Home Cooking in Australia

There is not much that my husband enjoys eating more than pizza.  But I can only eat the same pizza so many times.  Additionally, moving to Australia we’ve had to relearn how to make things with some different ingredients.  This is no where near as steep a learning curve as cooking in Papua New Guinea was but some typical ingredients just aren’t typical here.  Like no buffalo sauce or certain Mexican ingredients are more challenging to come by.  Or something might be called, for example, pepperoni but it’s quite not the same taste.

With this in mind I experiment and cook.  Sometimes not so successfully.  My homemade hot sauce and buffalo sauce were way too HOT (and we like spicy) so I’ll let you know when I figure out a good recipe.  But tonight was a pizza success.  Homemade sauce, good pepperoni (this stuff was nice and thin) and mozzarella cheese on homemade whole wheat crust.  Ryan called these pizza cinnamon roles and I’ll take the compliment.

Where’s the Matzah?

Growing up in California, Easter was always marked with the beginning of spring, pastel colors and new baby bunnies and little chicks.  Easter was filled with family and church celebrations, a special Easter outfit for Sunday was a must and supermarket shelves were filled with chocolate eggs, bright colored candies as well as all the makings for a passover meal.  This includes shelves of kosher wine and, of course, matzah bread.

In preparation for a Christian Seder* meal tonight, I went to the store to grab a few special ingredients.  Apples, walnuts and wine to make the charoset, horseradish for the maror, parsley for the karpas, chocolate prizes, a few other things and the special Matzah bread.  While we did find a whole section filled with chocolate goodies, bunnies and eggs, there was no Passover section.  And when I asked about the Matzah bread, the man had no idea what it was, and I was told to look in the specialty crackers by the deli.  Matzah was no where to be found.  There are many different substitutes, unleavened bread in flatbread form, I could make the bread, like I did when I was in Papua New Guinea, or we could use another form of cracker.  However, I am still surprised that Matzah isn’t easily available at this time of the year.

Sometimes I could almost forget that it is autumn here in the southern hemisphere.  The weather is still warm, there are new little goslings in the neighborhood park and it’s Easter after all.  I could almost forget that Australia and the US are different, even more than just the accents and kangaroos.  But then something simple happens and I realize that I am not in the US and there are things here that I can’t take for granted, like easily finding Matzah in the regular grocery store.

*Tonight we will celebrate a Christian Seder meal with a group of friends.  This will have many of the elements of a traditional Passover meal including being celebrated at sundown but instead of hoping for an unknown Messiah, we will acknowledge the Messiah Jesus Christ and take communion together.  I love the history and tradition that is woven into this beautiful meal.  It is a wonderful way to acknowledge our Christianity’s roots in Judaism, celebrate Holy Week and prepare for Good Friday.

Reflections on Change

Four years ago the Australia team looked very different, more singles and an even higher concentration of creative types.  2/3 of the people in this picture are in Australia with me now but the others left their footprints.  Four years ago Ryan and I had just begun our relationship but the future was uncertain and no commitments had been made.  I didn’t even know at this point that he was seriously praying about Australia.  Four years ago I had no idea how things would change.Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 1.56.40 PMI’m pausing for a bit of reflection because I needed a break from the paper I’m currently working on for the university and because I find myself in a wonderful place where I miss what could have been but I’m so amazed at what God has done.  I can definitely idealize the way the team dynamics would have played out if four years ago we could have all snapped our fingers and been in Perth together.  But I can currently see some of what would have been lost if we had circumvented God’s process.  This is the benefit that we have from being able to look back.  You know, the whole hindsight is 20/20 thing.

I’m thankful that my path crossed with these amazing people.  I’m thankful for the winding journey that kept me away from Australia until now.  I’m thankful that I can see evidence of God’s faithfulness in my life and all who are pictured here.  Change is rarely easy yet sometimes change can be amazing.

Sunnies and the Australian Sun

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 4.47.42 PMThe Australian sun is hot, intense and can feel like it’s burning right through you.  So when I accidentally sat on and broke my sunglasses or my sunnies as they are referred to here, I still did my best to try and wear them anyway.  I’ll look tomorrow for replacements because sunnies are not really optional here.  I guess I should have brought an extra pair or maybe I should just try not to sit on them next time.

Baseball and Bible Study

When was baseball first mentioned in the Bible? “In the Big Inning.” (Genesis 1:1)  When was baseball mentioned again? “The righteous run to it and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)  Alright, so maybe baseball isn’t an important theme in the Bible but it still is just fine (as long as we steer clear of heresy) to mix the Bible and Baseball.Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.43.44 AMRyan is currently making the final preparations for his second Bible study out in Brookton and he has the Japan verses US up in the background.  Since we don’t have TV, we get creative with how we get our news and keep up with other things like sports.

Please pray for Ryan as he heads out to Brookton every Wednesday (it works out great with the time change if our friends in the US pray on Tuesday night before you head to bed).  Ryan has set aside Wednesday to visit with people and teach through the Bible.  We’ll see how this time evolves in the future and I may join him on some Wednesdays too later on.  We’re looking forward to marking our time here in Australia as Ryan teaches chronologically through the Bible.  Thanks for your prayers!

Binge Reading

Since leaving the US I have read significantly more fiction than I usually do.  I would say I probably average a book or two a month.  So seeing that I’ve read about 30 fiction books (not including work and University books!) since leaving the US at the end of December, I would say I’m above my average for the year.  In addition to a trilogy and a couple random one off books, I have re-read the entire Vorkosigan Saga, I am currently towards the end of The Little House Series and will probably move on to the Chronicles of Narnia soon because they happen to be on our bookshelf.Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 12.50.35 PM.pngFor those of you who enjoy science fiction, I would recommend the Vorkosigan Saga.  I was introduced to these books while in Papua New Guinea and probably read about 3/4 of the series during my various village trips.  It was a great mind escape then and it’s a great mind escape now.  This is my third time reading through the series but my first time reading everything including the newest book which continues the story.  With 20 books of various lengths, this series could occupy your mind and time for quite awhile.  (Please note there are extramarital relationships and homosexual themes in the series.)

I’ve been thankful for books to read during this time of transition.  Books provide something to keep me occupied and allow me to really rest on my days off.  They also are great time fillers for bits and pieces of free time during the day.  Books provide some moments of peace and decompression before bed.  Although I do have a tendency to read until the end of the chapter (or even the end of the book) maybe a little too often.  And books give me new spaces to think and stretch my mind.  For example I love the juxtaposition of the sci-fi, high technology world in the Vorkosigan Saga and the simple, new technology, industrious-ness of The Little House Series.

What are you currently reading?  Any new series or books that I just have to read?  I’d love to hear your recommendations.  And it would be a good excuse to spend more time at the beautiful library here in Perth.