It’s been a pretty zoom-y and eventful month, month plus, since last I wrote, so I’ll just tell you about a couple of the highlights!
Dumpling Party! You read it right, I attended a dumpling party put on by a couchsurfing friend of mine here in DC. There were probably forty or more people in the English basement style apartment, with maybe half that having brought dumplings of various kinds, mostly home made! It was a great party where I knew just a two or three people, but met so many more: Lauren from France, James from California, and many many more. It was a pretty happy crew! For the occasion I had spent the day researching momo recipes. A momo is a type of dumpling I encountered in Nepal, small, delicate, usually filled with veggies or meat, often spicy and served with spicy dip. I seem to come across the reference of their being a Tibetan influence on Nepal fairly often. My favorites were the steamed kind, but they’re available fried, too. After agonizing, I finally whittled my many online finds to one site for the stuff recipe and a second site for the folding technique. Momos have a distinctive shape. To be honest, the prospect intimidated me a bit!
It turned out, however, to be easier and more fun than anticipated. The stuffing was just finely chopped or grated ingredients – cabbage, spinach, carrot, onion, etc – and a nice five-spice blend that, in my opinion, really brought back the taste I remembered. The wrappers were just wonton wrappers. And the folding was hard, but not nearly as impossible to replicate as I’d expected. I made about three dozen of them and it was quite amusing and artsy feeling to me! I steamed them in batches, put them in tupper containers, mixed up one hot and one salty-sweet dipping sauce, and off to the dumpling party I went!
On the Wednesday before the dumpling party, Kim arrived. Kim is a Canadian couchsurfer, a twenty-something traveler who is recently deaf.
Anaelle and Lauren from France stayed with me one night, and while I didn’t get to spend too much time with them, they seemed lively and quirky and fun. Lauren and Nick, a British/American couple, met while teaching English in South Korea, and are now doing a road trip across the US on $50 per day (total, not each).
A girl’s night one Saturday was a big success! DC friends met new apartment friends, my Romanian couchsurfer met a blond Muslim friend I met during an archaeological dig in Israel, and a friend from Jewish summer camp I attended when I was eleven met a girl I served with in the Air Force, in Montana. What a mixed crowd! Everyone brought food and we chowed down, sat in my living room, and chatted into the night. Sometimes it was fractured conversations, other times we were all tossing the proverbial conversation stick around on a single topic. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Success!
The dating scene has been packed, too, though nothing has made it past date number three yet.
On the political scene, I’m watching and listening with some trepidation as the shit-slinging reaches it’s usual pre-election high . A guy I met at the dumpling party introduced me to some of his friends and coworkers and there was discussion of getting together to watch the debates, although I didn’t end up doing that since the debates were so late. And in a sudden rush of civic citizenship I have learned most of my local elected leadership and written down the date and time of the next neighborhood meeting. My neighbor-friend Clare and I are going to go vote together one of these days. Very exciting!
Weekends have been filled with wandering DC and visiting friends, most recently my good friend Joe and his partner Cody. We did a driving tour around DC, Maryland and Virginia on one day; on another we went to a potluck at James’ house (guy from the dumpling party) and the farmer’s market. Another weekend my parents came to visit and check out my apartment! We went to the Library of Congress one day and to the Museum of Natural History the next. It was really nice to chat, catch up and relax with the folks.
Work continues to be challenging and I have up days and down days. I’m enjoying DC very much. The dating is fun sometimes, and there are days I feel hopeful and really enjoy meeting new people; other days I feel like it’s hopeless. It’s hard not to feel like I’m running out of time sometimes. Other days I still feel hung up on recent past relationships.
Other thoughts fluttering through my mind these days: pondering a second master’s degree, in International Development, using GI Bill benefits; wondering if I should apply to Department of Defense schools program overseas, for the school year starting in 2013 or 2014; dreaming about the Peace Corps; and questioning what it is I actually want to do with my life.
Just another day in paradise… this weekend I’m going to a Halloween party and hosting an Australian couchsurfer. Otherwise, just enjoying autumn and the strange weather.
I hope you all are well – those who still read this blog after my long silence. I will do better from here on out, promise!