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Living in Myanmar (Burma)
Dannielle Capps Weldon
I have been here 3 weeks today. For 3 weeks, one of the most difficult things that I've had to face has been the food issues here. You can get cheese singles for grilled cheese but it's a brand I've never heard of before, it doesn't melt, and it's not really yellow. But if it's all you've got...it's all you've got. The kids eat the grilled cheese I'm making but to tell you the truth...it's not a very cheesy grilled cheese. Just kinda bland but when you're as hungry as I've been and when you've just come from a restaurant that tried to feed you snail soup, the bland grilled cheese tastes pretty good. Anyway, I've made several trips to the market and every trip that I make I find myself standing in the market thinking there has got to be something better than this with that song "what was I thinking?" playing in my head. I can't believe these people eat this stuff. I can't find enough ingredients to make even one southern dish. I know that I'm a picky eater but come on!!! There has got to be more here than just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bland grilled cheeses. I sent an adequate supply of boxed food that we would eat but when you make 3 meals a day on the food that I've sent the supply starts to diminish.

For a week now, I've been a little bit concerned because I'm down to very little of what I sent, the next shipment isn't due for at least another 3 weeks and it's not a very big shipment. I've made mom a list of supplies that we need but that will not make it here until the middle of September. I've got to find a supply of edible food here and in the back of my head I just kept thinking, there has got to be food somewhere. David tells me that the American Club (military commissary) might have a "few things" that I would like but it's very small, only 3 isles wide, and may not be worth joining for the few items that I would be able to get. I was on the internet this morning looking up recipes and trying to find something that we could cook with the limited ingredients that I knew I could find here. I made a list of the ingredients that most recipes called for that I hadn't been able to find here. I was gonna bring this list of ingredients back to the apartment, show them to Ree Na Htoo (housekeeper) and see if she might know where these could be found. I knew that she and I have a communication barrier but I was willing to spend this afternoon with her, my myanmar translation book, and my list of missing ingredients. I needed cheddar cheese, cornmeal, sour cream, buttermilk, crisco or vegetable shortening, mozzarella cheese, brown sugar, sweet potatoes, pecans, confectioners sugar. These are just a few things that would really help me out. These are staples in my kitchen and, even though, many of you think I live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I can cook and I like to cook and after three weeks of doing without....would love to cook. Anyway, I wanted Ree Na Htoo to help me find these things.
After being on the internet this morning and calling home for a while, a group of us from the jobsite went to the American Club to eat as we all tend to do on Wednesdays. The American Club has a restaurant. Weldons can't go there and eat because we aren't members but we can go as guests of someone who is a member....my new friend Nate!!! We ordered our american food, chicken fingers and taco salads, and then David suggests that we walk around to the commissary while our food is cooking just so I can see exactly what they have. Can I just say that I was hugging the refrigerators so tightly that they had to pry me off of them....There were big huge blocks of cheddar cheese, KRAFT singles, Country Crock butter, Lays potato chips, sour cream....everything on my list with the exception of cornmeal and buttermilk(which may be exclusively southern)..everything I couldn't find here before was just sitting on the shelves there waiting on me to pick up and bring home!!! I've never been so happy in my entire life to see spray n wash....The boxes of TIDE I just stood there and smelled.
They smelled like home. Everything was written in English, the dollars were US dollars...Did I say that I've been here for 3 weeks?? Someday's, David is just a real gem....This isn't one of them!!!
Hope you all have a good weekend!!! I'll talk to you soon!!!

Dannielle

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