Pulling geographicals


“Wherever you go, you’re there.”
— Unknown

Most of my life, I tended to move around. A lot. I would move to different cities, different apartments, different jobs, thinking “This time I’ll be happy, I’ll be popular, I’ll be … different.” It wasn’t until the last few years that I realized the truth, that we are who we are and “pulling a geographical” isn’t going to make us thinner, richer or prettier.
I’ve been much more comfortable staying at home, at our little, modest apartment, getting to know my husband and myself. I now find that I can’t wait, at the end of the day, to come home, chat with Christian about my day, and relax in each other’s company, not look for the next immediate source of entertainment or distraction from reality.
Having said that, however, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with taking trips and “getting away from it all” every so often. Just as long as you use those trips as a recharge, and not an attempt to forget where you came from.
•••
Since I’m pregnant and we’re saving money for the baby and our future, we haven’t had any opportunity to fly over to Germany, as we had gotten used to. The next time Christian goes is in late November to visit his family, and I won’t be able to join him this time. Last year alone, I traveled to Germany four times, staying a month at a time two of those times. It devastates me that I can’t go because it’s just too risky that late in my pregnancy, but at the same time I can take satisfaction that he’ll be able to be with his family for the first time in almost a year.
To “get away from it all,” Christian and I have been fortunate to be able to make use of my family cabin, Kemp Kottage, in Cloudcroft, N.M. Only a 2-hour drive from El Paso, Cloudcroft is like another world, and it’s free, for the most part (gas and food are all we have to account for). We go as many weekends as possible to recharge our batteries, breathe in the mountain air and hike the woodsy trails, and nap in the afternoons with the rain on the tin roof.
But sometimes other family members want to use the cabin, as was the case this weekend. So, Christian and I chose to pull a little geographical in another way…we ate our way to far and distant lands 😉
On Friday (see previous blog entry) we had Middle Eastern gyros at the Jerusalem Grill on Mesa Street, and had one of the best evenings in recent memory just blocks from our apartment, finding fun just hanging out at a Dollar Store and buying miniature toys out of a vending machine. Yesterday we had a Mexican breakfast of coffee, Marronitos and Empanadas at Jarronitos restaurant literally a block from our pad.

Skyped with Christian’s family back in Bavaria, and then headed off to the Las Cruces Farmer’s Market, where we shopped for a baby blanket (well, I did. I can’t wait for the baby’s sex results this coming week. I NEED TO BUY BABY STUFF!), German rye bread, locally raised cherries, some wild greens, some peasant bread being sold by local Mennonites, and we people watched…our favorite part.
Then we headed a block away to Zeffiro’s Italian restaurant, our absolute favorite pizza found within driving distance of El Paso. I ordered the Margherita pizza and a side salad; and Christian ordered the Pesto Bianco pizza and said side salad. This was our second time there, and we almost looked like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally,” the deli scene. Our moans and our eyes rolling to the back of our heads as we ate our pizza were hard to contain. The pizza is THAT good.
After wrapping up our leftovers (to actually have leftovers was a sign of sheer will power and white-knuckling. We wanted to devour it all, but we aided each other in restraint), we headed over to the COAS bookstore and spent a good 2 hours browsing the mass of used books. I bought a few German books, including a German children’s book (hey, I’m getting a little obsessed with accumulating as much baby stuff as possible!), a German language coursebook, as well as a few pregnancy books. Christian’s booty included some Star Wars paperbacks and other science fiction.
In the afternoon, we caught the flick, “Dinner with Schmucks,” which was funny in parts, but not the FUNNIEST Steve Carrell movie I’d seen. However, just watching Christian laugh got me going and I ended up having a great time.
Then we went home and globetrotted with our leftovers from the two previous days … Italian pizza, Arabic rice and gyros and pita, Christian’s very own Arabic Salad (recipe below), and I had half of a cherry pastry I’d bought at the Mexican restaurant Jarritonito’s yesterday morning. My Asian touch came from the Srirachi sauce I doused the Gyros with. I was missing a German element, which is unusual. Usually I have SOMETHING German on my plate. Of course that will change with lunch today, which will involve the rye bread we bought at the market in some way, shape or form!
•••
When you can’t head on out to some exotic destination, how do you trot the globe at home?

Christian’s Arabic Tomato-Cucumber Salad
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 English (seedless) cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped (preferably white)
salt to taste
1 teaspoon dried crushed mint
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

A totally refreshing pico-de-gallo-ish salad that goes GREAT with pita bread and some feta cheese. Or just on its own.

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