Saturday, July 27, 2019

Making Chili

You would think that something as simple as making a pot of chili would be easy. But, no, we're in Guatemala! Chili isn't much of a thing here, although we expats are trying to get our local friends addicted to it by bringing it to every potluck. (Right, Iva?) 😊

First things first: beans. Well, I know from experience that cooking rock-hard beans for four hours on my gas stove makes them only slightly less rock-hard. Waste of gas! And finding a can of beans is almost impossible. But then I noticed this huge bizarre package of beans next to the dried ones at Despensa. It says they're whole precooked beans. I had to try it!

Here is the video I made on opening this weird plastic thing.

So that was successful, if unexpected! I tasted the beans right then and they were soft and salty and slightly spiced.

I then added a pound of cooked chorizo sausage, canned mushrooms, a chopped onion, a shredded carrot for vitamins, tomato sauce, and various spices. Less than an hour later, we had hot spicy yumminess. πŸ˜‹

bowl homecooked chili
Homemade chili, yum!
For those who are interested in prices:
large can of mushrooms Q13
1 lb of chorizo Q9
big bag o' beans Q17
2 large spaghetti sauce bags = Q12
a carrot, an onion, and spices = Q1?

So the total cost to make was about Q52, which is CDN $8.88 or USD $6.75.

I used chorizo cuz we had some in the fridge. Ground beef is quite a bit more expensive, about Q24 a pound (or more), which is around CDN$4.10 or USD$3.11. The price would have gone up significantly. Substituting sausage or chicken for beef is just one of the many ways I adapt recipes to adjust for prices here in Guatemala. The other is not adding cheese.... wahh!! 😭

But on the bright side, after dinner I went for a stroll to the store and got a delicious creamsicle for only Q3 or about 51¢ Canadian or 39¢ American. Ha! 😁

Monday, July 15, 2019

Reverse Culture Shock! My Trip To Canada

I finally got to go home to Canada for a visit after more than four years away! Thank you a million times to my awesome sisters for buying my plane tickets!

My trip was amazing and I got to do so many fun things with my family, including Canada Day (July 1), my parent's 50th wedding anniversary party, and my mom's birthday!
Flying over Guatemala City. So pretty from above!
Reverse culture shock is a real thing...although to me it was just kinda silliness rather than stressfulness. I felt a bit out of place but adapted quickly back into Canadian ways, although I spoke Spanish a couple times by mistake!

I've compiled a list of my Top 10 reverse culture shock experiences.

1. Canadians really are super polite. I miss that so much in Guate! In Canada, everyone truly does apologize all the time, no joke. A lady said sorry for almost bumping into me at the Dollarama. A driver and I got in a politeness battle over who would go thru the four-way stop first. And a man held open a door for me!!! omg crazy!

2. Canadians have hilarious accents. Mine is not strong, but a lot of the folks that live in my hometown have pretty thick accents. I tried very hard not to giggle. "Hey, Don. I herdja put a noo fence in da back fordee, eh?"

3. I love sidewalks. And parking spots and painted lines on the road and drivers who (mostly) obey the law.

4. Mosquitos are deadly to your health and sanity. I'd forgotten how many biting insects there are in Canada.

5. Cheese! OMG I ate so much cheeeeeeese! Dairy products are about three times more expensive in Guate. Gotta love Canadian dairy.

6. Canada is SO BIG. There is so much space. So much empty land...well, not empty really. It's full of trees and rocks and bugs, but I mean, honestly, why don't more people move there? Canada has room galore!

7. Houses are vacuum sealed. I kept opening all the windows at every house I stayed at. I guess I didn't realize how much I live in the outdoors in Guatemala. My windows and doors are always open and when they're closed, they're really still kinda open cuz there's no need to seal around the windows or use insulation. Canadian homes are airtight!

8. Everyone looks rich. They all have nice cars and fancy houses and clean clothes. But I know they're all probably drowning in debt and working 44+ hours a week at jobs they hate.

9. There are no stray dogs. Like NONE. I kept approaching people who were walking their dogs just to say hello and pet them. The dogs, not the people. I got some strange looks. I missed the chuchos of Guatemala so much!

10. Canadians think setting off fireworks is only for Canada Day. LOL! πŸ˜†

Canada Day fireworks in my Northern Ontario hometown.
My little sister was so great at helping me complete my Canadian Bucket List! She picked me up at the airport with a bag of dill pickle chips all ready for me to devour!! I ate as many Canadian foods as I could stuff in my mouth over the two weeks. I had poutine, butter tarts, root beer, blueberries, cherries, that weird yellow puffy corn treat that tastes like air and oil and butter, real hamburgers on the BBQ, perogies, Great Canadian Bagel, President's Choice products, and my favourite -- my Dad's maple syrup on pancakes! Plus I had Tim Horton's, like, almost every time I passed one, which is a lot. Iced Capps and Timbits and donuts, oh my!

A Timmy's Ice Capp and Lake Simcoe. Sweet bliss!
I swam in Lake Huron (c-c-c-cold) and Lake Simcoe (warmer).
I went an awesome boat ride across the lake to go for dinner, cuz that's how we roll. Or float, rather.
I walked around in daylight at 9 pm. (I miss the long summer nights!)
I heard a train!!!
I smelled campfires that were made of real wood, not garbage.
I saw chickadees and bluejays and cardinals and seagulls and crows and white-throated sparrows (the O Canada bird) and six squirrels on one lawn.

Please forgive the excessive amount of exclamation marks in this post. It was just really such a great trip and I smiled my face off the whole time.
Some of my backyard at my parent's house with beautiful irises in my Mumsy's garden.
But now you're probably I going to move back?
I definitely want to visit my home country more, but I love Guatemala and it suits my lifestyle much better than Canada does. Guatemala is beautiful, warm, and inexpensive. My life is better here. Plus I have my whole family of pets to think of!

And when I finally got back to Panajachel after 19 hours of travel, I had such a huge smile on my face. That's a pretty good sign that I'm living in the right place. 😁