Tag Archives: expat

You Never Know What Youโ€™re Gonna Find

I love grocery shopping in other countries. You never know what you’re going to find when you look around. Some things are familiar, others are odd, quirky, or unusual.

After the gym tonight, I popped into Hypermart, a local Indonesian grocery store, to pick up a few things. As I wandered the aisles, I started to notice the differences in stores here and back home, so I snapped a few pictures.

You can buy a bunch of random frozen food in bulk, such as hot dogs, french fries, fish fingers, chicken tenders, and strange colored meats. This idea really grosses me out…all the germs (plus the weird mystery meats)!

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Looking for some fruit covered in styrofoam and plastic wrap? Check! If only nature had a way to protect the inside of the fruit…;)

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How about some oil in a large bag? You’ve got many, many choices of brands!

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If you’re craving a Jell-O like snack in a small plastic container, look at all of the colorful choices you have to choose from!

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Buying small quantities of rice in Asia is hard to do. Hope you like a lot of rice!

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To ward off the would-be thieves, all the jars of Nutella have anti-theft sensors on them. Who would have thought Nutella was such a hot commodity?

If you’re in the mood to try some different kinds of meat, you can grab some chicken heads or feet. Ewwwwww!

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Think all cheese needs to be refrigerated? Think again! You can buy some disgusting processed cheese right from the aisle.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in the grocery store?

Looking Forward to a Break

Quality time with friends. Delicious food, so much delicious food. Beach bum status. Familiarity mixed with newness. These are what I can expect to experience in just a couple of weeks.

After a long stretch without a holiday, a break is needed. Short-tempered, exhausted and run down, with less and less energy at the end of the day. Stretched thin, the cracks are beginning to show.

What once seemed impossibly far away is now within reach. Eleven more school days. Fifteen actual days. Spring Break is on the horizon. With a plan to spend time in some of my favorite places with some of my favorite people, I’m beyond excited.

I’ll be heading to Bangkok for the first part of the week, where I get to reunite with Callie, eat all the Penang curry, Kao Soi, and mango sticky rice I can, and visit my old students. Being surrounded by familiar people and foods is comforting, and Bangkok is a place that brings me joy.

After my short visit in Bangkok, I’ll be meeting up with Linner in Bali, one of those places you just can’t help but love. Linner and I always have lots of fun together, and I force her to take an insane amount of selfies. It’s a wonder she still loves me! While I’ve been to Bali several times, it won’t be the same since we’ve decided to try out a new city, where we can both experience new things.

In Sanur, we’ll be near the beach, where I’m sure we’ll spend loads of time. Balinese food is so fresh and delicious! I hope we are able to try out all of the restaurants I’ve found. What I’m most excited about is finding the perfect place to stay! We decided to splurge a bit on the hotel to treat ourselves, but since we’re splitting it, it’s worth it (even though we’re splurging, it’s only 130 USD total per night). Karmagali Boutique Suites is a five-star hotel and the #1 place to stay in Sanur according to Trip Advisor, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be spectacular!

Here are a few pictures of our hotel:

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Look at that pool! I’m confident this is going to be my new happy place. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I just realized…this is my 300th blog post! ๐Ÿ˜

Letter E #AtoZChallenge

Letter E memoir encyclopedia entries…go!

Eggs

I like my eggs scrambled. Basic, I know, but that’s just how I like ’em. My scrambled eggs are tasty, but my mom’s are way better! Hers are always fluffy, while mine can be a little tough. She says I over-mix them. What can I say? I’m impatient.

My granddaddy taught me the way to eat scrambled eggs, and to this day, it’s still my favorite. Two pieces of wheat bread, toasted til they’re toasty brown, but definitely not burnt. Spread on a thin layer of butter, followed by a layer of jam. I prefer strawberry or blueberry. Next put scrambled eggs on top of the toast and enjoy. Mmm, mmm, good!

Ennis St.

I lived my first 22 years at 606 S. Ennis St. in a one-story red brick house. I knew every inch of our stretch of Ennis St. and the surrounding neighborhood streets. I whizzed my bike around, flying up and down sidewalks and driveways, without a care in the world.

I played in the front yard beneath the shade of our ancient pecan tree, whose branches stretched out halfway across the yard and taller than the house. It was a perfect tree for climbing. It had a “v” shape low enough to act as a foothold, and a long branch overhead low and strong enough to grab onto when you were swinging up into the tree. Andrew and I spent hours up there. Every year, we’d collect what fallen pecans we could find, but the squirrels always beat us to them.

Growing up on Ennis St. is something I wouldn’t want to change about my childhood. I was two blocks from both my elementary and middle schools, so we biked or walked to school. For a while, my Meme and Papa lived two doors down, in the house my dad grew up in, and later my Aunt Kathy lived there, too. My best friend, Nicole, lived a couple blocks away and we could be at each others’ houses in a moment’s notice. We had a killer park perfectly built for bike riding. Goldie Ruth, our neighbor whose backyard we shared a fence with, was the nicest, funniest, old lady with some really amazing stories. Every Easter, our family, along with about 10 other families, gathered at Goldie Ruth’s house for the largest Easter feast known to man. Our Easter egg hunts were pretty epic, too!

I still sometimes drive down Ennis St., past my old house, just to see if it’s changed. There have been slight alterations, but for the most part, it’s as I remember it.

Entertaining

Entertaining is my jam. I know how to throw a mean party, and everyone has a good time. The trick is to have the right mix of good food (I’m sorta known for this bit), drinks, music, and party games (Cards Against Humanity is a crowd favorite).

I’m not sure what it is that draws me to entertaining, but it’s this pull that just comes naturally. It’s a helluva lot of work to do, I always get stressed out the day of as I try to get everything ready before guests arrive, and there’s a crapload of clean-up after the fact. But the energy, the smiles, and the fun with my friends makes it all worth it.

Typical soirees I tend to throw each year are back-to-school parties, Friendsgiving, Ugly Sweater Party around Christmas time, birthday party (last year’s was an epic Prom Pub Crawl), and end-of-year parties. I’ll also throw in the occasional cheese tasting or just-for-the-heck-of-it-since-everyone’s-stressed-out party.

You should totally come to my next party…you’re sure to like it!

Expat

Becoming an expat was the single-most life-changing decision I have ever made. Following my heart and taking the leap of faith to move to China and begin a life as an international educator is something that, at the time, seemed like a short-term decision, but now is a lifestyle I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m finishing up my seventh year as an expat, and during that time I have lived in Shanghai, China; Tirana, Albania; and Bangkok, Thailand. Soon I’ll begin a new adventure in Indonesia, and I’m really thrilled about this new chapter in my life!

Being an expat has opened my eyes to the world and shown me that there’s so much more out there than I could have ever imagined. This experience has made me a more open-minded, tolerant, patient, and understanding person. I am much more of a risk-taker, and I’ve done more and tried more than I ever thought possible. I’ve also met some truly amazing people during my time abroad that I would not have met otherwise. I couldn’t imagine doing this thing called life without them in it.

I have come to realize that I prefer living in places where it isn’t as easy. What I mean is that I would much rather live in a culturally diverse place that isn’t similar to the US. I like the challenge of it. It’s a real struggle sometimes, and I have been known to cry, but those moments only make me stronger. Experiencing new cultures has opened my eyes to the fact that there is more than one right way to do things.

A big perk to expat life is all of the travel opportunities you’re afforded. As an international educator, our school schedule is pretty sweet, and there are many weeks of holiday sprinkled throughout the year. Being in Asia or Europe, where the countries are all relatively close to one another and flights are inexpensive, means that you can frequently travel to new and exciting places. So far, I’ve been to 35 countries, and I’m not stopping anytime soon!

As with everything, there are drawbacks to expat life. The most obvious is that you are far away from your family and friends back home. You miss the everyday moments, the birthdays, the weddings, etc. You can also get homesick and miss the comforts of home, be it food, modern conveniences, or being able to speak the same language. Life is more difficult living abroad. The biggest difference is usually the language, but beyond that, things like paying bills, running errands, finding items you need, and going to the bank become huge ordeals that require much patience and an open mind.

Despite the drawbacks, I am in love with this life I’ve created, and the thought of moving back to the US, at least at this point in my life, seems so far outside of my realm of understanding that I can’t picture it. I tell anyone who’s considering moving abroad to go for it. It’s definitely not for everyone, and you may miss home and decide to come back, but you will be a better human for doing it. More likely a scenario is that you will fall in love with it, too, and decide to stay a while.

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