When you move to a foreign, unfamiliar country or region, perhaps an exotic place like France, India, Peru or even New Mexico (where they put green chili on everything), you know that food and flavors will be different. You expect it will be so and it is. But when you move back “home” or, in my case, a place you have once lived in before, you may not be totally prepared for the changes in diet that many of your friends and family have made. It may take some time to accept these changes and adjust your pantry accordingly. If you love to host people for meals, you will just have to accept the fact that it will be much more difficult to do so! But how much should you compromise? What is just a diet fad or food fear? What is worth keeping in your pantry? What advice or food items should you toss? I’m asking myself all these questions and I still don’t have all the answers. Continue reading
Unfortunately, for the longest time, I had believed the myth that a Honduran woman had to have special hands to be able to make flour tortillas. And since I grew up in the south-central region of Honduras, I never learned to make flour tortillas. When I moved up north, I was told by a northern-coastal lady: “You are not a real Honduran woman if you do not know how to make flour tortillas.” But in the seven years of living in the north coast, I never really learned how to make flour tortillas; therefore, I never really felt like I was a true Honduran woman.
But… I moved back to the United States of America and I HAVE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE FLOUR TORTILLAS!!!!!! ¡Eso! One of my dear American friends provided me with the best flour tortilla recipe ever! Here it is: Continue reading
I miss my full time house help: 8 hours a day for five days a week. She cleaned, washed clothes, prepared lunch, loved and cared for my kids. Oh… I was so spoiled! Sometimes I ask myself: Why did we move to the US?
It is culturally acceptable even for lower-middle class families to hire full or part time help in the home. For foreigners, it is almost expected. Labor is cheap in the developing world. Work is also scarce, even for highly educated people living in urban areas, not to mention people who live in rural areas. I needed to run a home in a hot, humid and dusty environment where floors needed to be swept and mopped daily and clothes and sheets got moldy – not to mention we did not have a dishwasher nor air conditioning, and had to hang clothes to dry on a line because electricity is really, really expensive. That was my “old normal.”
A month or two before we moved back to the US, we had our yard sales and set aside our treasures to ship. Each child got a plastic storage crate for their special toys, books, and keepsakes. We had our hammocks, our Honduran carved entry table, my guitar, special paintings, my husband’s grandma’s silverware – mainly things we couldn’t replace. Most of the items we shipped reminded us of special places and people, not only of Honduras but also of other seasons past.
It took us over 2 months to move into the current house we are renting and it has really been an answer to prayer. I was getting tired of not having a place to put the little stuff that we own. Now that we have a place to call home, the house fills up and the our bank account depletes. We are now proud owners of a couch and we hope to get a dinning table delivered in a few weeks. I almost cried when I went to Sears with my husband to buy a washer and dryer only to find the last box of exactly the same pots and pans (click on Adiós Microwave post) I owned in Honduras! I was so excited!
We had a house rental secured even before we left Honduras. We were only going to stay at my in-laws for about a week and then move to our own place. So a few days before we were scheduled to move, we went to see our soon-to-be rental home only to find that it was not exactly what we had hoped it was.
Nilla made it! Our cat is now in the USA. What did we do to bring her back with us? Continue reading
Even though kids can be very resilient and are quite adaptable, it can still be very hard for them to part with friends. This is why we decided to allow each child to wrap up their time in Honduras by giving them the opportunity to say goodbye to special people in their lives in their own unique way. They were able to choose (1) who they wanted to invite to their party and (2) what type of party they wanted to have.
Each party was different; but they did have a few things in common:
- They were all very simple. Since the purpose of each party was to spend a memorable time with friends -and I’m not a very good party decorator-, we went “all natural” with the decoration. We used what we had and spent money mostly on food, disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc.
- There were blank note cards and markers for guests to write a special message to the parting child. If the guest was a child who could not write, I asked the child’s parent to write for them. We loved collecting the notes at the end of the party and reading the special messages from friends.
Below you will find a picture and brief description of each of the three parties we had: Continue reading