In the Kirkland family there is this tasty little tradition known as "Pie Night"--it's the one night of the year where we feast and make merry all in the name of the heavenly concoction known as pie. Basically, on Thanksgiving Eve the Kirkland clan (along with those lucky ducks who have garnered an invite) gather at Papa and Mama Kirkland's house and eat lots and lots of pie. There is one pie for each member of the family present. It's incredible. Last year there were 25 pies. Back in the day before I started dating Matt, had I known that marrying him would open me up to the blissful world of pie-dom, I would have sought him out and dated him simply to get an invite to this most sacred of holidays. Fortunately (for him), I fell in love with Matt before he ever told me about Pie Night, and fortunately (for me) I am now married to a man who I not only love passionately, but also holds the key to my pie happiness. It's a win-win situation.
So with all of that said, this is our first year celebrating Pie Night with our little lonely selves in Hong Kong. (I'm hoping that playing the sympathy card will prompt all our relatives to figure out a way to mail us some pie!) I had yet to attempt using our fancy little toaster oven, but what better way to christen it than with a pie? I decided on pumpkin pie--it's a classic and pretty easy to bake. After hunting around town I found some Libby's canned pumpkin at a high-end grocery store that caters to the whims of us foreigners, and along with some flour and butter I was set. And off I went.
This is where the fiasco begins...
Ever since we moved in we've been having a little trouble with the lock on our apartment door. We were only given one key at move-in, so for the first few weeks Matt and I just traded the key back and forth until I was able to find a key shop that could make a copy. This sounds much easier than it was. There are thousands of key shops in this city--practically one on every block. However each shop owner was utterly baffled by my key and either refused to copy it outright or attempted it only to flub it up. Granted, the key does look complicated with lots of little circles and strange divots on it, but LOTS of people have keys like this. I don't know how all those key shops stay in business if they can't copy a common key? I guess they get by on the shoe re-soling business they run alongside their key copying stands. Eventually we contacted the agent who leased us our apartment and he recommended a place that did it very easily. Too bad we didn't think of that in the first place.
So having finally gotten our key copied we started to get a little concerned these last few days when our lock didn't seem to be working very well. It took a few tries to both lock and unlock it, and yesterday the whole lock started spinning around. It's not supposed to do that.
When I got home tonight with my arms fully-laden with pie ingredients, I put the key in the lock, turned the key, and nothing happened. I tried again, only to see something really small pop out onto the ground. One more try and suddenly the insides of our lock came pouring out onto the floor in front of me. What's happening!?! Needless to say I was stuck in the hallway with no hope of baking pie anytime soon. I called Matt at work and asked him to ask his co-workers about getting a locksmith to fix the lock. He called back minutes later with the verdict.
"Um, Erika, people here don't really call a locksmith. They go down the street, find one, and bring them back to their place to fix things."
We do okay getting by with just English here, but trying to flag down a local and explain that we need a new lock for our door is a whole different can of worms. There was a locksmith stall just down the street, so between our brilliant pantomime skills and a quick call to a friend who speaks excellent Cantonese, we were able to get our message across. The only blip in the whole situation was that we caught the locksmith in the middle of his dinner and he asked that we come back in 20 minutes. So a couple of mango juices and some fried bread-sticks later (we were hungry, too), we found our way back to the key store and the locksmith followed us back to our place and gave us a brand new lock and five keys! Yippee! We're pretty proud of ourselves.
And, I made some pie! I just took it out of the oven a few minutes ago and it looks like it's supposed to. It's nearly mid-night, but gosh darnit, we did it. Thanks everyone for putting up with my obnoxiously long blog post and...
Happy Pie Night!!!