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Last holidays I spent a month in South Africa and Dubai where I had the most breathtaking experience of my entire life; hiking in the rainforest and camping outside the Safari enclosures and seeing all the animals in their wild habitat on Safari. Also adventuring in Johannesburg, Quad biking, segwaying, bmx, bike riding. I was so amazed how every single person I met on my recent adventures, was just so incredibly caring, kind hearted, genuine and down to earth beautiful. It just shows that it doesn't matter how little you have, you can truly find happiness in anything. They were living, breathing, proof. It was all completely inspiring. Never forget how lucky you are. I know people say this but please look around you and try not to take so many things for granted, even if it is starting slow and recognising one thing a day. Treasure your amazing friends and family and every moment you have. Believe it or not, you are lucky enough to even have a roof over your head and a device to see this post.... because trust me, from what I saw, a lot of people don't. Thank you for all your exquisite people and memories Africa. You will be missed every day and I will see you again soon.

In Dubai, we mostly ate room service and me being vegan mostly just got fruit salad or pasta with veggies, and there's nothing I could really notice that was different. Except for when we went out to the desert and the food reminded me a lot of Indian, there was a buffet and all of the choices were curries and pappadams and rice, etc.

Africa was on a whole another level though...

The service whenever we went out to dinner was extraordinary and the food everywhere we went so so exquisite and beautiful and full of flavour and "not fake". You could tell everything was fresh and cooked, hand crafted that every day and it was all not artificial and things like that. All of the food everywhere was always amazing and no we didn't go to fancy places all the time but it seemed like no matter where the food was extremely high quality and so was the service that came with it. (yes we did tip a lot)

The only thing I didn't like about Africa the entire time was they put paprika on fries. So everywhere I went if I ever ordered fries they would always be soo spicy! But other than that it was absolutely bloody amazing and I will never forget the amazing fruit salads delivered to my room every morning....



-amy

I brought my professional camera with me on my trip so these photos are all mine x



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*QUEUE INTRO THEME SONG

Yeah, ok, I'm sorry about that. I didn't really know how to start this. Anyway, welcome to my crazy, beautiful, unique, blog all about me, myself and I. Amy Elise Searle.

My cultural background is mostly English, as my great Grandma (Dad's side) and great Grandpa (Mum's side) were both English but my great Grandpa was Scottish (Dad's side) and my great Grandma (Mum's side) were both English but my great Grandpa was Scottish (Dad's side) and my great Grandma (Mum's side) was Greek so at least I have a little something special Mum's side) was Greek so at least I have a little something special in me.Mum's side) were both English but my great Grandpa was Scottish (Dad's side) and my great Grandma (Mum's side) was Greek so at least I have a little something special in me.Mum's side) were both English but my great Grandpa was Scottish (Dad's side) and my great Grandma (Mum's side) was Greek so at least I have a little something special in me.in me.

Yes, I am only 14 but I am very mature for my age, as of the situation I was placed into. You see.. I am the youngest of 4, so I have 2 older sisters and an older brother.

Madeline :18

Benjamin :16

Isabella :19

Helen: 53

Recently my Mum and dad separated and are currently going through a messy divorce. Throughout my whole life, it has just always been if Mum or Dad couldn’t do something, I would just be the one expected to do it. My mum works 5 jobs to support the family by herself, so she isn’t really home a lot. So every night I cook dinner for the others. You probably don’t believe me, which is ok.. I mean I wouldn’t believe a 14 either. But I do pretty much all the cleaning and organization for the family and as I just said cooking included. I spend at least 5 hours cleaning every Sunday just from the mess the kids make during the week.

Within my high school years, I have grown so much as a person and have had many involvements from the moment I arrived, I straight away stepped right out of my comfort zone and took upon a challenge of auditioning for the school musical in 2015 which was “Hairspray”. I someone how found myself gaining a lead as “Little Inez” I worked hard and always gave it 110% at every rehearsal and soon made friends with basically the entire cast as we were such a talented team. I am a very outgoing and an adventurous person and the experience of a singing solo at the playhouse theatre GPAC when I was only 12, being the youngest lead of the entire cast, was a truly remarkable experience I will never forget. As being a strong role in the production this lead to me being a part of the mosaic, and choir. Now moving onto year 8, I joined the school’s debating team… because why not? This lead to me being asked to represent the school in a public speaking state competition. It wasn’t something I would usually do, but I wasn’t going to let fear stand in my way. I won the competition and moved onto the next round of the comp in Melbourne I came 5th out of I think 300 students. I found out about the competition a month before and realised when I arrived people had been practising all year with their two speeches and improvised sections. But overall was an extremely good learning experience and a great memory. In year 8 I also got selected for the school “Young Performers” and did many, many performances in front of huge audiences so I’m not afraid to stand up in times of needed directory and have brave confidence. I also achieved Rising Star award at Mosaic for my tremendous efforts to supporting the performing Arts team. This year I had the honour of achieving another lead in this year's musical production “Beauty and the Beast” as the Wardrobe “Madame De La Grand Bouche.

I know it's not the whole package about me, but I'm still learning and growning as a person day by day, so I don't fully know myself, like who I am or want to be. I'll get back to you when I do :)


-amy



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One of the most memorable meals I've ever had would have to have been last Christmas lunch. As I spoke about in my "food traditions/culture" post every Christmas we go to MIldura to have lunch with my mum's family and dinner with my dad's side. But last year (2016) my parents broke up (to this day they are still going through the divorce), anyway because of this we didn't end up going up to Mildura. So I spent Christmas 2016, with just my mum, and my 3 older siblings (Isabella, Madeline and Benjamin). It was our first ever Christmas at home, let alone by ourselves so it felt wrong and just off. I begged and begged my Mum to go to MIldura but she said it was just too hard this year and would be too messy as she wasn't going to take us to Dad's side of the family (We don't like them anyway) and if we went up they would just complain and make the divorce even messier. Although heartbroken, I eventually accepted this, as I wanted whatever best for my mum. Mum promise as we were all kinda down from being "alone" she would make the best Christmas lunch ever. So not only was this Christmas significant as it was our first without our Dad, but it was also my first ever Christmas as a Vegan! My mother is so supportive of me being Vegan and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better mum, so of course, she had no problem with making homemade vegan meals for me and accepted the challenge immediately. I remember walking out of my room to the smell of literal heaven. All out across our big kitchen table was heaps of bowls and plates of food, then some candles and napkin holders, in a line down half way of the table to separate the vegan food from the non-vegan food. It was the cutest thing! I sat down and there was crunchy vegan veggie chips, stir fry veggies with tofu, fruit salad, and mashed sweet potato! I tasted a little bit of everything and I was so proud of my beautiful Mumma and all her efforts, as everything, of course, tasted amazing. Something I found really funny is all my non-vegan siblings wanted my the vegan food over their own! My favourite thing about the whole meal was these deep fried veggies, to this day I still remember my first bite of one and just going "woooow" Unfortunately mum and I don't really remember the recipe but I'm pretty sure they are the same as any deep fried veggies but it was eggplant, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, and zucchini. It was amazing, crunchy and golden on the outside and soft, warm and full of taste on the inside, as soon as that first bite the insides melted in your mouth. I know it probably wasn't the healthiest thing but boy they were good and I will never forget them! What I love about this entire meal was, though we weren't the happiest, as of what going on around us at the time, the food brought us together and made us forget all our problems as we were just happy, together, in that moment. Celebrating the spirit of Christmas.

-amy

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Cultural Food traditions.

My family isn't religious at all so we do not do any ceremonies, spiritual practices, or have any beliefs or religious practices that influence food choices. We also don't speak multiple languages so it's all just pretty casual Australian food.

At Home:

Food Structure

  1. Everyone wakes up and get ready by themselves and cooks their own breakfast individually (Toast, cereal, Fruit Salad, Eggs + Bacon)
  2. Most of the time each of the kids has to make their own lunch, but sometimes Mum makes them a sandwich ( and some fruit and snacks) and I just eat leftovers from the night before or make my own salad.
  3. For dinner, I usually make it for the family, as Mum is usually out, but a lot of time mum cooks something up too. If the others don't want my vegan food, they just cook up something easy instead of my meal (eg. like pasta and veggies or chips). What happens if everyone's is home, whoever cooks the meal for everyone, serves it up on 5 plates and one by one after calling out "Dinner's ready" people choose and collect their servings and we all sit at the dinner table. Talk about each others day and organise our schedule for the days to come and so on. We don't really have any do's or don'ts, just we get annoyed if someone is chewing with their mouth open and or speaking with their mouth full.
  4. Weekends are all of the place and the food structure changes every week with rehearsals and training and business meetings and sleepovers.

Special Occasions:

Usually the only big special occasion, we take the time out to do something special with food, is Christmas. I say usually because if you have read my "Most memorable meal" you would know that last year this tradition didn't actually occur. But usually, we gather together (with one side of my extended family) - Mum's side for a feast lunch and Dad's side for a dinner.

We have timeshare at the Sunraysia Resort in Mildura (Mildura is where my whole family is from), so we book this outdoor BBQ area for lunch and each family brings 3 different meals with them so we end up with about 3 long outdoor tables, filled up with all different varieties of foods and salads and drinks. (Very Aussie!). We all come together and grab a plate and grab servings of what ever we want like a family buffet. After we eat we all go swimming in the amazing pools at the resort and usually play some competitive tennis on the tennis courts or outdoor cricket/basketball.

Dad's side of the family doesn't all live in Mildura so when we go there for dinner it's a lot smaller and indoors, also it's not a BBQ, more a fancy dinner with desserts. This has been the tradition of Christmas since I was born and I love it.

I believe I have a wide range of food preferences and choices, because my two sides of the family are completely opposite so I have a lot of variety in my life.

You are probably wondering about birthdays. The only real tradition with that, is we all have a nice dinner as a family. (Mum or I cook or we go out to a restaurant of whoever's birthday choice). Then we have a cake of their choice after dinner and that when we sing happy Birthday and do candles. 


(Down below are some photos of the Sunraysia resort Mildura, and my family lunch BBQ)


-amy


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Sorry, we ain't talking about that kind of relationship. Today we are discussing the topic of my relationship with food. Yes food. Well, I am a very spiritual and passionate person and I believe in human rights and love. So as of 18 months ago, I have been a passionate 100% vegan, (it is not a diet it is a whole lifestyle, and an ethical choice, so it's more than what I put in my mouth), which I absolutely love and it is my pride and joy. So why did I become vegan is a long story, but I’ll shorten it for you..

One night, I found myself in deep research about the slaughter houses, watching documentary to documentary, educating myself entirely, for every single animal, and the risk factors behind dairy and meat and all the studies showing the facts about societies misunderstanding on dairy and meat and learning about the impact of veganism on your health, the animals, the environment, and society, it was a complete wake up call. This one night, I didn’t even actually get to sleep. During all the facts and videos, I had so many physical (balling my eyes out) and emotional responses. I had never known animals were treated so horrifically, and I couldn’t believe I had gone my whole life without someone raising my awareness to this problem, at all. I didn't even think it was legal to do some of those things.

I made the decision to become vegan right then and there, overnight. No cutting out things slowly. Just straight gone. Never to support that again. It was the best decision I've ever made for myself. I say myself because I know even though it was because I love animals and absolutely revile seeing them treated that way, it was probably a response to clean my conscience. A lot of people ask me, "Is being vegan hard?" So here is my answer: being vegan is easy. Are there social pressures that encourage you to continue to eat, wear, and use animal products? Of course, there are. But in a patriarchal, racist, homophobic, and ableist society, there are social pressures to participate and engage in sexism, racism, homophobia, and ableism. At some point, you have to decide who you are and what matters morally to you. And once you decide that you regard victimizing vulnerable nonhumans is not morally acceptable, it is easy to go and stay vegan.

I cook my own meals just about every single night, as mum works 5 jobs to support 4 teenagers by herself and I make my own lunch + snack, what I make depends on what we actually have in the cupboard and whether or not I'm cooking for the whole family or just me. A lot of people ask me "what do you eat" and I eat actually a lot see everything normal people eat, there is a supplement so you eat yoghurt we have coconut based yoghurt that tastes the same to me, you have meat, and we have every faux meat you could think of, you have milk and butter; we have soy, rice, almond and coconut milk and nuttllex. You can basically turn just about any meal into a vegan one with mix and match of ingredients.

My style of cooking is very Spanish and Mexican cuisine (without the seafood and so on.)

Food does make me really happy, probably mostly because I know I'm doing something right and making an impact and also because well I love food and I just always feel so proud and happy after I cook and eat an amazing meal!

Some of my favourite foods are:

  • Avocado
  • Fruit (I especially love the exquisite types of fruit, such as, all berries, passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, mandarins, papaya, kiwi fruit, pineapple, grapes, nectarines, plums and so on.)
  • Oatmeal (even better with berries)
  • Acai bowls or smoothie bowls or just smoothies in general.
  • Stir Fry veggies with or without rice
  • mashed potato or mashed sweet potato
  • tortilla wraps with cooked veggies.
  • Anything with black beans (it reminds me of my time in Costa Rica)
  • Any vegan slices or sweet treats ;)
  • My guilty pleasure are my vegan sausage rolls, omg they are amazing.



- amy


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