When the boys look sad and say they wish they were back in Vietnam, it causes great heart ache. I know where they are coming from. It was the freedom we had there – the kind of laissez faire attitude. You knew you weren’t there for ever and so you needed to get your roller skates on and make the most of everything. Friendships were formed quickly and were instantly complex. No time to keep to a year of small talk and smiles without a name, as an expat you are swiftly discerning and immediately deep and philosophical. Kids are kicking balls, jumping into pools and turning up for play dates in a jiffy. Ladies are lunching over fresh vibrant salads and spring rolls whilst learning the latest about others’ traveling spouses, dengue fever and the best spot to grab a bottle of Alan Scott Pinot Noir.
However, in the ‘burbs of Auckland there wasn’t a lot I could do in answer to the quiet contemplations of my team in the car on the way to school. There was a kind of awkward silence as we were all lost in our personal thoughts of trips on motorbikes, spicy soup for breakfast and homes cleaned to spotless perfection, daily – miraculous and marvellous……………
So, on the way home in the car I came up with a plan. The only antitode to this is food and it dawned on me it had been a while since I had created the perfect afternoon tea.
Stopping at the local Asian supermarket, I once again allowed myself the indulgence of wandering every aisle, re-familiarizing myself with the array of often unidentifiable products. With a basket overflowing with fresh, flavourful produce, I parked myself in the kitchen and set to work.
A batch of vegetarian fresh spring rolls were created in no time. Colourful bundles of rice paper, packed with freshly shredded raw vegetables and tied with a pretty knot of Chinese chives. Under a damp teatowel and some glad wrap – done…….and a good morning snack for Mum!
Next up, is shredding the pre BBQ half a duck, I found at the back of the store. Sticky and delicious, it caught my eye and I figured – well it’s duck and I love duck and it’s hanging there kind of reminding me of episode 5 in MasterChef. I rummaged around in my bottom drawer in search of the elusive rice cube that I purchased at the Taste of Tassie a year ago to placate my son who was hooked at their demo table. Much loved by Chris I figured he’d be happy if I produced some perfect cubes of rice and sticky duck. Of course, I set some aside so that the boys could create their own!!
Well, the device worked a treat – very impressive – wished I’d played with it earlier and not had it hidden in the depths of a drawer along with other dubious gadgets. Infact, you can check it out at www.ricecube.net (and no I don’t have any sponsorship arrangement with them – I was simply quite impressed!)
My little men were ecstatic. “Why would kids eat chips and packets of stuff when you can eat this”, was the favoured comment of the afternoon. A heartwarming snack shared by us all at the table. A time to chat and recall the events of the day. No one even mentioned Vietnam. The homesickness for the ‘other’ country had passed over the course of the day. However, with the food of their previous temporary home settled healthily in their tummies they will be able to face another day in this, their newer home and love all that is on offer for them here.