Last night Kagi and I went to Global Cafe, a ministry we have been involved with for years. It was so fun to be back in that environment and catch up with friends. A whole group of us stayed around after the cafe telling stories and laughing. Today, we had a “team day” where we spent time together preparing for the coming season.

After our meeting many of us went to a nice curry house.

Other thank Kagi (who took the picture), this was our lunch crew.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to be with friends and for lots of laughter!

This evening, I was in the kitchen when Kagi asked me if I was expecting a guest. I wasn’t, but it was a wonderful surprise to see Bethan! She gave me the beautiful roses pictured below and we got to catch up a little. Kagi and I are really looking forward to an evening with the Greens tomorrow night.

Beautiful roses from Bethan:-).
International Cooking Disaster

International Cooking Disaster

Today I made chili for dinner. It is one of my favorites both to make and to eat, and Jesse and I enjoyed it.

Our dinner tonight.

When I make chili these days, however, I can’t help but remember the biggest cooking catastrophe I have ever been responsible for. Actually, it was the biggest I have ever witnessed.

It was back in 2011 when I was visiting England from Palestine/Israel. Kagi and I were dating and I was staying with the Greens. I decided that it would be fun to make dinner for them and Kagi one night. The previous fall I had found cornmeal in England after a lot of searching, so chili and cornbread was my plan. I scoured for the best chili recipe and found and American one that looked great.

I decided to make a lot of chili, and spent a whole day walking to various shops to gather the necessary ingredients. I went to both English and Asian (Indian or Pakistani) shops to make sure I had all of the meat, beans, veggies, and spices. I remember carrying heavy bags for a mile or so, ready to make the meal.

Back at the house, I set to work. Onion, meat, garlic, tomatoes, beans, and spices in a very big pot. It looked and smelled great.

With everything in, I tasted it to make sure the flavors were right. Immediately my eyes and nose started running. My mouth was on fire, and I realized what had happened. Chili powder in the States is a mild spice mix for making chili and things like it. Chili powder in the UK is made from chilies. The recipe called for 1/4 cup of chili powder, and I had followed it exactly.

At that point, I knew I probably should scrap the whole thing. I am known for my love of spicy food and even I couldn’t eat that.

But after all of the work to get the ingredients I couldn’t bear to throw it away. Maybe I could fix it…

So I started by straining the whole thing. I may have even rinsed it. It was still really spicy. Next, I added quite a few more cans of tomatoes. I added a lot of sugar. I added beans. I added everything I could think of.

Finally, it got to a point that I could kind of eat. By this time, the family was home. Kagi was there, and I didn’t know what to do.

So I served the chili and cornbread.

It was so hot. Honestly, I could barely eat it, and I know I have a very high spice tolerance. The worst part of the whole thing is that I served it to the best sports I know. I don’t know how, but they managed to eat it. I still can’t believe I did that to them.

To me, the funniest part of this situation was Kagi, who had a really awful cold the day this happened. He loved the chili and ate a lot of it. He says he doesn’t remember it being spicy at all! 🙂

I love the Yorkshire Dales!

I love the Yorkshire Dales!

This weekend, the Global Cafe team went into the Yorkshire Dales near Harrogate and had a really nice time together. The drive up was difficult (for the drivers) because the fog was so thick you could barely see a car length ahead. The picture below were from when the sun was thinking about breaking through. I hope you can get the idea of how dreamy it is up there!

National Media Museum

National Media Museum

On Saturday, Kagi and I ventured to the UK’s National Media Museum, one of Bradford’s most popular (and free) destinations, and which neither of us had been to.

We only made it through the first few floors in the two hours or so we were there, and decided that we’d rather go back when we have more time than rush through. It is a fantastic museum and I look forward to going back soon!

Here are some photos we took on the photography floor. With the help of Instagram on my iPhone and some ready sets we felt we could step into history:-).

I somehow broke character here :-).

(back to looking normal)

“Make Bradford British”

Today I watched a new show which BBC produced called Make Bradford British. It was a very interesting look at this city and some of the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural realities of this place. It reminded me of many conversations I’ve had here and really why I love this city. Although many look at the diversity as a down-side, it is the reason I was drawn to it and why I continue to love it here.

I’m not sure if you can see this show in the states. In the UK it can be viewed here:… let me know if you can get to it in the States, OK? If you’re interested, this will give a good introduction to where I live at the moment.

It is interesting to me how the “melting pot” reality here is different than it is in the USA. I guess that’s all I’ll say here now, but I’d love to have conversations to understand it better!

Screaming Bloody Murder (sorry to the Brits who read this)

Today I found out that one of the phrases I remember my mom using regularly… after all her clean mouth mandates…  is a swear phrase after all! I was telling my friends about the kid next door yelling and used the phrase “screaming bloody murder,” which was the best way I could think to describe what I heard.

I should have seen it coming… when I think about what that means literally it isn’t very nice. Apparently it’s really bad here!

I especially should have seen it coming because we’ve been playing a lot of Banana Grams (a game like Scrabble) lately. Sometimes a word I think is a little on the edge but wouldn’t find offensive (ex: turd) gets a much stronger reaction than expected from my British friends.

Well… just another example of how, although we speak the same language, there are so many nuances between British and American English. I think I’m mostly fluent in British English but occasionally slip up like I did today.

Yet another reminder to think before I speak… and always a little more when in another culture!