Fighting the homesick with tastes of home

I don’t know if its the heat, or being away for over four months, or seeing all the posts on social media about everyone’s beach trips, but I’m feeling the homesickness this month.

The initial shock has worn off by now about being here, and now that I’m more or less settled, it’s really starting to hit me: I’m still here, but everyone I know and love is there, back home.

What to do, what to do…

My friends and family have been absolutely wonderful about scheduling weekly/monthly video calls and just seeing their faces brightens my day more than they realize. My favorite parts of the conversations are after we do all the major catching up on significant events, and then we start just talking nonsense. How was breakfast, how are the pets doing, what are the parents up to these days, have you tried a new brand of potato chip/cereal/shampoo at Target, etc. All those boring little everyday things are what I miss (especially Target, I reallllly miss aimlessly walking around Target.)

But, above all else what is the major thing that always brings us back home, no matter how far we’ve gone?

Food.

So what did I do to stave off some of the homesickness? I cooked an absolutely delicious dinner that had nothing to do with Asian flavors. And it hit the spot.

Thanks Dad for teaching me how to chop stuff!

Someone at work brought in a bag of excess veggies from their garden with a note on it that said, “help yourself”. You don’t have to tell me twice. I grabbed a handful of cherry tomatoes, a tiny baby eggplant, and a mysterious bag of leafy greens which turned out to be fresh basil. Score! From my cupboards I added some pasta, carrots, onion, and lots and lots and lots of garlic. (Because everyone knows that when a recipe says one clove, they really mean at least 2 or 3… thats just common knowledge).

The resulting mess was a big bowl of sautéed fresh veggies over a pile of pasta all covered in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pure heaven!! It felt like it was a dish my Dad and I would’ve made on a summer night with whatever he picked from the garden that day. No recipe, no idea what it was going to taste like, but you couldn’t go wrong with the ingredients. But of course since I’m still in Japan, I decided to eat it with chopsticks (which detracted a little from the Italian vibe I was going for, but the taste is what mattered the most.

Perfection

It’s not that I don’t enjoy Japanese flavors, but having soy sauce, or miso flavored foods everyday gets old some nights. I’ve begun buying some different Chinese and Korean sauces to expand my pantry collection and my palette has been enjoying the change.

Being here has definitely changed my tastebuds, for the better I think. Some of my go to ingredients of back home aren’t available here (or are wildly overpriced thanks to them being imports), so I’ve had to readjust and adapt. It’s been a fun learning process though, trying new things and discovering new flavors while still being able to recreate the tastes of home.

Same speaking of being homesick, I’m currently holed up in a hostel in Shinjuku at the moment, which yes, is even further away. I have a brave friend who made the journey to Japan to spend this week with me, and we’re taking on Tokyo! (One of my favorite cities of all time) As much as I enjoy being here with the friends I’ve made, it truly is nice seeing a familiar face. More to come on our adventures later!

7 thoughts on “Fighting the homesick with tastes of home

  1. CARLA LARSON

    Your adventure continues and it sounds so amazing! I am so happy that you are learning the culture there, but the Italian dish that you whipped up looks great. Brie tends to do that kind of thing. Just chops up a whole bunch of veggies and, of course, puts them over pasta, topped off with lots of Parmesan cheese! She is definitely a Master Chef (4H club) and it sounds like you are becoming one too!
    We will be off to Las Vegas next week for our vacation. The trip will be to Zion, Bryce and Horseshoe Bend, and our last day will be spent in sin city, so that should be interesting. Uncle Doug and I have been to Zion before and just loved it so we’re extra excited about revisiting this beautiful natl. park and showing it to Brie. Anyway, I’m starting some packing and fitting in the 4H fair this week.
    Hope all is well with you. I know it must be hard being far away but think of all the fun stories you will share once you’re back! Keep learning!
    Love,
    Aunt Carla

    Like

  2. Dad

    Eggplant and tomatoes in the same dish?! Wow when did yogurt so mature! It does look really good! I made a big pot of sautéed swiss card last night with dinner and yes there was lots of garlic (from the garden) finished off with basil from the garden.

    Enjoy Tokyo!

    Dad

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephanie Brown

    Hey girl, social media makes it seem like a lot more is going on over here than it really is. What you are doing is WAY more important (and fulfilling) than any 2 day beach trip!

    I miss you terribly, but I keep reminding myself how amazing it’s going to be to see you in person again either in Japan (HOPEFULLY) or U.S.

    I envy your ability to use food to cope with whatever you’re feeling. I just eat boxed mac n cheese or cookies for everything…
    oh I’m sad? probably should make mac n cheese!
    I’m celebrating the end of the semester? time to make cookies!
    I’m angry because I didn’t reach my climbing goal? I’m gonna eat mac n cheese AND cookies because it doesn’t mean anything anyway! haha

    Reading about your food escapades makes me feel like I’m right there with you in that small kitchen, smelling the boiling pasta water and hearing the chopping of the tomatoes. And your blog posts help me reconnect with you when I feel homesick for an Allison. ❤

    I'm counting down the days until we get to chat! Love you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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