1 Year + 1 Day

Corey writes:

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary. Gina and I decided to make a big deal of it because it gave us something to look forward to and plan for, which is a way to combat the six-month blues that we're experiencing. We started brainstorming a month ago and came up with the following ideas: Our celebration would center around a meal, an American meal: cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes. This idea was further refined to be cheeseburgers but no fries, and Oreo Dark Fantasy milkshakes. (We always giggle at the Dark Fantasy box, which reads "Bite into the outer crust made of the darkest finest cocoa..." see the link for more).

Making the burgers was a bit of an odyssey. We had to go through our illicit beef dealer, which is a bit like buying drugs. We utter our order in hushed tones to our "contact." Cash changes hands. We wait anxiously in our house for the delivery... What was that? Was that the sound of an elite police force readying a battering ram outside our door, weapons drawn? No, just the landlord. Finally, the "stuff" arrives, and we get our fix. Seriously though, making ground beef is a pain in the ass. Luckily, our friends Margaret and Jan lent us their blender. YOU try making ground beef from a 2 pound roast using only a blender sometime. Hold on tight! To contribute to our burger adventure, Gina made some hamburger buns FROM SCRATCH. Sometimes I feel like I'm one of those people that lives "off the grid" in the US. In the end, the burgers we made looked really good (see the above photo) but were not very good tasting. Too much gristle. However, the tomatoes, mayo, cheese, and buns were very good. After this (and one previous experiment) I think we've come down to stewing as the only possibility for the beef here.

In addition, we would exchange gifts. Coming up with a gift idea for Gina was not very hard, as she's been on a quixotic quest to take a bath (as in submersing herself in water) since January. We've asked our friends and the shopkeepers in Koraput for a container big enough to hold a human and also several liters of water. Giggling and then a shaking "no" head was the only response. So I took the quest on the road this month when he went to Delhi. With a little help from Liam, I found what I was looking for in the very first shop. Delhi, you may be smelly, hot, and crowded, but you gots what we need. I brought the item back to Koraput and tried to hide it from Gina, which lasted about 36 hours. But Gina was still giddy once she got to hop into her very own kiddie pool.

I made no special requests for a gift, but Gina succeeded in wowing me nonetheless. She composed a love song for me. It was very sweet and unique, like Gina. She sang it to me complete with a fantastic slide show of pictures from the wedding.

Finally, we decided to share our celebration with our coworkers by commissioning our very own sheet cake.

We were really impressed at the quality of this cake, and it just goes to show what is possible even in "rural" India. The only problem with the cake was that we got it on Sunday and needed to keep it safe from ants (and mice) until bringing it to work the next day. For a minute I thought ("please please please") that we would just have to eat the whole thing ourselves before the ants got to it. But Gina looked at the still set-up kiddie pool and uttered the sentence that has never been spoken before in human history and will never been spoken again: "We need to put the cake in the pool." CAKE MOAT!!!!! Brilliant!

The work party was scheduled for 4:00. After people starting showing up at 4:30, we had a good time feeding cake to each other and getting good and messy.

Even Sango joined in!