Shopping for the Holidays in Kabul


Maybe I go to the bazaar about twice a month to go shopping. There isn’t too much use as our staff, especially the drivers know how to do our shopping for us.  The number of shops for Westerners in Kabul could all fit into one Fred Meyer in Seattle, and I do shop every once in a while in those stores, although the selection tends to be stale, have freezer burn or been thawed out and refrozen frequently.  I think the good news is that there are maybe fifty things I can think of to buy, all staples needing preparation and our food is fresh and for the most part organic and not processed.  I mostly shop now to break up my day and get out for a change.  Noorullah is my favorite driver shopping buddy. Afghan men do most of the shopping for the family and are very good at it and Noorullah scours the city for good deals and special treats.  When we go out he sings his shopping song..usually about a vegetable…today he sang about “Kachaloos”..(potatoes) …making it up as he goes along …”Potatoes,…how I love potatoes…fresh potatoes from Bamiyan, sweet little potatoes…my baby is a potato boy….” except I really wanted a box of oranges for fresh juice…so he made up a new song “ oranges….Afghan oranges….not Pakistani oranges..because we don’t want to give them our money anymore….special sweet oranges for Juldash to make fresh juice for the Marnie, jan…”

One hour…and one box of oranges, a very old frozen turkey, a refrozen lasagne that feeds 12 and probably “fell off the truck” for some military base..and I am ready for Christmas Eve dinner this year.  Except I have to set up my “Christmas Twig”- a piece of decorated curly willow tree which is now part of our tradition…lacking a decent Christmas tree which I could find for $200 if I were so inclined.  We are checking in with friends to see who is left in town for holidays, and will visit the various homes that are having a holiday party…ours will just be close friends. Dawn will make pies, Lorraine -French Onion Soup- and Louise something British with turkey – all which will be delicious.  I am so grateful that we just get to make it up as we go along with the focus on being with people we care about without any pressure for how the holiday should be and usually we are delighted with our time together even though we miss our family at home. Happy Holidays All!

3 Replies to “Shopping for the Holidays in Kabul”

  1. Carrie

    Not to make little of the conditions you live in now, you remind me so much of our Peace Corp time there–how beautiful and how difficult it was. I am often envious of you being there now–and I know that is naive. Blessings on you!

  2. Di

    Sounds so familiar! Been there, done that in Kabul. Back in the day. Happy Holidays! Found any freon soaked, rancid butter? That was SO yummy. Cheers, Di

  3. Amy

    Ahh… Alyssa! I loved and miss my Kabul Christmas celebrations. Enjoy. I would happily make you lasagne and home made noodles. Next year will send Marnie with the turkey brine recipe and the unique ingredients.
    XOXO. Miss you all. Have a VERY HAPPY Christmas and big hugs all around.

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