30 January 2010
14 January 2010
08 January 2010
The plane’s wheels touched down in Bangkok just before midnight with a wall of humidity, felt even in the air conditioned plane, already smacking me straight in the head. Out of all of the cross Pacific flights I’ve done since our move to southeast Asia, this one is a record breaker. Usually, I can sneak in a block of good sleep-- a feat that shouldn't go unrecognized for someone who travels with young children. Yes, up until my most recent flight, I would have said that I perfected the sleep of a plane-flying mother. Arms outstretched and two boulders, that double as my kids’ heads during waking hours, slam up against my shoulders. My knees jam into the seat in front of me. A musty airline blanket covers us all. I sleep deep and wake up with pools of slobber on my sleeves from the boulder-esque heads of my kids. Believe it or not, that scenario is the usual "bliss" I experience. Unlike my most recent flight where I raked in a record breaking hour or so of time spent asleep. Fellow passengers snored, the smell of hot coffee wafted from the first class cabin, and my eyes stung in horror over the fear that I would doze off as soon as my kids woke up from their slumbers.
As I write this, I’m experiencing epic proportions of jet lag. My husband went to the guest bedroom, since he’s supposed to be at work in a couple of hours after not sleeping on the flight much either. My kids are pinging off the walls as it it’s their normal morning hours. And, I’m half expecting a knock on our door from a neighbor who is sure to be disturbed by our middle of the night jet lagged antics. Right now, I can’t imagine doing anything other than staring at this computer screen and drinking multiple cups of strong coffee stashed away from our holiday to the States in my yet to be unpacked suitcase. But, I hear the kitchen calling and the need to create new dish. My stomach feels sick from the odd hours I’ve been keeping, but my brain says a fried egg over something will cure me. So, off I go.
Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 74:
Jet lag egg
Created in my Bangkok kitchen at approximately 2:03 a.m. Enjoy and eat at a much more reasonable hour.
2 tablespoons veggie oil
black pepper, to taste
1 cup of boiled, drained and rinsed thick egg noodles
1 green onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 hand full of green peas
1 long pour of soy sauce
1 generous squirt of hot sauce
¼ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon of ketchup
In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of veggie oil and cook the chopped carrots over high heat just until golden brown. Place the egg noodles into the pan, add the peas, onion, soy sauce, hot sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. Stir and heat until steaming hot. Place in a serving bowl. Add another tablespoon of veggie oil, heat and crack the egg into the hot pan. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, flip and cook over easy. Place on top of the noodles and prick the center of the egg so that it oozes over the noodles. Enjoy immediately.
05 January 2010
A holiday has come and gone. As I write this I’m somewhere in the air between Seattle and Tokyo, with an expected arrival into Bangkok in some horrendously long amount of hours. This flight has become a mental game for me and I attempt to take it in small batches brainwashing myself to forget how awfully long it really is.
My daughter and husband are sitting to my right, working on a sparkly sticker activity book and typing on a laptop, respectively. To my left, my son is mesmerized by a game of fishing. He throws his airline provided movie headset out into the aisle and drags it back whispering “here, fishy, fishy”. He’s found a willing accomplice in a grandfatherly type two rows up who is encouraging good trolling form with the occasional thumbs up sign.
The last three weeks included multiple Christmas celebrations, quiet nights spent by a blazing fire, days catching up with friends over sushi, coffee and other assorted treats, wonderfully quiet moments with family, cupcake outings with my daughter, blissful evenings spent near a blazing fire with my husband and my son’s first major injury (he’s okay after quite a bit of bloodshed when he decided to super hero dive onto his sister and instead landed on the corner of a relative’s coffee table). And, of course, no summary of time spent out of Bangkok is complete unless I mention that not a single drop of sweat was shed during the holiday season. Very un Bangkok-like and an acknowledgment that this holiday provided a much needed respite from the weather of the tropics.
As I sit mid-air and the turbulence shakes the plane, I can’t help but notice that excitement is running through my blood along with the starbucks coffee shots I slurped down before departing Seattle. I am very much looking forward to our return “home” to our life in Bangkok. After every holiday, I have found a silent thrill in the unpacking of the suitcases and putting them waaaay in the back of a dark closet. There’s something therapeutic about knowing you’re not getting back on a plane for a bit. I’m also very much looking forward to a dip in our pool, firing up the industrial strength rice cooker and pounding out a fresh batch of curry tomorrow morning.
But, I’ll also acknowledge that I am already exhausted in just thinking about the jet lag that takes our family weeks to extinguish. I’ll be brewing a batch of strong coffee and padding through the house in my favorite red fuzzy socks around 2 a.m. as the kids settle into a daze in front of their Little People villages or whip up a plastic breakfast in their faux kitchen. And, again, with many hours of travel in front of me, the newly acquired experiences with friends and family lead my tired brain into a bit of sadness at once again being far away from those I love.
My hope for these early weeks of 2010 is that I’m able to hold a piece of the socially energizing days and extend the blissfully slow evenings of our holiday vacation. I plan to send my daughter back to school and welcome her home for evenings spent coloring, playdoughing and breaking in the newly acquired Christmas presents together. I look forward to mornings spent with my son at Bangkok’s open air markets and time lounging in what promises to be much more humid weather than what we left behind in Bangkok three weeks ago. And, even though his business travel schedule will be in full force, I eagerly await each and every moment I will get to spend out and about in Bangkok’s evening air, sipping Beer Sing and chatting the hours away with my husband. Oh, yes… and I’m greatly looking forward to placing my jingly jangly earrings that seem so fitting to my life in Bangkok, back on my ears. They’ll serve as a gentle reminder to savor each moment of this extraordinary life as they swing and ring in the New Year and each of its to-be-created memories.
Happy New Year everyone! And to those family and friends that are far away again, thank you for a wonderful holiday season. You are always near in my heart.
Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 73:
Written with a good dose of humor, here’s my recipe for keeping my kids happy on a long plane flight.
½ cup of favorite cereal that is never purchased at any other time (i.e. something with a cartoon character on the box)
½ cup whole grain (parent-endorsed) cereal
1 small package m&m candies
¼ cup roughly chopped nuts
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 small boxes of dried cranberries
¼ cup dried fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup banana or apple chips
The night before your scheduled flight, gather your ingredients and your kids to the table. In a large bowl, add your ingredients and have the kids stir vigorously. Drop into portable individual serving bags and add to the kids’ backpacks. (My kids add a bit of “love” to their plane gorp by kissing the bags before loading them in… completely corny, but apparently absolutely essential for their five and three year old psyches.)