My Mom vs Vegan

Hellllooooo Bloggers!

Sorry I missed a post last week, as I stated 2 weeks ago final exam week rolled around so I was consumed with studying. I’m done with the semester!! Phew! Survived an entire 1 1/2 weeks off vegan frozen foods, SCORE!

I have officially completed 3 weeks as a vegan and will be starting my 4th week, that was fast! It has become very second nature now, I know what groceries to buy, what to eat, and how to tackle fast foods (Taco Bell is Vegan fast food heaven).

So I am finally back home with my parents in Michigan, and I had to break the news to them that I have gone Vegan. So we were in a grocery store today, and I went straight to the organic food area to grab some almond milk coffee. My mom looks at me and goes “are you Vegan or something”? I look back and respond, “ Yea, actually have been for 3 weeks now”. I’ve never seen my mother in so much denial. She put 4 gallons of Milk in our cart, several packets of cheese, and cartons of butter. She’s going to make sure I’m not vegan, I just kept laughing at her and loading my cart with my own groceries. So yea, living at home is going to be a challenge in itself, especially since my mom is in major denial haha, she’s adamant that I’m going to die of starvation…

Honestly, the past 3 weeks living off a plant-based diet has probably been the best decision ever, and having to blog about it kept me going. My body feels a lot more energetic and light. I can have an entire vegan pizza and not feel groggy about it, best of both worlds! Won’t deny that it has been difficult in the beginning, but I highly recommend atleast trying, but more reflection to come later!

Tonight, we’ll be making Enchilada’s!! I’ll be posting my Vegan enchilada recipe soon! Thinking of starting an Instagram to add more pictures of my random creations, i’ll get back to you guys on that one!

PS: Here is a Buzzfeed link I hopped upon, check out those recipes!

BUZZFEED COMFORT FOODS

Stay Happy,

Preety 🙂

Week 2

Successfully completed my first week as a Vegan! This is actually the first time where I’ve gone an entire week without having some wild cravings for pizza or real cheese!! The past week has actually been really good, no fatigue or weakness bringing me down, and no feelings like I’ve been starving myself, which are issues i’ve dealt with before when I attempted to go Vegan. I primarily believe that the fact i’m able to indulge in all the foods I would normally eat, I can still eat with the Vegan twist and it tastes EXACTLY the same! Except my coffee/ tea, it tastes SO much better with Coconut milk creamer, HEAVEN! OMG, also having that Chocolate Vegan cheesecake, it was delicious! Had the same texture and taste of normal cheesecake (from what I can remember).

With finals coming up next week, I decided to make a run to the Whole Foods Co-op after class today so I can survive the next week. I still have black beans left over from the previous week, I found canned crushed tomatoes and have whole grain pasta left over, so i’ll make homemade pasta sauce and have pasta/ tortilla pizza. My grocery primarily consisted of protein filled foods since that is what I ran out of in the past week. In order to sustain a Vegan diet, it’s vital to be conscious of protein intake.

This week I bought:

Daiya Key Lime Cheezecake (SO Zestyyy)

Guacamole spread

Whole Grain Sprouted Bagels

Daiya Vegan Greek Yogurt (8g of Protein)!

Daiya pepper jack shredded cheese

Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai (actually was quite tasty)

Tandoor Chef Samosa’s (the chutney is NOT vegan, so I won’t be eating that)

Svelte Organic Protein Shake (11g of Protein, completely vegan)!

Grand Total: $50.69

With final’s week, I’ll be eating easy and quick to make meals, so that is why I didn’t buy much in regards to preparing something from scratch.  With the food I have left over, and the new groceries I should be able to last the next 10 days.

Onto Week 2, let’s see how this goes!

Stay Happy,

Preety 🙂

Happy Blueberry Waffles

Good Morning Bloggers!!

This morning I decided to stray away from my typical bagel for breakfast and try something new. I’m a student, so there isn’t much time for me to indulge in cooking sometimes (even though I LOOOVE to cook). So I usually seek for alternative, healthier options of easy foods.

To my surprise, eating a Vegan breakfast can be just as quick and delicious as having a non-vegan breakfast, but it’s healthier because everything is plant based! YUM!

Waffles 

I used Van’s gluten free Blueberry waffles

For the Syrup, I used Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar :  beware it tastes much sweeter than raw maple syrup, so you can use less! (It’s also gluten free for those of you that have dietary restrictions based on health)

After toasting the waffles, I sprinkled on some ground cinnamon, added some shredded almonds, and topped it off with the syrup!

Tea

I boiled water and added a bag of Tazo organic Chai

While the tea was steeping, I poured about a tablespoon of So Delicious Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer– French Vanilla into the mug and whisked it with a fork until it became frothy

After about 5 minutes of steeping the tea in the pan, I poured it into my mug with the creamer and mixed it all with the same fork. I didn’t have to add any sugar because the creamer was naturally sweet!

My entire breakfast took about 10 minutes to “cook” and assemble, along with some studying while I was just waiting around.

10 minutes. That’s probably shorter than drive thru at any fast food chain!

Stay Smiling,

Preety 🙂

 

Week 1 Grocery List!

Alrighty, so last week was chaos for me, so actually being very cautious of my diet was a little difficult, but I did my best to incorporate a vegan meal whenever possible. I spent most of my time last week at the coffee shop, so I basically ate out ALOT! (Bad Preety, I know).

Well, since I currently reside in Pennsylvania, I do majority of my grocery shopping at Wegmans (I have fallen in love with Wegmans)! My favorite part is that I can make an account with them, and make my grocery list at home and the website will tell me the exact location it’ll be in the store and my estimated total, yay budgeting!

This week, I have decided to stick to black bean burritos, tortilla pizza, and tomato soup for my Lunch/ Dinner. For breakfast I stick to tea with a bagel and cream cheese!

Here is my grocery list for the week!

Breakfast

Thomas Thin Bagels

Daiya Strawberry Cream Cheeze

I’ll usually drink Chai tea or Green tea with my breakfast

Lunch

Black Beans

Organic Yucatan Guacamole

Tofutti sour cream

Chi-Chi’s whole wheat tortilla’s

GOYA Sugar Cane Juice

Dinner

Organic Marinara sauce

Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta

Imagine Organic Creamy Garden Tomato soup

Crushed Pineapple’s

GO Veggie dairy free Mozzarella cheese

My Total was—> $38.39

I was actually amazed when the cashier told me!!

Then, today, I decided to go on a mini adventure to some cute whole foods co-op store, and I hopped upon vegan cheesecake, I repeat, VEGAN CHEESECAKE! I haven’t had cheesecake in years!!! I also bought some vegan waffles, coconut nectar syrup, and vegan “greek” yogurt! My grand total here was $21.25.

All together, this week I spent $59.64 to feed myself, most of the items will last longer than a week, but I’m super excited to eat. Actually thinking of creating an Instagram to show off all my vegan creations! If you have any recipes, please do comment with the details, I’d love to try new things!

PS, I do eat my fruits and veggies, just didn’t have to restock on them much this week!

Recipes and pictures to follow for this week 🙂

Let’s do this,

Preety

30 Day Vegan Transition

Hello Fellow Bloggers!!

Sorry that I haven’t been posting much, especially to those that follow along with my posts! School has been keeping me swamped, and the time that I do have to write, my creative mind is turned off!! I’ll work on it, I promise!!

So last week, I was just casually scrolling through Facebook, something a lot of us are probably guilty of, and I came upon this video highlighting the reality of Dairy farms, and a few days later I saw several articles about the danger of honey bee extinction. The video and the articles continued to haunt me to the point where I decided I needed to make a change in lifestyle in order to become an advocate for these issues.

As many of you know, I have been a Vegetarian for about 10 years now, I also refrain from egg products but continue to consume dairy products, specifically because I love cheese, pizza, and tacos. With the increase demand of Vegetarian’s, it’s actually much easier to eat out and enjoy a meal. Yes, I still do get questioned about the why I chose to be vegetarian, oddly enough, I receive sympathy (like uhh, it was a personal choice not a punishment), and some still try to convince me to eat meat!

The main reason I chose to quit meat was because of the maltreatment of animals in the industry, followed by religious preferences. I LOVE animals, so seeing them losing their quality of life to become food for humans, no can do. Many will argue that me becoming a vegetarian won’t stop the slaughter houses, and all I reply is “atleast I’m not supporting or funding them either”.

So this brings me to dairy, as a young lady, Vitamin D is extremely important for our bone health— and dairy is a good provider of it, but MOST of our vitamin D actually comes from the Sun! THE SUUUUNNNN!!! I actually learned that fact in class, so yea it’s true! That’s why people who live more so in Northern climates (experience winter) have very low Vitamin D levels.

Also, Humans are the ONLY animals that drink milk of another animal. Like wouldn’t it be strange if you saw a dog drinking breast milk? Speaking of which, humans only produce milk after giving birth, all animals do. So that means, these cows in dairy farms are forcefully inseminated to carry a calf, which is then taken away from them after birth so the milk can be sold to who? Humans.

Oh and the calf? Males are either killed on the spot or sent to the slaughter house, females are kept to become the next milk producing machines. It’s a horrible cycle, and honestly, a man made “circle of life” for these animals.

Now if Human’s were treated as milk producing machines, we would have all sorts of ETHICAL issues, now wouldn’t we?

As a lady, I wouldn’t be okay if someone forcefully got me pregnant, carried that child for 9 months that had it taken away from me, and then has breast pumps attached to constantly drain all the milk out of me to SELL to someone else. Uhh, yea, I heard those breast pumps are painful, no way am I signing up for torture.

If you wouldn’t do it, why would you be okay forcing something that doesn’t even have a voice for itself to do it?

So yea, these thoughts have been circling in my mind for a week now, and I decided to slowly transition into a Vegan lifestyle because I will not support the maltreatment of animals.

Now I have to be VERY conscious about my food intake, especially for Protein and B12. That is why I have decided that I’ll share this journey with the WordPress community, and if anyone wants to join me can follow along!

I will place a disclaimer that I know I will slip up a few times, it’s normal and hard to completely take a food group out of my diet. That is why I am calling this the 30 day Vegan Transition and not a challenge or commitment, because I’ve done those before and failed by day 5 every time, haha. So leaving room for mistakes is the only way to actually create a change.

If you are interested in following me and joining me on this transition, I will be adding my grocery lists (with the grand total), recipes during my weekend meal prep sessions, and thoughts and feelings. I promise a once a week post, but sometimes may post more.

If you’re currently eating meat and are interested in becoming Vegan, I highly recommend you transition into Vegetarian and then slowly into Vegan.

If you are on strict medication regime, or have any health related issues, I HIGHLY recommend you talk to your physician before changing your diet.

I hope we all come out strong and achieve the goals we set forth at the end of the 30 days! Feel free to comment with any questions or concerns, the more people involved the more motivating it is to push through!

P.S.

I will be posting a grocery list and my meal prep recipes for this week soon, I’ll create a new Menu tab called “Vegan Transition”

Also here are some links if you’re just curious about what I’m talking about 🙂

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/becoming-a-vegetarian

http://freefromharm.org/dairyfacts/

I’m super excited!!

Happy Living,

Preety 🙂

The Girl with Dreams

“ Okay class, what do you remember about Amelia Earhart”?

The students blankly stared at their teacher, so silent you could hear a pin drop.

I was so frustrated, I know the answer, we just talked about her yesterday! The first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, oh how lucky she was!

“ Class, I will ask once more, who was Amelia Earhart”?

I opened my mouth, I will tell sir who Amelia Earhart is, yes I know the answer!

*thuddd*

“Sarina get up, if papa finds you sneakily listening to Tej’s class again, he will lock you in the house all day”

I slowly opened my eyes, my elder sister pushed me off my stool that I was standing on to listen to class.

“Mala di, I know who Amelia Earhart is, even Tej didn’t know, I need to tell Sir. If he knows how smart I am, he will convince papa to let me attend school”.

“ Sarina, mama wants you to clean the house and make food for Tej, let’s go home”

I respectfully called my sister Mala Di, which means sister, but she was never interested in the material I learned at school. During our walk home I told her all about Amelia Earhart, but she was not one bit intrigued, I don’t understand why.

Oh, let me introduce myself, I am Sarina. I am 9 years old and live in a small town in Nepal. It’s really nice in our town, lots of green trees, and you can see the mountains in a distance. I have a small family of 5 people- there is my papa, mama, Mala di who is 12 and Tej, my younger brother, who is 6 years old, and me. Our home is grey, made from cement with a yellow gate separating our home from the street made of stones. We have 3 rooms in our home, Mama and Papa sleep in one room, Tej has his own, and Mala di and I share a room. Mala di is getting married next month, so i’ll finally have my own room! The courtyard which is right by our gate is where guests come to drink tea and talk to papa, and there is small corner which is the outdoor kitchen where mama teaches Mala di and I how to cook different foods, it’s my least favorite place.

My day starts at 6am everyday, I wake up and make tea for Papa and Tej while Mala di makes them breakfast. Mama helps Tej get ready for school while Papa reads the newspaper. Papa and Tej leave at 8:30 to take Tej to school, and Mala di and I clean the house. I know class starts at 9, so when Mama and Mala di are talking marriage stuff, I sneak off to Tej’s school and find my secret stool to stand on and listen to class from the small window on the side, it’s at the perfect location because sir never sees me.

I started attending class with my stool a few years ago when Tej made a deal with me to let me do his class work so he could go play, how foolish he was to chose play over studies. I gladly took the offer, but I found that I needed to attend class in order to understand the homework. The next day, I found a stool outside the neighbor uncle’s gate, found the window which was part of Tej’s class, and have been attending class ever since. One day Papa found out that I had been doing Tej’s school work for him, and he took all the papers and told Mama to raise me like a woman. Since that day Papa watches Tej do his schoolwork everyday, so I don’t even get a chance to try helping.

I never understood why Tej was allowed to go to school and I wasn’t. I was much smarter and much more interested. Tej wanted to play all day, I wanted to learn but Papa always said that it’s too dangerous for a girl to go to school because no boy will marry me. I don’t want to be married, I want to be Amelia Earhart, or that one lady on TV, what’s her name? AH, Michelle Obama or Priyanka Chopra. I want to read books to little kids, listen to heartbeats of older people. I wanted to do something more than cook and clean all day, it’s so boring!

It was not always like this, Mala di got to go to school until she was 7 but everyone in the town told papa that no one would marry her if she was smarter than their sons, so that was the end of school for Mala di. I never got to go to school, sit in one of those wooden desks and wear those bright ribbons in my hair, oh how much fun it would be to tell sir who Amelia Earhart was and be placed in the front desk, it would be the best day of my life.  I want to be a teacher, I want to be called Madame, I’ll never teach them how to cook or clean, but I’ll teach them mathematics, history, science, all those wonderful subjects. Those were my thoughts before sleeping everyday.

One day Papa came home with a bag from the local shop, “Sarina beta, look what I have for you”. I quickly ran to Papa, I could feel Tej was jealous that papa bought me something and not him. I opened the bag and it was a new sari? “ but Papa, I don’t know how to tie a sari. I asked for books”

“ Sarina, books are for boys, this sari will look very good on you. No one will say no to  my beautiful daughter”

“Say no? Papa, what do you mean?”

“Sarina’s Ma, take her inside and have her wear her grandmother’s gold jewelry, the guests will be arriving soon”

I knew what was happening,  this happened with Mala Di too. Papa was arranging my marriage without even asking me. I didn’t want to get married yet. I wanted to go to school, I wanted to be a teacher, I want to be more than ordinary. I don’t want to get married. These thoughts were going in my head as Ma put the black stuff on my eyes,  and bright red lipstick on my lips. I looked so weird, I didn’t want this.

Ma gave me a hug, and I started crying,

“ Mama please, I don’t want to get married. I will stop going to Tej’s school, I will stop learning. I will stop dreaming of being a teacher, please Mama, please tell Papa I don’t want to get married.”

“ Sarina, you aren’t getting married tomorrow. Papa is finding you a nice boy then once that boy is done with school you will be married, this is a nice boy. He went to college, they say he works with computers. Sarina, you will be able to see a computer when you get married! They aren’t asking for much from us either. We don’t have to buy them a car  they just ask that you know how to cook, clean, respect your elders, and they want us to  buy him a gold watch. That is all. You are very fortunate that Papa found you such a nice family, just remember to act shy and respectful.”

I didn’t have much to say because Mama was on Papa’s side, like always. Mama made me cover my face and take tea out for the boy and his family, he looked weird. He was very skinny and tall with a full beard. His mom was very fat with short curly hair, I think the rings were stuck on her fingers because they seemed as she tried to take them off but couldn’t. His dad was short and skinny with glasses larger than his face, his head was bald too.  I learned, that they lived across town, which meant I wouldn’t be able to attend class anymore with my stool, what would I do? How would I go to school now? They have to say no!

* smash*

Oops? Perfect time to drop the cup of tea near his mother, now she will never say yes. She seemed like the boss of the family. I will not get married now, I will continue going to school!

I didn’t get to talk to anyone, Papa asked me to pick up the tea cups and return to Mama. After a few minutes they left with smiles on their faces, this was bad news.

“Sarina’s Ma, our job in finally done. Mala will be married next month, and they accepted Sarina into their family. She will be married off with Mala, we won’t have to double our expenses, one wedding for both our daughters!”

WHAT?! NEXT MONTH!? I DROPPED THE TEA CUP, HOW DID SHE NOT SAY NO?! We are learning about Mother Theresa next month, I can’t be married yet!!!

I am only 9 years old, I know how to cook, clean, and now will be married off to a man whom I don’t know and is much older than me. My new mother will be fat with rings stuck on her finger, and my father will have glasses larger than his face. Who knows, maybe my new husband will bring me books to read, or teach me how to use the computer. Or maybe I can read some of his old books to learn something, maybe getting married wouldn’t be so bad? Papa was handing out sweets to the entire street, this must be a good thing.

I don’t know how to feel because I have never seen Papa so happy and proud of me, this is what Papa wanted. This is how I am to make my parents proud, this was the purpose of my life. As a dutiful daughter, I shall oblige. Maybe in my next life I can go to school, learn about Mother Theresa, and become a teacher. Maybe I’ll know more than just the history of Amelia Earhart.  If a woman could fly a plane across the Atlantic Ocean, then in some lifetime I can go to school. Just Maybe.

*** DISCLAIMER: All characters are fictional along with the plot; however, this story is a reality for many girls around the world***

To learn more about Women’s right, to be involved, or spread awareness please visit: http://www.womenforwomen.org/what-we-do

When you fall, get right back up.

For the past few months, I’ve been living on my own because I currently attend a school out of state. I learned a lot about myself as an individual, and I have listed the top 10 things I’ve learned while living alone:

  1. I’m very dependent
  2. My mind is weak
  3. I’m lazy
  4. I don’t stick to my to-do list
  5. I’m an impulsive shopper
  6. I can’t balance my life
  7. I am more Type A than type B personality
  8. I underestimate myself
  9. Cooking and cleaning is my therapy
  10. Nature is the best way to connect to God

I always saw myself as the independent type, enjoy the company of others on my own time, but mostly enjoy me time and having my own space. Living alone for the past 4 months has really showed me a lot about myself, especially that I’m VERY dependent on my family and friends. I’ve felt alone and crazy a multitude of times and always needed someone to talk to. If  I stumbled upon some problems with my car or kitchen, I quickly called up my parents to ask for help. I’ve never face-timed so much than I did in the past 4 months. It’s really opened my eyes that once I thought I was an independent woman but in reality I needed to be surrounded by people I loved to remain sane and perform daily functions.

Building off of learning about my dependency, I also learned that i’m not as mentally strong as I thought I was. The past 4 months have really pushed me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I learned that I struggle with maintaining a balance with all 3 of those, especially mentally. I NEVER KNEW I WAS PRONE TO ANXIETY! I let my life revolve around school, instead of making school just an aspect of my life. Before and after every exam, I would have butterflies in my stomach, constantly thinking about the exam and the questions, calculating my grades. It got to the point where all I could even think and talk about was school. Even though I have been working on it since I’ve realized the struggle, it’s not completely gone. Currently i’m awaiting my grades for my final exam, and occasionally the thoughts of the grades get me stiff and lost in numbers. It’s a challenge to constantly remind myself to just let things be, but it is something i’ve been actively  working on.

In regards to my emotional and physical fitness, I would like to say they go hand in hand. Since i’ve indulged my life in school, I’ve sacrificed my exercise, healthy eating, and obviously thinking before I act (sometimes). My emotions have remained somewhat intact, but the last time I tried exercising I was dragging myself across the floor reaching for my water bottle.

In all, I have lost my sense of self. I’ve always thought that I had the basics of life covered, and I can move forward to work on the small details. Obviously that isn’t the case. There have been times where I felt so low that I was convinced I was heading into a depression. If I didn’t have my friends, family, or culture to refer to, I don’t know where I would be today.

I never really knew how to define my personality, so I just left it as a balance between Type A and Type B. Man was I wrong. I needed things to organized in a certain way, had to have all my materials in a specific order and have everything planned out for the day in order to feel accomplished. I didn’t follow my time limits and completed the work regardless of how much sleep I was going to sacrifice. I became VERY particular about my work, if I didn’t have the proper pen or pencil, I went out and bought it. Sticky notes had to be a particular color for each subject, and I wouldn’t use another color if they ran out. I really feel like having that outlook set me back quite a bit with getting my work completed in a smart manner. I’ve been very far from relaxed until I came back home for the holidays and kept sleeping like I hadn’t slept in months.

Also, the city that I live in doesn’t have any temples. Going to a temple allows me to have my alone time with God, just time to disconnect and listen to the advice he has for me. Not having that easily accessible has been quite a difficulty, but I learned to work my way around it. Nature. If I truly believe God is in everything, resides in every object and living being, Nature was the best way to get my alone time with him. I would go to the nearby beach, and just watch the sunset while I listened to the waves. The world is one amazing creation with every fine detail worked out by the creator. I don’t know how he/she knew what to do, or how to make things work but they did it, flawlessly. I used my mornings and evenings to listen to and read scriptural hymns, which have helped guide me to a path of sanity and peace. I’m amazed at the impact my cultural and religious background has on every aspect of my life, it’s no joke that having a peaceful mind creates a peaceful life- have control of your mind and you will have control of your life. Nature, Yoga, and Meditation has helped me gain back my sense of self, reflect on my mind, and gain back the control I’ve had on my thoughts.

I touched up on details for some of the 10 things, but not all because most are quite self explanatory. The reason I went ahead and wrote this post was for 2 reasons, the first being that I can go back and reference a low point in my life and use it as a reference to how far i’ve progressed. Second being, offer some hope to anyone else feeling lost, frustrated, and losing their sense of self. There are things that I haven’t shared with anyone because I truly feel like sometimes they aren’t understanding what I’m mentally going through, or the struggle. My family and friends have encouraged me, provided me with practical thoughts, but sometimes all I needed was someone to just listen to me and not try to “fix” me.

I don’t think something is wrong with me, I am NOT defected, I just let my external stressors gain control of my mind, and take over my sanity. In the fast paced, overachieving society that we live in today, we are all at risk of losing our sense of self. I think most of us have, we just haven’t realized it. It’s extremely important to disconnect from everything in life, and just close your eyes and focus on a higher purpose. Listen to your breathing, listen to the rain falling. Stop doing everything, and use your senses to experience the wonders of this world, who knows- you may learn something about yourself that you never even knew.

As I use the last few weeks of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 to create a stronger, determined, and “bulletproof” version of myself, I urge my readers to do the same. What is something you want to achieve in the next year? Reflect on your life, not the materialism or physical aspects. Think of the days when you were a kid, what were some things you wanted to do when you became older? Did you do them? Reflect and learn about yourself, and work toward being the best version of you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Become mindful of your thoughts, focus on a higher purpose, and I promise you that you’ll achieve any goal you set for yourself. It all starts with our mind.

Love, Laugh, and Breathe,

Preety

Mahi

The best friend I’ve always wanted.

I never thought I would learn the meaning of pure and selfless love from my dog. From the day we had brought her home from the breeder, she was a handful- a stubborn little rascal. Her personalty never changed, she knew who to listen to and who she could ignore. She understood who will give her the most food, and who would catch onto her sneaky tactics. She had a personality that fit in with the family, that is what made her so unique. Mahi, Mahi Mahal. That is what we named her, i’ve always told people she was named after the Mahi Mahi fish but in all honesty, I named her after one of my favorite characters from an Indian soap opera.

The loss of a pet is equivalent to losing a family member, the pain, the sorrow, the void it all seems to never go away. What’s worse is the feeling of losing your best friend, your baby. The first day Mahi came home, I was the one who slept on the laundry room hardwood floor only to wake up to a puffball that took over my pillow and blanket. From random car rides, study sessions, taco bell runs to hide and seek, snow ball fights, and cartoons, Mahi shared every moment with me for the past 7 years. She was there to eat coconuts and oranges with, and she was there when we just sat on the grass and thought about life. She always knew what to do in the situation.

You never really grasp onto how much that life meant to you until they are gone. I would always share stories about Mahi, and her stubborn attitude. Not letting me park the car in the garage by just sitting in front of the car like she’s in a protest that I didn’t take  her with me, or howling and whimpering louder and louder until she could run freely around the neighborhood with her other dog friends. She always knew how to get what she wanted.

If you made fun of her, or say something mean, she would give you the most dramatic attitude and ignore anything and everything that you say when you try to communicate with her. Once I made fun of how fat she had gotten, and she gave me the most evil look, didn’t even eat cheese from me (and that was her favorite treat). I spent at least an hour trying to get her attention before she finally caved it. Now that’s gone.

It’s hard entering home without someone to greet you with excitement and happiness every time. It’s hard having to readjust your daily routine because your dog is no longer a part of your life. We had to put down Mahi about a month ago due to serious health issues that greatly hindered her quality of life. I’ve always been against having to put a pet down, and I never thought I would have to make that decision and that too so soon. The morning we made the decision was when I walked in on Mahi laying in her own urine because she had lost all strength and feeling in her back and legs. We both knew it was time and shared a moment in my arms with tears and silence.

I’ll never forget those blue eyes and spoke to you, and the warm, loving soul that brought joy and unity within our family.  This blog comes with a very heavy heart. I know Mahi’s physical presence is gone from this Earth, but I continue to search for her soul, and I fail to find that connection with others. Mahi never let me feel alone during my bad days, and always accompanied during the good days, and now I have to learn to conquer  everyday without her, and that in itself has been the hardest challenge for me this month. School has been keeping me busy, especially since I have moved away from home, but there are several moments I keep to myself thinking how much Mahi would have enjoyed it or brings back a memory with her. I avoid sharing my sorrow with my friends and family because I don’t want to be seen as the girl that continues to weep, because i’m most certainly not. I don’t think i’ll ever be able to overcome this loss. Mahi wasn’t just my dog, she was my best friend, my baby, my sister, and companion. She was with me during the difficult high school drama, and challenging pre-med years of undergrad. She probably learned more science than I did during out study sessions. She was one of a kind, a quick learner, great cuddle-er, and hilarious yoga partner. I’m sure her soul is living up the life, and I hope i’ll be able to meet her again someday. Until then, i’ll continue to search for something to fulfill that void in my life because nothing can replace her, but I know she wouldn’t want me sad, and that too because of her.

Something i’ve learned from Mahi is what true love really feels like, it wasn’t a boy that taught me this, It was my dog. She taught how it feels to love something and how it feels to be loved without expectations or materialistic things. It was pure and real. I’ll always be forever grateful to her for that. Always.

As i conclude this post, I urge all pet owners to hold your friend a little close, tell them you love them, and spend time with them. There is that saying that your pet is just a part of your world, but for them you are their world. I didn’t understand how big of a part Mahi played in my life until I lost her, and I wish I could have spent more time with her throughout the years. I wish life didn’t throw such curveballs, but that’s the only way we can grow stronger and develop. Whatever you do, never take your pet for granted. From something as simple as a fish to as sophisticated as a horse. They have souls residing in them, just like we do, and they deserve the same love and happiness we all do. So please do that.

I hope Mahi lived the life she wanted, her short 7 years on this earth changed me in a way I can never put into words, but I hope i was able to help her grow and learn something beyond tricks during her time with me. I’ll always miss my white, fat, fluffball.

I hope you take time to think about what you have learned from your pet, and what you hope your pet can know from you. Take my experience as a lesson, the clock is ticking and we don’t realize it until it’s too late. I always wish for one more hug with Mahi, just one more.

3/18/09-8/31/16 ❤

Send your pets some love from me,

Preety.

Cusco, Peru

Hello Bloggers!

Sorry that I have been missing for the past month! I actually got stumped with final exams and the trip to Cusco! I finally have some time to gather all my materials and write you a lengthy blog post about my experience. So here it is!

In early May, I was given the opportunity to volunteer with MEDLIFE in Cusco, Peru. During my time in Cusco, I kept a small journal to document my experiences and today I have decided to type out my journal into the blog! Before I start my journal, I would like to give a little background about MEDLIFE and how I became involved. MEDLIFE is actually an acronym for Medicine, Education, and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere. I heard about the organization from a Facebook friend that actually attended a different university. After learning more about MEDLIFE and the work they do across South America, I was inspired to open a chapter in my university. Therefore, I talked to my close friend and we took the initiative to bring MEDLIFE to Wayne State. As a chapter, we not only focused on fundraising money for the clincs abroad, but we worked as a team to create an impact in our local community, Detroit. After graduating, I finally found some time to see the work abroad and experience, first hand, the impact we students make in the lives of those living in Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and New Delhi, that is when I decided to sign up for a mobile clinic trip in Cusco, Peru.

Day 1: May 7,2016

The flight landed at 9am, and the first thing I learned about the locals is that they are extremely smart! One local read the name tag of my suitcase and MEDLIFE from my sweatshirt, and he tried to convince me that he was from MEDLIFE. But I’m smarter than that, and I was able to convince him I wasn’t from MEDLIFE and politely asked him to go away. The bus ride to the hotel was interesting, the roads here are made from cement and stones, which makes it very difficult to navigate in. The city is small, almost everything is walking distance. There is a lot of history in the city! the Incan’s fought the Spaniard’s several times, there were several wars taken place on the land I’m standing in right now! Hopefully we learn more during the city tour. The hostel is very nice, I mean obviously not 5 star, but it is clean and the staff is extremely friendly. Showers are amazing, but since there is not a central heating system and the buildings are made from cement, it gets really cold here, especially since it is their winter! We stole a couple of heaters we found from an open closet and plugged them into our room, they sort of help with the frigid cold. We were also greeted with a local tea called Mate de Coco, which is used to help with altitude adjustment. It tastes just like green tea, I love it! But I also think it’s a drug because online it stated that the leaves have some alkaloids in it and they are used in the process of making cocaine. So if I got drug tested right now, I would test positive for cocaine… even though I never had it -_-. Not sure how true that is, but oops? I’m loving the locals! I accidentally started speaking French with one dude, but I caught myself when I realized he wasn’t responding. Google Translate is really helping a lot with reading menus and conversing. Overall, I’m excited for the next week- so much to learn! Today was mostly rest day, I need to convert my money. They said the best rate is at the main square, so tomorrow I’ll hit that up!

Day 2: May 8, 2016

Woke up in the morning to the sound of fireworks and the rays of the sun, 7:30am! Had a beautiful tour of Cusco. The city of Cusco has so many temples because the Spaniard’s believed that if they killed the God’s, they could control the people showing they are more powerful than God. The main plaza translates into “cry place” because it used to be a cemetery for those that were killed during the wars. For one of the church’s, the architecture of Peruvian’s and Spaniard’s is evident. The Spaniard’s used cement, whereas the Peruvian’s used rocks and stones. Rule of thumb, never run in the streets of Cusco, the stones are slippery! I fell right onto my knees. There is delicious Peruvian ice cream at Quchantas. The process of how they make it is really cool. You first choose a base, then a fruit, and then a topping. I picked Mate, piña, and Nutella. IT WAS DELICIOUS! They “chop” the ice cream and mix it all up. For lunch we had El Cuadro, the vegetarian lasagna was pretty much a pot full of cheese, extremely heavy food. I decided to skip dinner and drink tea, which sort of helped with the groggy food coma. Sunday mass is extremely important to all the locals, the city was alive! We visited a cathedral, which was very exciting to see the differences in church architecture compared to the US. After the tour, we met everyone in the hotel and created a group chat. One student is of Cuban descent, and he was telling us stories about how strict the Cuban government is with their people.. No rock music is allowed, no long hair, no internet, and multiple massacres. There is also something called “youth island” where they put cement on feel and drown people. I really learned to appreciate all of the things we take for granted in the US. I also learned that Indian music and culture is really celebrated here. Mateo, the person who is in charge of the clinics loves Indian food, culture, and he has read the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita! I found that amazing! One local girl I talked to was telling me how much she loves Hrithik Roshan, it’s astonishing to see how much Indian cinema is appreciated here! I bought this delicious candy from the market, it’s made from the purple corn. Tomorrow is a long day with the animals, I can’t wait!

Day 3: May 9, 2016

Today we went on a Reality tour, saw the communities we would be working in. It was a very interesting experience to see individuals live so high up in the mountains. The first area we saw was the MEDLIFE built Mama Wasi. It’s an area where pregnant women can stay with their families, and receive proper pre-natal care from the clinic right next to it. There are a total of 13 provinces in Cusco, all of which have only a one or two clinics. The largest problem in Cusco is Cancer. In all of Peru, there is only one cancer center which happens to be in Lima. Therefore, it costs a lot of money to receive treatment for cancer because the individuals would have to pay for their own costs, which includes traveling. For that reason, many people forget about their treatment and just wait to die. It is also very difficult for children with Leukemia because there aren’t many donors so the children end up passing away. Several individuals only donate blood if they are paid for it (and it’s usually just 1 unit), the children usually need 5-6 units of blood. Education in also a huge downfall. Some communities have the schools, but the communities higher up in the mountains only have primary education and that results in children having to travel hours to attend the next level of schooling. There are some state universities but for each one you have to pay 400 sols in Cusco ($1~ 3.31 sols). State universities are more competitive and teachers don’t get paid well, so private schools are better. In Cusco, there in only 1 university. For women, once they are married their educational careers are considered over because they have to stay at home to take care of the baby. In some instances, the husbands leave their wives and the women don’t have an education to fend for their family. Today we had our first group meeting, and the topic focused on medicine in the world and Peru. 40% of cancer cases in Peru are diagnosed at an advanced stage, so many don’t survive. In developed countries, 63% of the population has access to cervical screenings, whereas in developing countries 19% of the population has access to cervical screenings. During the mobile clinics the “risk” of the patient is categorized by color, red being the worst. We enjoyed touring the mountains and visiting the animal reservatory. In the reservatory, they shelter animals that were in the wrong hands, and eventually release them into the wild. Did you know the color red is actually made from beetle blood? Yea I saw it happen. We also visited the community where we will be building stoves! After dinner we had an amazing conversation with Mateo about culture, religion, and the impact youth make in this world! He gave me a list of books to read, he’s such an amazing individual. Clinic’s officially start tomorrow!

Day 4: May 10, 2016—- >FIRST DAY OF CLINIC’S!

Our first day of clinic’s was in a village about 40 minutes from the city. My first station was OBGYN and Triage after that. We set up the clinic in the “city hall” of the village, the room where OBGYN had their station was very dusty. It was evident that the room isn’t sanitary enough for pap smears. Locally pap smears are called papa Nicholas, I thought for the longest time that every lady had a husband named Nicholas (awkward).  There were forms regarding medical history and history of breast examinations, but the physician mostly asked the questions verbally. Something that I noticed is the hesitation the females had of practicing safe sex, many of the women did not find it necessary or important. One patient constantly denied the condoms the physician was offering her. Some common problems seen in women in the communities across Cusco include: HIV, urinary infections, and STD’s. I did not get to see anything exciting during OBGYN besides consulting. During triage I focused on reading the blood pressure using the blood pressure machine. The patients body temperature as well as weight were recorded as well by other volunteers. A problem I noticed was that the weight and temperature did not seem to be as accurate because they were taken with the clothes and shoes on, and the height was recorded by standing against a wall. High blood pressure did not seem to be much of a problem in the area, but the natives looked much older than they actually are. It was surprising to meet people my age already married with 2-3 kids and here I am still attending school! It was fun interacting with the local school children after the clinic and eating some Granadilla- a native, jelly like exotic fruit. The first clinic was chill and slow, but we saw a lot of patients! The meeting topic for today was Education, there were quite a few interesting and eye opening statistics that were mentioned, which include:

  • 17% of the world is illiterate
  • 75% of that 17% are women
  • 79.7% of women finish primary school
  • 88.6% of men finish primary school
  • In Peru, education is primarily for men, women are held responsible for all household chores.
  • 1, 300,000 (1.3 million) Peruvians are illiterate, 75% of those are older than 65.
  • For every 1 illiterate man, there are 5 women that are unable to read and write.
  • The official languages in Peru are Spanish and Quechua. In the jungle, the native communities have 50+ languages.
  • Teachers in Peru are now emphasizing to teach English, but there is no benefit for the kids because that language is never used in those communities.
  • When it comes to private vs public education, 79% of Peruvians believe private education is better than public education.
  • 38.2% of Peruvians have access to the internet, which can negatively affect much of the younger generation.
  • 98% of men have attended high school and 96.7% of women have attended high school.
  • 33.5% of Peruvian children work and 19.1% of teenagers are married.

There are a total of 580 schools in Cusco, 383 are public and 187 are private. But even with a large number of schools, 55% of the population believes that the teachers are not qualified to teach. 10% of all the public schools have infrastructure problems that disrupt the quality of learning for children. When it comes to subject comprehension, 24.5% of elementary students achieved learning in math and 36.5% of elementary students achieved learning in reading comprehension. Public education is free but there are problems in the school system,which also hinder development. Public schools are known to be overcrowded, 14.2% of total Peruvian Government spending is dedicated to the education system. As I had noted earlier, Public schools are located at a distance, especially those in the mountains. The continuous strikes in regards to teacher wages results in school being called off and students being deprived of their right to an education ( there is a very similar situation in Detroit, MI as well). Education can improve the quality of living by teaching the use of preventative care so students don’t engage in risky behavior. Also maternal and infant health improves if the mother receives the proper education about infant care.

After dinner, I had a nice talk with Mateo. We had a discussion revolving around religion, youth, culture, and the similarities across different cultures. Something I found extremely interesting is that a Greek astronomer had calculated the circumference of the Earth by calculating the angle of the shadow and distance between Alexandria and Syene. Eratosthenes, the astronomer, realized the angle of the shadow during the summer solstice (June 21) was 7.2 degrees. With calculations, he figured out that 7.2 degrees is 1/5oth of a full circle, so he thought that if he could measure the distance between the 2 cities and multiply it by 50, he would have the circumference of the entire Earth. Once technology advanced, scientists learned that Eratosthene’s calculations were about 1/1oooth off from the accurate number! A point Mateo made was that without the technology we have today, man kind was able to make such discoveries. With the technology we have today, Mateo said, as mankind we can excel so ahead with our intelligence, we just have to believe in ourselves. Going into a conversation centered around spirituality and mankind really brings out the best in people, and that evening Mateo motivated me to work harder towards my end goal.

Day 5: May 11, 2016 —-> Pisac

Our second day of clinics was in a village about 30 mins away from the city.  My first station today was pharmacy and then I shadowed Dr. Caesar, which many know as Dr. 3. Working in pharmacy was easy for me because of my previous experience as a pharmacy technician. I noticed a few things though, a lot of the patients are vitamin deficient and the physicians prescribed Complexo B, vitamin B. Also patients were provided with a limited strength options for the medications. For example, Ibuprofen was available in only 200mg and 400mg, whereas in the US multiple strengths are available, the lower ones even available over the counter! It was interesting to see the difference in health care depending on the country you live in. Living in a developed country, we have access to all the advanced health care medications and facilities that sciences has to offer. In developing countries, the people have limited access to the medications and facilities, some not even close to being near modern science! It’s surprising to notice that all of us being humans, living on the same planet, but have a vast difference in the quality of health care we receive because of where on this planet we live. While shadowing Dr. Caesar, a patient with severe varicose veins on his legs came in for a consultation and complaints about pain. After examining the patient, the doctor states that the only option the patient has is amputation. The veins had enlarged too much that it could compromise his life. Dr. Caesar prescribed him Ibuprofen for the pain and referred him to a surgeon in the hospital located in the city. If that patient was seen in the US, there could have been other options besides amputation, and he would have been prescribed a medication much stronger than ibuprofen. Another patient came in, a female complaining about pain during urination. The doctor was able to have her admit that she engages in unprotected sex with her husband. She forbid the future use of condoms because she had tubal ligation at the age of 20, after she had her 3 children. Due to the lack of education, the patient had a difficult time understanding that condoms not only protect against pregnancy, but they also decrease the chances of spreading sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Caesar referred her to the OBGYN to receive a pap smear and specifically wrote a note on her paperwork to the OBGYN to explain the importance of protected sex. The day was slow in general, so I had a chance to learn more about Dr. Caesar. Dr. Caesar actually grew up in a village in Cusco, so he did not come from a wealthy family or a wealthy area. His uncle paid for his education in Lima so he could receive his medical training, and he returned to his hometown to help his people. He stated that if it wasn’t for his uncle that he may have been a patient at these clinics rather than a physician. It’s inspiring to see Dr. Caesar return to his people and provide them with the best medical care he can offer just for the sake of humanity. The evening meeting focused on the last pillar of MEDLIFE, development. We learned…

  • 1 out of 5 people in the world don’t have access to safe drinking water.
  • 77 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean lack access to safe drinking water.
  • 80,000,000 (80 million) people don’t have access to water in Peru
  • 35% of homes have no access to drink water
  • 49.4% of homes in Cusco don’t have a reliable source of sanitation
  • In rural areas, only 11.1% of homes have access to portable water while 56% still use water from the rivers- the limited access results in several diseases
  • 93% of people in Latin America have access to electricity
  • In Peru, only 77% have access to electricity
    • The mountains make it difficult to provide electricity to all individuals in the Andes and in the jungle
  • Minimum wage in Peru is 750 sols, which is about $220 per year
  • The poverty line is 303 sols, which is about $86
  • The extreme poverty line is 162 sols, which is about $47
  • 7/10 kids live in extreme poverty and 58% of teenagers live in extreme poverty
    • 26% of the teenagers are in Cusco and face extreme poverty

The leading cause of such poor conditions are because people in the mountains don’t legalize their stay or pay taxes, so the government does not supply them with the resources to gain access to water and electricity.

Day 6: May 12, 2016

Third day of clinics! The village we went to today was about 1.5 hours away from the city, it was all the way on top of one of the mountains! The drive was horrifying because it was an one way road on top of the mountains with no guard rails or protection. Yes, it was horrifying! My station for today was hygiene and Doctor 1. I was very excited for hygiene because I would be teaching little children on how to wash their hands properly. The community we were in locally had very few children, but some children from the neighboring communities walked 30 minutes to come visit the clinic! The children had extremely dirty hands, dirt was visible deep into their nails, and a thick layer of dirt on the palm of their hands. Literally had to rub and scrape their palms with their nails to get all the dirt off! A simple habit we are taught beginning of potty training was so foreign to them. Many of the children didn’t even know the soap we gave them wasn’t edible and had to emphasize several times that they can’t eat it. I had to chase one kid down and take it from him because he thought I was trying to steal his chocolate! The line for the hygiene station ended up getting very long, so the other volunteers and I played a local ring around the rosie combined with tag type of game, and we also had the chance to teach them how to do the chicken dance- I’m sure we were a nice piece of entertainment for the kids. The kids LOVE soccer! We had a chance to play a little with them with a deflated soccer ball they had in the schoolhouse, they were ecstatic to be showing off their futball skills to the foreigners. I know for a fact that if you gave a child in the US a deflated soccer ball like they had, the child would complain about the ball and opt not to play at all. Those children taught me how to truly be happy about everything life has to provide. Something is better than nothing, and even with nothing there is always something! A lesson learned from school children, who knew they would be such great teachers. While shadowing Doctor one (I didn’t get a chance to write down his name and now I forgot), he was kind enough to teach us some anatomy terms in Quechua! I decided to ask him why the children in Cusco has dried red cheeks, and he explained to us that the high altitude of Cusco means stronger sun rays, which burns the child’s skin because they don’t use sunscreen. At night, it is really cold and the body is working to maintain blood flow throughout the body to stay warm. Something different about the locals in Cusco is that their body actually produces more hemoglobin than our bodies, so when the blood is flowing to those dry areas it creates a redness. We also met with a patient and his mother, a 5 year old boy. The mother was complaining that her son wasn’t eating much and his stomach seems to be extremely bloated. The doctor quickly figured that it was a parasite, which is relatively common amongst young children in Cusco due to the living conditions. The villagers live in homes built out of mud, they drink unsanitary water from the rivers, and their farm animals share the same living space with them resulting in interactions with animal feces. The children don’t know any better and touch everything around them and then place their hands in their mouth, ears, nose, etc. Doctor 1 explained that education and medicine go hand in hand, he is able to provide this mother and child with medicine to get rid of the parasite, but they don’t know the importance of washing their hands before eating and after using the bathroom so the chances of the parasites returning are very likely. Tonight, our meeting was a breakdown of our Machu Picchu trip, we have to be ready by 3am on Saturday! :O

Day 7: May 13, 2016—> Project Day!

Today I woke up feeling extremely sick and weak, but I had some amazing medications prescribed before I left for the trip and they really helped bring some strength! We met with George, the project coordinator, and walked to our bus at 730am. Today was the first day we jammed to music during our drive, George is pretty awesome. It rained all day, no sun, and very very cold. Worst day to be feeling sick and have to work on the project! Today we made 2 stoves and painted 4 MEDLIFE logo’s. The importance of the stoves are that the villagers were burning glass, plastic, garbage, etc right underneath the food they would cook. The toxic fumes that built up from burning everything was not only unhealthy for the person cooking the food, but also for those that consumed the food. Therefore, to improve the quality of living, MEDLIFE decided to build stoves in this community. The first home we entered to build the stove, they led us into a small room where a bunch of guinea pigs were running around. I learned that there are actually 3 types of guinea pigs. The first two types are large and chunky and are used as meat to eat in most countries across Latin America. The third type of guinea pig is small and less meaty, which is shipped to the US and used as pets. We started the stoves with an assembly line to place the stones first, then a layer of mud, stones, and the final layer of mud. The final layer of mud we had to mix with human hair, rice, manure, and sugar. I decided to cut a piece of my hair and added it to the mixture, now a piece of me is literally in that stove! The reason we had to mix all of that stuff in with the mud and lather it onto the stove with our bare hands is because it provides insulation for the stove. I opted out of touching the mud overall because I was already feeling very sick and did not want to risk compromising my immune system. So for the second stove, another volunteer and I opted to paint the MEDLIFE logo on someone’s home… Painting is much more easier said than done, but I tried something new and brought out my not so artistic ability! Later on into the day, the groups that had the clinics for the day met up with us at the project site and we played a game of soccer- One hotel versus the other. Our hotel, Carlos V, lost pretty bad but it was an unfair game since we had less people! The playground area for the children had animal feces everywhere, but the children still played on the swings and the slides. I tried the teeter-totter with one of my roommates, and later realized that it was broken, and I could have gotten hurt from the nails pointing out from the part I sat on, oops? Before we left, the local villagers made us a local food, steamed potato’s with cilantro dressing. We also had the inauguration of the stoves in one home and a speech from a villager that thanked us fro spending out time improving their village and thinking about them. She said that she saw us as hero’s, everyday hero’s, that really touched my soul. It was then I realized that I had been in this country for less than a week, and the people have taught me how to be kind, compassionate, optimistic, and grateful for everything in life.

Day 8: May 14, 2016—-> Machu Picchu!

Today we had to wake up at 2:00am to get ready and prepare for a long trip to Machu Picchu. We got on the bus at 3am when a lot of people were still hitting it up in the clubs. We had a two and a half hour bus ride and then another two hour train ride. I got to see the sunrise at the train station, it was beautiful! The entire train ride was along the river surrounded by mountains and forest, very scenic! My nose has been leaking like a messed up faucet, it was horrible having to constantly blow my nose. I learned a lot of historical things about the city, so here it is! Cusco was the capital of the Incan civilization, which spanned from 400-500BC until about 1500AD. The Incan territory was called Tawantinsuyo which translates into 4 states that ran along the pacific coast of South America. We took a bus up the mountain to the Machu Picchu area and had a short tour of the area. Machu Picchu was a military base for the Inca’s and a trading ground for those living in the jungle and in the mountains. After we finished the tour, where we learned that the mountain the world knows as Machu Picchu is actually called  Huayna Picchu (young peak) and the actual Machu Picchu is across from it! As a small group, we decided to climb up to the Inca bridge, which connected the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It was a very dangerous walk, narrow path on the side of a mountain with no rails and the bottom was not visible, BUT WE DID IT! Then we climbed up another mountain to see the Sun Gate, that was a treacherous uphill 1 hour walk to see the main gate to enter Machu Picchu. Took us about 20 minutes to walk down, but those unleveled stones sure hurt your back! But once we got to the top, the view left us all breathless (or maybe it was the walk). The clouds were so close and Huayna Picchu looked so small! I truly felt like I was on top of the world! It’s an unforgettable view and experience, so I suggest everyone to go and check it out! If you do go, don’t forget to get a passport stamp once you leave the mini city!

Day 9: May 15, 2016—-> Time to leave home 😥

Even though I only spent a week in Cusco, the adventures in the city, the interactions with the locals, somewhere along the way I fell in love with the people and their culture. I should have felt happy for finally going back to the US, back home with all the facilities in the world, but instead, I felt sad for leaving my new home. A place with much less facilities, but much more happiness. They say don’t flush the toilet paper down the toilets, but we did and the plumbing never backed up, YOLO! I didn’t know the language or much about the culture, but I was able to connect and create long lasting memories with people I may never see again, they still managed to make a special place in my heart. From the guy in the market who sold me the sweaters and became my deal finder every time I hit up the market, to the children that laughed at me while I taught them the chicken dance, they taught me how to live again. I went to Cusco to change lives, but I left with my own life being changed and a list of faces and names who don’t even know they are my heroes.

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If you’re interested in volunteering abroad, I highly encourage you to visit www.medlifeweb.org. There is no application, no age limit, and no other restriction to do your part in making this world a better world to live in.

Enjoy Exploring!

Preety 🙂

 

 

We Indians call it Chai: Recipe

I have noticed a common menu item amongst coffee shops these days, it’s call Chai Tea Latte. Coming from a South Asian background, I always look at the name on the menu and just cringe a tad bit, why? Well because Chai means tea in several languages spoken across India! So the menu is literally saying “Tea Tea Latte”, does that still sound exotic and appealing to purchase? I don’t think so! A ‘Chai Tea Latte’ is actually commonly known as Masala Chai across India because of the blend of spices in black tea, and as for the latte portion, well Indian’s commonly make their tea with milk!

Now that you have a bit of  background on the drink, I have put together my favorite recipe for Masala Chai for you all to enjoy at home! My dad says that nothing beats the taste of fresh spices, so if you’re into drinking Masala Chai, stop buying the powder and take an extra 30 seconds to make it truly authentic!

Masala Chai Recipe ( mistakenly termed Chai Tea Latte)

Serving: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1 tea bag/ 1/2 tablespoon of Black Tea

1 tablespoon of honey (can be skipped if you are vegan/don’t like sweet tea)

4 crushed Cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (crushed)

1/2 cup of almond milk (or any milk of your choice)

Directions:

  1. Add the water in a pot along with the black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, honey, and ginger.
  2. Bring water to a boil, this allows the flavor of the spices to seep in
  3. Once the water begins to boil, wait at least one minute and then add you choice of milk (dairy or non-dairy) to the same pot (so you’re mixing the milk with the water and spices)
  4. Bring the milk to boil
  5. Once the boiling milk begins to rise, remove the pot from the stove
  6. Use a tea strainer and strain the tea into a cup
  7. Enjoy your delicious Masala Chai

 

This is an authentic way of making Masala Chai, for any questions on the directions feel free to comment!

Also, my brother and I are going Vegan for a week! His ultimate goal is to attain 200 grams of protein eating a Vegan diet. More on our journey and meal plans next week!

Enjoy,

Preety 🙂