Get Used To Different: The Pivot of Hope During Covid-19 and the Heart of The Bohemian Princess Journal

“Get Used To Different” by Mandisa

When Covid-19 happened, the world was turned on its head. People turned against each other and made a cause to fight even if there wasn’t one.

The buzz word everywhere became pivot. We all had to learn to think on our feet and be willing to change quickly to stay relevant. Our culture was evolving into a global one at levels of interdependence we had not experienced before. Instead of a few countries in partnership with each other, the entire world got hit with an invisible enemy and the need to work together to crush it.

In some ways, this was a good thing. People spent more time at home and got a reset on their values. Business increased as more people shopped online. The supply couldn’t work fast enough to keep up with the demand and now, going into 2022, we have shortages effecting every corner of the market. That means opportunities for work are opening across the globe in ways we haven’t seen before in years…perhaps even my lifetime.

We have seen the good and bad in humanity during Covid-19. While all these opportunities are presenting themselves, we also face them with polarized views about health-care, politics, race, and religion. Across the globe, human trafficking, domestic violence, and genocide have increased because of our isolation.

But hope still exists. International dependence also creates International awareness. We don’t have to struggle alone in the dark anymore. The world really is your oyster.

The Catfish Who Was Neither Cat Nor Fish

One morning I got a message through social media from a man I had never met before. I was used to men trying to catfish me on social media, so I had pulled my picture off all my accounts save this one. I approached the message a little guarded. What sort of person messages a lady at 2:00 in the morning that is NOT a catfisher? I thought. As it turns out, a married man on the other side of the world would.

E reached out to me from hiding in Afghanistan. He saw my connection to the Afghan Coalition and hoped I could help them get out. E was in the media during US occupation in Afghanistan, and he was actively promoting equal rights and democracy for his country. His wife, N, was a human rights activist helping women get legal protection from abusive marriages and education to start small businesses. If Wonder Woman were real, I imagine she would be like N.

I vetted my new friends, E and N, through channels of aid who could verify they were who they said they were and who could connect them to help evacuating the country. If I am honest, however, I was already invested in caring about them and wanting to tell their story to anyone who could help or make a difference.

We knew it was just a matter of time before the Taliban found and “detained” E and N. I feared the worst and worried that every word I wrote them in English risked their life. Thankfully, E was smart enough to delete the messages…but I still worry that our friendship is a threat to his safety.

After the Taliban assassinated his father-in-law and threatened him to stop advocating for western ideas in the media, E and N left their home and went into hiding. They have been living off their savings every since. This week, I asked E how much money he had left to live on and he told me: one month. One month before communication stops. One month before hunger becomes so real your body feels like it is eating you from the inside out. One month before two heroes fighting for the lives of their people cease to be.

Then E told me he had two gold rings he could sell to buy another month. I didn’t want to ask–I already knew–but he confirmed it. He would have to sell their wedding rings to buy more food.

Something about that just broke me. I couldn’t stop crying. For a whole day, I went to Christmas parties with my friends and shopping in the local stores all in a fog thinking about him. All the hustle and bustle of Christmas felt meaningless in the light of real suffering and loss on the other side of the world.

E never asks me for money. He blesses me and thanks me for my heart. Talking to me gives him a glimmer of hope in humanity. Talking to him reminds me why this blog exists.

Why The Bohemian Princess Journal Exists

There is beauty in multi-cultural awareness. God did not create us to live in silos or see the world through our own narrow set of lenses. There is so much more color in the world.

Like Jason Aaron’s version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, there is greater richness and understanding of the heart of God when we embrace other cultures in love. Embracing cultures–trying different foods and traditions not other religions–is at the heart of what Jesus Christ did when he walked the Earth. He loved on people in tangible ways and called people out on their faults when it was necessary. We need to do that too. Loving like Jesus opens the door for conversations that will lead to change, but it all has to start with that intentional hand reaching down to the drowning Peter and helping him up.

What would it look like if all the world were your oyster not your cage?

What could you do for Christ if you thought about life with a Kingdom mindset on a global scale?

For me, those answers became my writing business and the heart of this blog. I chose to become more intentional in my writing and use this platform to make a difference and inspire change. So far, we have been able to reach into over 30 countries with our message, and we look forward to God using us to inspire others for many more years to come.

HelloFresh Review: Pros, Cons, & Some Pretty Cool Extras

HelloFresh is a mail order food service committed to providing sustainably sourced food to consumers in a way that minimalizes waste. In this review, we will take a look at how they do that, pros and cons of the service, bottom line recommendation, and some pretty cool extras about the company.

How It Works

HelloFresh is pretty straight-forward with how they work. First, you pick from one of six different dietary restriction-based meal plans. Then your options are narrowed to that plan, and you pick how many people you want to make for and how many meals per week. You then pick subsequent sets of meals for future boxes. When you submit the order, you commit to a subscription of auto deliveries that arrive at your home at the dates you assigned every week. Boxes can be delayed to come less frequently, but that is not the automatic choice on the website.

Pros

Pro #1: Sustainable and Eco-friendly quality goes all the way to their packaging and beyond.

The company branding is geared towards buyers who are concerned about carbon emissions and responsible stewardship of Earth.

The shipment box itself was impressive because it was a cardboard cooler with instructions on it for how to recycle it. The separate meals inside were packaged in brown paper bags. Some of the ingredients were also repackaged into paper containers. For example, two cans of black beans for one recipe came in cardboard boxes similar to grade school milk cartons.

Pro # 2: Fresh produce really was fresh.

This should seem like a given from a company with the word “fresh” in the title, but it is not easy to do. Fruits and vegetables spoil easily–especially tomatoes–but ours were firm and nice from the point of delivery to final make (roughly a week later).

If you are on a clean eating diet, this freshness is a BIG plus. Even without the dietary restrictions, I experienced noticeable improvements to my health simply by cooking with fresh ingredients.

Pro #3: Fresh ideas bring fresh fun to the kitchen.

If you have gotten into a rut in the kitchen (cooking the same stuff over and over again), mail order food services give you something new and surprising to try. It is a food gift you give yourself and your loved ones. It is self care through homemade food instead of fast, processed, or frozen food.

Though all the recipes I picked for this box were simple, there were a few techniques and ingredients I wasn’t familiar with. I found it exciting to learn new skills and challenging to try to figure out how to prep new ingredients.

Cons

Con #1 : Inaccurate timing on the recipe cards

Almost all of the recipes claimed they took an hour or less to make, but that simply was not true. I ran a stopwatch on 2-out-of-4 meals. From start of prep to plating with no breaks except to read the instructions, most recipes took 2 hours to make.

The biggest chunk of the recipe time is in prepping fresh ingredients. If you can plan ahead for the day, you can prep the ingredients and have them ready so that the actual make time is an hour or less. I really can’t imagine it getting faster than that–not even if you are Gordon Ramsey.

Con #2: Subscriptions are pricey and only worth it if food waste is a real problem for you

HelloFresh claims they are cheaper than buying groceries, but I was able to get all the ingredients for my family’s favorite HelloFresh dish for about the same price as what I got them from HelloFresh.

What I couldn’t do was buy in less quantity. So, for example, I had to buy a whole bag of poblano peppers instead of just two. If I don’t use them all up or prep and freeze them, I risk losing money to spoiled food.

Con #3: Repetitive ingredients and messy instructions

I’m not a big fan of mayonnaise, but it was used a lot in the recipes we had to create dips and sauces. This particular dish was lovely without it. I recommend really looking at your recipe options before you buy. Here is a link to the directory of all their recipes.

In terms of messy instructions, this is particularly in terms of how the instructions guide you to work in your kitchen. The instructions take for granted that you have all the necessary cooking tools, oils, and lots of bowls for the ingredients. Many recipes could have been streamlined into 1-2 mixing bowls.

Bottom Line

These two Latin-inspired dishes were palate pleasing and light. Which would you try? Black beans with poblanos and onions (left) or Turkey with red cabbage slaw and tangy dressing (right)?

I loved the surprise of the meals and the self-care of eating more intentional foods, but these particular meals were frustratingly long to prepare for how simple the food really was. It was also not a cost efficient way of cooking for a family of three or more.

I would recommend trying the service if you have been throwing out more food than you have been able to actually cook with. I would also recommend it if you want to try a few boxes to just play with new food and ideas. If you are trying them out for play, be proactive about your subscription. If you want to discontinue the shipments, set a reminder to cancel future boxes before they ship and charge your card.

Some Pretty Cool Extras

If you give HelloFresh a try and become an avid supporter of the product, you may want to consider a job with them. HelloFresh is a global company with active openings in multiple countries including over 300 jobs in the United States.

I don’t often look for a chance to partner with a company and promote their product. I prefer to give my readers honest journalism; there is no payment attached to this post. That being said, it is pretty cool that HelloFresh offers options for partnering with them to promote their products. From including samples and gift boxes to new employees to being an influencer plugging their product, HelloFresh will entertain proposals for business partnerships.

Happy Cooking, everyone!