Friday, October 28, 2011

Zambia's Independence Day

I was so excited on Monday (24th October) to celebrate Zambia's Independence holiday. Unfortunately it's been a crazy week & I haven't been able to post anything. When in Zambia I always celebrated Canada Day in one way or another- now that we're here I felt a Zambian meal was the least I could do. Pictured below is the 'chitenge' (aka sarong) I wrapped round my waist to serve as an apron (it was a gift from my good friend so I was able to reminisce and cook in a very happy mood...which also makes the food taste better, no?). Also see below steak, nshima, 'soup', and stewed kale- yum yum. And of course the salt- anyone who's experienced eating in Zambia knows that salt if never far from reach. I even splurged on Amarula- can't go wrong with that.

On an unrelated note, a short blurb about my morning commute yesterday (I'm not sure I can even call it a is only 5 kms from my home); I noticed a white mini van zoom around me on the corner where we're advised to drive at 30 kilometres per hour. We met at the red light & said mini van was off to the races as soon as the light changed green. I couldn't help but laugh when the van veered off the road to line up at the Tim Horton's. Honestly, that is one Canadian cultural activity that I just can't understand- really, line up every morning for a double double? I'd rather be sleeping. Perhaps you have to be a coffee drinker to get it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whirlwind Seattle Trip

At my cousin Caroline's wedding she mentioned that the day was so perfect she felt it was a fairy tale- and I have to agree. As you'll see in the following photos it was a beautiful wedding, and I sincerely wish the bride & groom the classic "happily ever after".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disarm Them with your Smiles

There has been some negative energy around the office. For the most part I have no problems staying positive and enjoying the challenges that all teams bring. But over coffee I happened to mention to a new colleague that I was struggling to stay positive with all the complaining. His response was something along the lines of 'work is work. Just disarm them with your smiles'; it has become my motto when negativity comes to breathe down my neck. And it seems to be working; I feel like I've been successfully deflecting negativity.

On another note...Thanksgiving.

With the folks out of town & Tom hosting the in-laws Alvin & I were on our own for Thanksgiving. I spontaneously decided that I should do a turkey dinner that would've made Gran proud. What better time to roast your 1st turkey than when you're not hosting anyone? Unfortunately, things didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. My gravy was not a rich deep brown- boo. My bubbat (Mennonite-style raisin bread) did not raise nicely - I believe I had too little batter for the pan. I chopped up the turkey like Gran used to do & at least that turned out lovely. I tried my first ever stove top stuffing & I'll confess that I enjoyed every bite! I rounded out the not-so-colourful meal with a scrumptious glass of Amarula. I really do have so much to be thankful for...especially as we're packing our bags for a weekend in Seattle. We're looking forward to being together with the whole family for cousin Fitzy's wedding! More from Seattle.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Harvest 2011

Thursday morning I found an email from a group that had received funding from the offices I worked in (in another life) about three years ago. Attached was a report indicating the successes and failures they had seen over the three years as well as recommendations for moving forward. I was so excited to read the email, to reminisce about the small towns I had visited in Zambia's Eastern province to see how the funding dollars were being managed. I got a little caught up & realized that if I didn't get a move on I'd miss my bus. I still felt it a beautiful way to start my morning- despite setting off for work with the usual primping & fussing (OK, I didn't have time to straighten or blow dry my hair so up it went into a ponytail- minor, right?)

Reflecting on a life I loved very much in Zambia has not let me forget just how much I am enjoying this harvest season. On Monday Mom, Pop & I had our first foray into pie-making (from the folks' homegrown apples) without our matriarch. Of course we missed my dear old Gran, but it was wonderful to be remembering her advice from last year. Here we are hard at work. We're all looking forward to comparing the pastry...we certainly don't have hopes that it will be just like Gran's- but maybe close?!*fingers crossed*

Looks pretty good to me

Last weekend Tom, Dev, Jason & I spent the day out at Alaina & Marc's farm; I've been meaning to call her all week to tell her how much fun I had. I'm sure the photos will highlight my excitement about being out there chopping wood*grin*.