Friday, September 23, 2011

Americana with a side of local cheese...

I am sitting in a coffee shop here that could pass for any indie coffee shop in America.

and I must say, this is the best Cafe Mocha I have ever tasted.

We also hit up the local Pizza joint for dinner last night (after 3.5 weeks of eating off the same limited hotel menu, we needed something different.) While I hesitated at getting the "Veggie Max" special (Soya crumbles, pineapple, mushroom and "local cheese"), it certainly was one of the best pizzas I have had in a long time. (And whatever the difference is between local and improved cheese, I could tell no difference.)

While I have thoroughly been enjoying the local cuisine (I could live on curry and copious amounts of pineapple alone), it is nice (comforting?) to have a taste of America every once in a while.

If you live or have lived abroad, what do/did you miss the most? What is your can't-live-without piece of Americana?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The low-down on the shopping scene...

It is really what y'all have been wanting to learn about, right? 

Each foreign country is different on what resources it has (both natural/local and imported) and Guyana has been both a surprise and expected on what we have found. {Full disclosure: we certainly haven't found everything there is to find yet!} We knew that imported goods could be found but at a premium. And that has certainly been found to be true: everything has about a 25% mark-up then the regular price at a good ole' Walmart. And you have to check the expiration dates to make sure things are still good. (Well, I think alot of expiration dates are partly used as marketing tools to get you to buy more sooner than you need but that is another story.) Often when you find something, you should go for the gusto and buy multiples because you may not find that goodie again for a while. 

All of that was expected. As was the lack of regular dairy milk in the grocery stores. (You either do powdered milk, UHT or get crazy and pasteurize your own.) I wasn't expecting there to be a nation-wide shortage of chicken. But overall, I have been pleasantly surprised at the fact that you can find almost anything you want.

Case in point:

We hit up the local "mall" and I found the "O Navy" Store. Full of, you guessed it, Old Navy (Outlet) clothes. I bought a basic polo off the clearance rack for about $7.00 US, just because I could. (But it will be great for work!) 

Alot of my upcoming posts will be resource round-ups of all the cheats and do-it-yourself projects that I will be utilizing to substitute for stuff I have been missing or to help curb paying inflated prices. While it is nice to know that I can buy familiar products, I welcome the chance to try to get creative and provide some of these things myself. 

I can't wait to share and experiment and I hope you join in on the fun!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Real Deal

{at the seawall in Georgetown}

Okay...remember how I wrote about how I wasn't saying much because I had so many things that needed to be said? Well, it is true: my brain is slightly on overload (in a good way!) and there are so many things rattling around in my head.

{Such as: when will we get to move into our house or when will I start work?}

But I must also say that there are also issues that come with having a public blog that are unique to our situation. As a military wife, I am bound by rules that forbid me from talking about certain things (homecoming dates, location of troops on deployment, etc.) You know, the whole "loose lips sinks ships" thing. I am also going to work at the embassy for the State Department. The State Department "blogger world" is in the middle of upheaval of sorts, where even stay-at-home-mom bloggers are getting their blogs shut down because of things that they say. (You can read about this whole thing here and here.)

As both an involuntarily rule-bound military wife and a voluntary employee of the State Department, I worry about saying the wrong thing on this blog. I am a rule-follower by nature especially when it comes to official stuff like not offending the people that write your and your husband's paycheck. But after a serious talk with my husband and still feeling a big draw to share on this outlet, I have decided to continue blogging about our experience here.

So. Just so we are upfront: my blog is a lifestyle blog.

It is NOT a military wife blog and certainly not a blog about my work. I will be sharing stuff that I wish I could find about living in a place with limited resources and totally new experiences. You will not see the outside of my house {'cause I can't share that publicly} but I will share what DIY projects happen inside when you don't have a Micheal's or a Joann's near-by. I have a whole series in the works about ways to make some of the little stuff that we are lacking at the local grocery store (like flavored coffee creamer, please!) I will talk about my driving experiences. I will share my favorite online entertainment sources {I am currently loving podcasts and online magazines!}

I will keep it real about some of the problems and headaches we face here but I find that life is much better when you are hitting those issues head-on with solutions. I might talk about poverty and shine a light on issues that I care about and come in contact with here in Guyana (orphans, the HIV epidemic, etc.) but I will keeping it politics-free.  There are people much more talented than I with their words (and who have a bigger audience to listen). I will leave the punditry to them.

So, 2011 was the year I worked on finding my voice. As we move into this new season, my voice is finding its place again among the changes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

When you have so much to say...

A week ago, we started our journey here to Guyana. And I haven't shared anything about the trip. And it isn't for a lack of things to say. The trip here was much less difficult that I imagined. We have access to more American (or, mostly British) foods that I anticipated. Our house, from what I understand, will be amazing. My son started his first day at school and loves it. Our fears have been eliminated and we are completely enjoying the warmth of being embraced by a small community and is close knit but gets the coming and the going so there is no essence of being closed to the new guys. 

I almost have too much to say.

But I was cursed with an over active mind. I want to understand the culture and community ways as soon as possible. I want to get an understanding of the dynamics between the three main people groups (Indo-Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese and the Amer-Indians. I want to get involved in the humanitarian efforts of the embassy to make some sort of minor impact on the intense poverty all around me. I want to get to a point where the smells that overwhelm me now become common place. My questions abound: will I be able to accomplish even half of this in the two years we will be here? Will my heart be broken when we go to volunteer at the orphanages? (yes, let it be!) Will I be able to navigate my way around this town of no street signs?

Well, one week down. Let's do this thing! (Goal one: learn to drive on the other side of the road!)