Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Be jealous...

...because this is the view from our own private villa deep in the hills of Bali.

See you in a few days. If we can manage to work up the motivation to leave.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Detox time

After a wonderful 4 days in Singapore, we are off to Bali in the AM. Sorry for not posting more during our stay here. One would think that such a place filled with so much technology would have free wireless all over the place. But they do not.

But Singapore has everything else one could possibly want, including:

and this
and this

The question we keep asking each other: do we really have to leave?
Thanks to Amanda for showing us a good time. And thanks Singpore for giving us just the vacation we needed. We'll be back!
Bali is next. The detox from the gluttony of Singapore will do us some good, I think.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Singapore is:

  • shopping
  • shopping
  • shopping
  • eating
  • eating
  • eating
  • the exact opposite from Kabul in every single way

Yeah, we're having a good time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Just in the nick of time. And they arrived safe and sound and none the worse for the wear. I was really worried that the box had been sitting outside all these long months, getting rained upon and rotting away in the sun. I was 75% sure that I would open box of rotting, ruined, mildewed clothes. But everything is clean and dry and ready to be packed up for Singapore and Bali.

My HHE and consumables are still stuck in customs, but at this point I really don't care. Our apartment is fully furnished, although a bit starkly decorated. We have food enough, and I'm assuming that I'll be able to restock on some personal items (styling spray, some medicines) in Singapore.

Yep, I don't care. Nick and I have checked out. In our minds, we're gone. We're in Singapore, gorging ourselves on delicious hawker food and marvelling at the sight of a real city. We're in Bali, hiking through forests and rice paddies, and riding bikes along black sand beaches.

Vacation, here we come.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My thoughts are racing....

....because I just found this:
Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children

I hope hope hope that they are still in existence. Brainstorming on how to get involved.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As requested by a loyal reader

My wonderful Toad requested that I post pictures and recipes whenever Nick and I improvise a home-cooked meal. I would never deny my Toad anything she wants, so enjoy! Except that Toad is a vegan,, she will just have to pretend to enjoy.
The food at the D-FAC has been particularly vile recently, so we've cooked a fair number of dinners at home in the past few weeks. The majority of our recipes weren't particularly blog-worthy: grilled chicken breast from the D-FAC, recycled into a chicken salad sandwich; day old D-FAC rice and vegetable side dish recycled for veggie fried rice. That sort of thing.

We did make our first attempt at making a frittata, using eggs from the store, veggies and cheese from the D-FAC, salmon from Mom M, and our shiny new Calphalon non-stick skillet from Aaron and Sierra (thanks for the awesome wedding present!). It was pretty damn good, although I think we should have used the 8-inch instead of the 12-inch pan. The frittata was a little on the thin side. But still very very yummy. Sorry I forgot to take pictures.

Last week I made baked eggs, in order to use up the rest of the salmon. This time I remembered to take pictures. I'll post the recipe, but this dish is so simple and flexible, there really isn't a need for a recipe. These are great for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner....whenever you feel like a yummy, eggy meal. And they're great for using up random leftovers.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease the insides of a few small ramekins.
  3. Add whatever ingredients you have on hand to the ramekins, being careful not to fill them up too much. Remember, you have to add the egg on top at the end. This time, we used some sauteed D-FAC veggies. In the past we've used pre-cooked, chopped bacon or a bit of prosciutto. Some cubed bread would also work. I bet some tomato sauce with a kick would be delicious.
  4. Add just a little heavy cream to the ramekin, and a bit of whatever cheese you have on hand. Or not. These are optional. This time around, we made two cups with shredded D-FAC cheddar, and two with some of the excellent Parmesan I brought back from London.
  5. Crack one egg into each ramekin. Add a bit more cheese on top. Or not. Whatever floats your boat.
  6. Bake in the oven until the egg sets, anywhere from 10-15 minutes. The yolk can be left runny, or cooked over hard. Your choice. Make sure the whites are cooked through.
  7. Transfer to a plate and enjoy straight from the ramekin.

Loading up, before the egg & cheese. Heavy cream comes in solid form here. It was the consistency of sour cream.
Almost ready for the oven. Just missing the eggs!

In they go!

A non D-FAC dinner. Yum! And thanks Mom X for the Greek beans!

We also took a break from D-FAC to celebrate the Superbowl. Neither of our teams were in it, but football is football, no matter who's playing (unless it's the Cowboys or Eagles), and the Superbowl must always be accompanied by a celebration. We weren't crazy enough to get up at 3:30 AM to see the game live; Frankie DVR'd the game for us, and we watched it via Slingbox on Monday night. I'm pleased to say that Nick and I both managed to avoid finding out who won before we watched the game, quite an accomplishment in the digital age.

Anyway, back to the food. We had a few friends over to watch the game, and Nick cobbled together a very delicious big sandwich using meats and cheese that he squirreled away from the D-FAC throughout the day, and a loaf of french bread from the grocery. Ya'll don't really need a recipe for a sandwich, do you?

On a fun note, check out the shape of Afghan Cheetos!
Although these meals were yummy and it's nice to have a kitchen so we're not forced to rely on the D-FAC, I know Nick and I are both looking forward to our holiday in Singapore and Bali. All of our friends who've visited Singapore practically drooled all over us when we told them we where we are going on vacation. Two weeks of fresh seafood, fresh veggies, fresh fruits, food with flavor and seasoning and.....taste. I can't wait. It will be wonderful.

Even if I have to go in sweaters and long pants.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All I want for Christmas....New Years...Valentines Day?

My apologies for the long silence. An entry explaining everything -- or which at least attempts to make amends -- is in the works.

In the mean time, I would just like to announce that I am now taking bets on whether I will be going on vacation to Singapore and Bali with an empty suitcase.

Yes, it's been nearly three months since I packed out of DC, and none of my shipments have arrived. That includes my unaccompanied baggage (UAB; i.e. all of the clothing that I didn't carry with me on the plane) which HR estimates usually arrives at post anywhere from 2-3 weeks after packout. For those of you not keeping count, I'm up to Week 12.

But luckily for me, the UAB contains only unimportant, useless items. Like my winter coats and snow boots, which wouldn't have been at all helpful in keeping me warm or my feet dry in the rain and sleet and slush that that have descended upon Kabul over the past week. And like my entire summer wardrobe, which I definitely won't need when I go to Singapore and Bali 10 days from now. I'm sure I'll be quite comfortable trekking through the jungle in my winter sweaters and long pants.

I am at the end of my rope. The government could not have been less helpful throughout the entire process of getting me out to Kabul. Denied security clearance. Going incommunicado for nearly 3 weeks. Delay after delay after delay. Leaving me at the Kabul airport. Failure to add me to Nick's health insurance. Overcharging us on flights for our leave to the tune of $1400. And now, a potential ruined vacation.

So, any takers on the bet? Odds are 2-1 against.

On a different note....for those of you who are curious as to what I'm working on, you can some of my work here and here.