It’s really hard to believe this is our fifth annual Christmas in this lovely community. We scheduled our trip to the States to allow us to be here for Christmas, also knowing that arriving back in mid-December would make for a couple busy weeks. The chaos didn’t disappoint and even sent us for a few surprise spins, but was overall lovely.
Amidst the celebrations, I said very little. So now I’m going to do a little series of our countdown to Christmas, starting last Saturday, 19 December—a week after we arrived back from the States.
Really, we started Friday. After making our weekly Flour & Flower deliveries, we headed to the market for a few hours.
Thida is our life saver here. She’s quite the go-getter, so we asked her to take the lead. She chose the menu, dictated the time tables, and gave us tasks!
She thought mohinga would be a good option for this year. In short, mohinga is a fish soup, and according to Wikipedia, considered to be the national dish of Myanmar.
At the market we purchased:
30 kilos of fish
20 kilos of onions
1 kilo of chili
the add-ins: garlic, lemongrass, green beans, curry powder, fish paste, fish sauce, ginger, cilantro, & mint
so, so much oil
3 bags of fried bean chip-like crisps
5 boxes of water
32 kilos of oranges
and, get this: 75 kilos of noodles. 75 kilos!
One thing we did not consider was the placement of this fish-filled wok, which was feet from our bedroom window. For those who don’t know, fish paste is a fermented fish concoction—it is whole fermented fish ground into something that looks like concrete and smells, to Westerners, beyond the words of stink.
We chose to sleep with our window closed for the night.
This was a new experience for me. I worked very hard not to gag throughout, and did well. They only made a few comments that it was evident I didn’t know what I was doing!
We then chopped: onions, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, beans, cilantro, & mint.
We also added banana stalk from our yard—the whole stalk chopped down and chopped to bits with a machete, then boiled in spices.
We chopped for hours.
We had a little pow-wow beforehand for us to wish the community merry Christmas, tell them how thankful we are for them, and share the Christmas story in brief. We also invited them to to a few events through the week.And then we ate!
We then crashed into bed for Sunday…