Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Days of 5 "Thanksies": Day One

In my family, on Thanksgiving, we all gather around my uncle and aunt's kitchen and one by one say what we're most thankful for. My Grandma Jackie started the tradition and while I hated being put on the spot the first few times, I grew to love this moment every year. I feel it's important to cast aside all of your stresses, problems and worries and just be thankful and enjoy the day.

So since I can't be there with my family again this year, I'm going to make up for lost "thanksies" -yeah, that's my word.

I'm going to do a 5 Days of 5 Thanksies. Each day I'm going to list five things I'm thankful for. Why five? It just sounded like a good round number.

Today, I'd like to address our life in Asia. I don't hide the fact that I'm crazy homesick and I long for the day that I can eat a Cheesy Gordita Crunch again, but I think I dwell on it far too much. To force myself out of this mode, I need to remember the many positive things I've gained from living on this small island.

Thus, my first list is dedicated to Singapore.

5 Thanksies as a Singaporean Expat

5. Mastering the art of driving on the wrong side of the road...and car. Not many people can claim that they've driven on both sides of the automobile and I think it's an awesome random fact for future ice breaking opportunities. (i.e. "Please tell us your name and one random fact about yourself", "Hi, I'm Megan and I've driven on both sides of the road and car.")

4. An appreciation for decent rice. I'm sorry to tell you this, but Uncle Ben doesn't know squat about rice. In fact, most American rice is just plain gross. It has no taste, is hard and is beyond boring. In Asia, rice is a very important part of every meal and they do not mess around with the quality. They appreciate the flavor (and yes, good rice has that), texture and grain size. There's a type for every dish and several different kinds. This was an excellent lesson to learn. We will never buy Uncle Ben again...unless it's an emergency.

3. The introduction to Indian food. Before we came to Asia, Aaron and I were terrified to touch Indian food with a ten foot pole. We both saw the scene from Along Came Polly and we never wanted to have an incident such as that. I'm so glad we got brave over here. Indian food is now my second favorite food (right behind Mexican). I now constantly crave prata, naan, briyani, mutton curry and just about every other Indian item that's ever been put on my plate. It's delicious.

2. Exposure to such a wide array of cultures, people and traditions. We have both learned more in the last couple years than we ever learned in our many years of schooling. From weird things such as using urine as an eye healing remedy to surprising things such as finding a red envelope full of money in the mailbox at Chinese New Year, we've seen and heard a lot. We've been introduced to things that they don't write about in travel books and we'll come back with an education that we'll never even be able to fully describe to our friends and family. For the record, we did NOT adopt the urine remedy.

1. Learning to use chopsticks. As sad as that is, it is my favorite lesson of living in Asia. Aaron took me to a sushi restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas for our second or third date and the whole chopstick thing was a disaster. I could not figure the friggin' things out. I kept dropping the sushi or splitting it in half. It was messy and ugly. I had to end up using a fork...which is really embarrassing for me to admit. So yeah, I learned this lesson the first month we were here. In a lot of hawkers, a fork and spoon are not an option. You either learn to use the choppers or you starve. I'm now a black belt chopstick user. I can even eat rice with them. Booyah.

You're jealous, I know.

Except for you Singaporeans. You just think I'm weird.

Once again, I'm ok with that.

So that's today's list. Now I'm off to make the first dish of our solo Thanksgiving feast.


Petque said...

It's refreshing to hear from a foreigner point of view for things we asians take for granted. So in US you do not have much choice on the rice variety?

Megan said...

Petque, unless we go to an Oriental store, we only get one kind of rice. It's a very processed white rice that is hard and has no taste. The only variations to this are when they add a sauce or seasoning to the tasteless rice.

I think this has a lot to do with why many Americans don't like rice or just don't ever eat it. It just isn't any good in the US. We usually eat potatoes, bread or some other starchy item with every meal.

Sherrie said...

Hi! I'm a Singaporean teenager and I enjoy reading your blog (: it's really interesting to read about these things that surprise or faze you, haha. and you're an entertaining writer too. well, to me anyway. keep up the great work (:

Brad Farless said...

I was fairly terrified of Indian food myself before coming to Singapore. More so of the stalls that said "Muslim Food" or "Indian Muslim Food".

On the advice of an Egyptian (ya, how often do you get to say that?) I went ahead and tried prata. Now I love Indian food in general.