Friday, November 22, 2013

Found: Yams, Yet to Buy: Live Turkey

So I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving, and I'm pleased to say I found American yams at the grocery store today, so we're all set with those.  (Dominican yams are white and very dry, and they just don't candy with brown sugar the same way.)  I'm going to have a really big green salad, yams, cranberry relish (which they sell here this time of year for the Americans), rice (because I really hate making both mashed potatoes and stuffing and I don't really like eating them, and you have to have something to put the gravy on), and the fresh local turkey.

Which means that Monday is turkey day.  My friend Hollie and I are going to go to the Hospedaje again to pick out a live one and get it slaughtered.  After all kinds of warnings that my turkey would be tough and gamey last year, I cooked it in an oven bag someone gave me and coated it with a blended relish of garlic, apple juice, cilantro, and red onion.  It was really good, so I'll be doing that again.  Finding the oven bags was a bit of a chore; when I asked at different grocery stores, I was directed to the ziplocks.  I eventually tracked them down, I am so happy to say, so we should have another good year for turkey.

I have to keep my Thanksgiving simple, because we celebrate it a day early so we can go to the beach for a few days.  The school has a half day on Wednesday, after a morning of Thanksgiving activities (activities with which I will be helping, thus the easier meal plan).  I mean to try to make some pumpkin pie, I froze some of the fresh cooked pumpkin from our jack-o-lantern and saved it.  I will have to do some pie-making on Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Happy planning!  :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Small World

You have no doubt had the experience of meeting someone that you realize you know from somewhere else, but it takes a really long time to figure out how you know each other.  It happened to me twice in a week, and as a new person in another country I realized that it has become an extremely uncommon event.

A week ago I went to a marriage retreat at a resort.  (As a side note, I think churches here find it much easier to recruit couples for marriage retreats since they host them at beautiful resorts.  It was amazing, so relaxing, so kid-free!)  And I ran into someone who was trying to figure out how he knew me, and eventually we realized that he's my waiter at a restaurant I go to occasionally for breakfast (they sell an enormous plate of food for only $3).  That was surreal to me, because again, there aren't many places from where I could know someone here.

But then again last night I ran into someone, an American visiting the country for a week.  And he remembered me by my maiden name.  And we realized, after about 20 minutes talking, that we worked together at Water Street Rescue Mission as camp counselors when we were in college.  He and his family are amazing, and doing some amazing health outreach to people throughout the world in remote villages, and it was so interesting to talk to him.

And it was also a great pleasure to run into an old friend in a new world.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I've been meaning to post this picture of our visit to the Carnival display that they have at the free cultural museum in downtown Santiago.  The statue behind the kids is attired in a traditional dress designed by a really famous designer (whose name escapes me because, frankly, most names do--and the energy I spend learning names is better invested on those who go to my church or the kids' school).  A man wore this costume for Carnival, which is a Mardi Gras type Dominican festival celebrated the month of February every weekend.  He's dressed in the "Steal the Chicken" role, which Wikipedia tells me men in dresses adopted originally as a clever way to steal chickens, stuffing their dress with chickens to serve as hips and breasts.  There are other statues in the room also of the other central character of Carnival, The Limping Devil.  That's the guy behind Abigail with horns holding the silk bag.  He's a fancy version of the real thing.  Normally the silk bag is an animal bladder filled with air that I have been warned is used to hit girls on the butt.  A fascinating celebration, sometime I'll have to ignore the strong warnings to the contrary (i.e. this is not the place for a gringo) and go to see it for myself.  It doesn't sound like a real family-oriented scene, so logistically speaking, it may not be soon.  But I may just have to see this for myself someday.