Countdown to the future

Less than a week to go until Bali. 5 days, in fact. I have successfully (finally) presented my thesis in school, done all my shifts at the restaurant, and said “if I don’t see you anymore, see you next year” countless times. Last weekend we had a joint farewell party with a friend who is also going to the same continent, and it was a blast! I baked a lot, got very good feedback for everything, and got plenty of hugs. Luckily at Sunday brunch I realized I still have one more weekend to go and say more goodbyes. I hate saying goodbye.

Gang of feet.
Gang of feet.

Luckily I won’t be away for too long, and most likely I will be reluctant on coming back! Probably everything will be somewhat the same here, though not quite – I need to find a home sooner or later, yet again.

Studying material.
Studying material with flu curing ointment.

Last week I let my mom buy me tons of different possibly essential medications for the trip, and now I also have a cool head lamp! Who knows when the lights go out and there’s no electricity and there’s dogs with rabies chasing me – I can now protect myself! I still haven’t tested my backpack and I still don’t have booked the flight tickets back, only to Vietnam on Jan 2nd. The plan is to go from Ho Chi Minh to Cambodia via Mekong Delta, and then fly to Germany for Biofach expo. We’ll see how that will all sort out…

Sushi at Fuku in Helsinki. Om nom.
Sushi at Fuku in Helsinki. Om nom.

Quality time and quality food make leaving in style worth all the hassle of trying to remember and foresee all the things I might need and the things I definitely will not need and should leave behind. Hard to tell in advance, but besides the arsenal of (mostly diarrhea) medicine I have packed 4 pairs of shorts, 1 sandals and  flip-flops, one hat and some tops. Maybe 3 long sleeve shirts, put them all on for the plane.

Meanwhile in Finland - just like in May!
Meanwhile in Finland – just like in May! Make sense not war.

I am beyond excited to go and discover what it is I will do on my trip – every time someone asks, I wonder the same question myself. Maybe I’ll work, maybe I’ll surf, I don’t know quite yet. In a few months I’ll tell you!

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Happiness is where your heart is

Lately I have been reading quite a few articles somehow related to happiness. The subject never goes out of fashion, it’s something everyone pursues, right? Behold, a long mind-vomit follows.

Idyllic happiness.
Idyllic happiness.

Happiness consists of many abstract things entwined together. If you are constantly looking for happiness, what, how and where are you expecting to find it? Will a new pair of shoes make you happy? Making others happy? Donating money? For how long does this feeling of happiness (or more likely satisfaction) last?

Happiness in a tea cup and a notebook.
Happiness in a tea cup and a notebook.

Do whatever makes you happy. Okay, well, if I don’t quite know what makes me happy, I’ll just do a bunch of stuff and see what works for me. Now for me ‘happy’ seems to mean sweaty high intensity interval training, hanging out with friends, baking and taking pictures of food on Instagram. Maybe in a half year I’ll be doing tai chi, meditating in solitude and using the oldest Nokia mobile phone still available. Who knows? The only way to find out is to try things and see what floats your boat the best. But maybe there’s something better waiting around the corner – would it be possible to be even more happy, or are things good enough as they are? That’s one reason for my hunger for traveling: there’s always new ways of life and stories to discover in the pursuit of happiness.

View to the sea, Portofino, Italy.
View to the sea, Portofino, Italy.

Some say happiness comes from within. I agree: it is important to be in terms of yourself and comfortable where ever you are. One can be happy in the slums of Jakarta, or on the top of a skyscraper in Manhattan.
I also wonder if it is possible to be happy in complete solitude. Since it seems like my gratitude journal (yes, I write one) is filled with friends and other people, I need to try to find happiness from within (or something less spiritual but with the same point).
I have one educating trip ahead of me!

Good setting for happiness, rooftop pool in Hong Kong.
Good setting for happiness, rooftop pool in Hong Kong.

Is it wrong to be happy because of something that is waiting in the future?

Keep calm and eat pie.

Autumn aka cold and creeping darkness…wait, I already told you this. Happy things: baking and pie. I’ve felt seriously under the weather (despite the sunshine) lately, not having been able to work out due to flu has been challenging for me. So, I bake. And this is something rather randomly put together that turned out to be the best apple pie I’ve made (and maybe had?). No gluten, of course. No nuts, either, if you don’t want to use them. It is easily vegan, has no added sugar or fat. And it tastes amazing. Try it if you don’t believe me.

 

Cupcake form. Portion control, you know.
Cupcake form. Portion control, you know.

Base/crust:

5 dl dried figs (approx 20, you can also use dates but figs are yummy!) – soak in water
5 dl soaked sunflower seeds (approx. 3.5dl dry)
1.5 dl coconut flour
2 dl (whey) protein powder (or just use 3.5 dl coconut flour, whatever floats your boat)
Pinch of salt

Blend the seeds and figs into paste. Add flour(s) and salt, form to a dough. Use more flour if needed. Depending on the size of your pie pan, you can save some of the dough to crumble on top of the filling. Coat the pie pan with some coconut flakes or coconut flour, then pat the dough evenly to the pan. It is sticky, that’s okay. Don’t eat all of the dough at this point.

Goodies.
Goodies.

Filling:

5 dl chopped apples (or apple puree)
1 tbsp cinnamon (also vanilla if you like)
4 dl black currants (and/or lingonberries)

Boil the apples in a bit of water until soft. Drain, mix in cinnamon and berries.

Nom. Unbaked.
Nom. Unbaked.

Topping:

Leftover pie crust, chopped hazel nuts, sunflower seeds and oat flakes, coconut flakes…whatever you fancy and happen to have around. Top it off and in to the oven! I baked my pie for 45 mins in 200 Celcius, and put a foil to cover the goodness from burning the crust. Half-baked is definitely also good with this one. No stomach upsets awaiting for munching the dough and licking the blender.

A tad messy but still classy.
A tad messy but still classy.

To be enjoyed with:
1) Tea or coffee
2) Preferred ice cream or milk alternative
3) Vanilla sauce (easy cashew vanilla sauce: blend 1/3 nuts with water, add vanilla and desired sweetener)
4) Just as is.

Cashew cardamom butter is the boss.
Cashew cardamom butter is the boss.