01 January 2009

Happy New Year!

1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Yesterday I baked 4 platters of brownies. I had to call up my mom at home to ask for the “recipe” – adding 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 1 egg to Ghiradelli’s Abso-bloomin-marvelous Brownie mix. I gave a pan to my host family, one to the family of the pastor of the church next door, one to my homologue’s family and one for me. yum yum. It’s amazing what you can do with a “dutch oven”. Basically, I don’t have an oven, so I put a big pot with a lid on a low flame on my gas stove, pop a couple small empty cans into it and balance a small pan on top of the cans. (The pan has the baking mixture in it.) I have to be careful when taking the pan in and out – it’s really easy to either burn my self on the side of the pot or dip my be-gloved hands into the baking mixture (gooey ewwey).
It takes ages to bake things this way and I’ve discovered that “low” flame isn’t quite low enough – things tend to burn on the bottom before being done through. So I’ve developed coping mechanisms like turning the flame off for five minutes mid-baking to prevent it from getting too hot. It’s a fun little experiment.
I’m not sure how much people liked the brownies- you just don’t find things like that here – rich, gooey, chocolatey chewy. mmm.
I went to the New Year’s Eve vigil at the church next door, dressed in a new complet, my hair in hundreds of little braids. I sang and danced and jumped around until one. The service went on until 3 but I went home, put in my ear plugs and slept – all the way till 8! What a lazy morning! The church is beautifully but oddly decorated – a mini Christmas tree, a cross made out of sparkly streamers that still have tags on them proclaiming “Holiday Joy made in China”. Spotted around the room, seemingly haphazardly, are short strands of sparkle streamers, loosely and unevenly looped around ceiling beams or electrical cords. It’s really sweet and such a contrast to the serious and expensive business of Christmas interior decorating at all the Western churches I’ve been to. The lights are low, the microphones are scratchy and the drums are loud.

Current reading: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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