From where we sit in Central Asia, the temps continue to hover around the mid 90’s. So while my pinterest feed is filled with recipes for pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin overnight oats, I am not quite yet in the fall spirit. Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of the year, so I will eagerly anticipate wearing boots and sweaters and making my own pumpkin bread.
In the meantime, I got to take a trip outside this city this week with a local friend, and we stopped at what we in American would call an apple orchard. Here they just call it a garden. I bought about 25 pounds of apples and plan to make some fallish foods and a lot of applesauce. Applesauce is one of those basic foods you are supposed to eat when you have stomach troubles, and we seem be in need weekly.
Lesson Learned: Until the pumpkins are out, I will take what I can get and go crazy with apple recipes.
Tonight while my husband and I were traveling around the city we saw four young men using sign language. In America, that would be a rarity, but in Central Asia that is almost non-existent. As I tried not to stare at them, we were struck with two things. 1) Those guys just seemed happy to be together. They truly enjoyed one another’s company. 2) They must be used to being stared at. Not once did they seem aware of the many pairs of eyes watching their every movement.
I, on the other hand, have definitely not adjusted to being stared at. On top of the different language my husband and I use, we just look different. We don’t fit into their boxes and so… they stare. But maybe I need to be more like those young men, ignore the stares and just enjoy myself. I only drain myself trying to avoid the inevitable.
Lesson learned: Embrace the staring and then ignore it.
When you pack up your whole life and move what little you can to the other side of the world, you opt out of packing your heavy cookbooks, especially considering that you have no idea what ingredients you would be able to procure anyway. Instead of relying on my trusted collection of recipes and my beloved Pioneer Woman cookbooks, I have placed all of my faith lock, stock and barrel, in Pinterest.
Do I want to make enchiladas in a country that has no concept of Mexican food? I go to Pinterest! There I can find recipes for homemade tortillas and enchilada sauce. Do I want to make biscuits and sausage gravy? Pinterest can give me 1,000 different biscuit recipes, and although pork sausage is nonexistent, I can find a recipe for a spice mix to turn my ground beef into sausage… sort of.
Since Pinterest has been so helpful when it comes to cooking, I had decided to broaden the scope Pinterest has in my life. Considering the fact that we spend as much on groceries here as we did in America, I wanted to try to save a few bucks by making body wash at home. It seemed simple. Grate soap. Melt it into hot water. Let it cool and then use it. Totally doable, right? Wrong. I tried it twice with two different kinds of soap, and got the same result. I now have buckets of odd texture soap that I don’t know what to do with. Any suggestions, let me know!
Lesson Learned: Stick with the basics and don’t go too DIY crazy.
One of the lessons I have learned while living abroad is difference between wants and needs. A majority of the people that I knew in America were not concerned about their needs on a regular basis. Of course, there were seasons when there was job loss or other trials that brought needs to the forefront, but a majority time, for myself and the people in my world, we were concerned not with our needs but with our wants.
For most people around the world however, wants are not a subject of daily thought. Most live day by day and their thoughts are focused on their daily needs.
We live in a culture where the average monthly income is $250, and as a result, people here have to be more concerned about needs rather than wants. In fact, people here generally have less wants. If they have their basic needs covered they are content. For instance, our local friends generally wear the same outfit two or more days in a row and have no more than ten outfits. In comparison, I have enough outfits that I wouldn’t have to wear the same one more than once a month. It makes for a lot of laundry and takes up way too much space. Clothing is a need, but most of my clothing would fit into the “want” category and is superfluous. Even after selling most of our belongings and cutting my wardrobe by 1/3, I am still learning the value of simplicity and economy.
If I focus more on my needs and less on my wants, we will be able to help more people with their needs now and save for our needs in the future.
Lesson Learned: I am always one decision away from becoming a hoarder.