I owe someone a thank you note.
Last last weekend, I stood on a stage with 3 other women and played bass in my first rock band. It was a culmination of 2 days of meeting total strangers – with little to a lot to no musical experience, and being in a band with them, and thinking that they were the coolest people in the world, and wondering WHAT AM I DOING HERE and a mad karaoke party, and finally, belonging.
If I rewind to what are known as “the formative years”, I’ll tell you I wasn’t really Miss Outgoing. I’d clam up in front of strangers. I remember my mother telling people we were shy. There are photos of us with lowered chins and sneaky upward glances that were probably taken by strangers we were too shy to even look at. Past that phase, the awkwardness manifested into insecurity (typical teenager, right?). I wouldn’t discuss my favourite music with people I thought were too cool for me. I wouldn’t even talk to them.
Last year around this same time, I spoke in front of mostly people I didn’t really know that well except that they were by far some of the coolest women and humans on this planet. It wasn’t so much as I was speaking in front of people but that I was talking directly to women I idolise for being so revolutionary. My body turned very warm, I was shaking, and stuttering but I spoke. I didn’t even need to but when my turn came, I knew I had to get over this pre-anxiety anxiety.
This year, I played bass in an effing band. It’s something I would have never done for myself. I’m still always overthinking everything and feeling like I can never quite live up to the hype that my existence sometimes (rarely) creates. Somehow someone knew and they gave silly me a chance to leave all of that heavy shit aside and be in a band for 3 days. They gave me my favourite vocalist, my favourite drummer and guitarist. They gave me years worth of missed chances at hanging out not just talking *about* the band but actually being *in* it. Then they gave me red lipstick. They gave me Tri Bull.
This all looks very far from a thank you but trust me, gratitude has been pouring out of my skin. I got the rock camp glow. Life has been kind of rollercoaster-y for me these past few years (please take a seat and read this blog. You’ll see). But I’ve always had solid constant sources of power (my family yay!) to bring me right back up from these slumps. In 2012, I added photography and in 2013, it was Rain City Rock Camp for Girls (RCRC). Volunteering for this organisation has been nothing short of feeling like I’m walking around with a bag full of lightning bolts and wisdom to know when I need to use them or pass them around to those who might need them more. If you’re reading this and you know me even from limited interaction, you should know that I am my best self because of these women. I take that out into the world with me as much as I can and I try my best everyday to mould myself exactly on the values this organisation was founded on. It’s inclusive, it strives to be diverse (I love that!) and it gives us the tools to be positive role models to the people in our lives. When you go around trying to be under the radar, it’s like lightning to realise you’ve been noticed. It’s enough for me to volunteer but I know I’ve gotten so much more out of being a camper.
My thank you note is also encouragement for you to get involved as little of as much as you can. Right now, they have a wishlist you can view here and also a Disneyland-esque volunteer opportunities in Seattle and the South Sound the summer, which you can sign up for right here and here. World-famous musicians will play for you at lunch time and also be fellow volunteers WHAT!! This is not an exaggeration.
Thank you to all the donors and people that form the backbone of this organisation. Thank you for asking me to come to Ladies Rock Camp and then giving me a coach I’ve always admired and a band that I really want to go on tour with. Maybe? Yes? You really really really change lives in a way that can be hard to put into words (….she says after writing 1 million paragraphs). You gave this publicly quiet one the space to be heard and this is my shout out to you.
If you’re visiting this space for the first time, hello! I know it’s strange that I write about fish and thank people for changing lives in the same post but it’s impossible for me to separate food from real life stuff. These two things go together and my blog does not ignore that. It would mean the world to me if you share posts if you like them but I’m just as happy with awkward sideways glances, a comment in person or on the post. I accept them all.
Now for the food.
The way I’ve made the fish is inspired by how my family in Goa makes it. It’s the most basic marination most people use for seafood in my state. We even leave out the garlic. The only difference here is that I used paprika instead of chilli powder and lemon juice instead of lime. There is still some spice in this dish thanks to the slaw dressing.
For the fennel slaw
- 1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Big pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 heads of fennel, quartered and shaved to 1/8 inch thickness
- 1/2 heaping cup of fresh dill, thyme and mint, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if you want more heat)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Toss the shallot, sugar and salt in a small mason jar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the apple cider vinegar, cover the jar and swirl around to mix well. In about 10 minutes, scoop out the shallots with a fork.
Add the fennel, shallots, herbs and raisins to a salad bowl.
Whisk the lemon juice, honey and pepper pepper flakes in a jar. Pour in the olive oil in a thin stream whisking until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate all the food until the halibut is cooked.
For the fish
- 1 lb halibut, skinned and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Cooking oil, to coat the bottom of a pan
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge for an hour (minimum).
Place a pan on medium-high heat and coat the bottom with cooking oil. Once the pan is sufficiently hot, add the halibut to it. The fish should sizzle as soon as it touches the surface. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes without disturbing it. Peek to see if it has darker sear marks and then flip over and cook for 2-3 more minutes on the other side.
Plate up some fennel slaw and toss with the dressing. Serve the just-cooked halibut with the cool slaw on flat bread or over brown rice.