American football for dummies (like me)

OMAHA! (Photo by Nottingham Trent University)

This Sunday is America’s version of the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao fight. The American world stops (at least for most who do not have work on Sunday night) for the Superbowl, the biggest American football game of the season.

I didn’t know anything about American football then. Even with the exposure on American pop culture on TV and the silverscreen, all I knew about the sport was the quarterback as the team captain and that you had to score touchdowns. That’s it.

But now I still cannot say I am an expert, hell no! But I must say that I have picked up some working knowledge of this once mysterious game. And if you are watching the Superbowl for the first time, here are some things that you may need to know (or some random thoughts about the sport from this newbie):

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Introducing: Obi Juan the corgi

Our happy dog son

Kelan kayo magkakaanak? (i.e. When are you having a child?)”

If you are a Filipino married couple without kids, this question you get from every Filipino you meet. It does not matter if you’ve just met five seconds ago. It doesn’t matter wherever in the world you are. Filipinos will ask that question.

And I now have an answer to that: we already have one.

Meet Obi Juan (Star Wars Obi-wan Kenobi reference here) the Filipino Corgi, our dog son.

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Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX

Can you see and feel the age?

What I love about the US is that I can actually feel, smell and taste a little history. And in Texas, it means eating through the handful of decades old barbecue places that are still thriving to this day.

One of these legendary barbecue places is Louie Mueller Barbecue in the teeny town of Taylor, TX, around 30-45 minutes drive from the state capitol of Austin.

Louie Mueller Barbecue started as a grocery store in 1946. To deal with the leftover meat because of the lack of refrigeration then, they barbecued all the leftover meat and sold it to customers. Three years later in 1949, barbecue sold more than the groceries and Louie Mueller Barbecue was officially born.

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#TrailingSpouseStories: Rebirth? Not quite.

The expat life is being reborn, but still having your armour and the rest of your baggage on you (Photo by Jay)

Happy New year (again)! Welcome to the January #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl 

This January we talk about beginnings. We all were there at some point in time. We all started out in strange lands. How was it like starting over in a new country – if you have done it multiple times, does it get easier or harder? And what are you building in this new year? This is my #TrailingSpouseStory…

My life has never changed in a major way then.

I studied in the same all-girls Catholic school for 13 years. My schools – kindergarten/gradeschool/highschool and college – were in the same city, just a kilometer away from each other. I played the same sport for 12 years. I lived in the same house for 18 years. I even had the same boyfriend for 9 years.

I loved that there were aspects of my life that were steady as a rock, but ,at the back of my head, I always longed for some change.

Be careful what you wish for they said. Then boom, change happened and it happened in the most radical way possible. Three days after our wedding, I found myself in a new country – without family, without friends – with a new husband.

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Taste of Brazil @ The River Market, Kansas City, MO

Green and Gold – Brazil colors

Now that we’re on the topic of South America, let’s talk about Brazilian cuisine. About how I didn’t expect to find it in the heart of the River Market in Kansas City, MO.

Taste of Brazil is tucked in one of the corners of the main building of the historic Kansas City River Market. You won’t miss the bold green and yellow Brazilian flag colors painted all over the restaurant. And of course, the Brazilian flag hoised up, loud and proud.

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El Portal Colombian Bakery in Carrolton, TX

Bandeja Paisa…arriba!

As an expat, I am always fascinated on the differences in culture and the surprising similarities. I’ve observed this in Latin American cultures. I suspect it must be the Spanish connection; as with the Philippines, a lot of these Latin American countries were under Spanish rule in the past. (Anything that could possibly be a common ground?) Thus, a lot of the same Roman Catholic practices and a lot of the same flavors in the food.

Thanks to The Husband’s boss, we were introduced to Colombian cuisine in El Portal Bakery in Carrolton TX, which proved my hypothesis true.

How so?

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On the year to be

I am a planner. I anxiously live tomorrow today.

Before going to bed, I have tomorrow’s checklist running in my mind or even already written down on my notebook of things-to-do or a piece of paper. By mid-week, I already plotted out my weekend’s plans, secured schedules with family / friends (often gets done if they cooperate or are not at all as fond of spontaneous get-togethers) and errands to run. Before the New Year, I have reflected on the year that was, evaluated my personal performance and written my goals and plans down, ready for implementation on January 1st.

But somehow I still have not done that to the intense detail I expected. Strangely. Maybe I was caught up in the hoopla of the holiday flurry, which I oddly did not expect. There were not a lot of parties, just the main events of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; but there was A LOT of cooking and baking. More than the usual.

So here I am, just relishing the few days of feasting on leftovers, taking a break from full on cooking and baking. Now I have the time to pause and reflect. Albeit a little late, it is still better to start now that not at all.

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Thank you 2014!

and good food and travel!

The past week has been crazy tiring. I was neck deep in activities – the flurry of Christmas eve preparations, quick catch up with a friend from Manila and weekend travel (Yes! We were still able to squeeze in a trip), but somehow they all just happened in a blink of an eye. Just like this year, it was jampacked with activity in my wee kitchen and loads of travel, but it is almost over. One more day and 2015 na!

I honestly am still dead tired to do my annual look back into the year that was, so this will be a quick run down of the most memorable moments I am thankful for. Here goes!

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Amish Cheese House in Chouteau, OK

Oh hello Amish goods heaven!

I’ve always thought that the Amish population were concentrated in the Northeastern region of the US. We’ve come across an Amish settlement in Pennsylvania and heard from friends that there are other Amish settlements in Ohio.

So imagine the surprise we had when we started seeing billboards promoting “The Amish Cheese House” driving along the Interstate 69 from Texas to Kansas City.

Amish in Oklahoma? For real?

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My winter sniffles magic tea

My winter season sniffle saviour

With the cold weather, unfortunately, comes all kinds of sickies – the sniffles, the coughs and, if you’re real unlucky, the flu. And with the exorbitant costs of health care (Check out our dental care damage here) in the US, “Bawal magkasakit” is the mantra of everyone living here.

Hence, prevention is key. And one of the best preventive measures I’ve discovered back when I was in Dubai, is magic tea.

Well, I used to easily purchase packets of Sri Lankan Ayuvedric Samahan tea at our neighborhood small grocers. But now that I cannot seem to find any Samahan tea at our Asian supermarkets. Believe me, I have tried and searched far and wide in all sorts of Asian markets – the East Asian kind, the South Asian kind and the Middle Eastern kind, to no success. So I decided to reverse engineer this magic tea.

I researched and I think I finally nailed it with the help of my Chef sister, who taught me how to make fermented fruit syrups.

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