Friday, 21 September 2012

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me/fluttering from the autumn tree" (from Emily Bronte's poem, 'Fall, leaves, fall')

I love the sunny weather here, don’t get me wrong, but I keep thinking about autumn in London and what it’s like there right now. For as much as I don’t like the grey weather, this is the time of year I embrace it. This is the one of my favourite transitions between seasons because I look forward to Halloween, the colourful leaves, the chill in the air that makes Emi giddy because sweater weather is on the way, anticipating Thanksgiving and, of course, pumpkin EVERYTHING: Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie ice cream (go to the Superstore and get some! This blog will still be here when you get back and the ice cream will likely make reading it more enjoyable!), pumpkin spice candles and pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin loaf from Starbucks! This (ridiculous) love I have for anything and everything pumpkin caused me to make the journey to Starbucks (referred to from here on as “SB”), in desperate hope that they would be selling pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin loaf.

My colleagues, a brilliant and gorgeous Polish lady, and a stunning and fierce Georgian lady, joined me on my mission (the Georgian met up with us shortly after the Polish lady and I got to SB). The Polish lady and I were walking to SB when we passed a car with a Kuwaiti man in it (so???). I noticed him eyeing up…Well, one or both of us, who knows. No biggie. I get looked at here a lot, and by that I mean odd looks. The driver drove out of the driveway onto the road and slowly drove beside us, turning into a parking lot next to us. He said something to us, but I couldn’t hear him because my colleague was speaking. I ignored him (advice I was given about how NOT to encourage men of ANY nationality in Kuwait). He then turned his car and followed alongside us, talking to us and honking his horn. My colleague was surprised. I explained that I was told that this happens often. She gave me a look that was Kodak-worthy. It was annoying, but not harmful. Thankfully, these occurrences are passive aggressive. The driver (also annoyed?), sped off (because he didn’t get the results he’d hoped for?). We had a chuckle. We did get several more honks, mostly from taxi drivers (their way of asking if you need a lift). By the time we got to SB, we both felt good because we both love walking!

As we entered SB, I was feeling childish excitement build until I looked at the menu and discovered there was NO PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE OR PUMPKIN LOAF. Nooooooo!!! WHY? WHY??? I settled for a coconut and lime smoothie. You’d think that at a Starbucks in Kuwait that looks EXACTLY like the Starbucks’ in London, Victoria, Seattle, Tokyo, etc., that it would also sell pretty much the same food (don’t assume, Mikiko!). I guess the Kuwaiti aren’t fans of pumpkin. At least I got exercise. Sadly, the jaunt also confirmed a fear of mine: it’s not a good idea to go out for power walks here. I don’t know for sure that it’s unsafe, but I don’t want to risk anything. It’s all good. I’ve just had to add “find a new, fun way to exercise” to my ‘To Do’ list.

After the SB fiasco (you think I’m over exaggerating, but I’m really not), I thought I would cheer myself up by buying some ice cream (I’ll find that “fun” way of exercising tomorrow-I swear!). I decided to try something different since I’m here and should take advantage of the opportunity, right? I got saffron ice cream; I also got a small container of “fruits & cream” ice cream just in case the saffron was a bust. I posted pictures below because the saffron ice cream looks AMAZING! However, I think because my taste buds aren’t accustomed to saffron it just wasn’t satisfying. Strike two. No pumpkin spice lattes. No pumpkin loaf. Unappealing ice cream. I had just ONE chance left with the “fruits & cream” ice cream (Note to the London Dairy company: fruit is a plural noun. You don’t need to add an ‘s’. You’d think I was in Asia or something with English like that). **Insert hilarious website highlighting English being abused in Asia:** All my hopes were on the fruit & cream ice cream, and with pictures of cherries and peaches on the container I was hopeful. I shouldn’t have been. I felt like I was eating Christmas cake ice cream complete with maraschino cherries, dried apricots, raisins and the like. Three strikes and I’m out.

In all seriousness, because I haven’t been serious much since I’ve been here (What? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MIKIKO?!?), I had an awesome coffee date with the girls and a nice lunch with another colleague who cooked for me. A former chef, he made pasta salad with garlic bread that rivals, and I can’t believe I’m going to actually type this, DaiDai’s (a great Italian restaurant in Ota City, Japan). I really wasn’t upset about missing pumpkin. I really just wanted to feel like I was closer to family and friends in Canada and in other countries far from Kuwait.

This looks sooo yummy topped with pistachios! Where is dad when you need him to help you finish off food you won't eat (so you won't get "fat")?  

Fruits & Cream ice cream, or the more appropriate Name: Christmas cakes


  1. Oh man, I feel for you. Sometimes you just need the tastes and smells of home. I was once Skyping with my Mom and heard the birds chirping outside (it was Spring). I got a very strong emotional memory of playing in the back yard growing up. We don't have the same bird sounds in Seattle.

    1. Rebecca: It's weird what can trigger your feelings of homesickness, isn't it? I think that because Kuwait doesn't have four distinct seasons, the same holidays, culture and so on, it's easier to miss things from home. In Japan, although people don't celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, they still knew about those holidays and they were marketed quite openly on a large scale. We'll see how I feel in January! :)