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October 19,2003

Today, a lesson in how to make lasagna...Grenadian style. Well, first you are sitting in your new apartment at about 10:00 in the morning still in your pajamas (because where else would you be on a Sunday morning?) and you get a knock at the door. It's your host sister, Dee, from upstairs saying she's recruiting your cooking expertise to help cook lasagna for lunch (that you've been invited to). No problem, you say. She then asks if you have any pasta sauce. Well, a half a jar, you say. She says, OK, we have ketchup upstairs. You throw on some clothes and go upstairs, armed with your half jar of pasta sauce, dried basil and some "Grated Cheese Product" (i.e. somehow supposed to be mimicking Grated Parmesan) that you invested in at the store this week. You're going to need something to doctor up this ketchup. When you get upstairs, you find two pans, a bunch of cooked lasagna noodles and a bottle of ketchup. OK, so let's get to work. Ketchup is really just pureed tomatoes, right? Dump the sauce and ketchup into a big bowl. Cut up some fresh garlic. Add to "sauce" along with basil, garlic salt you found in the cupboard and some fresh prepared seasonings that Liz (your host mom) pulled out of the fridge. You know that's minced fresh herbs, so it can't hurt. Taste it...OK, we're approaching pasta sauce. Add a little more spice and get to work. Lay down cooked noodles, put on a layer of sauce, layer of grated white cheddar cheese (yep, that's right, cheddar). You're making two pans, one for you and Liz, who is also a fish-eating vegetarian, and one pan for the others. Dee gets the corned beef from the can to put on the "meat" (is it fair to call that meat?) lasagna. Check out the bowl of tuna fish sitting on the table. Tell Liz, that although you do eat fish, you're really not sure that you can eat tuna in your lasagna. I mean, eating tuna in an omlette and on your pizza was one thing, but you need to draw the line somewhere. Spread tuna on half of the lasanga for Liz. Glance over at the corned beef and be grateful, for about the 85th time since you've arrived in the Caribbean, that you've established yourself as a vegetarian. Look at the canned vegetables that Dee is opening and realize that yes, indeed, you will be adding canned peas, carrots and corn to your lasagna. Another layer of noodles, "sauce", cheddar cheese and some grated cheese product. Add more noodles and spread as much cheese as possible. Cheese makes everything better... Put it in the oven next to the koo-koo (mushy cornbread-type dish) already cooking. Bake until brown on top. Take out and eat at dinner along with kallaloo (kind of like spinach), koo-koo, sliced "pear" (i.e. avacado), seasoned fish and lambie (cooked conch, yeah, like the animal that lives in a conch shell). Well, for Grenadian-style, it didn't turn out too bad! After dinner, return back downstairs with a hot loaf of freshly baked bread that Liz gave you. A good start to a good Sunday afternoon.

So, as you can tell, the big news for me this week is that I moved into my own apartment. It's really nice to feel a bit like an adult again after the last few months of being confined to a bedroom for privacy. The apartment is nice and roomy. It has a lot of sunlight and is starting to feel like home, especially with the pictures and posters that I brought from home. There's a washer I can use and even hot water for my shower (not that I ever need it here!). I also have 2 bedrooms and am anxiously awaiting my first visitors to come and fill the second room! It's way more than I ever expected to have when I applied for service in the Peace Corps, but I'm not complaining. Part of me feels like I should be sacrificing a little more, but between Peace Corps's safety standards and the housing options available, this is where I am and I'm just going to be grateful for the blessings of living comfortably. I am really glad I decided to live underneath the Peters as well. They're so friendly and it's nice to have friends around to share dinners with or just hang out and connect with. I have put some pictures of my place on the photos link, so check those out if you're interested!