Summer brings a lot of excitement to Shanghai. Whether you’re leaving for good, have a child who’s graduating school, or getting ready for a summer vacation; this time of year is all about chaotic last minute lunch dates and trips to the fake market (again…for the 5th time this week). This summer will be the longest time that I’ve ever spent going back to Canada from Shanghai.
It will also be the longest time I’ve ever been away from Ben AND the longest time that I’ve ever had both of my kids all to myself. 7 weeks is a long time! I’ve already told Ben that once he finally joins us at the 8 week mark that he better be bringing some kind of gift to me for the accomplishment of not having a complete mental breakdown or killing both of our children. I’ve also told him to keep the receipt because if one of our kids just happens to be missing when he shows up we can exchange my gift down for something of a lesser value. Hey, one kid is still alive right? I mean… I should still get SOMETHING for that.
So despite my incredible apprehension about the flight with both kids and knowing that I only have myself to blame about my extended single-mommyness, what is making me get through the sleepless nights is the sheer fact that I’ll get to put so much good food in my belly when I get home.
Sure, I could sit here and tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family when I get home - and indeed I am - but let’s face it, I’m most excited about the food. If you reach deep down inside and think about it, you’ll likely admit the same.
Now, I’ve spent the last 6 months of my life here working out and dropping 30lbs. All those salads and lean protein has been really great for my mind and body. But do you know what will be even better? Poutine.
But not just any poutine, one topped with goat cheese and pulled pork because if you’re going to do poutine you better make it snobby. For those of you who don’t know what poutine is, it’s a classic Canadian dish made from French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds (think lumpy bits of cheese). Sounds gross? We can’t be friends.
I also just so happen to live in the Greek part of my city which means many a delicious souvlaki will be had. My favorite place is worked at by a bunch of very surly yet well-meaning men. The last time I went in one guy took one look at me and screamed “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? WHAT IS THIS NEW BABY? YOU TELL ME LATER! WHAT DO YOU WANT? YOU CAN’T ORDER COKE! PEPSI OR GET OUT!” But I always gladly take the abuse for arguably the best souvlaki in Greek Town.
And okay, I will be reaching for tons of fruits, veggies, and fish that I know for certain is not fished out of the dirty creek behind my compound. I’ll eat all the things that are cheap, plentiful, and safe and won’t cause my kids to break out in mystery rashes even though I know for a fact that they don’t have food allergies.
And fair food - the one food that I know I should never look forward too because it always ends up as a big ball of grease at the bottom of my belly. This doesn’t stop me at all from thinking about it all year long. I don’t know what will be the special food of the year this year, but I can only hope it’s a whole grilled cheese wrapped in two layers of bacon, deep-fried, and served with ketchup - which by the way is a vegetable.
So friends and family - I’m coming for ya next week! But if you don’t show up without some sort of cheese platter, you’re as good as dead to me.