When Staying is Hard + Roasted Chickpeas

I remember it so clearly. Three other young moms and myself sitting in a hotel room, ready to learn how we were going to help our kids and our family thrive in this foreign land. Our husbands were getting the basics in relating to the culture and teaching English, while we sifted through how to recognize culture shock and how to cook normal-to-us food in a land with not so many normal-to-us ingredients.

The woman who led these discussions had been on the field for fifteen years and I remember her speaking with such wisdom and grace about what we were to encounter in the coming months. It was hard for me to grasp her passion for this life overseas. As she explained the “honeymoon stage,” I thought to myself, pretty sure I skipped right over that. I’m a month in, and already disliking so many things about being here! How will I endure the two years we’ve committed to?

Glory to God alone, that was six years ago. Had you told me then I’d be here for several more years, I would’ve laughed and then cried uncontrollably.

It hasn’t been easy. I have just as many stories as you do of things such as loss, missing family and friends, finding my identity as a mama in a foreign land, grieving about all the things my kids are missing out on, and wondering just how many more times I can take listening to the local aunties berate me for how I’m parenting.

Recently it was my oldest son’s birthday. As I was asking him what fun things he wanted to do that day, it hit me: there is almost nothing fun to do for a child. The tears fell as I grieved not being able to treat him to a fun restaurant or take him to a park where he could actually run on the grass or invite friends his age over to celebrate with him.

But God is a faithful Father. He turned my grief around later in the day when we went on a bike ride and discovered a trampoline that didn’t cost much to play on. As I listened to the joyous giggles of my son, I was reminded of how God promises to be with us, no matter if we’re mourning or rejoicing.

This steadfastness of our Father is what keeps me going. We believe He has called us here for this time, and we won’t go anywhere else until He makes it clear it’s time to move on.

It’s a daily act of laying down my desires for the plans He has for my family. I often look at friends we’ve had to say goodbye to, wishing I could be in their shoes—buying a house, building deep friendships, living the American dream. But it’s all a facade, right? It’s what the enemy wants us to see. Those mamas that I started out with here? They have all transitioned back to the States—because God made it clear to them—and I doubt they’d describe their life now as dreamy. We read some great posts last week about this exact thing. Our heart often yearns for what we don’t have, what we think we should have.

So for those of us carrying on for now, be encouraged to cling to the Father during the hard times and rejoice with Him during the joyful times. We will have both no matter where we are, until we reach Home.

How has staying been hard for you? What are keeps you encouraged?


Good, salty snacks are hard to come by around here. They have chips, but most are weird flavors like yogurt or spicy prawn. They have popcorn, but it’s all sweet. So when I stumbled on this unique snack of roasted chickpeas, I had to try it. It’s simple and so versatile–you can literally make them any flavor you want!



Patting the chickpeas dry will ensure they get nice and crispy!


A simple splash of olive oil and sprinkle of salt is all you need before baking.


Brown, toasty, crunchy, and ready to take on any flavor you want to add! I love smoky paprika…or garlic….or cinnamon/sugar.


They should be crunchy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. Yum!

Roasted Chickpeas

Tips from: The Kitchn 

Time: 45 minues

1 can chickpeas

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp of herbs or seasonings such as paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Heat the oven to 400°F (200 C).

Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then pat them dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stir with your hands or a spatula to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle. Toss them with your seasoning of choice.

Best eaten when still warm, or you can add them to a salad or soup for something crunchy!

What weird snacks do they often serve in your country? This could be a fun list!



  1. Patty Stallings May 29, 2016

    Ashley, I’m so glad you stayed. You’ve made a beautiful life for you and your family. Hug those kids for me!

    1. Ashley Felder May 30, 2016

      I’m glad we stayed, too. I didn’t have space to mention all the amazing things the Father has allowed me to see while staying! He’s a Good, Good Father.

  2. M'Lynn May 29, 2016

    This is the answer to a can of chickpeas I just bought in a “canned goods sell off” from a teammate who is leaving! I had no other answers…

    1. Ashley Felder May 30, 2016

      Hooray! I thought about writing, “here’s a good use for that random can of chickpeas you don’t know what to do with.” But then thought, who actually has that?! So funny that you do! 🙂 You can also make hummus or a yummy Indian dish with any future random cans!

  3. Jennifer Ott May 30, 2016

    Roasted chickpeas!  Now to find paper towels and an oven thermometer…  But it will beat tomato flavored crisps :)!  I think one of the hardest things for our family is missing kid things to do.  Parks and playgrounds don’t really exist here.

    1. Ashley Felder May 30, 2016

      Just use a towel! Or an old (clean) t-shirt…whatever you use to dry things. 😉 As for the oven thermometer, yeah. That’s tough! How do you regulate for other things? Honestly this temp is so high, I’d just crank it to almost it’s highest setting and watch for burning.

      I’m with ya on missing parks and playgrounds! We were recently yelled at when we were sitting on the grass on a beautiful afternoon. So hard to keep the kids on the concrete! But, when there are a billion people, I guess you have to save every blade to just look at. Hope you discover somewhere new for your kids to enjoy soon!

  4. Kathy Vaughan May 30, 2016

    The favorite snack around here is roasted grasshoppers, in season, and roasted white ants (termites) are also popular, but not as readily available.  I’ve tried the grasshoppers once, and they actually don’t taste bad, but I can’t quite get past the idea of eating bugs!

    In my city, a small art studio offers children the chance to paint their own pictures, with guidance from the artist. Not quite like running around in the park, but kids get to be creative, and end up with something special to keep.

    1. Ashley Felder May 30, 2016

      Oh my….I couldn’t do it! Bravo for trying it once!

      What a great little outlet for the kiddos! And a memento to remember it by. Awesome!

  5. Ruth May 30, 2016

    do sometimes envy people who are leaving and wish it were me. This has been a challenging season, and although most of it isn’t really China related, my “flight” instinct is strong.  I keep thinking, “if I were in America, this or that would be easier.”  Honesty the first thing that keeps me grounded is the horrendous thought of having to figure out what to do with all our stuff! Ha. Moving is bad enough and the last time we did that and was with two less kids.  Also, I realize a lot of my future dreams and goals are here.

    1. Ashley Felder May 30, 2016

      I agree, thinking of moving is a terrifying thought. We’ve done it 3 times in-country, and a home leave thrown in the middle. I’m really hoping we stay in this spot for more than 2 years!! That’s great to hear your future dreams and goals lie here…that’s something for me to ponder!

  6. Michelle May 30, 2016

    I’ll have to try this snack sometime…sounds tasty!  I don’t think canned chickpeas are available here, but dried ones are.

    A favorite snack in this part of the world is made from the seeds of the baobab tree.  There’s something around the seeds…I have yet to figure out just what it is, but it’s kinda sweet and melt-in-your-mouth, has a slightly KoolAid-ish flavor, and is loaded with red food coloring.  You suck off that part and then spit out the seeds, and get a garishly red mouth in the process.  I do like the taste, but I’m afraid I have yet to be as sold on it as the locals are.

    1. Spring May 30, 2016

      I was just going to ask how to do it if you would start with dry ones! Let me know how it works for you Michelle

    2. Ashley Felder May 31, 2016

      I’ve never worked with dry chickpeas, but I’m guessing if you just cook them first, they should work the same! More work, though. 🙂

      That fruity snack sounds interesting! I have a funny picture in my head of lots of people walking around with red lips and teeth. 😀

      1. T May 31, 2016

        right.  soak the chick peas in water overnight, or hot water for 4hrs, I’d guess.  Then cook until tender (a while…).  Dry and proceed as in the recipe!


  7. Spring May 30, 2016

    The locals here really like sour fruit (not ripe) with salt and chili powder. I just can’t wrap my head or mouth around it. I love mangoes but green mangoes?  My mouth gets puckered just thinking about them (I tried once after someone’s insistence that they were great, nope I still don’t like them).  Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what it looks like to stay somewhere and the process of it


    1. Ashley Felder May 31, 2016

      Unripened fruit…with salt…and spicy….eesh. Couldn’t do it, either. But, I guess if you grow up on it, it’s normal to you, huh?

  8. T May 31, 2016

    well, one cheap snack here is Roasted Chick Peas!  No need to make them ourselves!!  Sunflower seeds with thin, edible shells are also popular, and we are in ice cream season, so tons of our corner shops have freezers with prepackaged cones, popsicles, choc-coated bars on sticks!  🙂

    1. Ashley Felder June 2, 2016

      How cool that you get roasted chickpeas there! Yum! It’s ice cream season here, too, but, to me, the local ice cream is terrible. My wish for the future is an ice cream maker so I can divulge in my own creations. 🙂

  9. Shepswife June 1, 2016

    I’d never understood the draw of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” until moving to my country nine years ago.  It has become the smell of home!  They use the bottoms of cooking oil cans and put the whole nut on the hot metal can until the shell pops.  We also do a lot of dried fruit, and cucumbers with yogurt and mint.  Typical mediterranean, I guess.
    The weirdest thing I’m facing as a stayer right now is that we are suddenly the couple with seniority.  People actually think we know stuff.  And I’m watching two women who have mentored and mothered me over these nine (!) years return to their passport countries this month,  feeling like I know a bit about how the disciples must have felt watching those sacred feet float up through the clouds…”Uh, ok, so now who do we ask when we don’t know what to do?”

    But I’m so thankful that we stuck it out through the repeated scenes of “I am ready to PACK my BAGS.”  If we’d left at 3 or 5 or even 7, we would have missed seeing some miraculous, beautiful, tragic, life-changing moments. Hang in there, ladies!!!!

    1. Ashley Felder June 2, 2016

      The locals roast chestnuts here, too! So glad you had those women in your life the past several years. Maybe it’s your turn now to mentor someone fresh on the field. 🙂

  10. Elizabeth June 1, 2016

    I LOVE chick peas — may have to try this!

    1. Ashley Felder June 2, 2016

      Me too! Enjoy!

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