30 June 2010

Today's triumphs...

Three expat life triumphs happened today...

Expat triumph number one: Overcoming the language barrier.
I went to visit my non English speaking stylist at our neighborhood hair salon. It's now been two years and I have only had three visits where I have walked out with the 'artistic vision' for my hair that I went in with. (On visit number one, I received a very chic bob with three very un-chic tails that hung about three inches longer than the rest of my hair.) So, after the regular head bowing welcome, our usual pantomime of my desired style and an odd Thai/English description on my part, I left the salon today smiling and quite pleased with the tiny dusting of a trim he gave me. Triumph.

Expat triumph number two: Developing ultimate resourcefulness.
My six-year-old daughter has been enjoying working on hand stitching projects. Every couple of days, she picks up her project, sews a bit and then puts it back down for a few days. The outcome is a 'thing' of course (a handkerchief with her artwork on it, a small felted rabbit, a tiny fairy doll...). And, the 'thing' appeals to my four-year-old son. So, he's now taken to an ongoing stitching project as well. We drop my daughter off at school, then hit the local coffee shop for a cup of coffee/cocoa and sit and stitch for a bit (interspersed with some iPodding--he's a wanna-be rock star!). So, he's working on a 4-inch-tall pirate doll and it's turning out adorably... big four-year-old boy stitches and all! Which brings me to my triumph today. The pirate is currently bald and that's not working for a blond four-year-old with a stitching vision. So, as soon as the kids fell asleep tonight, I snuck into my daughter's room and plucked a few blond yarn hairs out of one of her dolls. Tomorrow the pirate will have a full head of hair. Triumph.

Expat triumph number 3: Live local. Eat local.
I had 10 minutes to make lunch before a kid-related melt down was sure to occur (or I was going to pass out from not eating breakfast and running around all morning). Without even thinking I grabbed some coconut milk, lemon grass, shredded ginger, mushrooms, shallots, lime juice and salt. I threw them in a pot and brought them to a bubble. Meanwhile, I took the bamboo rice paddle, popped open the rice cooker (which conveniently always holds a fresh batch of rice), scooped a paddle full into each of three bowls and topped with soup. My daughter added her standard additional large amount of lime juice. I added a generous scoop of pepper flakes from a local market vendor. My son complained that he had too much lemon grass but fished his way to the rice. A couple of years back I never would have guessed that Coconut Lime Soup would be my go-to fast food meal. Triumph.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 85:
This is like a lime flavored sweet-tart candy in a glass. My kids love the no alcohol added version.

1/4 cup coconut cream (or coconut milk)
2 tablespoons of sugar
Juice of 6 limes
Zest of 1 lime
Lime slices for garnish
several ice cubes
Splash of dark rum (optional)

Add the coconut cream, sugar, lime juice and lime zest to a blender. Mix well. Add the ice cubes one at a time until the drink is chilled and slightly slushy. Pour into decorative glasses, add a float of rum (if desired) and a slice of lime.


  1. This is loving rice at its best! Thank you for sharing the complexity of life as a foreigner through the simple things many take for granted every day. Your blog inspires me.


Looking forward to hearing your comment!