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UK Diaries: My pinch of yum

Keeping oneself happy and energised is in one's own hand!

I am starting a series of writing about my experiences in the UK as a student, and here’s the first one!

“I love food. I am a foodie. Food is love.”

Phrases I hear often. Phrases I myself have used. Phrases I now understand so much better.

The story begins when I decided to move to the UK for my Master’s. Like every parent would, my mother was also worried about ‘how will I feed myself’. I can’t say that I couldn’t cook, but I never had the confidence that I could cook a whole meal with all the essentials (blame my mother and baker best friend for their impeccable cooking skills for this).

But this story is not about how I started cooking or how I survived (Ofcourse I would have!), this story is about how cooking became my therapy, and something that I found pure joy in. I started with the usual: Eggs, cereal, bread, salads, basic veggies etc. Initially, I considered cooking to be a burden, as if washing, cleaning, managing my finances, studying, learning new things, adjusting, getting used to be physically away from people I loved wasn’t enough, that I had to plan, buy ingredients for, cook and wash utensils 3 times a day (Not to miss the early morning classes in the chilly English cold and having to pack my own lunch)! There were days when I just couldn’t pull myself out of bed to cook, a glass of milk would do.

Thanks to my housemates (who love cooking btw), that I started spending more time in the kitchen. It became our unwinding space while cooking together, where we fixed spoiled dishes, sulked over having to wash utensils together, tasted each other’s food and accepted the fact that cooking was as much a part of this year as studying was.

On days when I wouldn’t eat a proper meal, I would feel so low that I was hardly productive, let alone have low energy. Through some days of hard deadlines and having so many things to do that I couldn’t figure out which thing to do first, I concluded that the food I ate, had a massive impact on my mood! And I love a good meal (Well who doesn’t?) From then on, I started seeing cooking not as a ‘burden’ but as a way of keeping myself ‘happy’. It became my best stress buster! 

Trust me, if the pound wasn’t as expensive, and I could afford to eat out everyday, I would. The truth is, I can’t. But that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying food. Apart from the home food that I cook, I have made Turkish, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines as well. The process of making them is so much more joyful and worth it when you taste what you have made (Doesn’t mean I haven’t had attempts where I have burnt stuff!) 

Living by myself has led me to find newer shades of me, and my love for cooking. I couldn’t imagine myself saying this a few months back. It doesn’t even take that long really! Learning new skills about myself is the part that I love the most, in this journey. The process of keeping oneself happy is beautiful, I am trying to do that in my own ways, what about you?

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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