You may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. There were two main causes for this. First, I had to deal with some personal issues (yes, again) which are still ongoing – actually, a person I love is having health problems, which is of course affecting me and my time since taking care of him is a priority.
Secondly, I have recently decided to create another blog apart from this one – which is totally dedicated to Travelling. Do not misunderstand me, I love this blog. It has been a place to vent and share experiences for over eight years BUT to be fair, it has also become a many-tentacled monster, tackling so many different categories and subjects that things were becoming too chaotic. This is why I decided to de-clutter a bit. I will continue to use this space to write personal stuff, such as opinion and lifestyle pieces, book and movie reviews, and articles about my own country – Malta, while having another blog to deal with my travel experiences and tips (of which I have many).
I hope there is no confusion, even though I admit that at the moment some things seem to be all over the place. The ‘Travel’ section of this blog is still there, yet slowly, I will start shifting articles about travelling from this blog to the new one, and then deleting the ‘Travel’ section from this site altogether. The Travel blog – Meandering Moonsong – is still in its infancy, but I am very very proud of it and happy to be starting on this new venture.
I would be happy if you could join me for this journey and follow my new blog too. Please take a look at it by clicking the link above. I hope you like it as much as I love to travel! Let’s go adventuring!
Finally, spring is here! Looking at the calendar, the start of spring is widely acknowledged to be on the 20th/21st of March, that is, that time when light and darkness, the length of the day and night, are of equal measure. After that day, we start to realize that sunset is taking place earlier, and sunrise starts to be further off as well. During this time, the weather slowly starts to get warmer, the grass looks a little bit greener, and a large number of fruits and vegetables come in season.
Unfortunately, it is also a time when allergies seem to get stronger. Our bodies contain toxins, regardless of how healthy we are. This is why spring is also the time to flush out these toxins and one natural way to do this is by eating a lot of those greens which are in season, in order to cleanse our digestive system.
Broad beans, also known as fava beans, butter
beans, or ‘ful’ in Maltese, contain
an amazing amount of nutrients. In addition to a lot of fibre, they also
contain Vitamin K, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and the energy-providing
Vitamin B. Ful also contain folate,
which participates in building cells and metabolising amino acids. It is
essential for growth (therefore needful for children and young people, not to
mention pregnant women), cell regeneration, and the production of healthy red
blood cells. Added either as a side-dish or mixed into an entrée, they
definitely add a boost, not only to your energy levels, but also to your
Broad beans are the main ingredient in a popular Maltese spring dish – this is Pea and Broad bean soup, that is, ‘soppa tal-ful’ in Maltese, which is generally prepared with oats, vegetable stock, onions, peas, broad beans, milk, mint, parsley, and other herbs.
Artichokes (qaqoċċ in Maltese) are another spring vegetable. These are very
beneficial as they can help in lowering blood sugar and blood pressure levels,
and prevent inflammation. In particular, artichokes are enemies to ‘bad’
cholesterol and heart diseases, in that they not only reduce lipoproteins
(which carry cholesterol in the blood stream), but also increase bile
production in the liver, which in turn gets rid of cholesterol in the body.
Artichokes also bolster the immune system, as well as being a rich source of
fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and other
beneficial minerals. Since they have the highest antioxidant levels out of all
vegetables, they are also a primary means of defence against the effects of
free radicals that can lead to a number of dangerous conditions, such as the
creation of cancerous masses.
Filled artichokes, or ‘qaqoċċ mimli’ in Maltese, is a tasty Maltese recipe popular in spring, which consists of filling the leafy artichokes with a mix of tasty ingredients. The ones most commonly used include Maltese crumbled loaf, anchovies, tuna, garlic, capers, olives, and parsley.
For those who are not much into vegetables, strawberries might prove a tastier alternative. In addition to antioxidants, strawberries are rich in Vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, dietary fibre, and a number of other important nutrients. This heart-shaped fruit is also good for the skin, since its acidic nature causes it to remove excess sebum, that is, excess oil on the skin. Strawberry juice is also very effective in lightening skin blemishes and acne scars, and it can also be used in face masks to nourish and revitalize the skin. There are only 49 calories in one cup of strawberries, making strawberries a tasty and healthy way to lose weight, The health benefits of the strawberry also include improved eye care, proper brain function, relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, and various cardiovascular diseases.
Generally, I prefer to eat fresh strawberries with milk or cream, however there are also those who eat them dipped in wine, not to mention children, who seem to prefer the old-fashioned strawberry and almond tart. In the end, of course, it is only a matter of personal taste. Strawberries, for me, carry the taste of spring. Chilled and with no extra ingredients or embellishments, they are the perfect snack.
Social media – the magical realm where everyone leads perfect lives. Of course they do – we can see that amazingly well from their beautifully photoshopped photos, their accurate honey-dripping statuses, and the rants and barely-literate blogs cluttering up every individual’s personal space.
Everyone is happy all the time, every couple is truly in love and not afraid to show it, all singles are glad to be so and wouldn’t change it for the world, and everyone is rich, popular and beautiful.
And we are all having the time of our lives. All the time. Fun, fun, fun.
Have you noticed the sarcasm yet?
Social media – the universe of moaners, internet trolls, keyboard warriors and fake accounts. Everyone is there, and we bloody well know it. Complaints are the order of the day, every day. Actually every minute.
Now, I’m the first to admit that certain posts are justified. For example, unless a shopkeeper, vendor, or restaurant owner sees a negative review on travel websites or Facebook consumer rights pages, they often wouldn’t even realise that they have a problem. This is because most people seem to be wary of approaching these businessmen directly on the premises, but find no compunction in going all out with the name-and-shame game when they’re hidden behind a screen.
Yes, social media is a wonderful tool to get in touch with people, organise events, and promote all kinds of services. However, realistically, it also tends to promote aggressive behavior, as well as – in my opinion – depression. Like any physical mob, the hoard of faceless people on social media grabs every opportunity to jeer, ridicule, taunt, and even insult others, be they acquaintances or total strangers.
Is it repressed anger? Nerves? Stress? Or is it simply the blind feral urge of a primate stripped of all the norms and civilized ideologies society has burdened him with? Do most of us actually find relief on social media? Is it the quasi-orgasmic pleasure of presenting some perfect fake persona owning the impeccable unblemished life we should possess? Or the immense satisfaction of venting our displeasure at not having such a perfect life, whenever we can? Is social media the new opium of the people? A way of escaping from the communally-approved, politically-correct performance which makes up our daily lives?
Is social media as fake as we make it out to be? Or is it actually a way for our deepest darkest self to make itself manifest? And what does that say about us?
Anyways, there you have it – society in miniature. The drama, the frustrated all-out fights on public walls, the impassioned Bible-long statuses written furiously to betraying exes, the photos full of duck faces and bathroom-portraits, the jealousy-inspired photos curiously uploaded EXACTLY five minutes after yours (just enough time to pose and airbrush the pic quickly with a mobile app). And what about the wedding count-downs, very expensive (and fake) engagement photoshoots, baby pictures which continue to crop up long after one’s child has reached his teenage years, and multiple videos of our dogs/cats/etc performing weird noises and coincidentally showing-off our Costa coffee cup (so classy) in the background? Not to mention illuminating online usernames like ‘JohnilKink’, ‘ShanaiaTaXonBISS’, or ‘MarkIllajf’. Creative, elegant and classy…right!?
And what to say about memes? Those funny, titillating, irrational, irritating posters you see cropping up everywhere? Especially when someone wants to say something to someone else, without actually saying it.
Social media – the most entertaining, fascinating, absorbing, essential entity since the invention of sliced bread.
Personally, I prefer a good book and a cup of hot chocolate… but that’s just me!