A Coffee Chat

Guess what? I whisper from behind shaky hands. I think I’m done. With my manuscript. It’s done. Tomorrow, I’m going to do one more run-through to make sure I haven’t missed anything (because I’m obsessive like that). But basically, I think it’s ready to ship out–and sink, soar, or barely float, whichever way it goes.

{BIG BREATH.}

So what’s in your cup today? Do you have any big news to share? Little joys to celebrate, or big kvetches to get off your chest? A week ago, I decided to try to start cutting down on the sugar I consume. I stopped putting sugar in my coffee and discovered I actually don’t need the sweet anymore, and then I wanted to see what other sweets I could live without. I decided to avoid processed sugars as much as possible, and try to only eat naturally occurring sugars like the ones in fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and dairy. (And NOT, say, the sugars naturally occurring in my cookies.)

A Thai fruit called “noi nah” or “custard apple”

It turns out, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten way more sensitive to what has sweet in it and sometimes even find some fruit crazy sweet. On Saturday, I had some ice cream and it gave me a bit of a headache which I’m pretty sure wasn’t just brain freeze.

What surprised me more is that I haven’t really had sugar cravings either–which is big because they’ve been a pretty constant (and obnoxious) part of my life.

But, like I said, it’s only been a week and I haven’t yet put it through the PMS test, so we’ll see how long this lasts.

The custard apple is one of my favorite fruits, but like custard desserts (flan, creme brûlée), one I can only eat on occasion lest I overdo it.

Speaking of Saturday night…I’m still basking in the glow of a fabulous, and much-needed girls’ night out. I went out with two lovely ladies and, together, we consumed a large dinner of fried morning glory, stir-fried eggplant, and a stuffed omelette served with a side of ruminations on life lived abroad and what it’s like to go home. We followed that up with sizable cocktails (mine involved gin, triple sec, and lemon juice) and wedding horror stories, then capped off the evening with ice cream and giggles about what women really want from their men.

That whole part I wrote above about how I’m avoiding sugar? Clearly, that does not apply to a girls’ night out.

As my friends drove me to catch my bus home, we had a conversation about irony, a concept that I’m finding difficult to convey outside Western culture. I tried to explain that it’s when things happen in a way that’s opposite of what’s expected, but usually in a way that’s funny. I used the example of the first Thai movie Toby and I went to see. It was a story about two tough guys who were in a gang but totally had each other’s back, fighting off rival gangs…and then they would occasionally break out into song, passionately singing “Friends are for-ev-AH!” Toby and I cracked up–but it was clearly a sincere moment and every one else in the theatre was getting all teary-eyed, meanwhile Toby and I were laughing like jerks. Because in American movies when gang members break out in song, it’s either a musical or possibly something along the lines of Superbad. I tried to explain the humor, but my Thai friend explained that Thai guys would be very sincere about that sentiment, so the humor was lost.

And there I was, confronted with a revelation about American culture. The stereotype about Asian culture (especially men) is that they keep their emotions hidden and never reveal how they’re feeling. It’s mostly true in Thailand, especially with anger. People are taught from a young age not to show anger in public. Westerners, on the other hand, are known for being loud and expressive and leaving everything on display. But I’m pretty sure if an American guy (past the age of, say, 8) went up to a group of his friends and was like, “We’re going to be friends forever!” he would probably be laughed at. Yet here in Thailand, men can apparently share such sentiments and not be denounced as a schmuck.

Ironic.

On that note, I’m going to head out. I’ve got a cooking date with my mom! YUM. Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by for a chat over coffee!

 

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7 thoughts on “A Coffee Chat

  1. I really, really want to take a bite of that custard apple thing through my computer screen! I've never heard of that fruit, but YUM!

    And now I totally want to see a movie about singing gangster BFFs!

  2. No sugar?! That's impressive. Of course it doesn't apply to girls' night out. But still, that's inspirational Jade. I'm trying to eat healthier (more leafy greens, more protein, less carbs) but I LOVE bread. We'll see how it goes!

    • Well, I'm not so good as to do no sugar at all. :) I'm thinking of it as "weaning myself off." I still eat rice with dinner every night and bread a few times a week. (I'm a bread fan too. I can get pumpernickel here, which should be made with a tiny bit of molasses so it is a little less sugary.) But cutting sugar from my coffee & tea is a significant reduction, and if I can cut my desserts & other sweets down to no more than once a week, it'll be a major improvement for me. I'll continue like this until it's easy, and then I'll see if I can reduce my rice intake.

      In the meantime, I'm working on eating more fruits and vegetables instead, and I have a small handful of raw almonds or a few teaspoons of Greek style yogurt if I need a mid-afternoon snack.

      (I haven't given much thought about my alcohol consumption. I don't drink very often anyway, but I should probably be conscientious about saying I won't drink more than once or twice a week, which is about what I'm doing now.)

      Good luck to sticking to more leafy greens & protein, with less carbs! We can cheer each other on. :)

  3. Hurray for finishing with your manuscript! Woo hoo!

    I was just thinking of what that fruit is called the other day, I know its name in Tagalog ('atis'), but couldn't think of its name in English. We don't get much of that fruit here, so I kind of miss it.

    We just had morning glory for dinner tonight… one of my favorite veggies.

    • Thanks!! (fingers crossed!)

      I think the custard apple has a few names…I think it's even called a bull's heart? It's also very similar to the cherimoya (which I believe is smoother on the outside). I love it, but I can only eat about 1/2 of one at a time because it's so filling. Morning glory is one of my favorite vegetables too!

  4. wow, coffee! this I never ran out and can't do without. anyways, i love your blog and this coffee chats, thanks for dropping by am3 blog (http://premdev.aminus3.com) or i would have not discovered yours. will be looking forward to reading more of your coffee chats.

    Namaste,

    Prem