Category Archives: Random chats

When the Supermarket Becomes the go-to Spot

I was never excited about shopping at the supermarket and nothing has changed now. Why not just have your groceries delivered you ask. Well…

A supermarket is literally two minutes from my place.

Delivery options are not as widely available here as in other places.

I like picking out my own fruits and veggies.

This social distancing thing isn’t fully understood and practiced in supermarkets here I find. In the last week, markers have appeared on the floor showing how far apart to line up for the cashier. Two weeks ago, I ran out of one to get away from the swarms of people milling around and congregating in different sections. They were taking it ‘easy like Sunday morning.’ Supermarkets in Japan are often small with very narrow aisles. My paranoia was in activation mode.

I went to that supermarket, about 1km from my house at around 11:00a.m. It’s the one with a good variety of local and international products but I am on hiatus from there. They have some good avocados and mangoes there though 😦

In these times, I have developed vampire like tendencies. I exercise at nights when less people are out and stay home during the day. Oh what joy it was to discover that the supermarket nearby still opens until 10 p.m. I even went in to confirm it the night I walked by. Since, mostly families and older people live around this area, everything is quiet by around 9 p.m.

Do you know the luxury of going into a supermarket in these times and having it all to yourself? This was me the other night. At a round 9:30 p.m. I strolled into the supermarket decked out in my mask of course. There were like two other people in there. Oh the joy of taking my time to pick out things I went for; others that just called out to me (you know how that goes).

Though there is this upside, the downside is that quite a bit of the fresh veggies were all gone. I went to the baking aisle and they were all out of flour, vanilla and other stuff. Apparently, some influencer has been giving tips on baking goodies in these times, so it’s now trendy. I give it two weeks before this runs it course. In the same way the panic toilet paper buying ran its course a month or so again, this will happen too.

I like the lengths that supermarkets are going to in order to protect their workers. They are all wearing face shields with masks and at the cashier a nice firm piece of plastic separates them from the customers. Cash is still king here, so we do exchange money which of course can transfer the virus. Now scrubbing hands like crazy, washing my glasses and face are a part of the routine after returning home. It is often easier to just jump into the shower.

I am learning to content myself with the basics at the supermarket nearby. To be truthful, they have more than that but if you are a fan of certain things, in certain places, you may understand. I mean things like good cheese, mangoes, avocados, teas…

The problems of the privileged I tell you. I am able to buy food and I am grateful. I am learning to be content with my smaller supermarket with less people where I can shop at nights when less folks are there.

These are the times where I count my blessings even more and cultivate contentment.

What does this Single Woman living Alone do During Isolation?

Let’s talk about Saturdays and Sundays when I don’t have to work online which helps time to fly…

I like schedules and keep to a loose one on both these days. I often stay up pretty late Friday nights and sleep in until 9:30 or so on Saturdays. I make some tea because I need this every morning to start moving. Then, I call home and talk to my dad and other family members religiously on Saturday mornings. We can catch up and talk about our stuff leisurely given our time difference.

We chat for a good while which means I am good and ready to eat after that, so I will make something like a smoothie followed up by a full on meal: sautéed veggies, brown rice with beans and avocado on the side. This is my ideal meal since I am mostly into eating plant based or pescatarian on occasion. Yum!

Next, I do my laundry while I delve into the scriptures and meditate on what I read. I have me some worship time at my own pace.

I will text friends throughout the day and may even have a live call with one of them, if we are both feeling this. For some reason texting is so much easier than talking on the phone. I have no idea why this is.

Sooner than later I go on my computer to spend hours on Twitter. It provides laughter, knowledge, drama and everything it has to draw me in and keep me scrolling. It is my number one app and I only use it on my computer, so that I can sit and enjoy it on a bigger screen. As a Jamaican living abroad, I like to see things trending at home and by following the right people I am more than able to do this. The Jamaican GIFs are undefeated. I follow people for financial info, current affairs, the news, teaching/topics in education, Christian inspiration and other things I can’t remember now. My feed is diverse and I follow and have followers from every continent. I like to know what is going on on the African continent, so I follow people from a range of countries. I learn so much and have many opportunities to LOL, tear up, shake my head in wonder/disbelief and so on.

After I have scrolled Twitter enough or it refuses to load anymore (keeping it real), I head on over to YouTube to see if there is anything I feel like watching. I am into people who post plant based meals these days, so I watch a few of those and get some ideas. I enjoy watching some people in the debt free community, family bloggers, worship channels and house hunting/renovation type videos. In the midst of all this watching and scrolling, I would have unloaded the washing machine and put my clothes to dry.

I may or may not cook again or make a salad, pop some corn and do a bit of prep for my classes. I wind down around 11 and head to bed by 12ish.

Come Sunday I am up at around 8 (I make my body do a practice run for Monday morning). I may lounge in bed on my phone before getting up to make my tea, read scriptures, meditate and pray.

Since I often do intermittent fasting, I don’t eat until around 11 or 12. What do I do until then you ask? Well, I run the vacuum, wipe my floors, pick out my clothes for the week (yes, I have a casual work from home uniform), text family and/or friends, do some exercises (I forgot to mention this above in my Saturday routine) and think about what I will make for lunch/dinner.

Throughout the days when I am home I try to do a number of reps where I stretch, do squats, leg lifts, run on the spot, do the butterfly, make up dances and do stuff to move my body. Yes, I balance being a couch potato with moving often throughout the day.

Ok, back to Sunday, at around 11:30, I start cooking, maybe its pasta, or brown rice, or sweet potatoes or quinoa (these are my bases) with a combination of veggies seasoned very well and a hint of cayenne thrown in. Yum! I eat and watch something on YouTube which may end up being an hour of video after video. I then talk to myself about getting offline and stretch out on my couch with a book. If it is a page turner, I will read until I finish it, even it is in the wee hours of the morning. Well, if I think it’s a page turner I will start it early enough to finish by 10pm. I still need to be alert to teach online the following day.

I forgot to say that I often go for walks in the nights at around 9 or 10 pm when most people are inside. I walk for about an hour to stretch my legs and get some more exercise. I have times when I stay in for days without going outside though. Like today is Monday and I have not gone outside since last Thursday. No, I am not bored or lonely. Growing up in an environment where we stayed at home mostly, makes this just right for me. When we were free to go and come without this poison in the air, I would still stay home some weekends. I would come home Friday evening and not go out again until Monday morning. I find this very refreshing actually.

I am on the cusp of getting an oven to spice up my culinary creations. Haha stoves don’t come with built in ovens in this country. They have fancy microwave ovens that work like other ovens. I want to get into baking veggies and my own desserts like carrot cake, banana cake, biscuits and so on. I feel like I don’t have enough space for it though, so it’s sitting in my Amazon basket until I make a decision. You would think I am tired of cooking for just me. Nope, I actually enjoy having a hot meal for lunch. Since I don’t microwave meals I don’t do this at work. I meal prep, cook and eat the same dish or dishes for three days then make something else. This means I don’t feel like I am cooking all the time. I also like overnight oatmeal jazzed up with nuts and coconut chips. This is often lunch with a smoothie.

Anyway I have gone off on a tangent. Let me end this here and I hope I have given you some ideas to enjoy the time you have at home. I sure am making the best of it.

The Grass isn’t Greener, Everywhere has its Quirks

How many of us choose to focus on an opportunity that seems oh so attractive, so that it clouds our view of the good things we have going right where we are now.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side though. This cliche is sometimes true.

When we focus on something negative for too long, it could just be one negative thing, it grows and grows and causes a whole world of discontentment. It can be quite overwhelming to the point where we run off to supposed greener pastures and then discover that we left something good.

Spend some time reflecting and noting the positives against the negatives of a situation before making a decision to change path. This is applicable to a whole range of situations. It should also not be done hastily or when we are feeling low.

I am learning that everywhere has its quirks and sometimes it is worth pushing through some stormy seasons. I am learning to persevere and enjoy the positives as I learn, work on myself and grow amidst the negatives. A permanent decision ought not to be taken to address a temporary situation. Everything in life will not be fine all the time. Trials and struggles really do make us strong if we look at them as learning opportunities.

Now, if we are in a situation, whatever it is and know it is toxic and ruining our minds, then it’s good to walk away. Nothing is worth us compromising our mental health. This is far from simple but the effort to do so is worth it.

I have been blessed to be able to walk away from a toxic work environment before. I remember feeling uneasy about it even though it was the right thing to do. I am happy I took the plunge at the time and it was well worth it. I was able to do this with some confidence because I had saved up some money, to allow me to take what I thought, was a job with a lower salary. In time even that was sorted.

Moving from one job to another, for example, includes dedicated research and networking in some cases. It is always good to keep an eye on what is going on in different sectors of interest and also polishing our CVs from time to time. It’s nice to be content in a job but it is also good to be aware of what is happening in the industry. This means than, we can more accurately weigh an opportunity, to see if it is greener than where we are at. Regardless of this, it is good to remember everywhere has its quirks. When the novelty wears off there will always be something that may cause us some discomfort. I think its best to learn from this, grow and keep going. It often happens that not focusing on this lessens its impact. Choose to focus on the positives and remind yourself of them often.

The grass is sometimes greener indeed but how devastating is it when we jump without proper preparation. We may find that the new grass is filled with even more weeds than where we ran from. Everywhere has it quirks, expect these and resolve to be content despite them but know when to move on to other opportunities.

Why ME?

Why me?

This is the first thought for many of us have when things start going awry.

How often do we say this when things are going suburb?

Why do we have this mindset that things should go well always? It’s actually a dangerous state of being that can cause life’s hits to knock us harder than they are meant to.

How about intentionally stopping and thinking about how you will grow through hardships. Look for how hardships stretch you and press through them knowing they pass. They are a part of the ebb and flow of life. Yes, it’s easier said than done. However, the way we respond to the ‘why me’ situations can break us or make us stronger.

It’s worth changing the narrative to the more positive, “how can I grow through this?”

Many hardships do make us strong in many ways. They also help us to lean on others and reveal who our true supporters are. It’s is empowering to look back on something that snared you, that you overcame and became better for it.

I will overcome, I will get through this and be better for it…

These are more mentally uplifting in the tough times. Speak these positive things over your situation and fight your way through.

Stereotyping Others says more about you than them

We as human beings have a habit of seeing each other as a monolith. A solid representation, a meaning we impose based on what we think we know from certain stereotypes of a person or group.

Someone is a geek, a nerd, nice, mean, bitter, angry, snobbish, flighty and the list goes on.

We do this automatically most times and rob ourselves of valuable encounters that will help us to grow and learn more.

How often do we pause and think about our own reaction to others after stereotyping them?

Why do we Stereotype others?

Perhaps we feel threatened by something we see in them, so we use this to make ourselves feel better?

Is because we think we know so much about all groups of people, based on our exposure through the media, relatives, friends and the like?

Does stereotyping others help us to brace ourselves for an encounter?

What exactly is the benefit of administering negative or positive stereotypes on others?

The irony is that it’s often the negative and nasty things in us that causes us to stereotype others negatively. It is never from a good place.

How do you react to Being negatively Stereotyped?

It is a weird world that we live in. Certain stereotypes of me as a black woman crop up as I travel to many countries in Asia. Blackness isn’t desired unless you have a certain fetish. Everyone wants to be white and this is evident in the whitening in almost all skincare products in shops. It’s a common past time to refer to me using animalistic terms of which gorilla seems to be a favourite. I have visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Taiwan, China, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and I live in Japan. I can count on three fingers the countries where I was simply viewed as a person.

I am stereotyped as African (we all know the negative stereotypes sadly, for a diverse number of people from 54 nations), a soon to be murderer, pickpocket, concubine and others.

I am an English teacher and among others (see above) in Japan. Some people will stereotype me based on this coupled with their love or hatred for the language.

In parts of Europe I was a trollop. Someone to subject to cruel hand movements beckoning me for my services.

In other places, I am stereotyped as rich because I am a traveller.

The stereotypes never seem to end.

Stereotyping is what we do

No one likes to be on the receiving end of negative stereotyping but it’s what us humans do. We are conditioned by the forces around us and our very natures to do this. Does this mean it’s ok? Of course not.

The problem isn’t stereotyping. It is allowing these stereotypes to cause us to be mean to others or to give others undue favours.

It would be nice if everyone would get the chance to prove himself or herself before the stereotypes morph into absolute knowing.

Ultimately, we can only navigate our lives amongst these stereotypes and use opportunities we get to to help others become more knowledgeable.

Anybody Else watch too much YouTube?

I don’t have a TV. YouTube is my TV. I watch quite a bit of videos for around 2-3 hours most days.

Yes, I know that’s a lot of time. But I am single with no kids, I pay my own bills so I can do whatever I want. (joking but serious)

I like coming home, preparing dinner then planting myself on my couch, before my computer and bingeing on YouTube videos. It is incredibly relaxing. Time sure flies and all the cares from work disappear.

These days I can’t get enough of House Hunters and of course the comments that accompany the videos. Comments share much about us as humans, I tell ya. I have a few family vloggers I keep up with and it’s nice to immerse myself in the snippets of their lives, that they share. Interestingly, I never comment on these videos. I am always befuddled at people who take time to write lines and lines of negative comments on videos. I just don’t understand.

I find myself celebrating those who are enjoying the perks of being content creators on YouTube. People quit jobs, become influencers, whole families get flown out on promotion trips and the like. I find myself wondering why X YouTuber can grow their numbers at the speed of light while others not so much. Why do people who make solid content and have good quality videos not have mad numbers of subscribers? I also wonder if those who are enjoying fame and wealth from YouTube manage their money well and prepare for the possibility that YouTube may not be there in time to come? I watch videos but I also see YouTube communities as something of a social experiment.

I can spend hours listening to music, usually gospel on YouTube. It is crazy how I can start listening to a song and 2 hours later be immersed in a song I had not listened to in years.

I YouTube everything. I do this even before going to Google LOL! I like getting multiple perspectives and more often than not YouTube comes through for me.

That being said, I am off to comb YouTube to watch something that will be just right in this moment.