December 30, 2010

What is it?

Answer coming soon. You know where to comment in the meantime.

December 22, 2010

Wednesday, from Anthony's cell phone

9:05am, near our house



11:20am, cooking hot dogs

11:22am, waiting for lunch

11:39am, lunch almost finished



6:25pm, waiting for dinner




9:14pm, home



December 14, 2010

Kari Ikan Makcik (Auntie's Fish Curry)

I thought about typing out the actual recipe on this blog, but decided it was too late (almost midnight!) to type it all out. However, if there are significant numbers of requests in the comments (like two maybe) I will be happy to post it.
Here is the story however... this is Auntie's kitchen. She's actually got quite the set-up as far as kitchens go. Her house is probably the nicest on our street though, so it didn't surprise me.
Part of the recipe calls for coconut liquid (not milk I don't think because I think that's just straight out of the coconut) The liquid here I'm talking about is gotten by pouring water over the coconut shavings. Here's Makcik (Maa-cheek) grinding out the coconut flesh on her special coconut grinding machine. The girl in pink is her house helper...who had just cut the fresh coconut open with a machete about 4 minutes before this. 
 Here's her rinsing (then squeezing) the coconut shavings. You can get the coconut liquid from a box at any import store...but like most things, the fresher the better!
 Speaking of fresh. She bought the fish from the Chinese guy who drives by everyday on his motorcycle selling fresh fish and vegetables. Every bit goes into the curry. This fish was really good... I have no idea the English name for it, but it's Ikan Bawal (Bawal fish).  Also, before you (in America) get grossed out by the thought of fish in your curry- maybe you already are?- I realized after cooking this with Makcik that "fish" or "chicken" or whatever other kind of curry isn't really all that different- at least not how she did it.  The curry was all made, then the fish put in at the end to cook in the pot. So it could have easily been chicken or lamb and it didn't really change the flavor of the curry at all.
 Here's the curry (before the vegetables and fish added). It's quite easy to make really...though Makcik owned a restaurant for 20 years, so watching her do it was a bit like watching a prima ballerina dance... she made it look easy.
 My throat was hurting pretty bad that day and as much as I'm just kind of take-it-or-leave-it on my feelings toward curry in general, when Makcik asked me to taste test it, the tiny little spoonful I got ran down my throat like warm powerful medicine.  Think vegetable soup times a thousand. It burned a bit because curry is spicy, but at the same time it felt amazing. Maybe it was numbed, I have no clue, only it worked.
Anthony was home watching the boys (who were both napping during the curry making) so Makcik loaded up the "mangkuk tingkat" or the stacked bowls with all the fresh food she had just made. She of course made fried chicken, rice, and an eggplant dish all while making the curry. So I had to take it down the lane to Anthony, then return to her house to eat our fresh meal together.
The curry is the bowl directly under Anthony's elbow. I saved what he didn't eat of it and ate about 8 spoonfuls like a soup the next day (you're supposed to eat it with rice). What was left of my sore throat went away after eating it. So. I can't say I'll be making curry all too often, but I do know what I'll make when I get a sore throat!

December 11, 2010

A simple woman's daybook...

...I am simply copying this idea from a blog friend... thought it could give me (and you) some insight and a picture of what's going on right now in my little part of the end of the earth...

Outside my window... It's dark. Saturday is done. There are crickets chirping. I can hear them because we have slatted(?) windows and they don't reaally shut.

I am thinking... that I only have 6 months to accomplish a lot in my language learning. So why am I on the computer? When I'm done with this post, I'm going to do something that increases my language ability a little. Maybe review some cooking terms.

I am thankful for... quality medical care. I took my son to the doctor today and walked out with all the medication (and more) he could possibly need to make him comfortable and better.

From the kitchen... today poured a washer-full of water into most of our tiny house. Maybe I should have put in the question above that I'm thankful for tile floors? A post on that later...

I am wearing... a striped cotton shirt from Gap and some old maternity pants. No, I'm not pregnant, the pants were just so comfortable, they never went back into the pile.

I am creating... organization for our tiny little house while dreaming about the slightly larger house we'll probably get in 6 months and all I'll want to do with that organizationally when the time comes. IKEA won't even see me coming.

I am going... to hopefully learn how to cook curry tomorrow from our 70-something year old landlady. She said to come at 10am on Sunday. I'm going. Hopefully she meant it. Anthony is hoping too because he would love for me to know how to make curry. A post on that to come too.

I am reading... "The Count of Monte Cristo" on our Kindle and am 93% done. I started it a couple weeks ago and once I start a book I usually average only about 4 days at the most in finishing. This book is a bit longer than usual...add to that moving to the other side of the world and all, and there's a little wiggle room in finish-time.  It's good though. Nothing like the movie, but it helps because I put the actors' faces in my mind as I read.

I am hoping... for a lot of things actually. 1) That language class will start well on Monday. 2) That Isaac will get better and be able to start preschool on Monday too 3)hmmm... lots of other things to put... I hope mostly in the Lord. It's why I'm here. With him though, my hope is always so sure. Maybe that's what I should have put in the "I am thankful" spot?

I am hearing... motorcycles (or rather "motor bikes" as 125cc's barely counts as something to be classified with Harley's) outside on the little lane in front of our house. Believe it or not, it's great ambient noise and the boys have slept longer and better since moving here. Occasionally though, there are one or two that are a bit too noisy.

Around the house... fans are going. No air conditioners here. But then I wouldn't hear the crickets now would I? We have one pointed at us right now, sitting on the bed as I type. It's rainy season, so the heat hasn't been bad at all.

One of my favorite things... is watching (and receiving) Isaiah give kisses. Isaac fell asleep at 7 tonight because he's sick. At every chance he could, Isaiah would run into their room and lean over and try to give Isaac kisses.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Include starting language class, watching my first born go to preschool, hunting down a fabric store and seeing if I can manage to get a tailored traditional outfit made before my good friend's wedding in a couple weeks, seeing the beach which is only about 2 km (1 mile) from here. Me not going to the beach (even if I have to wear long-pants) must be remedied soon.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing... it's not a great photo in itself, but I took it the other day. It's the view of the bay from one of the malls here on the island. Really? I live here? Yessssss!

December 05, 2010

A glimpse at the new house...

There's still a little work to be done (new fridge, re-do curtains, get rid of moth-ball smelling dresser) but we're excited... moving in today! (Monday)

December 03, 2010

"Blasten Colden," an afternoon in Germany

We left Orlando, slept on the plane overnight, and after a fairly uneventful flight we landed in Germany and had a few hours to kill so we went out of the airport (or for this post I think I'll call it the "Flughafen") to go see the Christmas Market in Mainz near Frankfurt. It was FREEZING!

Isaac loved the train from the flughafen. There was a lot of snow on the ground and there was no chance of it melting as it was 25 outside and "felt like" 9.  Isaiah slept on the train and only woke up as the cold air hit his face as we got off the train.

 I'm sure we sounded pretty dumb as we passed all the neighborhoods on the train and walking through the streets as we kept saying, "Wow. This is so neat. It looks just like Europe." and "Those houses are so cute. Very German like."  and so on. We left our "We're Tourists!" shirts at home so we figured we should make it extra clear. Expertessen aur we nau?

The Christmas Market was adorable and all we had hoped it would be and more. By "more" I of course mean "painfully cold" or "Blasten Colden" as Anthony so aptly named it.  We were layered sufficiently but we have a lack of decent cold-weather gloves so we looked for a little while, got a fried German potato cake thing with applesauce squirted on it, then sought refuge inside a nearby store. Thawed out then went to look for a nativity or something to buy. We ended up getting some sort of natural candle carved into a nativity scene and a small magnet. We pack light.

Then we asked a few locals where we could get "traditional German food" from and ended up at HDW, which wasn't like an old school German pub looking thing, but a sleek modern restaurant. Oh well, it was warm. We ordered a couple types of sausages and were delighted with the yummy saurkraut (we think?) but the oversized hotdog- in the menu described as a "Haggis type dish"- came back 50-50 on the review.  The Parents weren't too thrilled with it but the Kindersboysen really seemed to like it.

We hopped into a cab and caught the train back to the Flughafen. I give props to Germany in that every person we stopped to ask directions of or an opinion about where to eat, were all friendly and tried to help.  If we at some point find ourselves planning a trip to Europe, I think I'd like to go back to Germany and see some more, buy a Lonely Planet guidebook for it beforehand, and of course go in the summertimzen when its hottenaddel outsiden.

More posts about us arriving at our final destination later! We are here and safe and trying to combat jet-lag as best we can... photos to come!

November 18, 2010

"Oh, say can you see?..."

My mind keeps jumping from, "I want to get on a plane and leave this very second!" to "Man. I'm gonna miss this. It wouldn't be so bad to stay a bit longer."

And since this is a pre-Thanksgiving post, I'm gonna stick with the positives. Some things we're thankful for here in our home country and what we're choosing to do without by moving overseas. Things that make the USA, "home." Because I'm American I'm going to put it in a top 10 list.

10. Anonymity. Oh to blend in. When we got off the plane in NYC 17 months ago, we instantly became just 3 more faces in the crowd. No one noticed us. Even in the US with all our diversity, this white-girl can disappear in a mall, sit and eat without being watched at a restaurant, and even go to church without feeling like I'm sticking out like a sore thumb.  That will disappear as soon as we step off the plane in Asia. We'll be 1 foot taller than everyone on average, have "sharper noses," and in general, call attention to ourselves every moment in public just by being non-Asian.
9. Pork. BBQ. Specifically Sonny's BBQ, my Uncle Ronnie's BBQ, and even the new found love of the BBQ joint at the end of town that is constantly smoking ribs. Man oh man. We will give up pork- even having it in our house or using old utensils/cookware that's ever touched it- willingly, but will miss it all the same. Anyone heard the comedian Jim Gaffigan's bit on bacon? Hilarious.
8. The "Size 9" section at Payless Shoe source. That 1 foot taller thing goes for feet and shoes as well. I have so many friends here with feet as big as mine...and bigger! My niners will no longer be anonymous in 2 weeks.
7. The assumption that my children are boys by the general public. When people do notice us in public, it's often because of our boys. Not ONCE have I been asked, "Is it boy or she?" Maybe it's just an easy opener to approach the white people and start a conversation, but it's just been nice that everyone here can clearly tell that my boys are boys. Even when Isaac's hair was long.
6. Having heart to heart conversations with friends face to face.  Even though I'm sure our friends are glad they don't have to hear any more stories about Asia, it has been so nice just chatting. Never once having to ask what a verb meant and hoping you get what they say. They call them "heart languages" for a reason.
5.  Tank-tops, shorts, and flip flops in 90 degree weather. We get to keep the flip-flop aspect (though new pairs will be hard to come by...see point 8) but its nice wearing shorts (nice modest bermuda shorts!) and not have to think twice that I might ruin my entire family's reputation and remove all virtue from my character simply because I wanted to be a bit cooler outside.

4. Central A/C everywhere. 

3. American football. Its so distinctly American. Japanese and parts of the Caribbean have baseball, China has basketball, the whole world has soccer, but the US and Football...we will miss you on Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays and Saturdays).

2. Dinner time = 6-7pm-ish. In the US a normal family dinner with children, etc is around that time. It's our culture. It's the flow of our day. 6:00 to 7:00 is HIGHLY associated in my mind with dinner time. Most nights at home will still work fine for that, but where we're going most folks eat sometime after 8pm. Ugh, I would gain so much weight. Sounds like something inconsequential, but imagine your neighbors thinking you're weird because of what time you eat dinner?

1. Grandparents at home and on-hand. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins close-by. There's just nothing like it!

October 27, 2010

Mi Miami es tu Yourami

So the night before we left to visit Anthony's family in Miami we told Isaac we were going to Miami. He then replied, "Yeah. We going to Your-ami." Still working on the pronouns.
We had a great time visiting with Anthony's extended family (his mom and dad are both from Miami). Though, this post might not reflect that. We didn't take even ONE picture with any relative! I have no clue how we managed to do that. Grandma Puccio (Anthony's grandmother) had just gotten out of the nursing home/rehab place, so maybe her concern over her hair was what kept the camera in the bag? Not sure, but it was fun nonetheless!
And as always a ton of photos (all non-familial of course)...

Hwy 27 South... Ahh Florida. Billboards on the right, flat sugarcane fields, and smoke from them burning the sugarcane.
The last time we drove this road was 6 1/2 years ago going down for our honeymoon (a cruise that left from Miami). There were only 2 of us then... you can't see Zay, but you can see both car seats. We've gone a lot of miles since then!
Palm trees, ranch-style homes with red-tile roofs, and canals... yep...Miami!
First night's food. Cuban. After a call to my BFF Cara (who speaks fluent Spanish...bc she studied it, not bc she's Latino) steered me to the flattened chicken something-or-other. The menu was in Spanish! We loved it.
Coconut Grove. Quintessential Miami. Shopping, $100,000 cars e'erbody got 'em, and weird people.
Like Louisville with the horses, Lakeland, FL with the swans, Miami has painted peacocks everywhere. They were all way fun!

Isaac with one of the peacocks.
We came back here the next day. But I can't figure out how to move the pictures in blogger.
Just because he's cute
eating crayons at a sidewalk Arabic restaurant

pictures of food...soooo good. Shewarma's!
and baklava!

El Cristo on Calle Ocho (8th St) The most Cuban part of Miami. More Spanish was spoken here too!
Isaiah taking in the Cuban cuisine and atmosphere.
Cafe Cubano! A potent little cup of coffee!
I don't even really like coffee, but I love this! So sweet, so thick, so coffee, so small. An amazing little drink indeed.

Back to the park the next day. It's preserved from the time when there were no roads down to South Florida and everyone got there by boat. Interesting to imagine!
The home that a guy built way back when on Biscayne Bay.
My loverly Mother-in-law!

Random hole in the below...

Biscayne Bay. Before the Everglades began to get drained, there was so much fresh water underground that it literally pushed up into freshwater springs in the middle of Biscayne Bay (which is saltwater). So sad that all those springs are gone. :(

My men in the mangroves!

The Barnacle behind us. What the guy named his house way back 1887 or something!

Fish tank while eating sushi.

I have a better picture of my MIL using her chopsticks, but this one made me laugh. Anthony reaching in to take a piece!

The drive back home... "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neal Hurston is a story about folks in Florida way back when.  In the book the characters are caught in a hurricane around Lake Okeechobee (the BIG lake in Florida). The wind blew the water to one side then as the hurricane passed it released and all the water rushed back flooding miles and miles around the Lake (which really happened). After that they built a levee that runs all the way around most of the lake... of course we climbed up the embankment and looked out. There's a canal close, but you can see Lake Okeechobee waaaay off in the distance. It's humongo.
And thus was our weekend in Miami. I am so glad we got to go. I actually met a couple more people in Anthony's family I've never met before. We didn't have time to see them all or hang out as much as we all wanted (they live there, so they had to work) but it was good nonetheless. Miami is one of those international cities that you have to visit in order to understand what all the hype is about. Most of the party-scene that Miami is famous for doesn't interest us one bit, but the atmosphere itself...the tropical-ness, the Latin majority (I went to Dillard's and the sales lady didn't speak English), the food, even the weirdo people, all make it a very interesting place to visit (even live?!). Yay for Miami!