Wednesday, 25 July 2007


Onion was one of my favourite vegetables as I was growing up and still is. Most people here in North America do not favour onions that much and so whenever I tell them stories of me eating it raw, they get disgusted and with that reaction make me feel not only guilty for liking it, but also less of a fan. However, I cannot get rid of my affection for onions.

I think part of the reason why I love them is because I grew up eating them everyday, in different kind of ways. In Albania, people consider onions a blessing, a wonderful vegetable that not only is incredibly versatile and indispensable in the kitchen, but also tastes good and has medicinal qualities to it. I remember one of my favourite things to eat was a fresh onion and pickled stuff. I loveee pickled stuff of any kind. Another thing we used to do since we did not have much money, we would eat green onions and feta cheese with a little bit of olive oil on the bread. It is one of the tastiest and freshest things to eat, a very good snack during summer.

Today, when I came back from my class, I was famished. So I made myself a quick and simple salad, something that has been my favourite thing to eat since my early days of childhood and also a salad that is very Albanian or Mediterranean I should say. The salad is just cut tomatoes and onions with my addition of fresh, chopped parsley which gives it a refreshing taste. As I took my first bite of a tomato and onion and the combination tasted heavily on my tongue, I was transported back to my days of onion eating and remembered how wonderful onions actually are. So I decided to do some research and learn more about them, taking you along with me...So,it appears that onions are actually one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world, found and used everywhere in every region. They were first cultivated by the Egyptians who valued it so much that they not only used it as currency and main meal for the poor, but also as an embalming component, an example of which are two onions found in the eye sockets of Ramseys IV.
Apart from its rich history, onions have mostly fascinated me for their medicinal effects. My mom would give me onions whenever I would get a cold or suffer from tonsils. Another time, I remember that when I sprained my ankle, she cut some onions, put them in a gauze, wrapped it around my ankle and let it sit for a night. The next day I could walk perfectly.

Wikipedia also gives a pretty good description of onions with a long explanation of the type of the medicinal effects that this wonderful vegetable holds. Plus, the variety of onions that are out there is incredible. The colours, the taste, the goodness how many there are. The following website gives a list of onions but my favourite was the red-looking one called the Florence onion or better known as "Tropea".

Very beautiful, isn't it? Anyway, I will let you browse for yourself and immerse in the pungent, miraculous world of onions.

Now, forgive me but I must go and finish my onions await me :)!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Appalled and Saddened

Today, as any other day when I would do some research on Saudi Arabia or any other Arabic country, I found articles, videos and documentaries that not only appalled, but truly opened my eyes to how fortunate we are to live in a democratic society where the biggest problems revolve around what to do for fun next and how to cope with debt. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, thousands of people are being murdered, tortured and massacred just for their religion. We choose to stay ignorant? I don't think so. It is hard to find the courage and the stomach to get informed on such subjects as the torturing in Iraq or in Darfur. I found a shocking documentary that shows how the Shia torture Sunnis and how the war in Iraq is maybe not bloody because of Americans, but because of opportunists long awaiting the opportunity to turn Iraq into another Shia state like Iran. The fact that the documentary was done by a British journalist and the facts and interviews included in the documentary are enough to convince me of its credibility. I really don't know what the answer to these tribulations can be. I really do not know how one can convince another to not kill due to religious differences. I really don't know how people can be so cruel....

This is the link:

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Traveling through music...

Today, I felt like traveling, so of course I went to my favourite place, National Geographic website. I traveled everywhere until I arrived at the place where music ruled, the section of the website showcasing music from all over the world. The following are the ones that got me dreaming, singing, and in some parts, even fingertapping :)

Dazibao – “Anneaux de novembre”

This seems to be my favourite song from this Belgian band that I recently discovered in the Musical pages of national geographic. This particular song is in my opinion the most touching of the whole album, even though I did not get to listen to the whole song since it was only a sample. However, the music is quite transcendent, enforcing a sharp image of afternoon strolls in Paris, autumn weather, cold, damp air with a faint warmth from the last rays of the pink-colored sun. Simply wonderful…

Zap Mama – Ancestry in Progress

Another Belgian artist, a female singer with a very interesting, quirky, emotion-evoking voice, almost whiny at times, but very pleasant all in all. The genre of the music is a fusion of jazz, house, ambience, almost everything, even tones of African. I liked the album sample very much and now I will definitely try my best to download it illegally lol. It is definitely one of the best female vocalists I have heard lately. Very innovative and original. Give the album a try for quirky, interesting, fun and exhilarating music.

Fapy Lafertin – Fine and Dandy

Lafertin seems to be a world authority on jazz and quite rightly so because his album is quite spectacular. In my opinion, Lafertin in this album shows exactly why jazz is loved and why it is so much fun. Wonderful music. Ah, for those wondering, the genre that he normally plays is manouche jazz and Roma or Gypsy music.

George Theodorakis – Nothing in Mind

This artist comes from Greece (as you can judge from the name) and surprisingly is one of my favourite finds today. The genre is world fusion and the music is so pleasant, light and mysterious at the same time. I definitely recommend it.

Tango Five – Amando a Buenos Aires

This is an exquisite compilation of beautifully played cellos, accordion, violins and everything that makes Argentinian tango so enchanting. I love tango…I can just imagine myself swirling to the sounds of this...(and here I go dreaming).

Tirana Year Zero

I thought of dedicating this blog to the movie that I watched yesterday which deeply touched me. However, the movie inspired me to actually dedicate this to the earth where I drew my first breath, the place where I first walked, and the air where I uttered my first word; Albania. I am not a patriot; on the contrary, I have a constant love-hate relationship (shifting more on the hate, but shhtt, I don't want the Albanians to hear me) with this part of the world which I am forced to call it home. I am no longer an Albanian as now I wear the title of Canadian citizen; however, this place still comprises the bigger part of my personality and soul since I spent there 15 years of my life, from birth till teenagehood. Most people do not know Albania and I do not blame them. I don't know very well most of the countries in Africa either (which is quite shameful on my part since I'm majoring in geography, but shtt, don't let my professors hear you).