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Home is where the tortillas are

As a participant in the Taking Route "Global Life" series, I mentioned our wonderful homemade tortillas (first appearing in this blog about 4 years ago). Due to requests from other sad Mexican-food lovers with a tortilla-shaped hole in their hearts, I am posting the recipe here. Buen provecho!

Ingredients:
2+ cups flour
1 Tbsp shortening*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup water

* I use shortening (Crisco) as it is available here. You could instead use lard, or experiment with other fats.

Instructions:
1. Preheat griddle or metal pan at medium heat. A nice hot (preheated) pan makes a nicer tortilla.

2. Cut shortening into the flour. Add salt and baking powder and mix. Add water and mix well. I use a hand mixer with dough hooks (sounds fancy but it's not!). Once mixture comes together, mix with electric mixer for 3 more minutes, or by hand for ~6 min. Dough is sticky - if mixing by hand you may need to add flour (which is actually nice for the dough being less sticky…

On Doing Something

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One of the occastional (or more often, if you allow) irritants of being a "trailing spouse" is the oft-heard question, "What do you do?"

Fellow trailing spouses tend to be fairly sensitive on this issue, as compared with the average person who is employed and/or single and/or not posted abroad in any capacity. Sometimes you can even judge their own level of frustration if they offer a different phrasing, "What did you do?" Because, clearly, whatever your market worth was before you started this whole expat thing, it is different now.

And, quite honestly, at least I have the kids/family thing I can fall back on.

Regardless, especially for those of us who face a consistent stream of changing countries, the inevitable process of having to define (or defend) yourself does take a toll. There is the "eh" phase, where you are busy with whatever personal issues, goals, or travel you may have, and the question doesn't bother you. There is the "f…

Monkey business

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Bringing baby home to Kathmandu is quite different than bringing (our first) baby home to suburban Virginia.

Once the little one is tucked up in bed, the exchange goes like this:

Me (exhausted): Is that the baby or is that a monkey?

Him (distracted): Just monkey.

Massive Change of Pace

Don’t get me wrong. I love being in the States – life is so convenient there.
But it’s nice to be back in Nepal, despite the pretty low post-earthquake morale here. After an extremely hectic home-leave, which was difficult in ways we are not ready to talk about in the packing and preparation of our house for the next tenants, we are back with our stuff, in the alternative life we live where I don’t have to do laundry or clean toilets, have minimal gainful occupation, and can stay home playing with the girls and the dog and watch the monsoon rain pool outside (and inside, but that’s another story).  

Now, if only I had some Trader Joe's in the freezer I could get started on making dinner...

On Shaky Ground

So, if you are going to get devastating news – for example, that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the rickety city where your husband is – a good way to get it is to be awakened by a phonecall where the first thing you hear is your husband saying, “I’m OK.”
He is definitely shaken. Major aftershocks continue, people are panicked and living outside, the airport is swamped, and the infrastructure that couldn’t keep up on a good day is damaged, destroyed, or completely overwhelmed.
But he’s OK.

Oh, Mama!

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New Baby Year came at last!  Pregnant mom and firstborn moved back to the US, we changed schools, and had a new baby overlayed with the foreign-service issue of technically living (and hubby physically residing) in a place that is different than where we had the baby. In our case, we are extending this period by several months.
Here are some highlights: Reveled in living in a place that belongs to us – Home is where the House Is! - despite the lack of furniture and household goods, check (Nov 12)No. 1 daughter strong-armed into attending excellent local public school despite her fears, check (Nov 23)Thanksgiving with dear US-based friends but without hubby, check40th birthday celebrated while being really, really pregnant, without hubby, check (Dec 5)Amazing baby girl born after 2 weeks of “pro-dromal” labor and one hour at the hospital, with hubby, check (Dec 30)Comings and goings of parents and hubby, most notably husband’s paternity being up and heading back to Nepal, ouch (Feb 2…

Back on the Airplane Again

After arriving back in Nepal, beginning our very sincere first two weeks at homeschooling, working nights, and getting over jet lag, I hopped on a plane to Singapore for the 5-month pregnancy scan. I was able to do the 3-month scan in Albuquerque since we were in the US anyway, but a foreign service pregnancy in many locales such as ours means a lot of extra scheduling, paperwork, and trips. Lucky for me, I like Singapore. Unlucky for me, Uncle Sam doesn’t pay for the family members to come.
Despite the doc creeping me out a bit, the news was all good! We have a healthy, normal baby girl on the way!