Wednesday, September 12, 2012

All quiet on the Cameroonian front...

So I suppose I owe you all a blog post, but I must say that things are relatively uneventful over here. I know, I know, I'm in a foreign country! How can things be boring? But well, I'm at work most of the time. I guess I should comment on some of the many different trains of thought that run through my head during the day, but they seem to be escaping me at the moment.

Let's talk about eating, because it's one of my favorite things.

No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be eating enough for my Cameroonian comrades. Yesterday we had a visit from a Kenyan woman who runs an organization for African women's rights. Unfortunately, the stagiares (interns) were not invited to participate in the actual meetings and such, which is sad because she seemed like someone I would have enjoyed networking with, but she did invite us to eat lunch with her. It was nice to have a conversation in English for once, although I found myself speaking in sort of a weird accent. I think I tend to do that a lot. When I'm around one of my very dear friends from England on her occasional visits to the U.S., I feel as though I round out my vowels a little bit more and speak in a lighter voice. Also she kept making these high-pitched noises that sounded like "MMMMMMMM!", but I'm pretty sure they were in no way related to the food she was eating. Anyway, so she invited us to eat a meal consisting of....any guesses? Anyone? I'll give you a hint: Chicken and plantains. All the while we are discussing how she loves to eat and how she doesn't understand people going on diets. She says that once you know hunger truly, you see food, you eat it. We joke about American diet fads and I manage to scarf down my plantains. I pick all of the meat off of the chicken as everyone crunches bones around me and I try to finish quietly. "Please, PLEASE don't make me eat the bones again. I'll eat a hundred more plantains if I never have to eat chicken bones again!" I offer up a silent prayer.

You'll be pleased to know that my prayers were answered. However, I was staunchly criticized for the way I ate my chicken, and told that I "didn't really eat" because there were still parts left on the chicken.

Meanwhile, the American (and oddly enough Senegalese) food cravings abound:
-CHEESE (as expected, there is no cheese here. It's just too hard to ship/store. They have La Vache Qui Rit in Bastos for like $8000)
-Poulet yassa
-Cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (yeah..weird...I know)
-Waldorf salad
-Tacos (this one haunts me.)
-Lee's Garden. Sesame delight.
(Let's be honest, sushi, tacos, and Chinese food all count as American food the way it's prepared in the U.S.)
-Plantains (Wait, were you listening? Caught you!)
I'm sure if you asked Sean he could give you a much more detailed list, as I inform him of pretty much every craving I have. The good news is, after living in the land of Beer and Cheese for a year, I may finally go back to a semi-normal body weight. (Ach, those Americans and their diet talk!)


Anonymous said...

Wow, Elena! Great post!

I have a friend from China that eats the chicken bone too... I thought it was so weird and I felt bad that I didn't eat it. (Not bad enough to eat it, though.)

Your post really made me grateful for what I have. You're right- Americans are so different than many other parts of the world- especially places like Africa. We have so much and still want more. I'm so guilty. I can have a stocked fridge and stocked cabinets but still claim we have "nothing to eat." Thank you for putting things in perspective for me. :)

Keep up the great blog posts! :)

jennyp said...

Hi elena,
loved this post too and glad you got to speak and have lunch with a woman from Kenya. Also glad to know you are eating food that represents the country you are in. I agree with Sarah's comment that we americans tend to take so much for granted! at least with Daddy teaching you about cooking, you know how to make anything make do and cook from whatever is in the pantry and fridge. I can't believe you have been gone from the US now for going on 2 weeks. Miss you much and these posts ( plus our facebook chats) make me feel like you are not all that far away:(
love Mom