Books from Asia, Moscow and Turkey


I’m always interested in expat stories, expat memoirs, and third culture kid stories. I usually pick them up, get a few chapters in and set them aside. I don’t know what it is about them but they just don’t grab me. Maybe it’s the writing, maybe it’s the focus. Although I usually finish them at some point even if I just scan through them. Here are a few I read recently and liked.


The Sullivan Saga, Memoires of an Overseas Childhood by M.H. Sullivan, was an interesting story about a girl growing up in a Foreign Service family in Asia and Africa. In the TCK stories I can usually find some personal connection that keeps me going. The thing that grabbed me about this book was she started out talking about returning to the US for college and wondering if she was “American” enough. Her family was very different from mine but there were some similarities in the experiences she had. I could totally identify with the story about her father having to go into the bushes and take his pants off because he was being attached by army ants in Africa.



Lenin Lives Next Door, Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow by Jennifer Eremeeva is about a woman married to a Russian and her experiences living in Moscow for twenty years. She fell in love with Russia at 13 when she read “Nicholas and Alexandra” by Robert Massie. She studied Russian history and language and eventually ended up in Moscow running tours and hosting trade show delegations. A fellow tour guide introduced her to her future husband and she has been there ever since. Her book is all about the characters she meets along the way and the challenges of living in Moscow. It is very funny and some things are hard to believe since truth really is stranger than fiction. I could identify with a lot of what she talks about having lived in Moscow for nine years myself. And funnily enough I actually knew Jennifer when I lived there. I recommend it – it’s fun and fast paced.



Yesterday I picked up Perking the Pansies by Jack Scott. Yes, you can read it in a day. It is fast paced and light reading. Two married gay men from Britain decide to chuck everything, quit their jobs, sell their property and all their belongings and move to Turkey. Most people thought they were nuts. It is something many people dream of doing but would never actually do. They did it. The book covers their first year in Turkey. They were not completely prepared for what they were getting into and it seems they should have done some more research on the weather but they manage to keep a positive attitude and stick with it. After making some adjustments, and meeting some unpleasant expats, they eventually find their way and their own group of friends. It is a fun read.


Food Friday: Turkey Chile



















This is one I make up as I go along.  Use whatever you have one hand.  This one has kidney beans but you would use black beans.  You could use turkey or beef or buffalo.  Throw some corn in if you have it on hand.  Anything goes.



1 lb turkey

½ onion chopped

½ green pepper chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 large can chopped tomatoes

1 can beans

½ cup tomato paste

1 tbsp Adobo

2 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt – to taste

generous grind of black pepper

1 cup prepared salsa

shredded cheese for garnish















Cook the turkey and onion (add a chopped clove of garlic if you want)















Add the pepper and mushrooms and any other vegetables you want.















Add the tomatoes and spices and beans.  Let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.















Serve. This freezes well too.

Food Friday – Leftover Enchiladas














Ok, I know what you are thinking.  Mexican again?  Well, no, not really.  Although the original concept is Mexican, this recipe is about as American as you can get.  At a stretch it could be Tex-Mex.  It is homemade fast food.  Quick and easy.  It is a great way to use turkey leftovers but you can use chicken if you are all out of turkey.

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

1.5 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey

1 cup picante sauce

1 (3-oz) packet cream cheese, cubed

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp oregano

1.5 cups shredded cheese (monterey jack and/or cheddar)

8 flour tortillas

Lightly grease a 7×12 inch baking dish.  Combine turkey, 1/4 cup picante sauce, cream cheese, green onion, cumin and oregano in skillet.  Place over low heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.  Add another 1/2 cup shredded cheese to melt.

Spoon 1/3 cup turkey mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Spoon remaining 3/4 cup picante sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas, cover with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until hot.