Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Soup, Diwali, Learning Hindi and Devanagari!

     My internet has been out for a week. And by "my internet" I mean the open wifi connection I have been using since I moved here is no longer working and it's time to find an internet provider because I have been spending every day at the library! So, I missed a few days of writing. But that doesn't mean I haven't been on my travel game hard!
I have done some research on what people are eating in the countries we are going to. Here's a great site if you would like to do something similar. I went to a few libraries and read the books they had on asian cooking.  This is so I can start learning to use the ingredients and getting familiar with the tastes so I can cook when I arrive! I checked out a  a book from the library on basic Asian cooking. I know these books are so broad but I figured I would start with some familiar tastes so I can get myself going! I made a soup with chicken, corn, spring onions, chili sauce, cilantro, lime and vermicelli noodles. It was a pretty simple recipe for most but for me a challenge because I don't have a pot yet! So, I made my chicken stock and soup in a pan! The noodles were easy, you just boil some water ( I used a coffee pot) and then just let them sit in the water so they come to life! I made chicken stock but you can buy it. You can use any veggies you want! It only called for spring onions and corn but I added thick chopped onions and peppers that I roasted before hand. In the chicken stock I added pepper, a lot of chili sauce because we like it hot, corn, a little juice from the can and spring onions. Let it simmer, salt to taste and add chicken. When it's in the bowl, I added in some noodles, squeezed in some lime and used a little shaved lime rind. And then mixed in the fresh chopped cilantro! This soup was amazing and Andrew loved it also! We ate it for a few days. The next day I bought boneless chicken thighs onions and peppers and marinated them in Teriyaki, honey, ginger, soy sauce and pineapple juice for 5 hours. (2 is sufficient, over night is fine). And then instead of using the skewers I presoaked, I got lazy and just through it all on a pan (after draining the marinate i made a new sauce with just the honey, ginger and soy sauce so that the sesame seeds would stick! Pour on the seeds and cook! I want more right now. It was all so good. So, I hope to learn more about Asian flavors that are available here and there!

     Another thing that the library has helped me with is that I have begun using Rosetta Stone Hindi! I have learned in the process that Devanagari is the written language and it's also used for Nepali which I will need and Sanskrit! So, I am pretty happy to start practicing. Brenda came up with the idea for each of us to learn a few languages. That way as a group we can talk a little in each country we visit. I have read that you should give each new language atleast 6 months brewing in your mind before throwing in a new one. So, I am learning Hindi, then because it is also using Devanagari, Nepali, and then Vietnamese. I have a year and a half until we leave so that's six months with each language. I would also like to learn a few hundred words in the other languages so I am not clueless!
    This process has made me feel like a kindergartner all over again. My hand writing so far is atrocious haha. Example above! The interesting thing about Hindi is that each letter is only pronounced one way. It's not like English where you have circus and cactus starting with the same letter! The letters are all sounds. So you can never pronounce it wrong once you understand it because the way something should be said is exactly written for you! The first thing I am teaching myself is Hindi vowels!
The first letter that looks like a 3T is A. It represents all words that have an a like in the word alert (ugh). The second, which looks very similar with a 3TT, is also an English A, but it is used for words with a sound like the "a" in father (ahh). These distinctions make it easy to know how to say words! It's pretty genius. One thing that's weird about learning a new written language is just like English fonts, most of the words I have seen in Hindi are on a computer so the written form of these words aren't going to look the same as a font which is much prettier. Take the letter t in English. The typed leltter has a curved bottom but when I write a t I just write two lines crossing one another. So its these distinctions that I have to figure out. I am loving Rosetta Stone though! It's something I used before for Spanish but I never stuck with. And I am hoping to really put in some time with Hindi because I am excited to learn. It's the fourth most popular language after Mandarin, Spanish and English. I know that most places we are visiting not only have their own forms of languages AND have English on most signs but I think its important to speak the language if you are in a new country. It shows respect and it really makes you a part of the culture.  Speaking of delving into the culture.
     I was thinking about how I may not have Christmas the way I am used to and so I started looking up other holidays in Asian countries that we might be able to attend. I mean, after all it's not about what you are missing out on, it's about what we are gaining knowledge of! So I figured out that right around the time we wanted to arrive India will be celebrating Diwali!!! I am so excited about this. And it sounds like everyone else is on board too! Even though my only experience with it was on The Office, I have done my research and it's more like Christmas than Halloween as they depicted lol. Diwali is the festival of lights and it represents the inner light you have that keeps away darkness. Diwali calls for cleaning and fixing up your houses, buying a new outfit, lighting lamps inside and outside of the home, fireworks, and of course, feasts! There is also a present exchange.We are hoping to stay with a host family so we can really experience a true Diwali!

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