I've tried to compartmentalize my fears and anxieties and to organize the way I am approaching each task -- be it the physical act of creating a packing list (and actually packing) or the mental preparation associated with a serious life change.
Since mental preparation itself is daunting, I've decided to put it on a shelf, to forget it. Packing for 10 months suddenly sounds like a dream. When I think about packing for this next chunk of my life, I think about utility and, ideally, multiple uses of any given item. A flashlight will be useful if electricity goes out (which it does, about once weekly) and it will be useful if I want to play flashlight tag (with all of those friends I'm sure I'll have). Bam, useful! A towel, great for after showers but also a necessary accessory if I go to the hot springs right outside of town. Bam, also useful! So, I've made a rule for myself: if something just has one use, it's staying stateside! Clothes? Bam, bad example!
But there's something about knowing what I'm packing has multiple uses (aka will definitely come in use in some way!) that makes me feel, I don't know, fulfilled, relaxed, at ease? It makes me feel good. Bam, words.
The recipe I'm sharing today also has multiple uses. Create the recipe as is and eat it plain, like a salad, and you will not be upset. Dip some tortilla chips in here and, friends, you will also most definitely not be upset. Add the salad to a big old bowl of farro, quinoa, or bulgur and stir that guy up, and... bam, still no one is upset! The first time I made this salad, I ate it with a fork as dinner (I lead a balanced life), had it with some chips as a snack the next day, and mixed the remainder into a bowl of bulgur and brought it to work for lunch for the next two days. Now that's utility.
Mango, Cilantro, Black Bean Salsalad (see what I did there?)
2 mangos, peeled and diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 cup of diced red onions
Juice of 4 limes
Salt to taste
Put all of the prepared ingredients together and mix, evenly distributing lime juice and salt. Bam, done!