Saturday, August 18, 2012

Top 12 Signs of Culture Shock

You May Be in Culture Shock if . . .

1.  You can't tell if the water delivery man you called for the second time just told you that:

  • someone already should have brought you the water,
  • someone is leaving right now with your water,  or
  • there is no more water
2.  You find yourself unreasonably weepy or full of rage and really can't pin anything down as to why

3.  You answer your kid in Spanish because you were distractedly figuring out how to say something in your head while he was talking to you.

4.  You can conceive no logical pattern to the grocery store layout.

5.  You accidentally left IKEA before you were done purchasing your couch and had to be called back in by cell phone.

6.  You completely switch the answer to "So how are you adjusting?" several times within the same day.

7.  Your living room light flickers every few seconds for a few hours after you turn it off at night.

8.  You find yourself rigging up a way to balance the millipede you just caught in your dining room under the lizard on the window in your sons' room to make sure the lizard is getting enough to eat

9.  Your two year-old daughter says "No, gracious" every time someone approaches the car with limes or cell phone covers at a stop light.

10.  You are awakened just as often by roosters as you are by house alarms.

11.  You have ants nesting in your power cord and your computer keyboard.

12.  You find yourself using a screw driver to gouge sap out of the wooden ironing board you bought (because it reminded you of Pottery Barn) when you realize that Customer Satisfaction is not a concept that really translates outside of the U. S.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Perspectives on Bad Meat

I made spaghetti for the second time here tonight, and it reminded me of something from my first week or so here.  I had bought ground beef and ground pork to make spaghetti and they had an unfamiliar odor when I opened the package.  It was a few days past the day on the package and I was wondering if that was a use by or sell by date (and since it's all in Spanish with symbols and short-hand all their own, I can't tell).  So I asked my maid to look at the date and smell the meat and tell me what she thought.  She looked at the package and explained to me in Spanish that this one was OK because the year was 2012, but if I got one that said 2011 I shouldn't eat it.  One of the scariest moments here yet.  :)

She then taught me the meat soaking method here: all meat, including ground beef, gets soaked in vinegar and water.  I have to say, it is a very unappealing process, trying to catch floating bits of ground beef to put in the pan.  And it tastes very different.  I so prefer Dominican type foods with Dominican ingredients to trying to do American (or I guess Italian, in this case) with Dominican ingredients.

How is everyone's summer going?  Ready for fall?  Any fun end of summer trips?

We took a horseback ride to a waterfall the other day with Owen's school, as an orientation trip.  It was beautiful, albeit a bit terrifying to have Abigail balanced on the saddle in front of me (with the saddle horn broken off so I had to jam my fingers under the saddle to keep us both on).  Thankfully for all of us, these very young (7 to 10 year-old?) boys hopped on the back of our horses to keep us on track.  That was wonderful, though mine really had trouble believing that Abigail and I truly preferred not to gallop.  :)  And I just about died/died laughing when our ride included going down a bank and later crossing a stream.

Micah's birthday will be in 6 days.  Then the pressure's on.  There are birthday expectations, I hope we can live up to them.