I'm so glad we've had this time together......

4 weeks and counting. In these 4 weeks we will have sent half of our belongings to the states, and put the other half in storage until it can be shipped to Tunisia. We will have moved out of our house and into a hotel. In 4 weeks we will have said goodbye to countless people we have loved, and goodbye to what has been "home" for the past 8 years. We will begin the transition from life in the tropics to making a "home" in North Africa.

I'm not sure what to feel. Wistful? Yes, a vague melancholy and nostalgic longing for certain. Guilt? Oh yes, especially as I watch our girls struggle to finish well. Fragile? Yep, I am given to spontaneous tears at inconvenient moments. Done? Yes, the stick a fork in me I'M DONE sort of feeling one gets during these life changing events.

The leaving and the goodbyes have become a reality.  Meeting friends here and there for dinners or coffee, catching up on life and then saying goodbye. Saying goodbye when I'm still here.  I don't like this one bit.

This week we had friends over for dinner who we met our very first day in Singapore. They were kind souls who would look after our kids while we spent many tedious hours with the housing agent looking for a place to live. They took our kids swimming and to movies and generally loved them to bits. It made our transition here so much easier. It was nice to see them this week, to watch them marvel at how our girls have grown, and share a meal together. My friend brought over some fruit to share, Pulusan which are in the same family as Rambutan and Lychee and some Mangosteens which are my favorite fruit EVER. Both are hard to find outside of SE Asia. They are as interesting to look at as to eat. The hairy looking one is the Pulusan and the one that looks like it's wearing a ruffled hat is the Mangosteen.

And now I must confess. I didn't cook. The lovely and talented Miss Gay, the keeper and guardian of all that is good in our house prepared the meal. I just happened to pick out a really good recipe. It was one that I made long ago and forgot about and that evening I kicked myself for not making this more often.

Grilled Chicken Chardonnay
from Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup Chardonnay
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Place the chicken in a 1 gallon lock top plastic bag or in a shallow baking dish. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, wine, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper, and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken coating all sides well. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal it or cover the dish. Refrigerate and marinate the chicken a minimum of 4 hours or for up to 24 hours. Turn the bag or the chicken breasts once to distribute the marinade. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on medium.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain the chicken of excess marinade. Brush the grill grate with vegetable oil. Place the chicken directly over the fire. Cover the grill and cook on one side for about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken 90 degrees to create attractive cross hatching and cook for another 2 minutes. Flip the chicken and grill until tender and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, about 4 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Italian Grill Vegetables with Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

1 pound large asparagus
3 zucchini sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices
1 eggplant cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
3 summer squash sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices
2 onions sliced crosswise into ½ inch slices
4 tomatoes halved, seeded and cored
1 large yellow bell pepper seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into ½ inch rings
1 large red bell pepper seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into ½ inch rings
4 Portobello mushrooms, stems and black gills removed then halved
½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, recipe below

Prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on medium high.

Snap off the woody bottom and end of each asparagus spear, then trim any ragged edges. Using a vegetable peeler lightly peel the bottom half of each spear removing only the thin fibrous outer layer.

Lay the asparagus and all the remaining vegetables in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Brush on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the vegetables in a single layer directly over the medium hot fire. Grill the vegetables on one side just until marks appear, about 3 minutes. Turn and grill until tender but still firm, 2-3 minutes longer.

Remove the vegetables from the grill and arrange them attractively on a large serving platter. Stir the Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette to combine the streak it all over the grilled vegetables. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

½ cup Sun Dried Tomato halves
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade combine the tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil and process until the tomatoes are pureed and the mixture is well blended. Season the vinaigrette with the salt and pepper. Add the basil and pulse for a few seconds. Set aside.


  1. I need this recipe because I want to have grilling projects to help me learn to use our outdoor barbecue. We need to grill several foods at once to make it worth the time and the charcoal. Also, I still have a bunch of sun dried tomatoes I bought last November in Venice that I need to use before summer.
    Keep coming, Shelly. This is a good landing.

  2. Here, here, sister. These last four weeks are going to be very hard. But they'll end. And we'll start our new adventure with Bergamot Orange!

  3. Eloquent, talented S. Take heart. A mangosteen appeared at a market down the street from me in landlocked Praha. And it was not a billion dollars. But more importantly, take heart in the pulling up anchor----I repeat myself again----the thinking about leaving is far worse than the leaving. And I agree with J: the landing will be good. And won't the rendezvous we'll have in southern Europe be fab?

  4. Goodbyes ARE hard. I usually try to avoid them, or at least just say "see you later." Goodbyes are a bit different in the age of Facebook, and I'm interested to see how FB impacts your leaving a place and friends. Goodbyes mean that there are new Hellos on the horizon, and I can't wait to read about those too.