Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mexican Food and Memories.

Fiesta, party of one...

It is Tuesday night, the perfect night for a Mexican fiesta!  Actually, I believe that every night is the perfect night for a Mexican fiesta or at least Mexican food.  Therefore, with Mexican on my mind, I set out to the bakala to obtain the necessary ingredients.  In Kuwait?  At a bakala?  Yep.  Much to my shock it was not as difficult as I imagined (everyone really does love Mexican food)! 

My Firey Fiesta Salad (clever name…right?)

·      Lettuce- check
·      Jalapeno peppers-check
·      Tomato-check
·      Cheddar Cheese   Halloumi Cheese:  a delicious white, salty cheese.
·      Sour Cream   Labneh:  The Turkish version of sour cream—SO GOOD!

And there you have it, a complete Mexican meal!

Moving on to part two of the post,  I am stealing this idea from my good friend Kelli.   
My 30 Most Awesome Life Experiences (Since I moved overseas).  There were a ton before, but this is an expat blog after all…

(In no particular order)

The Land of Eternal Spring.
1.     The last phone call I made from US soil, to Wayne, I was hysterical.
2.     My first view of Guatemala City from the plane window.  “What the HELL have I done?!?!”
3.     The morning I was shit-bombed by my hotel roommate. A long, stinky story.
4.     Celebrating an epic birthday with Kelly N.  (como se dice…)
5.     My first road trip to El Salvador.
6.     Saying goodbye to friends. Awesomely painful.
7.     Opening the third bottle of wine at Portal with Darryl.
8.     Ghost Whisperer nights with Kelli.
9.     Learning how to do “the clam” with Nina in El Salvador.
10.  Lasik
11.  The Hotel Hann in Costa Rica.
12.  Outrunning the "black truck" cops in Guate.
13.  Cooking lessons with Mom in Nicaragua.
14.  Finding the pooch.
15.  Coming home for the first time after my house had been cleaned by the maid.
16.  Pricesmart and Acas y Alas with Brian.
17.  Drunken weeknights with Sola….we will only drink two or three.
18.  My first real taste of desert heat…that shit ain’t no joke.
19.  Quitting smoking.
20.  The first sighting of loved ones at baggage claim.
21.  The instant(s) I secured a new job.
22.  Seeing my nephews for the first time.
23.  Drinking many beers on the side of the road during an 8 hour traffic jam on our way to Irtra.
24. Drinking beers on the roof of the hotel in Antigua with Marisa.
25. The birth of “CBH” at The Patio.
26. Breaking my foot in Belize….UnBelizeAble
27. Livingston and Queen Anne.
28. Our road trip to El Salvador after picking up Patrick from a golf tourney hosted by Patron.
29. The UF vs. Alabama game. "I just need a little chocolate up in me."
30. Epic shots and rainstorm in Sipacate with Mom and Wayne.

Of course there are tons more and I know there will be more to come. What are some of your moments? 

Current Bakala Total:   15.350 KD ($54.69)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It only happened once….

And it didn’t mean a thing.  I swear! 

I think I have cheated, but I need some input on this.   I bought some food at our school’s canteen (lunchroom).  I didn’t think about it, just did it.  I was hungry, didn’t have lunch, needed to eat, and there it was.  Blimpie.  They lured me with their delicious subs and cheap prices.  But does this really count?  When I gave up eating out for Lent, I was thinking more of the “let’s go to dinner, sit at table, order food, and have a chat.”   So, did I really cheat? Cast your votes.  Feel free to throw stones. I am going to continue thinking that I didn't cheat, but I am also not going to let it happen again.  Just in case…

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Temptation and Potato Salad


Day 2:   

Photo Credit
Temptation is always around.  Always.  Day 2 of Lent just happened to fall on my Friday (I now have a Sunday-Thursday work week).  For those of you that don’t teach school, Thursday afternoon at 3pm is a magical time.  The excitement in the air is actually palpable. The weekend is finally here!  Just imagine how excited and relieved you are on Friday, minutes before that end of the workweek and amplify that by thousands of students buzzing in the hallways.  It is a pretty wonderful time.  A moment when anything can happen, the promise of fun to be had is being made.  Where will this weekend take me?  What type of fun is just around the corner?

On this particular Thursday, as I was high on the fumes of promise I met a friend in the hallways. 

“A bunch of us are going to eat dinner tonight at a new Mexican restaurant.  You in?” 

“Holy hell, I love Mexican food! I am SO in!”

“Cool, we are going to smoke shisha first and then head over to eat.  I’ll call you and let you know the details.”

“Sweet.  Oh shit!  I gave up eating out for Lent.  Shit!” 

“Well, I owe you 12KD, what if I just pay for you.”

“Hmmm…that could work.  No.  No.  No.  Then I would technically be paying for myself.  Shit.  I can’t cheat on the SECOND DAY!”

“Cool.  I’ll call you later and we’ll get drunk.”

“Sounds like a fair consolation prize to me!”

Dang that is a lot of mayonnaise!
To kill the time I decided to make potato salad.  This was an epic undertaking as I was making potato salad for 100.  Off to the bakala to get potatoes: pounds. Eggs: 18. Mayonnaise: 4 jars.  Onions:  4.  Then it was back home to peel, chop, boil, and combine. The entire process ended with a pan of potato salad that weighed about as much as a toddler and it was good.  Damn good!  Two days later,  my apartment still smells like onions and I am firmly atop the Lent Wagon! 

Bakala Total:  9.600KD  ($34.15) Dang that potato salad was expensive!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Here we go again...

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Happy Pancake Tuesday!!
Today the fun begins-Lent!  I am not an overly religious person, but I do hold on to some fundamental traditions from childhood. One of these traditions is Lent.  I remember being a kiddo and getting a card from our church.  For each day that you successfully abstained from your chosen vice, you placed a quarter in a slot on the card.  At the end of Lent, you got to cash in!!  For some reason this act of self deprivation was fascinating to me then and still fascinates me now.  As cheesy as it sounds it helps me appreciate all the stuff that I take for granted in my life, and trust me there is a lot of cool shit in my life that I take for granted.

This year I have decided to celebrate the Lenten season by abstaining from shopping (and soda, and red meat, and...). For those of you just joining in on the fun, I usually give up my beloved friend alcohol. However, since I recently moved to a dry country I think that abstaining from alcohol is far too easy, not really a challenge. And for reasons still unbeknownst to me, I sure do love a challenge!!!

Since this is my second year giving up shopping I have upped the ante to keep things interesting.   Last year,  I took shopping to mean "the act of purchasing new items."  After Lent, I realized that I truly enjoy the act of shopping, not just buying.  I enjoy hearing the click of my heels on the tiled floors.  I enjoy the abundance of smells that bombard you when you enter each store.  I enjoy the act of touching each item; feeling the “new”.  I enjoy the barrage of sounds that pour out of each store.  I enjoy watching the masses as they mill around the mall. I enjoy it all!  Therefore, this year I have not only banned myself from purchasing items…I have banned myself from the mall!  In Kuwait, this is a REALLY big deal—trust me! Remember I love a challenge! 

40 Days at Bakala Qamar!
What does all this babble about challenges and Lent have to do with a Bakala you ask?  And just what in the hell is a Bakala?  Both valid questions! A Bakala is a local mini-mart.  Tiny, tiny, tiny, and small.  About the size of my mother's living room.  It has everything you could possibly need and then some.  To make this Lent even more challenging (remember I told you I love a challenge), I have limited myself to only shopping at the Bakalas behind our house. I can't take total credit for this idea...my former roommate Andrea and I came up a similar challenge while we were living in Guatemala.  

I had to look back at my rules from last year to refresh my memory...

The rules this season are as follows:
  • I can only purchase necessary items that I am planning to consume right away.
  • I can only buy Mimosa's dog food outside of the Bakala.
  • I can not eat out, unless I am on vacation.
  • I am limited to one magnet and one keepsake from each country I visit during Lent.

This year's updated rules:

  • I can only purchase necessary items that I am planning to consume right away (food and toiletries) at the local Bakala behind my house.
  • I can buy Mimosa's dog food outside of the Bakala.
  • I can only eat out when I am on vacation or when someone else treats me.
  • I can only enter a mall to see a movie or to eat out (when someone else is paying).  
  • I CANNOT buy anything on vacation--NADA!   

So, the purpose of this blog is to document the antics of my Lenten challenge and might just offer some cultural insights, but no guarantees on that last one. Stick around and see how this foolishness unfolds!

And We're Off!