Sunday, April 8, 2018

Greek Easter Summary/Reference (and Easter 2018)

Xristos Anesti!

Happy Easter! Last night was the most exciting night in all the Greek year; but we're in Bangkok.

This week, I've been looking back at my nearly-liveblog of Easter last year. I'd forgotten a lot of the events and symbolism. It was nice to have a reference. I've compiled it for you here, because I'm a kind person, who wants to be able to find this crap more easily next year.

Greek Easter Summary/Reference
(So I Can Find This Crap More Easily Next Year).
Holy Week Background
Thursday
Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday Update 1
Holy Thursday Update 2
Holy Thursday Update 3
Holy Thursday Update 4
Friday
Great Friday
Great Friday Update 1
Great Friday Update 2
Great Friday Update 3
Great Friday Update 4
Great Friday Update 5
Great Friday Update 6
Saturday
Great and Holy Saturday
Great and Holy Saturday Update 1
Great and Holy Saturday Update 2
Great and Holy Saturday Update 3
Great and Holy Saturday Update 4
Great and Holy Saturday Update 5
Great and Holy Saturday Update 6
Great and Holy Saturday Update 7
Sunday
Midnight Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday

Recipes
Tsoureki
Koulourakia

I appropriated some of Greece's things to celebrate Orthodox Easter in Thailand. I mostly did all right, for an American with no Greek heritage whose only ties to the country are a former two year residency as the wife of a foreign service officer, and a kid who isn't even an anchor baby, because Greece doesn't have jus soli citizenship the way some countries (USA) do.

Deep breath.

Here are our red eggs for the tsougrisma game. The Kid won this year. He's good at cracking other people's eggs. He's had a lot of practice.

Last year, I used a special packet of Greek dye for the eggs, because it was readily available, because I was in Greece. This year, I mixed 1tsp vinegar with 1/4c hot water, and a buuunch of red food coloring. I also used brown eggs, because that's what they sell. They turned out perfectly. Better than last year.

Here are our koulourakia cookies. I'd rather buy them from Eat Crete, but their online store is offline, and they weren't open when I was there in person. I'm very worried they might have gone out of business. It's kept me up at night.

I used THIS recipe, with the baking ammonia. These would be great with coffee. I don't like coffee.
I did not put enough orange zest in the dough. To compensate, I made a glaze from confectioners sugar and the zest/juice of an orange.

I was pleased with how store bought these looked in the takeaway containers. Almost like Eat Crete, if Eat Crete were open to give me cookies. I wash and hoard takeout containers for just such occasions. 

Here's the tsoureki. This is the second year I've made it, and the second time I've thought, "I really don't care for this." I keep thinking I'll just make challah next year, and call it good, but I convince myself that it has to be the real deal, mastic flavor and all. The Kid likes mastic. I posted an instagram about it the other day (good plug, right?). Mastic, or masticha, is tree sap. It's like eating a pine tree.

Year 2 of a botched tsoureki from THIS recipe. I make beautiful, six-strand braided challah loaves, but for some reason this three-strand thing is beyond my skill level. I blame the mastic. It's tree sap, for Pete's sake!

We added a little mainstream Easter to our morning. We missed it last week, due to E.coli, or whatever. The Kid got some cars from Aunt Kate, and just about died. He took them to nap with him. I could hear him in there saying, "How are you?!" to his cars, over and over again.

Bella on the egg trail.
It took The Kid a while to find the baskets. I thought they were pretty obvious, but the eggs turned out to be more of a red herring than anything. "Balls!" he yelled, and spent the next five minutes naming the colors. 

Here are my egg cutout cookies. Love them. That's a command, not a comment.
Phil's mom arrived late last night, just in time to celebrate with us today. Everyone is napping now, including the new cars. It's been a pretty nice Easter.

Right, Bella?

Χρόνια Πολλά!!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Antibiotics and Lately

I think I started writing this post on Monday or Tuesday. I can't remember. This week is fog. Not foggy, just fog. It's not a bad fog, it's more like the fog over the ocean before sunrise, or the fog in a fairy forest. Good fog, but fog nonetheless. I'm rambling.

This ray gets it. 

Earlier this week:
I have to keep one eye on the timer while I type this. I'm making cupcakes.

Hi! How are you? We're doing fine now. Last week sucked. Two of us experienced bacterial gastroenteritis for the first time. I wouldn't recommend it. On the plus side, once the antibiotics kicked in, things improved rapidly. I don't know what I'll do if we reach global antibiotic resistance. Die, I guess.

During the course of our disease, I learned something new from the pediatrician. In the United States, approx. 90% of diarrhea cases are viral. In Thailand, 80% are bacterial. Most of those are caused by E.Coli. I've been reciting those statistics like scripture, because they're wild.

I suppose we should commend ourselves for avoiding bacti gastro in Thailand for seven months. But that's not why I made cupcakes today. I made cupcakes because we're celebrating antibiotics, and a belated mainstream Easter. Greek Easter is this coming Sunday, so we'll still have a chance to do a full Easter revel.

I did not keep an eye on the timer, and now my cupcakes are overdone. They're not burned, but I do blame you for making this happen. They taste fine, but the texture is weird. It's like eating a muffin. I wanted cupcakes. I spent the equivalent of $10 for a vanilla bean for cupcakes. I'm seething.

Cuffins. 


In no particular order, here is a list of things that have happened recently:

  • We went to a local beach. It was nice, but not "screensaver on my computer" nice.
  • We finally received our registration and license plates, so we are legal to drive. 
  • The CV joint on our car broke, so we can't drive.
  • The Kid independently said a full, clear sentence to Phil yesterday. It was, "No. The blue train goes like this." He's very particular about his vehicles. I'm asked to shampoo police truck every night.
  • Bella's become good friends with all of the ladies who work at the front desk. She frequently tries to go home with them.
  • One card--one--fell off the 2017 Christmas Card Challenge wall. All of the others, and the 2016 cards, are still clinging. The tape is actually getting stickier in the humidity. There's a chance they've become integral to the building's structure.
  • I started watching The Good Place, season 1.
  • I finished watching The Good Place, season 2.
  • There are a few more inexplicable black stains on our borrowed carpet. I know you think I'm naive for parenting a toddler, and referring to stains as inexplicable, but they are.
  • A fruit vendor almost shortchanged me 500 thb (about $15). Unclear whether it was intentional.
  • Terry and Kayla came to visit, because they love us better than any of our other friends.
  • I bought 3 orchids, 4 dangly green plants, one pink Dr. Seuss-looking thing, and however many bugs are living inside them.
  • Phil went to Laos for the first time. He ate at Church's Chicken.
  • The Kid and I used our aquarium pass twice. The octopus died while we were in Greece. The staff member never truly confirmed this, only nodded and smiled uncomfortably when confronted with suspicions about the "exhibit under reconstruction."
  • I finally installed the Windows 10 update. I've been "not now"ing since last year.
  • Our apartment is 85% put together. I expect to have it all done just before we pack up and move next year.

Since writing the above, one more card fell off the wall. This one was competing in the 2016 contest. It was so exciting. I was sitting right there when it happened. 

The rest of the week involved saying goodbye to Terry and Kayla, botching Greek Easter recipes, and getting ready for Phil's mom's arrival tonight. I'm going to take some photos of our Easter tomorrow, including the botched food, and show them to you. They will be shot in flattering lighting, from deceptive angles, and edited beautifully. You won't even know!