We arrived here exactly 2 months ago...on June 7th. This last month really flew by. It is hard to believe that the summer is coming to an end. Our summer coordinators are slowly leaving us, one by one, to go back to college and jobs and regular life. It is sad to see them go and we are all amazed that our time together is already up.
We "splurged" and made tuna melt sandwiches for the whole family...using up two cans of the precious tuna that we lugged here in our suitcases. For the first time in our lives, we have a sandwich maker, and we use it countless times a day. The kids are basically surviving on toast...toast with peanut butter, toast with jam or honey...the other day Cohen made himself a piece of toast with mustard on it. I guess ANYTHING tastes better than rice and curry!
We celebrated tonight by opening up a box of brownie mix we also lugged here from America. All things must be carefully rationed, so we mixed up half the recipe and saved the other half for another celebration in a month or two. We brought three boxes with us, so we can have a brownie celebration exactly 6 times...as long as I keep the open bag carefully hidden from certain children that shall remain unnamed. (Cough...Avery...Cough...Libby)
Two months down...and unbelievably (at least to me), I am 15 pounds lighter than when we arrived. Everyone who has been over here told me that we would lose weight, so I was expecting it, but was shocked when I got on the scale a few days ago. And it is not because I have been sick and unable to eat. It is just that when you are hot and humid all the time, your metabolism speeds up and you end up drinking a ton of water. And the food...hmmm...how to explain the food?
First of all, our normal routine is to make breakfast and lunch for ourselves and then eat the Indian food only for dinner...but we do normally have 1 breakfast and 1-2 lunches over at the cafeteria every week.
So back to the actual food...You start with RICE...tons and tons of rice (normally white for lunch and red rice for dinner), some type of vegetable curry/sauce--about half the time these are pretty spicy-- another vegetable on the side (cabbage, beets, green beans, banana stem--the stems of banana plants chopped up and boiled), and then fresh fruits and vegetables with dinner every night. So, as you can see, lots and lots of vegetables...and a nice big serving of fruits for "dessert" at night. This is cafeteria food, so we are on a schedule and invariably, the same things come up for dinner each night of the week. And every time we have a dish, my serving gets a little smaller, and some meals I am definitely eating because I need to eat and not for the sheer pleasure of it. But, I am starting to think I need to learn how to eat this way at home more...not so much about cravings and comfort foods, but more about health and sustenance.
There are many dishes that we genuinely like...such as Tuesday's breakfast made of thin angel-hair type noodles cooked with onion and spices with a coconut chutney that goes over the top and (my favorite part) SUGAR that you sprinkle over the whole thing. It is a delicious mix of sweet and savory.
There is Chappati night--which is like a homemade Indian tortilla-we all call it Cha-Party night because we love it. And they also make a type of French fry that is everyone's favorite. On those nights, we mix up a little ranch and feel like we are back home again!
But even though I do enjoy the food and even though I eat Oreos and lots of crackers most day of the week I am still steadily losing weight. I am interested to see where I end up plateau-ing.
And we will see how long it takes me to gain it all back when I get home to the land of milk and plenty and Yogurt Bliss and PF Changs. ; )
But for now, I am enjoying the complete lack of guilt I feel eating some Oreos each week or absolutely devouring quiche and pastries at the French Bakery in Pondicherry when we go there once a month. The moments of pleasurable eating are fewer and farther between and I actually find I enjoy them so much more because of it.
We have made it through two months...the kids are adjusting as well as can be expected. Cohen and Avery have recently begun playing outside in our courtyard for hours every day, digging in the sand and playing with the water from the duck pond...making castles, mountains, and moats. It is good to see them just being kids together. This next volunteer group arrives on Monday and brings with it a whole family, including a little 8 year old boy. Cohen is excited to have a little buddy...even if it is only for two weeks!
Tomorrow morning, I have promised the kids a bike ride into the "junction" where (if we don't die on the way) we will spend 7 rupees (12 cents) on a Mango or Orange bar and eat it with utter disregard for the fact that it is barely 9 a.m. Only in India...
Speaking of food...I would kill for a salad right now! (It is not safe to eat any form of lettuce or spinach over here.) : (