Reverse Culture Shock!

Jill Posted in Uncategorized

After 24 hours of travel (including 3 flights and one car ride) we arrived home Monday afternoon from Beijing!  The kids and I arrived safe and sound, with few incidents, and are very grateful.  The kids are excited to be here at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving, and we’re working on overcoming jet lag.  We’ve already played outside, run barefoot, baked cookies, etc.  Life is good!

It’s amazing what you forget, or get used to, after 2 years in a foreign country.  We’ve been back in the States for just over 24 hours and here are a few of the things we’ve already been surprised by, or reminded of:

  • English!
  • customer service!
  • napkins in a restaurant!
  • free refills!
  • ice in our cups!
  • clean bathrooms!
  • clean grass!
  • clear skies!
  • drinkable tap water!
  • soft, squishy beds!
  • flushing toilet paper!
  • cooking spray!
  • regular sized ovens!
  • big baking pans!
  • enormous cars!
  • enormous shopping carts!
  • big people (meaning tall and …uh…big)

And “the walk.”  I couldn’t list this without explanation.  Many Americans (youngish males in particular) have a “walk.”  Some would call it a strut.  It bugs me.  Anyway, I noticed it when I was at the store today.  It’s interesting how culture permeates everything, even down to the way we carry ourselves.

And for those who haven’t been to China it might be good to clarify a few others items on the list.  About the napkins, there are “napkins” in the restaurants in China, but they’re really just tissues.  Thin, flimsy, tissues.  I never did find regular napkins in the stores in China.  And “clean grass” means grass without human excrement.

Well, that’s all for now folks.  :)

- Jill

Curry! Sort of.

Jill Posted in Recipes

I was feeling creative in the kitchen tonight, and I had some limp spinach that desperately needed to be used.  I hate throwing things away.  I had planned on making curry for dinner, so I’m combined the two.  I put the spinach in the blender with some plain yogurt and used that to color the dish.  Here’s the recipe I came up with.  (I’m writing measurements to the best of my knowledge, but this may need to be tweaked because I didn’t measure as I cooked.)  Oh, and if you’re looking at the title and thinking, “No way!” it may help to know that my spinach-hating kids rated it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. :)  [Picture coming soon!]

Chicken Spinach Curry


  • oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (possibly more?)
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (add more if you like heat)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2-4 tsp salt (not sure how much since I just added as I went along)
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced (I dice them small so they cook faster)
  • 1 large carrot, diced (same here, dice them small)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 (or 2) cups plain yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1-3 tbsp water


Saute onions, garlic, and spices in a little oil until onions are translucent.  Add chicken.  (You may want to add a little water as you cook.)  When the outsides are no longer pink add the carrots for a few minutes.  Add potatoes and a little more water, and don’t forget to add some salt.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are soft, 5-10 minutes.

While potatoes are simmering, blend the yogurt, spinach, butter and flour in a blender.  When potatoes are soft, add spinach/yogurt mixture to the curry mixture.  Heat thoroughly.  Add some water or yogurt if it’s too thick.

- Jill