travel

My Top 3 Unique Travel Moments

Image from Pixabay

I’ve traveled so many times throughout my life that I’ve learned so much about other areas, cultures, and much more. I can’t even keep track of how many places I’ve been to.

Anyway, when you travel a lot, you may experience unique moments or activities. So, without further ado, here are the top 3 unique moments.

3: A trip to a cooking school and getting to prepare a meal

Now this one was not out of town, although I still consider it unusual, but in a good way. When I was in 10th grade, the students who took Italian as a foreign language got to go on a trip to a small cooking school several minutes away. We were assigned different foods to cook. After we finished, we got to eat. I got the polenta group (we worked in teams), but when I ate it, I didn’t like the taste. Nevertheless, the trip was fun.

2: Visiting the “Harry Potter” exhibit in Discovery Times Square

Unfortunately, Discovery Times Square has gone out of business and the space is now for a National Geographic Museum. However, I went to Discovery Times Square in 2011, and there was an exhibit with the “Harry Potter” films’ props, costumes, and more. No phone use, touching, or photographing anything was permitted. Yet it was still exciting to see the items used in the movies. I was especially surprised and amazed at the life-sized Hagrid model. It stood so high that I found it strange that Hagrid never seemed to get stares in the muggle world in either the books or the movies. I remember thinking that real people that size would probably receive tons of stares in public, which would make me feel sorry for them.

And now…drumroll

1: Running into a former school classmate and doing an activity with her

This was back when I was in 5th grade. A girl who was in my 4th grade class and I ran into each other in Cozumel, Mexico. I recall that she’d left my elementary school starting in 5th grade. Not only did I hang out with her for a bit, but we also participated in a dolphin-swim that same day. What a miracle! Not many people run into former school classmates on vacations and get to do activities with them.

So, there you have it.

cooking

How I Make Mashed Potatoes

Image from Pixabay

Many of us love mashed potatoes, whether it’s with gravy or plain. No two versions are alike—nor are two formulas.

Because I have a short attention span and a tendency to be very impatient with food (but obviously polite), I try to get my potatoes to cook more quickly. That is because I cut them into small diced cubes and boil them.

Now why do I boil them instead of microwave them, you might ask? That’s because microwaving them tends to dry them out. Boiling them adds or retains moisture. I don’t know how, though, but it’s what I notice.

Another part of the process, which is mostly due to laziness, is leaving the peel on. That’s not a big deal. In fact, some say that potato peels are good for you. I’m not sure if that’s true.

Anyway, after the potato cubes are fully cooked and softened, I put them in the blender with salt, pepper, milk, and melted butter. Then I combine them. They come out creamy this way. Just be sure not to overmix, or else you’ll have dough-like potatoes. Unless you’re making gnocchi from scratch, I would recommend avoiding the doughy texture.

The amount of other ingredients will depend on your serving size and taste preferences. That is the beauty of savory cooking—there isn’t always a fixed formula.

Writing

Why I Differentiate My Characters from Myself

Image from Pixabay

Many authors base their characters off of people they know. A high percent of people also base their stories off of real-life experiences. However, I am different. I rarely or never do any of those things.

One: I find my life experiences too ordinary and straightforward. Two: I find it more exciting to make them very different from me.

For example, the MC of my novels is Irish Catholic, blonde, and has had a tragic life. I am Indian and Hindu, dark-haired, and has lived a typical life with hardly any tragedies. I lost my paternal grandpa when I was 2, so I don’t remember him. My maternal grandpa died when I was 22 but I didn’t cry. I only experienced shocking pain for a few hours. That’s really it for the sad moments in my life.

I could explain my MC’s tragic life. But that is within the novels. You can find them through reviews, excerpts, or if you choose to purchase the books.

Anyway, I find varying and differentiating things far more fun than making them like me. After all, the world would be a boring place if we all thought the same things, even if that meant little to no conflicts. I could be wrong, though.

Differentiating characters from myself also opens more room for growing knowledge, even if that means extra research. If I wrote about Hindu characters, I probably would not have to do as much research. But I would also get bored. And if it’s boring to write, it’s usually boring to read.

While I rarely make characters similar to myself, I never base them off people I know. But that will be for another post. That being said, I do give some similarities occasionally, such as food tastes. Overall, though, I differ from other writers.