Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Joy of Cooking...And of New Babies!

As my former colleagues celebrated Kuwait National Day and Kuwait Liberation Day (February 25th and 26th respectively this year), I have been cooking and socializing. I could only hide for so long; I couldn’t live a half-life forever, and so I’ve been making an effort to be less of a hermit and more of a social butterfly and try to put the possibility of a life in Kuwait on a shelf, not where I’ll forget it, but where I’ll simply keep it for now. The idea of going out isn’t as appealing as it once was. However, I think this is mainly due to the weather. I don’t think anyone here hasn’t heard me whine about how freaking cold I am. To all Canucks (a slang term for Canadians), I’m VERY sorry. I’m a sorry excuse for an Ontarian Canuck, but I left low 20°C, sunny weather for temperatures in the minus with few sunny days (of late) and A LOT of snow. I really do love winter and any of my friends and family here can confirm that since they think I’m nuts (there’s nothing better than a fresh falling of snow and the sun reflecting off of it to create an overly bright day!). However, the snow of late has been a brown-grey slush and until today the sun, too, had been in hiding. The result? An unhappy Miki. ***Note to self: buy a happy lamp***

What should I do in order to make myself a happy Miki? Re-connect with my friends (I LOVE my friends in Canada!), and cook…I AM a foodie (a food-lover) after all!
Below are the dishes that my sister and I have concocted recently:

 My first attempt at Japanese food in a looong time: niku jaga (meat&potatoes...with carrots which are not normally added), asparagus with sesame dressing, and my own "mishmash" soup with legumes, ground meat and lots of veggies!
 Another Japanese dish: SUPER easy omu-rice (fried rice with ketchup, onions and mushrooms wrapped in an omelette)
 Japanese Curry!!!
 Cellophane noodles (can you see them?!? Lol!) with onions, celery, soy beans and beef (another Japanese dish)
 Oh, wait! What's this? Japanese cream stew with chicken
Mmmmmmmore Japanese food: my miso soup (I added extra veggies because I had a lot of them in the fridge and dad likes a lot added)
 My sister's AMAZING cream of broccoli soup (made from scratch!)
My first time trying this recipe: Mushroom, Barley and Lentil Curry Soup (It was amazing!)

I went out this morning with a good friend of mine who’s been reading my blog. We were eating at a little joint called The Malibu. Now, the Malibu is NO Breakfast Club-which my friend knew. She encouraged me to take pictures of our sad little breakfast so that you all could see the (hilarious) difference between the breakfast spot in London and versus The Breakfast Club in Kuwait. We thought it was funny…Hopefully you see the humour! That is NOT to say that there aren’t amazing breakfast spots in London. Check out Cora’s: http://www.chezcora.com/home. It’s amazing! Anyway, my friend and I had been catching-up earlier during the car ride when she asked me about the “Irish chef”. Apparently, like my free-spirited, Lebanese co-worker at the school, my friend was curious as to what the real deal was. I laughed and couldn’t help but feel badly for the Irish chef who is (still) dealing with enquiries from the Lebanese, free-spirit (who recently became engaged!). On a side note, my friend from breakfast is off to Jamaica in a few days. You’re jealous, too, aren’t you? Pina Coladas, silky sand and warm water…Who wouldn’t be jealous?!?

Our breakfast at The Malibu

No more complaining about the weather, but I do have to mention that the weather in Canada has been very dry…Sooo dry that my glasses frames couldn’t survive the dry weather in Kuwait AND Canada, and snapped cleanly in half about a week ago. I wanted to cry since I no longer have medical coverage and I really, REALLY dislike shopping for frames. I asked my friend to help me pick out frames that wouldn’t make me look like a nerd (which I know now is just IMPOSSIBLE when it comes to glasses). He has very good taste, so I wasn’t worried. Thankfully, IVision (@Masonville Mall) had a sale on, so I got frames at a decent price. After spending WAAAAY too much money on contacts specially made for astigmatisms (I have them in BOTH eyes!), and new glasses (lenses and frames), we grabbed a coffee and chatted for awhile. My friend (let’s call him “Dan”), and I met through our exes and we’ve become closer since our exes have shown their disturbingly true colours. “Dan” had a chuckle over the first conversation my father and I had when I returned to Canada which went a little something like this:

My father: I received a letter from Mr. Japanese-man #1. He mentioned an acquaintance of ours…..
Mikiko: *Thinking to herself: I wonder where this is going*
Ten whole minutes of description later…
My father: ….and he has two sons. He’s enquiring about potential wives.
Mikiko: *Wondering if she felt irritated or entertained* Dad…Ummm, I’m very flattered, but I’m just not sure that I’m ready for that right now…I mean, do you want me to pursue this?
My father: I’m not sure of the protocol with this…I’m not comfortable communicating directly to my acquaintances about this…
Mikiko: *Seeing her way out of the ridiculous conversation* Well, dad…I’m just not really looking for that right now…
My father: Yeah…Okay.
Mikiko: *BIG sigh of relief*
My father: I asked Emi about it, hahahaha, she laughed and said “No.”
Mikiko: *Recalling Emi already complaining about this earlier, hoping that I would get this talking to as well* Oh…

I love my father for attempting to make sure I’m happy, but I’m not ready for that…Apparently, neither is my sister. My father and I are close, but not close enough that I’d feel comfortable telling him that my heart is still broken and that I know deep down inside that it will never heal and that marriage…Well, finding the right partner isn’t my strong suit.

On a positive note, let's chat about what happens as a result of a happy (romantic) union! One of my very good friends, a former colleague in Canada, just had a baby! Her third child is an adorable and healthy baby boy! I thought I’d be in Kuwait and would miss the whole event, but just a week after he was born I visited mommy and baby (and her two other munchkins who I love!). I wonder what it feels like to have a maternal instinct that pulls at your heart and makes you yearn for a child of your own. Yes, I experienced it for one, albeit VERY brief, moment when I had a dream about having my own daughter. That moment quickly passed and has never resurfaced. They matter not. All that mattered when I held my dear friend’s baby was that I know how blessed he is and what a blessing he is. I love my all of my friends’ kids! I see such wonderful parents all around me and I think, “They’re doing what I can’t and are doing a damn fine job at it, too!” They reassure me that there are parents who care and take parenting seriously...Yes, I actually said that. Today I met with my friend and her newborn again (her other two children were at school), and I kept thinking how incredible babies are. How can a barely-4-week-old baby captivate me so? I love his wails (which he only does when he's hungry or needs to be changed), his sighs of satisfaction and the way he half-smiles when he’s contented after a feeding. Leaving my life in Kuwait was brutal, but getting to hold this sweet bundle was absolutely worth the trip home! I couldn’t celebrate this day with my mother and grandmother who were both born on March 5th, but I was thankful I was able to celebrate life! They wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Me with the tiny bundle of joy!!! He's sooo tiny!!!

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