Living solo, in a foreign country, with a foreign language. I haven’t been doing this very long but I’ve also never done this before so the adulting process is in full swing.
Here are a few tips for other late bloomers:
Get to know the neighborhood
After wandering around in circles enough times around your place, take a mental note of places you’ll need on a regular basis. Draw up a quick map of nearby pharmacies, supermarkets, and bakeries that are within 2-3 blocks of you. Keep the map on your fridge and take a photo so you have it as a reference.
Never start doing laundry at 11:30 pm
Because then you’ll have to wait for the load to finish so you can hang the wet clothes to dry or transfer them to the dryer. Lesson learned. #rinsehold
Don’t overbuy or overbaguette
It’s weird when you’re only buying groceries for one. Keep that in mind when purchasing perishables like fresh baguettes that taste stale after a day. Store brand items are fine for all the basics of the kitchen. Do not go cheap on the olive oil though. As someone from the Mediterranean, let me just say that this would be sacrilege. Extra virgin, light in color, and use it for everything. None of that aceite de girasol stuff. And feed the stale baguettes to the birdies in the park, they don’t care.
Invest in coconut oil and an aloe vera plant
Coconut oil is a natural SPF and moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal agent. It’s like Windex for skin. It’s a good staple to have at hand when you need it. It’s also used in cooking and is a tasty alternative for butter when making popcorn. The aloe vera plant is a source of pure gel which alleviates burns and blisters.
For BCN, Veritas is an organic supermarket chain that carries lots of specialty products. It’s got gluten free, organic, and all other dietary sensitivity stuffs. I got coconut oil and aloe vera gel from there for 10 Euros.
Try not to get hit by a bus or a biker
And by “biker,” I mean people on bicycles. Like most of Europe, this city is very bike-friendly and the public transport system is actually reliable. Although Beirut is home to crazy drivers, it’s not the place for pedestrians. Here, I’ve been walking everywhere using the metro only once this week. The thing I did not account for is that the bike lanes cut through the streets and sidewalks. When walking, be aware of the riders that are zooming by. And when waiting for the green man to light at the crosswalk, stay about a foot away from the curb because those busses get tooclose.
And, when in doubt, just google everything. The struggle is real.