Archive for January, 2008

Living the Multicultural Life

I had haggis with Scots on Wednesday night.  On Thursday night I played musical chairs and limboed with Chinese students (and Arabs and Europeans and Africans.)  Friday I had coffee with an American friend who is married to a Cypriot.  Friday night I attended the ecumenical prayer service at the Catholic church and sat next to a German acquaintance (and spoke German) and ran into my French friend and a lot of British people I know. 

afr-cup-logo300.jpgI rushed home to host an African Cup of Nations football party and game night.  I played Apples to Apples with Latvians, Zimbabweans, Americans and an Iranian.  (On a side note we mixed together our regular and Bible sets.  The greatest play was “God the Father” for “Cosmopolitan.”)  Saturday I took the kids to play football at the UN.  I chatted about table tennis with a South African and talked about French hip-hop, among other things, with our kids’ coach who is French. (He agreed to translate “Ghetto Millionaire” for me.)  Then it was home to get ready for the next ACN party.  Chris said it was like we were in college again, cleaning up from the previous night’s party to be ready for that night’s party.  I was excited because our Zambian friend was coming over to watch the Zambia v. Cameroon game.  We also had five others return from the previous night plus added a couple more Zimbabweans.  Unfortunately, the outcome of the game wasn’t what we would have liked.  Zambia lost 1-5.  The good news is, we know a lot of Cameroonians also.   Then, this morning was church.  I’m always awed when I’m singing “How Great Thou Art” with people from almost every continent.

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Haggis

Last night I(DeAnn) was treated to my first taste of Haggis.  I had only heard horror stories of this Scottish delicacy.  (Remember the movie So I Married an Axe Murderer?  Harriet Michaels: “Do you actually like haggis?”  Charlie Mackenzie: “No, I think it’s repellent in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.”)  And look at the recipe:

Ingredients:
Set of sheep’s heart, lungs and liver (cleaned by a butcher)
One beef bung
3 cups finely chopped suet
One cup medium ground oatmeal
Two medium onions, finely chopped
One cup beef stock
One teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
One teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace

Method:
Trim off any excess fat and sinew from the sheep’s intestine and, if present, discard the windpipe.  Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or possibly longer to ensure that they are all tender. Drain and cool.  Finely chop the meat and combine in a large bowl with the suet, oatmeal, finely chopped onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mace. Make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Stuff the meat and spices mixture into the beef bung which should be over half full. Then press out the air and tie the open ends tightly with string. Make sure that you leave room for the mixture to expand or else it may burst while cooking. If it looks as though it may do that, prick with a sharp needle to reduce the pressure.

………So, when the time came to take my first bite it was with fear and trepidation. (I should tell you that I am the complete opposite of the “Bizarre Foods” guy.  When we first started investigating overseas service I was asked what scared me the most about living overseas and my answer was what I might have to eat.)  I knew I had to taste though because I was at Guides and I wanted to set a good example for the girls.  So, trying to force the imagine of sheep entrails out of my mind I went for it.  And, surprisingly, it was good.  No, really.  I’m not sure what I thought sheep innards would taste like, but I was sure it was bad.  But it isn’t.  Therefore, I would like to recommend to everyone who can, celebrate the anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth this Friday, January 25th, with Scots all over the world, and have a haggis. (I recommend getting one from your local butcher. If you stuff the bung yourself you might not be able to eat the finished product.)

DeAnn’s Birthday

We celebrated by having cake with the whole church, then we went out to lunch at a really great restaurant called Zebra.  Check out the pix on flickr.

New Soul-Yael Naim

Recently we have been hearing this song, “New Soul” by Yael Naim.  It has a catchy tune and a nice video.   The singer is French/Israeli so its a bit difficult to understand exactly what she is saying so I (DeAnn) googled the lyrics. I could relate to some of them.

“I’m a new soul I came to this strange world hoping I could learn a bit about how to give and take.
But since I came here felt the joy and the fear finding myself making every possible mistake”
: I’m actually not sure I’m making every possible mistake, but I know I have made quite a few.  Then I feel myself faced with not knowing the proper way of going about rectifying them.  I wish every culture came with a handbook.

I’m a young soul in this very strange world hoping I could learn a bit about what is true and fake.
But why all this hate? Try to communicate finding just that love is not always easy to make”
: I haven’t actually experienced any hate since coming to Cyprus and I do love the people here, but it isn’t easy deciphering what is the truth and what they are saying because it is culturally appropriate.  And am I communicating God’s love to them in an understandable way?

“la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…” : God continues to be God and bless us in ministry.  We have relationships with many different people from several different countries.  We play together, laugh together, cry together, do life together.

Progressive Dinner

Last night we had a progressive dinner for the students of Americanos College.  They won a contest at the Place for having the most students in attendance.  We hosted the main course.  I(DeAnn) decided to make pasta and it turned out to be almost as easy as I thought it would be.  I’m so thankful for Cami.  She cooked the last of the spaghetti and finished the sauce so I could go to the first course (salad) at Rick’s flat.  She did a great job cooking and Chris and the other 2 kids had the tables all set up and everything ready when we all arrived. 

We held a mini Foosball tournament.  It is such a blessing to have our own table.  Many different people have gotten many hours of enjoyment playing on it.  Colson and Emmanuel were the big winners, but it was a tough game against Rick and Ashkan. 

We finished up at Renate and Madara’s with a great dessert of chocolate fondue.  It was a great time for us to get to know the students better and for them to get to know us better, too. 

Christmas and New Years

We have just survived our first Christmas and first New Years in Cyprus.  I say survived because celebrating major holidays for the first time in a new country can be quite stressful.  When/where do you get the tree? When do you set it up?  Who do you give gifts to?  What kind of city activities are there?  Kids’ school program?  Mailing gifts to the States?  How many nuts are there in a Christmas pudding? 

We navigated all of these issues and come out the other end.  We bought an artificial tree that was both affordable and not too bad looking.  The greatest thing about artificial trees is that the branches are all strong enough to hold the ornaments.  The top of our tree was not strong enough to hold our star though.  It wasn’t a problem because our African angel that Aunt Jennie gave us a couple of years ago fit perfectly. We set the tree up on the 2nd and we took it down yesterday so it had a good long run.  Gift giving turned out fine.  We sent 2 boxes to the States, which thankfully arrived before Christmas. Unfortunately none of the boxes sent to us from the States did.  We learned that priority in one country might not mean priority to another.  The kids’ school program was great.  I never even yawned.  Store bought Christmas puddings don’t have enough nuts in them to make me(DeAnn, I have a bad nut allergy) sick.  There were also several things going on in the city but we really didn’t have time to see much.

To ring in the new year our family went down to Ledra Street for the fireworks.  It’s great that the kids are old enough to stay up now and we aren’t stuck at home.  The street and the square were packed with people 99% of them were foreigners like us.  The fireworks were fun.  We came home and the kids started a Pirates of the Caribbean  movie marathon that ended half way through number 1.  They finished that one and the next two the next day.