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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heart of Winter

We are in the heart of winter here in the Washington, D.C. area. We have had several snow days and that has delighted the school kids with school closings and delays. My kids used to wear their pajamas inside out as they were told that will bring on snow! Somehow, winter seems to prod along slowly unlike spring, summer and fall. I have this unexplainable feeling of wanting to hibernate till the weather turns sunny and pleasant. But life goes on with all its schedules and responsibilities. Winter is a season for indoor activities. Recently, I attended a Games Night hosted by my friend in Virginia. It was a casual evening that started with a simple dinner of chili served in crockpots. Typical American desserts were served namely cookies, brownies and gingerbread. In the U.S., chili has no resemblance to our chilli -- right now, I am dreaming of sambal chilli and especially miss stingray with sambal chilli wrapped in banana leaf, that would really be a great winter warm-up! The American chili dish is tomato-based and usually made with minced beef or turkey. I made a turkey chili for this function and it was well-received. Actually I had won first prize in a chili competition with this particular recipe. Check out my earlier blog post for the recipe and try it! I learnt to play Pounce and Apples to Apples at the party. My husband and I started at the Apples to Apples game table. It is an award-winning game that is family friendly, hilarious and allows one to be frivolous and imaginative. You match cards and make comparisons and explain the reasons behind your choices. It is a nice ice-breaker as you get an idea of the thought patterns and preferences of the respective players. We went on to the Pounce table which is a challenging fast-paced card game that requires great hand-eye coordination as several things are happening all at once and you need to move quickly. You get to see the competitive edge of your friends. However, I found that too challenging and stressful for a relaxed evening that ended at 9 pm. I like it that American parties usually start and end on time unlike Singapore get-togethers. It was altogether an enjoyable evening with a great balance of stimulating conversations and fun games. This wonderful group of American friends included mainly Caucasian Americans, as well as some who were originally from the UK, Korea, Mexico, China and Taiwan. That is the charm of the Washington, D.C. area!

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