A few months ago, I wrote a post called “Things I will miss, things I will not.” The idea was to take honest stock of our life here and celebrate the good stuff (the things I will miss when we return home this summer), as well as just sort of vent about the things that get under my skin. I wrote:
I find myself making these mental lists all the time… things I will miss, things I will not. What will I long for when this year is over and I’m back in my Mountain Hometown? And what things will cause me to kiss that mountain dirt for gladness that it’s all behind me? Some days a year overseas feels like a blink. Some days it feels like a lifetime.
It seems to be the trend that I’m motivated to write these posts when we’re living in the “lifetime” moments. Today, you’ll find me showered at 4pm, sitting on my bed while the kids nap and my bones ache from seven consecutive days of not leaving our apartment. A WHOLE WEEK. I think even an introvert would shutter at the thought.
While the pollution is to blame for my imprisonment, I just cannot talk about it anymore right now. Yes, the air is bad. Yes, I am tired of it. But golly, I want to think about something else for a change… and one of the things that is also directly affected by this crummy weather is our access to fresh, seasonal food. Granted, some of this would still be true in the off-season at home as well, so I’m trying to be fair in my assessment.
THINGS I WILL MISS
- Mangoes for cheap! Big enough to feed all four of us, and perfectly ripe every time.
- My new obsession: pomelo. Specifically the red ones. Do they even sell these at home?
- Steamed buns for breakfast… six for a US dollar. Spicy tofu and savory pork are my current favorites.
- I can still do this at home, but I love that being forced to find creative solutions for food has led me to some great alternatives. Buying soda water in a large bottle and then adding essential oil to flavor has been a great alternative to my La Croix habit (and bonus– creates less trash! Imagine if you had a Soda Stream to make the water yourself too!)
- Pork dumplings every Friday. Hallelujah.
- Bubble tea done right every time (I’m looking at you, US Coffee Shops, with your inconsistently cooked tapioca pearls!)
- The generally cheap price of produce. A trip to the local stand can get me onions, peppers, carrots, spinach, potatoes, and more (and several of each!), often for less than the equivalent of $5 US.
THINGS I WILL NOT
- The fact that I have no idea where the local produce came from/ what pesticides or fertilizers they used on it. MAN, I miss the farmer’s market.
- I WILL BE ABLE TO GARDEN AGAIN, PRAISE JESUS.
- Ultrapasturized milk and cream. Making my yogurt from ultrapasturized milk and cream. Putting ultrapasturized milk on my cereal. Turning ultrapasturized cream into frosting, sour cream, whipped cream, or anything else. Dairy does not belong in a shelf-stable box!
- The deplorable lack of cheese for anything less than half my salary.
- Cooking in a toaster oven (especially a broken one whose element settings cannot be changed, and must be unplugged to turn it off because the self-timer has busted).
- Having to hand wash every piece of produce with special soap, and then dry it meticulously, so that we don’t get sick from the water or the dirt and poop that comes on the food from the veggie stand).
And for fun: THINGS I PLAN ON EATING MY FIRST WEEK BACK IN THE STATES
- Feta cheese or goat cheese on EVERYTHING
- Really good pizza
- Chick fil A
- Kale — oh my word I miss it.
- Beets (preferably with some kale and goat cheese on a really good pizza. Winning!)
- A coconut milk latte from Starbucks
- A solid olive and cheese plate with a glass of red wine
- Bavarian cream donuts. Probably ten of them.