Wednesday, June 17, 2009

South Asian Sam's Club

Last week our neighbor took us to the South Asian version of Sam's Club. First, however, to understand our "shock & awe factor" to this place, I'll have to tell you how we normally have to shop for everyday household items and groceries.

In our neighborhood, there are four fairly decent grocery stores that also have household goods like cleaning supplies, a few kitchen wares, etc. Picture something like an American convenient store but add fruits and vegetables and stuff like rice, flour, sugar. In the next neighborhood over, there is one import store where we can sometimes find imported items like tortilla chips, canned soups, good-ish cheeses and cooking spray.

On a normal shopping day, we might have to go to all of these stores to find what is on our list and then also make a stop at the outdoor fruits and veggies market (which I heart) to get everything we need. It can be an all day affair. You see, it takes a lot more time to get simple things done here.

Well, you can imagine our "shock & awe" when we walked into THE METRO.

What? You can find all your items (South Asian-made and a few imports) in one place?!? You can go there and get out of there and be done in less than an hour?!? You're kidding, right?

You can even buy "America's Favorite Mattress." We're American, and we approve.

And, you definitely get the freshest fish, eggs and cuts of meat...especially mutton (sorry graphic picture!).

Total craziness! I think this might have helped for when it comes time to transition back into life in America...our supermarket shopping world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Silk & Pretty Dresses

I think I told you during "A Day in My Life" that silk and tailoring clothes are common industries here. I also mentioned my plan to have some beautiful dresses and clothes made for me before coming home. So, now I am in the process of trying to buy the fabric and pick out designs from some of my favorite clothes shops. So far, I know that I am going to have 3 or 4 dresses made, some linen pants and a few pencil skirts. It is fun!

Here are some of the fabrics I have bought so far and a few pictures of dress ideas:

raw silk, silk cotton blends, silk chiffon and linen

One of my roommates also gave me a great idea. I have a beautiful green and red (very Christmas-y) sari that I have worn here for weddings and other special occasions. See.

I took it to the tailor last week to have it made into something like this (JCrew) dress but with wide straps added. It's going to be gorgeous!

I can't wait to see how everything turns out!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Interesting Study...

Some friends posted this study on their blog, and I thought I would post it as well. The study suggests that people who travel or live abroad become more creative in critical thinking and problem solving. I think, after living cross-culturally for nearly two years, that this is true. I've noticed in myself not only increased creativity when it comes to getting problems solved and everyday sort of thing done but also increased creativity in general.

Daily, I am trying to come up with new ways to get things done whether it's how to get to a place that is quite far without a car or how to cook my favorite dish from home without all the conveniences of living in America. I am really good at getting the price I want for something by striking some pretty creative deals with vendors, if I do say so myself.

Another aspect of this is my desire to be more crafty since moving here. The colors and beautiful fabrics and designs here have gotten me wanting to be able to make cool stuff I see on my own. I've learned to sew since moving, have started painting on canvas a little more and enjoy making gifts from friends instead of buying them. All in all, I feel like a more creative person.

Click here for the post on Freakonomics. Check it out. Make sure to click on the article within the post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vacation- Round 3 (World Wonder)

Sunday, we took the train to Cairo. I had been there for only a few hours when I flew in, and so it was nice to be able to explore the city a little more, go to an unbelievable mall, eat at On the Border, visit new friends and, of course, see the Pyramids and the Sphinx (which, by the way, is so much smaller than you think in real life). I rode a camel for the first time and bought some great gifts for friends and family (and myself).

One of the 9 pyramids and the Sphinx (told you it was kinda little)

This is my camel. I shall call him "Nappy," and he shall be mine.

me and Sarah

Camels are grouchy.

fun shot

Now, I've seen two world wonders: the pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

I had such a great time with my sweet friend. It was an easy, laid back vacation for the both of us. It's good when you get to vacation with someone else who lives cross-culturally because the "go" and "do" and "see" just doesn't have to happen unless it happens. It was a good break from my crazy, chaotic South Asian life, and I enjoyed spending time with my friend from the farm.

I love you, Sarah!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation- Round 2

After our 5 days on the Sinai Peninsula, we headed back to Alexandria...on the Mediterranean! It is a beautiful city, and my friend's apartment is just a stone's throw from the sea. There, I was able to see a couple that was at training with me and their new little girl, do a little shopping and eat at Chili's! I think you know that it's probably one of my favorite restaurants (besides, Barberitos and La Parilla, Athenians!). I also got my hair cut while there. It's a lot like it was before but just a better cut. It's cute!

the Sea

me and the Sea

fishing boats


beautiful Sarah in her kurta and bangles I brought her

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vacation So Far...

The first 5 days of my trip I spent by the pool and on the beach in Sharm el Sheikh, a little Red Sea town on the Sinai Peninsula. We got really good tans, drank Starbucks, bought some beautiful jewelry, snorkeled in the Red Sea and relaxed to the max. It was great. Here are a few pictures:

On the plane to the resort with sweet Sarah +

Glorious Starbucks +

the pool and pedicured toes +

the Red Sea +

snorkeling =


Now, I am in Alexandria to do a little hanging out and eating at Chili's...yes, Chili's! Then, off to Cairo and to the pyramids Monday. More to come later. I promise (might be after I get home). Love y'all!