Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Cool Kid

Sometimes I am so amused by the things that come out of Ryan's mouth. It's great having a real conversation with a four-year-old. This is just one of the things we talked about yesterday:

Ryan: Mom, what do lions eat?
Me: Umm... smaller animals. Maybe deer.
Ryan: Do they eat grass?
Me: No, they eat meat.
Ryan: They eat cantelope.
Me: No, they eat meat.
Ryan: They eat cantelope! I mean antelope. And then when they die they turn into grass and the antelope eat the grass. I learned that from Simba and Nala. You know why? Because I just love lions.

We don't have a TV but we do have a laptop that we use to watch movies. Since she has watched The Lion King about a hundred times, it's no wonder that she knows about the "circle of life".

Bodi brought 13 Going on 30 with her from her last Austin trip. Ryan really likes that movie also. Two days ago I am getting out of the shower and she askes me, "Mom, what does bitch mean? Hmm... how do I answer that? Well, I said it's when someone isn't very nice. And it is also the word for a girl dog. Her response to that... "What does tough bitch mean?" I think we'll go back to watching Lion King!

But the best thing I heard was this one:
Ryan: Do you know what pals means, Momma? It means best friends and you're my best friend, Momma! I love you a lot... all the way to the stars and the moon and to California.

Yep, conversations with four-year-olds are the best!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

All Things Gringo

We had a party on Saturday night and it was quite a success. It’s events like those that leave us wondering why we don’t do them more often. What made the night a success? There was a good turnout of great people and every bit of food and drink was consumed. I went shopping on Saturday morning, came home and whipped up some snacks and everything just fell into place. We had a fire pit in the yard, Jen played her drum, there was a bit of air guitar and it was a fun night.

Much like was the case on my Saturday shopping trip; I often find that the bulk of my supermercado bill is spent on Gringo purchases. Sure I buy the normal box of long-duration milk, unrefrigerated brown eggs, pan integral (wheat bread) made at the local bakery, whole pineapple (for less than a dollar!), meat by the kilo, natilla (sour cream) and queso crema (cream cheese) from the Monteverde Cheese Factory. But then I find that I can’t live without Heinz Ketchup, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, Cheerio’s, Jello-O Pudding Cups, Green Giant Niblets, Sour Cream and Onion Lays. Maybe that’s one of the reasons the party (or at least the culinary part of it) was a success. I started with Ran’s favorite cleaver (from his old days at Pao’s Mandarin House--- how I miss that place), a dash of love and mixed in my favorite Gringo ingredients to put out a spread that made our guests smile. (And chew and swallow.) I used one of our precious cans of Rotel and half a block of Velveeta (thanks Three Mikes and a Wendy) to make chili con queso. The queso was accompanied by Tostitos--- it’s not El Lago like we have in Austin but it was still pretty great. And I used one of our two Hidden Valley Ranch packets (thanks to Mom who brought them back from her last Austin trip) to make dip for the veggie tray. And of course no party of ours is complete without Korean chicken. The soy sauce came all the way from San Jose (we bought four bottles during that shopping expedition). Oh and I made my first ever crab dip thanks to Roland foods out of New York who makes and imports every product under the sun. For dessert Hershey and I got together to bake some chocolate chip blondies. And we must not forget the devilled eggs! Now those aren’t gringo, they’re just plain white trash.

Shannon and I were talking the other day and we agreed that if money was tight and it came down to toilet paper or frivolous food items, bathroom needs would certainly come second. I guess we’ve always had that attitude but now that we’re here it makes us crave those “tastes of home” even more. I talked with Tonya yesterday and she was telling me about her Mr. Gatti’s pizza order--- boy was I jealous! But I bet you guys are envious of our super sweet, crazy-cheap mangoes and melons, the ridiculously large green onions and the bunches of basil so big you would think they were spinach-- if you couldn’t smell them. And if you had ever been to Picante and had Ayal’s fat boy hamburger you would be pretty darn jealous of that too.

This move has been a gift. We’re learning about balance. One of the things we’re balancing is the tranquilo Tico lifestyle with the Gringo amenities. We’re actually finding how few of those amenities we really need. Funny, coming from Hawaii where we call white foreigners “haoles”, I find myself in Costa Rica where I am called Chinita or Morena but am also a Gringa. But this baby in my belly will be a Tico (don’t panic, Ran is the dad—by Tico I mean local). I think that’s a pretty good lesson in balance.

pura vida