Monday, October 26, 2015

Thomas and the motorcycle

When I was a single missionary teacher in Peru, I was invited to free outdoor salsa classes by some fellow missionary teacher girlfriends. Afterward, we would go to a salsa club where we could practice salsa moves. We did not drink and moved in a group so that we would be protected from any creeposos in the midst. At the dance lesson there were a few guys who invited themselves to tag along with us. One of the guys, a half Peruvian half American, had an older brother (who we shall call Thomas) who he had invited to come along. Thomas had recently gone through a break up and was at home sulking. Why not bring him along to meet a whole group of single girls eager to dance salsa?
It ended up being a bad move. I left the salsa club early and remember seeing Thomas not dancing but rather drowning himself in pity and beer, boring two of my gringa friends with tales of his one lost love. The one good thing about it was that we were able to encourage Thomas, a lapsed Christian, to go back to church.

(Side note: when Wilmer and I were watching True Lies we found that Thomas looked just like the villain in the movie. The upcoming photos of Thomas are quite similar to what he looks like in real life).

Maybe a year later, when I was a newly married in Peru, my husband often would be contracted by missionaries to travel down to a very small town outside of Chincha to work on a church building. I sometimes traveled down there with him on weekends because I got bored going home to an empty apartment every night. Once when I went I found a short-term missions team was there to love on* the local disheveled street urchins**.
When I sat down to meet the group, I realized I knew the newly hired translator. It was Thomas.
 He apparently had shaped up since then and got involved in a church.
Our eyes met.Me: Hi, how have you been?

Thomas: Uh, you look kind of familiar, I think we've met somewhere, maybe at church, yeah it had to have been church.

Me: uh, yeah, I do know you from somewhere (not wanting to embarrass him I didn't spell out the shameful truth of his beer drinking pity party days for him).

Throughout the week the street urchins** realized that of all the short term team, Thomas was the most immature of the bunch. While female street urchins usually show their domination of affluent Americans on short term missions by using them as free transport by getting them to carry them as much as possible throughout the day, Male street urchins often prey on the weakest American. Once the weakest American is identified, a group of male street urchins will poke him, take objects from his person, and call him naughty words to try and get him to explode in frustration. The street urchins immediately identified Thomas as the weakest American on the team.
I would often hear Thomas' voice reach a girlish shreak as he would yell in Spanish "That's the last time I am gonna say it! Give me back my hat!"  They urchins squealed in delight every time he they got a response out of poor Thomas.

Later that day, as Wilmer was working on the church facade and I was hanging out with the Short Term Team, watching them love on* the children. One of the older children was cruising back and forth down the street of the small town on a motorcycle.

The poor, dirty-faced urchin on the motorcycle: Hey Thomas! Bet you can't ride one of these things!

Thomas: You bet I can!

Poor, dirty-faced urchin gets off the motorcycle: Oh yeah? Show me then!

Thomas then proceeded to get on the motorcycle. 

He revved the engine a few times and looked in the general direction of some cute, short-term mission high school girls. All eyes were on him. Wilmer peeked around from his work to see what was happening, I observed in amusement, a female street urchin smiling excitedly in my lap. The townspeople peeked out of their worn shacks*** to see the scene. Thomas looked forward and took off. This was his moment to shine. He took off and enjoyed feeling his curly locks of hair flying in the breeze. He was showing those street urchins who was boss. He went faster and fasted till suddenly, he realized he had reached the end of the street and needed to make a turn. But it was too late. 

The motorcycle slipped from under him and he flew into the plywood walls of one of the worn shacks***. The motorcycle, plywood wall, and Thomas were all sprawled out on the ground. The male street urchins were delighted. Their experiment had gone surprisingly well. 

*"love on" (verb) : how white affluent Americans often satisfy their emotional needs by giving their time and cheap prizes to lower class children of a different race than their own.

**"street urchins" (noun) : bored children in communities who often  enjoy observing white affluent Americans and partaking of their cheap prizes.

***"worn shacks" (noun) : homes of the parents of street urchins.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Favorite Online Recipes

I often use the page food blog, but when I want to make something not listed, I resort to the internet. Here are my favorite online recipes! Any that you would add?

Lasagna (I also do the Peruvian thing and add a few layers of deli ham)

Cordon Bleu (Mostly I just use milk and normal cheese but one time I actually did purchase the expensive/fattening ingredients and it was so good that I tried to steal some of Wilmer's when he wasn't looking)

Pot Pie (a recipe for delicious pot pie innards)

Pie Crust (I mess up sometimes with other pie crusts. This one has been faithful to me)

Bacon + Cheddar + Chicken (all that with a teriyaki sauce)

Oven Broccoli (I boil the broccoli it just a minute or two before zapping it in the oven so that it is both soft and crispy)

Fresh Green Beans (I used to like canned best but these fresh ones won me over)

Homemade Mayo (it is so much better than store bought but many people just don't get how to do it right. Make sure you add the oil in the thinnest stream you can with the blender already on high. Also make sure that you cover the blender as best you can while you pour or blots of mayo will end up all over your face and hands. Maybe poke a hole in the aluminum foil to make a makeshift lid with a small hole for pouring? I like to add a little bit of milk to thin it out when it is all done.)

Juicy Chicken (found this one thanks to Bethany. Now I feel like I can prepare a Christmas dinner with little work involved)

Peruvian Beef Stir French Fry (actually called Lomo Saltado. Wilmer is better at making this than me so I just usually chop up and he fries. What we usually make is pretty close to this recipe, but we don't add oyster sauce or whatever that is. We don't add aji amarillo but instead chop up a spicy red rocoto pepper, bath it in lime and salt, and add as much as we can handle to our individual plates).

Wilmer has eaten all of these and approved all of them (though he wasn't a huge fan of the thai pesto)

A Very Good Curry (quite authentic - maybe add less cayenne if spicy is too much for you)

Thai Pesto (so easy! Good with roasted bell peppers and chicken on noodles, also good on buttered toast)

Fish Tacos (First had these in San Diego. The white jalapeno sauce they have you make is my favorite part of this recipe. Also I really do buy a cheap can of beer to make it...without beer the fish batter isn't that great)

Peruvian 3 leches Hot Chocolate (Great because of the clove and cinnamon spices. I would avoid adding a whole can of sweetened condensed milk OR add more milk afterward so that the sweetness doesn't take over).


Banana Bread (The crust has the best taste. I replaced part of the banana with chopped apple once and it was also really good. A nice flexible recipe)

Carmely Pie Filling (The extra step of creating syrup beforehand is worth it). 

Ice Cream with or without an ice cream maker (I made this many times in the summer months WITHOUT an ice cream maker. I just pulled it out of the freezer every thirty minutes to mix it up with a spatula till it became light and fluffy. I would love to get my hands on a vanilla bean but ended up using vanilla extract)

some recipes are destroyed by humidity, unavailable ingredients, etc. These recipes were less picky.

Hot Fudge (good for when chocolate chips are so hard to come by)

Chocolate Chip Cookies (the only version that works for me with the ingredients I have)

Roll dough for cinnamon rolls (Other recipes didn't work in Peru. My first version of these failed despite all the positive reviews...then I followed mom's bread-making advice and eyed the flour rather than adding flour measurements and made the only cinnamon rolls that I have made successfully in Peru. Her frosting was too much, though I liked the coffee maple flavor).

Teriaki Sauce (You can't come by that cheaply overseas)

Aldi's brownies (the only recipe that compares to the prize winning box version)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Peruvian Fruit Beverage Recipes

Peruvians have developed ways to not let anything go to waste in their cooking. Here are some fun fruity options my husband taught me about...

Pineapple Skin Juice

1. Cut up whatever you didn't eat from a pineapple (in my case I didn't eat the whole thing because it was a juicing pineapple - no sweet flavor so not fun to eat all by itself)
2. Boil it with a bit of ginger or cloves or cinnamon, depending on what you like.
3. Use a strainer to separate the rinds from the juice.
4. Add sugar as needed.
5. Enjoy it hot, room temperature, or cool it down in the fridge.

Orange Skin Cider
*said that this helps with digestion and weight loss*

1. Take just the skins off the oranges. 
2. Boil them with a bit of cloves and cinnamon and remove the orange skins just after 5 minutes of boiling (if you let the skins set an overpowering bitter flavor will develop). 
3. Add sugar as needed
4. Enjoy it hot. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Life's disposable animal

Above is pictured a mouse that I murdered with poison. I wanted an old fashioned trap as it seemed more humane, but couldn't find one anywhere.

The mouses mate (not pictured above) was wiser and became immune to the poison. But in the end the second mouse didn't get the cheese either, instead he got Wilmer's tennis shoe crushing down on his head. It squirmed there for a while till its death. I felt no pity. No one shall feel pity on our... horrifying planet.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Pick up Line of the Week

I decided to go out and buy what I needed to make supper in one of the stores on my street. A fancy car filled with young boys stopped in front of me and one asked, "Hey Gringasha! Do you know where La Parroquia (street corner) is???"

I shook my head no and hid my smile.

Gringasha is the true love of a young psycopath Gringasho who escaped prison to meet her. Their names are such because both are light skinned and light eyed Peruvians. After the capture of Gringasho, Gringasha let herself become a risque, Madonna-like celebrity here in Peru.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Mostly normal

My good friend Cynthia makes you think she is a normal, steady person. And then she surprises you with her out of the box weirdness. She made juice and needed the extra jug space.

Friday, July 05, 2013

What to do with old bus tickets

A small quick flower drawing I created using old bus tickets and a little bit of paint and pens. It was a going away present for my ex roommate Amanda. Here is a picture of the roomies when we met 5 years ago combined with one of us we took just recently.