Tag Archives: breakfast

This I used to believe

Mike arrived safely in Australia on Saturday morning. Hooray! We’ve had a wonderful time so far, except for the sleeping together.

As in the sleeping together in the same bed, just to clarify.

Mike and I have never been all that sleep compatible. He can climb into bed before 10pm and be happily asleep within 3 minutes. This inspires in me a great envy-fed annoyance, for I’m the type that climbs into bed at 10pm, reads for two hours, and then struggles for at least 30 minutes to tiptoe towards slumber. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we wake up differently, too. Mike usually springs awake in the 6’s (or earlier) as if some dawn fairy has plugged him straight into the sun and flicked the switch. And he’s not just wide awake, he’s also ridiculously cheerful about the fact that “it’s a brand new day”!!

That is so not how I wake up. Especially at the moment.

These differences have all sorts of implications for morning interactions, and during the last ten weeks I’ve become quite accustomed to getting up sometime between 7:30 and 8, joining my parents on the deck for a leisurely cup of tea before breakfast, and having discussions that are not too mentally taxing. Not to say my parents aren’t capable of mentally taxing in the morning, but more often than not these early conversations have consisted of discussing whether that white speck out to sea is a small boat or a breaching whale, the flight patterns of flocks of birds around the house, and everyone’s plans for the day.

Now, however, Mike is back. Which is probably why this morning saw us segue over coffee from carbon emissions and global warming to the issue of changing strongly held beliefs. What, Mike wanted to know, causes people to change strongly held beliefs? What did we used to firmly believe that we’ve changed our minds on? What triggered that shift?

“I used to believe that avocadoes were nasty,” Mum said. “I quite like them now.”

“That saying the sinner’s prayer is some sort of automatic ticket to salvation and heaven,” I said.

“Wow, honey,” Mike said. “You just leapt from avocadoes to the sinners prayer without pausing. Remarkable. Especially for this time of day.”

“Here’s another one,” I said. “That you can control who you fall in love with if you just try hard enough.”

“I still believe that,” Mike said.

“So do I,” Dad said.

“Nope,” Mum said. “I’m with Lisa on this one. There are some attractions that are impossible to squelch even if you know they’re unwise.”

“Yeah,” I said, “I’m not saying it’s impossible to control your behaviour related to the attraction, I’m just saying that sometimes it’s impossible to change your feelings through sheer force of will.”

Mike and Dad did not look convinced.

“What about you?” I asked them.

“I was a pacifist before you were born,” Dad said. “You changed that.”

“Yeah,” Mum said, poking me. “You, not me. No, not me.”

“Well,” Dad said. “You were big enough to defend yourself, Lisa wasn’t.”

“This I used to believe, that what doesn’t kill you always makes you stronger,” Mike said. “That was before Tajikistan nearly wrecked me. Now I believe that what doesn’t kill you sometimes leave you vulnerable and weakened.”

“I believe anyone who gets a tattoo comes from an unhappy family,” Mum said.

“No you don’t,” I said.

“Yes I do,” Mum said, with the satisfied grin of someone who has set out to ruffle feathers and succeeded.

“You’ve always said you believed that anyway,” Dad said. “So I hardly see how that’s relevant to this discussion.”

“Want to get a tattoo in Lismore this afternoon after your doctor’s appointment?” Mike asked, nuzzling my neck.

“Yes,” I said, seriously tempted. “But I can’t while I’m pregnant.”

“You can’t,” Dad needled, “because you came from a happy family.”

In the end we decided that most or all of the changes that have come about to our firmly held beliefs occurred as the result of personal experience – not because we read a book or someone argued us into changing our mind. What do you think? What is your “this I used to believe” and why did you change your mind?

Marital Misunderstandings and Utopia

Successfully navigating that “getting started on Monday morning after a lovely weekend” speed bump is a lot easier when you have an office to go to, I’ve decided. Oh, and when coffee doesn’t taste like rat droppings. I miss my morning caffeine.

I have already pushed past the initial resistance to doing anything remotely resembling hard work once this morning. But now, an hour and a half down the track, I find myself stuck. I’ve finished editing one chapter and I’m just not sure where to take the next. So a break. Or a blog post. Same thing, really.

After a week of unusually chilly weather, the temperature in Laos is back to normal (read: 90 degrees by 10 a.m. and climbing). I loved the cold snap. I left air conditioners off and doors open and even had to wear to wear socks and long sleeves on a couple of days. I smiled at the very odd sight of cold rain falling from the sky in the middle of the dry season. I was as happy as a hippo in a muddy pond.

At least, I was happy until I learned that the freak cold weather combined with the even more freaky rain had killed thousands of cows and buffaloes in the northern villages – dramatically exacerbating the already problematic issue of food insecurity in these areas. It’s been a tragic couple of weeks for those subsisting in villages at higher elevations here.

In light of all of this it feels quite wrong to say that we had a great weekend, but we did. After the busyness of last week it was lovely to relax over dinner at Utopia by the Khan River on Friday night, sleep in on Saturday morning, then enjoy breakfast together.

Well we enjoyed breakfast together after Mike and I weathered the sort of misunderstanding that I would have thought we might be past after being married for more than two years.

During dinner on Friday night I checked out Utopia’s breakfast menu and was quite intrigued by the promise of cinnamon French toast topped with fresh mango and papaya compote with just a hint of chili in it. So I casually suggested that we should have a breakfast date at Utopia sometime.

On Saturday morning Mike woke up at 6 and went for a long bike ride. On his way back, at 9 he rang my mobile phone.

“Hey,” he said. “Do you want me to stop and pick up eggs so we can make breakfast at home, or would you like to walk down to the Khan and do breakfast at Utopia?”

“Um,” I said, still groggy from only just having woken up. “OK, sure, I can get ready and we can go to Utopia.”

Now it was Mike’s turn to hesitate.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “It’s already pretty hot out here.”

“No, no, I can do it,” I said.

“Alright,” Mike said. “I’ll be home in ten minutes and we can go.”

So I jumped in the shower, threw on some clothes, slapped on some sunscreen, grabbed my big hat, and was all ready to walk out the door when Mike arrived.

“Are you sure you want to go?” Mike asked me, again, before we set out. “It’s not too bad in the shade but it’s quite hot in the sun.”

“I think I’ll be fine,” I said bravely. “Let’s go.”

So off down the sunny street we went.

Five minutes into the walk I noticed Mike wasn’t saying much.

“You OK?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I just rode 50 km though and I need to eat something before I get the hangries.” (In case you don’t know this most useful term, hangry means “hungry angry”).

“Why didn’t you grab something before we left?” I asked.

“Well it was already getting late,” Mike said.

By the time we were another five minutes down the very sunny (and indeed warm) street we had figured out two things. Mike’s preference had been for making breakfast at home. And so had mine.

“What are we doing here then?” I asked.

“Well, you said last night that you wanted to go to breakfast at Utopia,” Mike said.

“Yeah,” I said. “I meant… sometime. Like next weekend, or the weekend after. Sometime when we’ve planned to get up well before nine.”

“Oh,” Mike said.

“And when you present me with two options – one of which is to stay at home and one of which is to go out and have an adventure,” I said. “I’m always going to assume that your preference is to go out and have an adventure unless you tell me otherwise. I was doing the good wife thing and having a weekend adventure with you.”

“I don’t really like eating breakfast out,” Mike said. “When it comes to breakfast my preference is almost always going to be staying in. But I know you love having breakfast out, so I was doing the good husband thing and suggesting something I thought you would like.”

“Oh,” I said.

So we laughed and turned around and came on home and cooked up Spanish scrambled eggs and had a lovely, cool, breakfast at home after all, followed by a long and unusually lazy weekend that included massages at the Lao Red Cross and taking a couple of pregnancy shots while we thought of it. I’m at 22 weeks pregnant now, a fact that is getting harder and harder to forget as the baby has taken to squirming away in there like a small sackful of eels at regular intervals. Below are some shots from this weekend.

I hope you had a great weekend too, and thanks for dropping by.

P.S. If you’re in a long term relationship, what types of miscommunications are you surprised to find yourself still having this far down the track?

Breakfast at the corner stall

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

(A. A. Milne,  The House at Pooh Corner)

What’s for breakfast?

Coffee brewed on top of the pot of noodle soup and filtered through muslin bags. Served in a glass, dark and thick above a layer of condensed milk.

Baguettes – a legacy of French colonialism.

And donuts. One was enough of those.

Breakfast at Joma

This is a shot in one of my favorite places in Luang Prabang so far, Joma. Joma of cinnamon buns and lattes and, even more importantly, AC and wifi.

Earlier this week, Mike and I had an early morning breakfast there as per our current routine. In the background Ella Fitzgerald was playing Let’s Fall In Love.

Mike: “Oh, honey, we have the place all to ourselves.”

Lisa: “Yup, just the two of us having a romantic breakfast. The two of us, with our two laptops in between us.”

Mike: “Just like most of the rest of our relationship so far.”