Mango salsa

Greetings, members of the Temporarily Spouseless Club, and friends!

Today, we will put our idle hours — not to mention our delicious payload of Cebu mangoes — to good use by making mango salsa!

The scent of mangoes and cilantro will surely brighten up your mood and make you forget that it will be two more long and dull nights until your Traveling Spouse returns! It’s like sunshine in your kitchen… and in your miserable lonely heart!

There are a number of useful mango salsa recipes on the web. If you find yourself staring at an inordinate amount of unused produce in your refrigerator (a clear sign that it’s been a Temporarily Spouseless week!), you may want to just use these helpful suggestions as a base and throw in a few other odds and ends!

For my own version of mango salsa, I used the following:

  • 2 ripe mangoes, flesh chopped
  • 3 quarters of a large onion, diced
  • Small handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • One medium red chili, de-seeded and chopped (I left in some of the seeds because I know my Traveling Spouse likes a little bit of warmth!)
  • Juice and grated zest of two medium limes 
  • A dash of sea salt
  • A dash of pepper
Just chop everything and chuck it into a jar! Jamie Oliver likes to drizzle a little olive oil into mixtures like this to “loosen up” the flavors, but I think it’s okay to skip this step.

Then, mix all the ingredients with a spoon and taste! Mmm… tangy!

Cover the jar tightly to ensure that the salsa will still be lovely and ready to enjoy when your Traveling Spouse returns! This will be great with pan-fried salmon or even some grilled chicken. Perfect for a welcome home dinner as he presents you with a plethora of gifts from his latest trip!
Till the next meeting of the Temporarily Spouseless Club… keep busy!
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The Temporarily Spouseless Club

This weekend I know of two friends who are, like me, finding ways to while away the time while their spouses are away.

All three of us have been uncharacteristically active on Facebook, documenting our restlessness. Gerwin has been having the same kind of weekend as I am — catching up on stockpiled movies and TV series, doing chores, doing short errand jaunts — in Hong Kong while his wife Charlie and their newborn darling George are in Manila. Tria has been diligently occupying herself with art, music and the company of friends while her husband Peter is in Paris for work.

Unlike Tria, I decided to stay in all weekend. I figured that one of the upsides to Marlon being in Manila over the weekend was that I can stay in bed all day and not feel guilty about it. I am a hundred times more of a sloth than he is and he gets restless if we’re still in bed after 10am. So I usually compromise and rouse myself from my hibernation.

So I gleefully made the bed my base of activities for the whole of Saturday. With the exception of cooking lunch and watching Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros in the TV roomI staunchly parked my ass in bed until about 4 o’clock.

At which time it began to get old. Really old. Which spurred me into a frenzy of activity.

After doing two loads of laundry, washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, uploading nearly 400 pictures of Bohol to Facebook, reading various blogs,writing a blog post about Cebu, chatting with my mom, watching Food Inc on my laptop, and eating dinner, I was stuck. It seemed I had run out of things to do.

So I (GASP!) exercised. I walked/jogged 5 km, or five laps around the condo. Who would think that boredom/desperation would be my key driver for physical activity?

Today I woke up at 9:30 a.m, went to Mass, did the groceries (remembering to bring my canvas bag!), and had so much time to kill that I took the bus instead of hopping into a cab, and going home, obediently queued for 20 minutes at the taxi stand instead of fast-booking a taxi. Could it be that being single makes me more active, less impatient and more thrifty?

And all the while, I was accompanied by my short-time, temporary spouses — an iPod Shuffle (which I never would have bought on my own! Thanks Ate!) and a good book. These must be the proverbial cards for card-carrying members of the Temporarily Spouseless Club.

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Back from business

I’m back from my first ever business trip! While the people closest to me, Marlon and my sister, have been pretty much jetting all over the world on business for many many years, this weekend marks the first time I have had to travel anywhere requiring a passport, in a professional capacity.

I spent the last six days in Kuala Lumpur on a shoot for a long-running project. The team that flew down was composed of me, James, Jerrold, Mike and Leang — a producer, director, assistant director/editor, graphic designer and director of photography, respectively. We each got our own rooms in a surprisingly decent hotel: the Dorsett Regency right smack in the middle of Bukit Bintang in downtown KL. For $70/night, the hotel wasn’t bad at all! The location couldn’t be beat, and it was a dead ringer for the pre-renovation Manila Pen.
The whole experience of being away on business seemed slightly surreal to me. It was like I had momentarily stepped out of reality into something that was pretending to be my life, but was distinctly separate from it. Shooting on location all day and coming home to an empty hotel room simply nothing to do with my “real” life. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, and I even feel grateful that my days were so full and I was so tired there wasn’t much room for loneliness.
But I felt like being away had hit the “pause” button on something inside me (my ability to be fully present? To fully enjoy an experience?) and I was just waiting for the time when I could… unpause myself.
Still, it feels good to be sent to another country because of something that I can do, and do reasonably well. (Let’s hope it’s a good sign of more travels to come, hmm?) I enjoyed spending time with my team (it’s James’ last shoot before he leave the company) and my sister and her friends. I also enjoyed the “me” time in the cushy hotel room, and shoe shopping in Sungei Wang, the Greenhills/Tutuban Mall of Kuala Lumpur. And of course completing a successful shoot always gives me a high.
But now I’m back home, cocooned in the arms of my Bulgari-scented husband (he knows I love it so he wore it to the airport!), in the comfort of my very own home, and in the spotty affections of my tempestuous cat. And no professional high can beat that.
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