Some news! Well, by now this isn’t really news, but we quit our jobs and packed up our apartment in Toronto late November to move as far as we possibly could across the country. I gave Toronto a chance for three years but I was never crazy about that city. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive partner that would make such a big move with me. We escaped Ontario winter just in the knick of time to mild and rainy-wintered Victoria, BC.
Everything happened so quickly and lined up nicely for us. We found an apartment, found jobs, and started training for said jobs almost immediately after settling in. Exploring a new city and starting new jobs has kept us quite busy. I haven’t had as much time on hand to dedicate to soup making, soup eating, or soup blogging.
In my first couple months here, I spent a lot of time wondering how the fuck you’re supposed to make new friends when you’re rapidly approaching 30, you work from home, and are brand new to a city where everyone else is established. Where no one else seems to be as starved for friendship.
I’d considered for a hot second joining some kind of club or group but the problem is I’m not really into… activities. Most groups involve some kind of sport or exercise and I’m not particularly good at either of those things. I’m the least competitive person on the planet and I’m usually really put off by competition. My main interests are eating, drinking, and sleeping. Even so, I mostly enjoy doing these things in my own home for financial reasons. Seems as though there isn’t much out there for me activity-wise.
I was having a really hard time remembering how to make new friends. Historically, I don’t think I’ve ever had to make a real effort to meet people. It always just kind of fell into my lap. When I moved to Ottawa to start university, I lived in residence, so there were loads of new people up in my face at all hours of the day. It was impossible to avoid making new friends.
When I left Ottawa, meeting people in Korea also came easily. I typically find it easy to make fast and solid friendships when living or travelling abroad because it can be terrifying trying to learn a new language and difficult adapting to new surroundings on your own. Those that find themselves in this situation tend to connect to others like magnets.
Since we hadn’t really met anyone in the city in our first couple months, I found myself trying to make eye contact with strangers that looked close in age to me, willing them to strike up a conversation. I’m assuming this only made me look like a leering perv. It’s especially difficult meeting new people when you’re part of a couple. People in twos are less likely to be approached if it looks like they might be on a date. Furthermore, It’s awkward to approach anyone as a couple without it looking like an invitation for some kind of sex thing. I also mulled over the idea of posting a “friendship wanted” ad online but remembered the internet is the scariest place of all. See also “invitation for some kind of sex thing”.
I am now happy to report that we have managed to make some connections with new people through some established, yet amazingly willing remote coworkers and friends of friends. Looks as though I won’t be posting that Craigslist ad after all. I can also stop panicking about the idea of joining a fitness club and pretending to enjoy exercise.
In celebration of new friends, here is a recipe I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Meet one of my favourite broths. It’s light but packed with flavour, it’s super simple, and takes very little time. I plan on using it in recipes to come, so keep an eye out!
This soup in particular has got all the perks of a dumpling soup, minus the carbs.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all meatball ingredients together and form into approximately 20 meatballs. Bake meatballs on a large baking sheet for 10 minutes, turn over, and bake another 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and cook garlic, ginger, and peppers for 5 to 10 minutes. Add stock, meatballs, fish sauce, and bring up to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium low for 25 minutes.
Dress bowls of soup with garnishes and serve.
Serves 4 – 6.