Hello Expat!
So you’re moving again!?

As expats we tend to move a lot don’t we? Most of the time to really far away and strange places! Do you move with all your posessions in a big container that arrives a couple months after you, or do you leave it all behind and just take what you can carry?

What kind of expat are you? “Massive move” Expat or “Backpack” Expat?

We are backpack expats (I like to label us “nomad expats”) although we have lived in five places in five years so there are boxes and suitcases that end up following via cargo planes and FedEx shipments. In all truth, from Bangkok to Phuket we sent a little truck because we had a washer and dryer and really cute IKEA beds for the kids. But as you must know, moving from one city to another inside the same country is quite a bit easier than moving to a completely different country miles and miles away.

So tell me, shat happens when you first arrive in your new house? Personally, I check out the kitchen and see what I have to work with. Some kitchens have a couple of pots, some kitchens have nothing at all! These are the first things I sort out when we first arrive in a new place.coffee percolator

The Big Pasta Pot, The Fridge, The Coffee and other minimals

The first things I get are the basic tools to be able to make pasta and steamed vegetables. A big pot with a steaming basket, a cutting board, a knife, some bowls, cutlery and a couple mugs and plastic cups for the kiddos.

I always scour the are for the best coffee apparatus, or closest coffee shop. Phuket had great street coffee so I didn’t make that much coffee at home to begin with, but I do always try and find a french press or percolator as soon as possible!

The houses in Laos, Bangkok and Phuket had fridges but the one in Bali didn’t. After almost two months without one, the first thing I bought when we got the fridge was BUTTER! oh and cheese of course. Which reminds me of how Kraft Cheese Slices are never refrigerated in the stores in Bali. So that’s definitely NOT cheese right?

After the big pasta pot, I get a small frying pan on which I can fry eggs, make omelettes, simple stir fries and toast. For about a month it’s basically that, and pasta and eating out at the local eateries.

In Phuket we actually survived without a stove for six months just with a microwave. I’m actually glad we didn’t have one now in Bali. It’s really only good for popcorn. Here in Sri Lanka the house came with a microwave and now I make popcorn in a pot cause it’s so much nice that way anyway. Microwave is not the official defroster and that’s about it.

The Thick Wok with a lid

The next thing I get is the big thick wok where I can make pretty much anything, from stir fries to stews and soups. These usually end up pretty beat up by the end of our stay because I use it so much! Funnily enough I didn’t get one of these in Sri Lanka because there aren’t any!

What are the first things I make when I get the big fat wok?

  • Locro (A Peruvian Pumpkin Stew with corn and cheese)
  • Pumpkin Soup (I finally figured out how to make it taste like my Grandmother’s, it was caramelized onions!) Now the maid (yea, Sri Lanka came with a maid) makes it now but I still prefer my grandma’s version.
  • Lentil stew (Big Kiddo likes them plain so that’s how I make them and then accessorize when I serve them). 

The Blender / Liquidizer

This is something that I always wonder if I should get straight away or not. I put it off thinking that I might not really need it. But as soon as I get the wok and I can make soup I need to be able to blend it. My favorite blender is the Phillips glass jar with the incorporated sieve appliance for making awesome juices.

What are the first things I make with I get the blender?

  • Pineapple and Ginger Juice 
  • Pumpkin Soup!
  • Potato Soup (Always leave some chunks though!)
  • Hummus (The more garlic the better!)

omg I just made cookies.

A photo posted by Graphic Designer + Artist (@oranavelarde) on

The Oven

I survived for four and a half years without an oven, and then when we moved to Sri Lanka the house had an oven but it was broken! Oh the irony. A couple months ago it finally got fixed and you can bet I made all these things already;

  • Classic Lasagna
  • Gooey Brownies
  • Ginger Cookies
  • Baked zucchini

How about You?

I would love to hear what kind of expat you are, “massive move” or “backpack”? Tell me your kitchen “firsts” when you move into a new house.

Leave a comment below and tell us a bit about your first days!

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