Like loads of families out there, we’ve been trying hard to transition from the hubbub of 2.5 months of nearly constant holiday activity to the quiet humdrum of January. We’ve gone from a steady stream of outings and parades and parties and candy-gathering expeditions to nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Given that we aren’t made of money, we’ve been trying to come up with cheap ideas to get us all out of the house as a family. Will came up with an awesome one this past weekend: having an international tour in town.
I think it started a couple of weeks ago when he and I managed to squeeze in a lunch at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. This place is a total hole in the wall, but we’ve always enjoyed it. However, we’ve been reluctant to take Stella there since the food can take a pretty long time to come and who know if she’d eat it anyway? She likes ramen (the cheap crap), but may be disgusted by pho. Still, we want our kids to be aware of other options in the world – that the world is much larger and more magical than the Golden Arches and grocery store sushi.
So off we went to a world of different types of stores, attempting to be as multicultural as possible. We went to an Asian market where Stella got to admire all the whole fish in the case and poke the tripe on the counter (unrefrigerated?!) and where both kids got introduced to their new favorite fruit: rambutan (which I’ve decided is the crawfish of the fruit world, requiring a hell of a lot of effort for a tiny morsel of albeit delicious fruit). We went to a Hispanic market where we picked up a mango (as of yet untried) and some odd Mexican suckers. We ate at a “British” restaurant, where the kids got very excited about the big red double-decker bus and fish and chips. It was a really cool outing. We need to do more of that kind of thing.
It ended with a (non-international) trip to a pet store, where I ate my own words (“I don’t even want a damn plant in this house, as it’s just one more thing to take care of”) and we bought a fish. Yes, we now have a lovely blue betta fish that Stella has named Dr. Seuss. Although Wikipedia tells me that it’s technically from the Mekong Basin so I guess it’s sort of relevant to the theme.
(Sorry. Total side note. Did y’all know they have designer bettas now??? We were trying to pick the prettiest, most glorious betta. There were all sorts of beautiful fish with fins that were ribbon-like or fluted. They were $20. FOR A F’ING BETTA FISH. Poor Dr. Seuss was the homeliest fish in the store, but at least he was under $10.)
So now I just need to do some more research and find other little destinations like this around town. Maybe I can dig up a middle-eastern market or we could stop in at one of the Thai restaurants in town for some sticky black rice pudding and pad thai.