It’s been ages since I’ve posted on here. Speaking of age…

Last night I was at the 40th birthday party of a fellow mom-friend, also American. The friend who planned the dinner party had been planning for months. It was a lovely setting! Candles, decorated tables, hot drinks, dinner, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing!! Very exciting! So, a bunch of women together talking, laughing, pr@ying together…you can imagine that…how are the kids, how’s school or homeschool going, how’s your husband’s eye problem…you can imagine those conversations.

Questions you probably wouldn’t discuss or wouldn’t be a big deal in North America at a women’s gathering…

1)”Where did you buy your cheese? And it’s yellow cheddar, oh my!”
Cheese is expensive here and not readily available. But availability is much better than 5 years ago. There are only three places in town that I know of where yellow cheddar cheese is available. The sharp version is more likely to be in stock. The three places are Metro,, and the hole-in-the-wall import store. Two of those places you can only buy 5 kilos at a time. White cheddar is more common and for both the most common brand available is Anchor. I believe it’s shipped in from New Zealand.

2) “Where did you get these napkins?”
The party organizer had purchased napkins with “40″ on them in the States. So when she answers, “In the States, this summer,” You just give a resigned nod of the head and say “oh”. Nope, not available here. Same goes with tissue paper used for gifts, really pretty gift bags, wrapping paper, and greeting cards. All available, but not like at your local Wal-mart or Target or wherever you prefer to shop.

3) Giving napkins as a gift. Would you do this to your friend turning 40?
One present she received was a pack of decorated paper napkins maybe bought somewhere like IKEA. Since we don’t have an IKEA the napkins get stored and hoarded. These particular ones could be used for any occasion, but most likely will be dusted off for a real special time. And if my birthday friend is like me she might even cut the napkins in half to make them last longer. The general consensus around the room was that this was a very special gift.

4) My friend also received lots of candles and an infuser-thingy. The suggestion was to put them in her bathrooms, maybe even the kitchen. Now that’s not such a crazy idea you might think, and you’d be right. BUT our bathrooms NEED candles, infusers, plugs…anything to help with the smell. On a normal basis I keep the drains all plugged and about an inch of water in the sink. The drain under the sink also needs to be carefully tied, plugged, stuffed with plastic bags, rags, whatever to keep the smell from entering through the drain near the floor. Now in the winter it’s not so bad, but the summer…beware. These were all excellently useful gifts!!!

5) “You have real beef in the crockpot?”
First of all, our friend the hostess runs a halal house which means NO pork. Also there have been a few news items recently of people who have altered the appearance of dried pork to make it look like beef and sold it to Muslim customers on the street. Not funny! Beef is just expensive in this part of the world, but our sweet hostess friend made us all real beef barbecue to eat on our baked potatoes. It was a treat; an expensive one, but a treat! Yumm! I would have expected ground beef (like taco meat) or chicken.

So, tell me, what are your dinner party conversations?

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6 Responses to Napkins

  1. Carrie says:

    That was so interesting, Kristin!!

  2. Rhoda miller says:

    I enjoyed this…I had to laugh a little, thinking back on the first time we had a bunch of real napkins here in CD. I couldn’t get anyone to use them when I would put them out. We would all look around for a roll of TP so we wouldn’t waste the precious commodity! Finally I started pushing them on people so that I could get some new ones to look at from Ikea.
    As for dinner conversations at our house…a couple days ago it was about admiring the incredible hulk who rips chicken off bones and burps!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Marilyn Peters says:

    I took a pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing to a potluck today. Everyone was asking me where I had gotten the pumpkin. Three cans of the stuff had been tucked into a suitcase that my family sent along with a friend that came to visit. :) Pumpkin, chili powder, maple syrup… napkins, cards, etc. I can SO relate to your story, Kris!

    • kristin says:

      Marilyn, I’m surprised you shared the pumpkin! I would probably have hoarded it! Do you have squash? We have pumpkin here but have found squash to be a tasty substitute. Chili powder and maple flavoring are on my list, too. :)

  4. Janice says:

    Te extra├▒o mi amiga! read this post with smiles all over my face. the memories!

  5. nicolette says:

    Love it!

    We just had a birthday party for Isla this weekend. One of the games involved stickers that I’d stocked up on this summer in the States, so we had the exact same conversation! :)