshakes (Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand) – even ice cream!
High in monounsaturated fats (these are good. Eat more of these), high in the fat soluble carotenoids (Vitamin A); Beta-carotine (think: rich orange pigment responsible for eye health) and zeaxanthin. Not to mention the potent shot of Folate (important in pregnancy regarding the health of the fetus’ neurological development), and Vitamin B5 (which makes up 20% and 28% of Avocado’s composition respectively). Vitamin B5/Panthothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin important for the synthesis of CoA; I can’t emphasize enough how important CoA is in the body’s metabolism of fatty acids and energy….
So I’ll just stick with: IT’S VERY IMPORTANT.
Claims to fame
I haven’t even started on the mineral composition either, but I think by now you’d understand that the host of nutritional benefits, make Avos a truly incredible fruit to be eating. The nutritional journal of 2013 even stated that:
Avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome(1).
Anna’s translation: eating Avocados means you eat better on the whole, have a better range of nutrients in your diet, and are less likely to die from heart disease or lifestyle-related mortality.
The American Heart foundation also added in their site ‘Circulation’:
Including one avocado per day in a heart-healthy diet lowers plasma oxidized LDL and lutein concentration; the benefits extend beyond their fatty acid content. The change in oxidized LDL by diet was correlated with a change in small LDL but not large LDL particles (2) .
Anna’s translation: Eating even ONE Avocado a day (alongside a healthy diet) reduces your body’s concentration of the fatty Low Density lipoproteins (aka low protein particles that can block your arterioles in the heart circulation and cause a plaque to form (embolism). If this plaque ruptures this can cause a MI (heart attack) as blood can no longer pass through the artery. If this clot decides to move, you’ve got yourself a thromboembolism which can get into your carotid arteries and give you a stroke) both of which: are bad.
So maybe now you have some improved insight on the incredibleness of Avocados, and I highly recommend adding them to your diet if you havent already.
I usually just chop up half of one, blend it with a clove of garlic, a quarter of red onion and half a medium tomato, add a dash of herbs and lemon juice…. And bam Guacamole – with the added anti-aging lycopene of tomatoes! It’s perfect on a slice of toasted turkish bread drizzled with olive oil.
~Until next time! Sayonara
——- Anna Freeman, student Dietitian ——
III, V. L. F., Dreher, M., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008
Wang, L., Tao, L., Stanley, T. H., Fleming, J. A., Lambert, J. D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2015). One Avocado Per Day Lowers Plasma Oxidized-LDL and Increases Plasma Antioxidants in Overweight and Obese Adults.Circulation, 131(Suppl 1), A17-A17.
The sky outside; clear blue, it’s currently a comfortably uncomfortable 28 degrees celsius (90F for our american cousins), expected to reach 34 by mid morning. The leaves of an unknown tree murmur outside in the non existent wind. My window blinds have been replaced by a towel; the Australian national flag as it’s print….. It’s good to be home.
Just 24 hours ago I had walked back through my wooden, stained glass front door; reeking of unwashed hair and sweat, with sleep remaining solidly in my eyes . We dragged our suitcases through the door and dumped them there. Our dog; Skip, went crazy, licking our legs, swirling around in circles and reeking of well, dog. I had a quick COLD shower and was under the blankets in a doze sooner than you could say Vegemite.
38 hours ago I was just departing Dubai airport, most of the people gave me a suspicious look regarding my casual t-shirt and shorts attire. I heard it was uncommon to have your arms uncovered, even in the airport. I shrugged, It was hot, and I was in no mood to negotiate. Especially when I was confusing my brain enough with the fact that I should be sleeping, not walking around looking for the next gate at that time.
45 hours…. I was stuffing my face with (my last) classically huge pizza- the type you can only get in Rome; a simple and pleasing Margherita, fresh out of the oven. There was no triple bacon, megameat, cheese crust, hambuger stuffed, meatlover pizza in Rome (that I could find anyway), sorry to disappoint
A week ago… Was I checking out the Collessem? the Spanish steps at Spagna, the great St. peters Basilica or the Trevi fountain-nestled away in the backstreets of Rome?
I was looking in the Ghetto of Rome; half lost, half exhilarated – but determined not to drag out the city map and risk looking like just ‘another ‘ tourist.
What were we searching for exactly?
We had traveled across to the other side the world, taken three conjoining flights in the space of 48 hours, walked down unfamiliar streets and fallen victim to the dreaded lag of jet. All to find our feline friends, that had no notion of becoming our friends to begin with.
My mum came up with the idea; she had seen street cats dash through the autumn leaves at dusk behind our cozy rental apartment. It had been a mission ever since to find them.
“Seek and ye shall find”, it had been my Dad’s definitive saying for over a decade.
And find them we did.
We stumbled across them, almost by accident.
Ruins, as many did in Rome; just appeared out of NOWHERE! you’d seriously be walking down a normal street and then BAM, Colosseum. Completely and utterly dominating your view, you’d think you were standing in a postcard. Colossal (as the name implies) and oftentimes chipped to nothingness in places- most structures were just remnant slabs of marble, shells of their former splendor.
Absolutely breathtaking nonethless…
Anyway, back to the ghetto cats.
The ruins I’m talking about were nestled in the city centre, a tad tricky to find by foot, to be honest we just kept walking around until we found them.
Eventually we stumbled upon the theater of Pompey, located at Palazzo della Cancelleria. Formally a large wooden (later decorated with marble), multipurpose theater in which formal meetings took place in the late republican era. The theater’s claim to fame is tied to Julius Caesar; the authoritarian and epic dictator (also the namesake of the decadently creamy salad), and the place of his assassination in 44BC. Nowadays an olive tree has been planted to mark the place whereupon he met his untimely end.
You wont find this in the Wikipedia site, but the Theatre of Pompey; whilst a marvelous site to look at, today serves a more particular and rather, residential purpose.
Whilst the ruins are blocked off to the public, on the west side there’s a small stairwell with a sign, the face of a cat imprinted on it’s front. The stairs lead down to a small shack-like shelter, and the strong smell of musk mixed in with heated air hit’s you in the face as you walk inside. A second afterwards the smell of cat becomes almost overpowering. The site is now home to over 200 individual cats. A handful of volunteers scuttle around, mewling after the cats like felines themselves. Whilst a small lady with jet black hair tied in a ponytail, welcomes us with the trace of some European accent I can’t quite place.
“Welcome to Roma del Gato, we are a non-forprofit charity shelter with over 150 cats, running for over 10 years...”
For 30 lovely, smelly minutes I was living the life of a cat lady.
Cats in their tens, twenties and thirties crowded in every nook and cranny of this small hut like shelter, the mewling, purring and meowing was like nothing you could ever imagine. All cats miraculously managed to ignore each other, even though they were basically top and tail next to each other. And all completely clean, well fed and content (well, as content as a cat could be I suppose).
It was incredible, my mum for one was in love the instant we set foot in the door. She bought an 18Euro top and was reluctant to leave. And as if the cats knew she was helping them out, one large tortoiseshell actually CLIMBED on her and stayed in her arms, a paw over her shoulder! as if to give her a hug and say ‘thanks’! I’ve never seen a cat do that before, and the other cat-loving visitors eyed on with apparent jealousy.
Well, my mum is more than keen to go back to Rome now.
Well, as we did throw our coins in the Trevi… It looks like this won’t be the last time I visit the Eternal city.
So it’s currently 3:12am, I went to bed at 12:00am. The darkness of this room cannot ease my restless mind, the gradual, predictable, annoyance of ticking from my wall clock does no justice to the buzzing that’s going on in my head. I was hoping to get some shut-eye before being rudely awakened by my alarm at 6:00am, but the vision of waking up at some (normally) non-ridiculous time of 8:00am (and miss his flight arriving) haunts me. And thus, my mind does the opposite of sleeping and insists I stay awake through the whole ordeal.
Trust me, I tried falling back into peaceful sleep. Covered in the warmth of these blankets, but everytime I do, I see him. In my minds eye, it happens over and over. A Groundhog Day of a memory, his incredible face, the smile of an angel, the rapid and urgent rattle of suitcase against tile, awkward strides closing the meagre space that keeps us apart.
Then, the warmth that spreads from his arms around me, as I find the space where my face fits onto the crook of his neck.
We stay there, we remain like that. In eachother’s arms. Obvilious to everyone’s glares or glances. I can’t let him go, I feel the heat and sweat on my own skin spread. I don’t care, in that moment I never want it to end.
It’s all in the struggle of the long distance relationship.
I’ve known him for a little over 7 months, the first time I met him was April this year, when I travelled to Auckland for 5 days in the break of my University mid semester (I was supposed to be studying, hah)
And those magical 5 days went much too quickly, as soon as I had arrived it seemed as if I was headed homebound.
Time does no favours, nor makes considerations for need or want.
He simply sits at his grand table, observing the world through dark spectacles. Countless souls ask for it to speed up, slow down for more or less. But, like a tight lipped pensioner, he is stoic to the pleas; hording the time he has at his disposal. Time is time, or it is up. There is no fast forward or rewind.
So in the silence of this night, I gingerly wait. Wait for the sun to make his gradual dance across the sky and at the first notion of daylight, I’ll be a vassal to the rushing of my own heartbeat. Soon the world will wake, and the kookaburras will laugh at the silliness of their song. The lorikeets’ call will fill the dawn with vibrance whilst the magpie’s melody will provide the body and form of an incredible few weeks to come.
The aim of this post is to ‘Identify’ your audience. And what better way to ‘identify’ than to write something that would appeal to my own Identity!
No one knows you better than yourself… I for one, always found the topic of personalities extremely intriguing.
Countless people have said around and about me throughout my lifetime;
‘WHAT, you’re only x years old?!’
‘You’re actually very wise for your age’
So what was I like as a kid?
During the early years of school, when peers of my age were out tagging buildings and throwing eggs at Halloween….
I was sitting at home, or out in the garden collecting grasshoppers and climbing trees. For every wall I successfully climbed, I must have fallen down twice to make up for it. (And I still have the scars to prove it!)
Skipping school was the next behavior that seemed to dominate the minds of the ‘cool kids’.
Not to mention engaging in some form of unspoken play-plague where girls and boys were considered something not dissimilar from hideous diseases to one another.
Touching a member of the opposite sex (unintentionally or otherwise) would raise siren-like wails of ‘ewwwww cooties!’.
I (still) don’t understand the concept. But then again; I was the one eating food that had fallen to the ground.
I still do.
Guilty as charged.
Then came the awkward highschool years… oh boy.
Year 9 was quite possibly the worst year of my life (considered a Sophomore in the US.) You Americans and your strange language conventions *shakes head*.
I don’t quite know what it was, perhaps the flood of estrogens, growth hormone and testosterone of the general population in grade 9, that made everyone downright pains in the ass. Everyone was too busy caring about the length of their skirts and the number of abdominal muscles they could get on their obliques- to even consider the trials and tribulations of others. It was around this time that I started reading, alot.
HighSchool to me was filled with (sigh) cliques, the goths, the nerds (this is where I fit in), the jocks, the smartasses, the people that were so good looking that it hurt (the worst part was, it wasn’t Twilight. It was real life).
Year 9 was the year I was trying to find mine, I was drifting from place to place and never fit in. When that fateful day came where I sat with my fellow nerds (yes, I’m proud to own it) It just felt…. right. Like I was comfortable here, I liked what they spoke about and what they stood for, like a game of Tetris….. It just…. fitright (And I’ve never regretted it! It’s thanks to them that I’m in University!)
Flash forward to now ,where it’s no longer about avoiding the opposite sex, but rather about getting as many sexual partners as possible in the limited time where drunken consciousness predominates over rational thought.
Observe, the fascinating behavior of the usually timid male, who, after one or two (or three or four) beverages has attained this whole new persona. Watch as he goes through the several,(rather repetitive)processes of interaction, buying of drinks, offering them to his target (and target’s friends), watch as he singles out a particular prey, witness the awkward dancing and an attempt of a ‘hook up’ with his chosen target.
Watch him fail.
….and return to the bar, asking the bartender for another round, whence he repeats the cycle all over again.
Reflecting back,I found this somewhat ‘chemical’ process of the something-teen fascinating, and how we classify ourselves to others, how others classify us. It began simply as a mutually exclusive group; Girls were girls, Boys were boys, they both had germs and were to never mingle.
Introduce hormones into the Venn diagram and BAM you have cliques, comparisons, hook-ups and experimentation, blurring the lines between socially acceptable and downright disgraceful. Add the legal (or illegal) effects of drugs such as alcohol as a catalyst and you speed up these reactions and interactions tenfold.
I often have these thoughts, these comparisons….
Do you, or did you; have a group that you fit into? Do you still follow in the footsteps of your clique? Are you still looking for yours? Take a look at your friends, do you notice a similarity between them? Maybe not.
Though I do guarantee that there is a person or persons out there.You’ll find someone and share that perfect chemistry, just give it time.