Thursday, August 21, 2014

Deez Nuts....are an aphrodisiac and 8 other benefits

Deez nuts are Tiger Nuts.  Yes, I openly admit that I have eaten tiger nuts and I got a thrilling sensation from them. Of course there is a story behind that. Picture it-on the roadside of Accra, Ghana.  I was on vacation, my first trip to Ghana. There were plenty of roadside vendors selling their goods, including food, sheets, tires, etc.  In my exploration of the culture, and wanting to "live as" as much as possible, I wanted to try the road snacks that my Ghanian hosts were eating. They call them "tiger nuts" aka atadwe.

They look so innocent!
This is the chew, chew chew part.
I popped a nut, chewed and chewed, and chewed. The outside was pretty tough for my coddled American teeth. However, The texture was no problem for my hosts' teeth. The inside was slightly sweet  and crunchy. But that didn't provide the thrilling sensation. Quick Back Story: I have reproductive issues that cause irregular menstrual cycles. At that point in my life, I hadn't had a period in a few months. When I had a period, I would have what I call "PMS tinglings" the day before as my warning. Now you are caught up. 

I ate one tiger nut, decided the taste was not worth the work of chewing it, and politely declined any more nuts.  My hosts thought it was funny that I tried one because men eat them to help with their bedroom performance.  The next day after eating one tiger nut...I...had...PMS tinglings! And I got my period shortly after returning home.  In an article on atadwe "Tiger Nuts: Are they worth chewing", I found that correcting irregular menstrual cycles is one benefit of Tiger Nuts. In addition to my accounts about the taste, texture, and benefits, Here are 8 more facts about Tiger nuts:
1) They are known as an aphrodisiac, so in some communities people hide away so others won't see them eat the nuts and tease them.
2) Most people in Ghana know little about the nutritional and medicinal value.
3) They are rich in energy content such as proteins, starch, and minerals; and High in vitamin E, which is good for fertility.
4) Can be consumed in many forms: ground into flour, roasted, raw, oil, and tiger nut milk that is good for stomach pain (probably better than the pink stuff)
5) Cultivating and Processing tiger nuts is a low priority for Ghana, probably because it is high in cost as they have a very small scale processing industry. 
6) They are consumed mostly by males but,
7) Cultivated mostly by females. It's a very challenging crop and most men are too lazy (according to a local farmer).
8) They have so many health benefits that, while not scientifically proven, are valued by local cultures. 

Hmm, I never looked for them here at home....I'll add "find deez nuts" to my to-do list. 

Also, a highlight of other delicacies I tried while in Ghana....

Thursday, August 7, 2014

REVIEW | Lyric Hotel: Paris, France

Here is my review of Lyric Hotel on Trip Advisor:

5 of 5 starsReviewed 3 weeks ago

The Lyric Hotel is beautifully decorated, with bright colors set against gray musically themed backdrops. The Hotel is in a great location, close to a metro station and the prominent Opera station. I was able to take the Roissybus from the airport, and walk from the L'Opera station to the hotel! The complimentary Breakfast was consistently tasty. The staff was very accommodating to the large wedding party in which I was a member. Karim, the front desk representative was friendly, knowledgable about the city amenities, and gave great directions. Maeva, from the Chocolate tea room really helped me out of a jam.
When I return to Paris, I would stay at the Lyric Hotel again.
Room Tip: Ask for a room with a walk out balcony.

And here is the Lyric Hotel's response: 
"Dear Kandra,
First of all, we want to particularly thank you for this incredibly kind review of your stay and the time you took to write it. We make our best to satisfy your needs. Karim and Maeva are very grateful for your comment.
We do have a great location in Paris, very accessible by transportations : Roissy Bus, Saint Lazare train station, Opera metro station (line 7, 3 and 8), Quatre-Septembre metro station (line 3) and many buses. Thereby, you can easily visit the City of Lights.
Also, it was a really great pleasure to have you all at the hotel for this big event. In a certain way we have been able to participate and enjoy with you for this wedding.
Thanks again to you and to all the others for your kindness and hapiness you brought for some days in the hotel.
We are looking foward to welcome you again for your next visit.
Kind regards,
Lyric Hotel Team"

Monday, August 4, 2014

English Makes me Lazy

As an American I speak English...obviously.  I took the obligatory and elective Spanish Classes in school so I have the speaking and understanding proficiency of a 3-year-old Spanish speaker....with an auditory processing delay. This means that every time a fluent Spanish speaker speaks to me, it takes a lonnnnggg time for me to process.  I've learned a few key phrases to explain to said Native Spanish speaker such as "Yo entiendo mas que hablarlo", and "Despacio por favor", and "No se'" to get myself out of sticky situations. 

Recently I went to Paris, where Spanish is NOT the official language. Being the slightly-more-than-moderate achiever that I am, I had to learn some French so as not to appear to be an ignorant American. I HATE to be the person who doesn't know what's up. But as I was getting French tutoring (see link below), I was comforted in knowing that as an English speaker, I'll rarely be alone. EVERYBODY SPEAKS ENGLISH. Well, not everybody speaks English but most countries that bill themselves as a tourist trap have plenty of English speakers and accommodations. With that understanding, I've found that non-Americans are so impressed when Americans know facts about their country, culture, and their language. That's a little insulting isn't it?  Oh well, I know that as an American who travels abroad, all I need to do is learn a few key phrases of my host country's language to be impressive. Thus, English makes me lazy. 

My French Tutor-Podcasts on Itunes:
 Coffee Break French
The lessons were short and focused on themes. They taught relevant dialogue. I listened to Lessons 1-10 twice as I was on a deadline to get "tres bien!"  
They also have other language tutorials available. 

Americans In Paris

This post is more of an announcement of my latest Youtube video.  France| Americans in Paris is the last in my Parisian series following France| Black Paris Tour and France| How to Survive Paris. It's more of a recap summary of the trip.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Team Tourist or Team Traveler??

Ricki Stevenson, The owner of the Black Paris tour company, mentioned the difference in being a tourist and a traveler. A traveler...travels and researched the language, cultural dress, history, even the government policy. What I picked up is that a traveler immerses themselves in the culture, respecting its differences and similarities to their own.  A tourist visits a place, picks up an "I (heart)__" t-shirt, without trying to learn the culture, and goes home unchanged. In preparing to go to France I quickly learned some rudimentary French. I couldn't have given a lecture on French history or anything, but I was able to introduce myself and communicate that I didn't understand something in French.  I also made an effort to always speak the French that I knew.  When stuck, I reverted back to English or even Spanish as that is my unofficial second-ish language.
After hearing the tourist vs traveler spiel, I said to myself "Kendra T is gonna be a Traveler!"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

REVIEW | The Black Paris Tour: Paris, France

On my most recent...and first... trip to Paris, I joined the "Black Paris Tour". I always take a tour on vacation and this one was very different. It highlighted facts, monuments, and the obscurity of the presence of Africans and African-Americans in Paris. It was like viewing the city through a Black lens-so-to-speak.  In case you haven't noticed in my profile picture, I am Black...Brownish actually, but you get the point.  In all of my research before going to Paris, I learned of the history of the majority such as multiple aristocratic "Louises" but not about the Count General Alexandre Dumas. It's interesting to see the perception of Africans and slavery by the French vs English vs Americans vs Africans.
My Video "The Black Paris Tour Review" on my Youtube channel shows some highlights of the tour, including an interview with the founder/tour guide Ricki Stevenson:

Monday, July 21, 2014

My day job....I'm keeping it

My day job is as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I enjoy it and am good at it.  How do I know I'm good? Well, people tell me! And, I see results in my students and clients. And back to "I enjoy it", if I like practicing, I must be good...right?  There have been many "Can I ask you a quick question about my (insert child name here)?" conversations that I've been pulled into to discuss all things speech and language.  These conversations in which I try to answer questions, ease concerns, and try to offer functional advice to loved ones, have happened at the grocery story, gym locker room, even the massage table. I was on the massage table by the way, and since then have resolved to never mention being an SLP in the name of relaxation. I read somewhere that some high percentage of Americans will change careers half-way through their working lives.  The stats are vague but the main point is that most people change their minds about what they want to do with their time.  Luckily, I've chosen a field that is very diverse in its opportunities, and so is my specific job.  I've explored several "side-hustle" options, and the travel videos is the most recent of those options.  But traveling is a hobby that I want to get paid to do.  Even still, I'm keeping my day job!  
Working with my Pre-K kiddos. Sorry, I have to withhold their cuteness from the general public.