Well, I had another baking flop today. Not that the cookies I made were bad, but after I made them I realized just how un-authentic they were. I was attempting to make a dark sugar cookie hailing from western Columbia. But I failed to spend the time researching like I should have, and instead just went with the first recipe I found. I should have known better when I saw that recipe was from Pilsbury. (How much more American can you get?) Here is the recipe I used.
After I made them, I started researching. (I know, shame on me.) First I found out that I should not be using dark brown cane sugar but rather panela, a solid sugar cane substance that is then grated into the recipe. Second, the recipe called the cookies “cucas” but according to the Word Reference Forum and Local Spanish, cuca is a dirty word in Columbia. Eek!
It just goes to show that research is important and the internet is not always correct. But regardless, the cookies were pretty good if you’re looking for something a bit different and on the line of a Columbian cookie.
I don’t think the icing is authentic either but I figured I’d add it any way. Who doesn’t like a little extra icing, right?
Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C.
Did you ever see the movie the Little Princess? If not, I’ll give you a brief synopsis. The movie centers on an English girl who is being brought up in India when her single father is called to war. He brings her back to the UK and puts her in a boarding school with no expenses spared. But when the British army believes him dead, everything is taken away from the girl and she is forced to become a maid in the school. Despite all that happens, she believes in her dreams and her father’s words that she is princess.
Every Thursday afternoon I’ve been volunteering with Spero Project and helping with the children in our local refugee community. Thursdays seem to be the day where they don’t have much homework so in general, we just play. Yesterday I put out a stack of paper, crayons, tape, and ribbon and just let the kids create what they wanted. There was everything from t-shirts, to paper finger claws, to purses. But what struck me the most were the crowns. With little girls from Malaysia, Turkey, and Myanmar, every single one of them wanted to make a crown to wear. Every one of them wanted to be a princess. As I watched them play, it reminded me of the movie. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, all girls are princesses.
When Hubby and I moved to San Diego last July, we weren’t sure how long we were going to be there. I didn’t have a job and he was completing a one-year fellowship. With so much uncertainty, we put all of our life in a storage unit in Georgia and signed a 13-month lease for a fully furnished apartment. We drove across the country with whatever would fit inside or on top of our car. For the past 15 months we have lived out of 6 suitcases and 12 boxes (most of which are hubby’s medical books). The opportunities for us in San Diego were so great, it was worth putting our lives in a box and living from a suitcase for a while.
Yep, that is all of my life in 10×15 foot box.
As I write this, I think of all the other bloggers who are currently abroad and living from a suitcase. Like Megan from Soulshine Traveler who has jumped around South America, lived in Russia, and explored Europe. Or Ashley and Justin from This Parallel Life who moved from their New York apartment into a storage unit in Denver while they seek adventure traveling the globe for a year. Or my dear friend Mary from Mary in Haifa who has split her furniture between her parents and friends while she takes a year away from her career to complete her Master’s degree in Israel.
For each of these bloggers, they have put away their material possessions to seek something they cannot achieve at home. Whether it is adventure, culture, education, or just a change from the norm, they have prioritized the experience over their belongings. From personal experience, I can honestly say this is not easy to do. But looking back on the last 15 months, I can say it was worth it.
Hubby and I are back in the south this weekend to celebrate our nephew’s first birthday in my husband’s hometown of Dallas, Georgia. Dallas is a small city of 11,000 about 30 miles from Atlanta and a hub for southern culture. My husband’s family has now lived in Dallas since my in-laws were very young and being a small town, everyone knows everyone, something much different from where I grew up. If you ever visit, you’ll hear plenty of authentic southern accents, you’ll find a church on every street corner, and you should definitely treat yourself to some good barbecue at the local Hickory Hut.
After a busy day of helping prep for the big birthday party yesterday, the family went to the downtown square for the monthly car show. It was fun to walk around and experience my Hubby’s hometown culture while being stopped regularly by his past teachers and family friends. I also really enjoyed seeing the cars. While all of the cars were American, they ranged in age from the 1920s to present and in quality from ugly to incredible.
Arrr! While digging through some old photos, I found this picture of me from a cruise I took with my parents after I graduated from college. I know I’m late for International Talk Like a Pirate Day but the picture did get me thinking about cruising.
Cruising is my parents’ preferred method of travel. They love not worrying about transportation or packing and unpacking as they move from one country to another. They have also been extremely generous to take my brother and I along during our younger years. We have certainly had some fabulous family vacations while sailing the high seas. However, with all vacations come lessons learned. If you’re planning on cruising this winter, here are my words to the wise:
- If your 21-year-old brother/son goes missing, assume he has found some girls to hang out with and has not fallen overboard.
- Be nice to your cabin steward. He will give you a lot more chocolates on your pillow.
- Unless you are with a big group, request your assigned dining table to be with other passengers. It’s a good opportunity to practice talking to strangers in a fairly comfortable environment.
- Go to the shows. They are actually pretty good.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. It will help you keep that weight off from the buffet.
- If going with a group, be sure not to do everything together. It’s great for everyone to go do their own excursions while at port and then get back together at dinner to share stories.
- Balance eating on board and eating at port. While the food on board is included and usually delicious, you don’t want to miss out on the cultural cuisine of each country.
- Margaritas and sea sickness don’t mix.
- If you are on a cruise while in your early 20s, expect that most people on board in your age bracket are either on their honeymoon, in an on-board wedding, or are part of the crew. (Excluding spring break week.)
- Buy one of those photographs they take of you at dinner with the pirates. Eight years later, you’ll be glad you did.