On any given day, there might be several things that I miss from my former lives.
I miss my futon from Japan. It was like sleeping on a fluffy cloud. SO comfortable! I also grew to love my tiny pillow, filled with buckwheat hulls – even though at first I kept writing home and asking my monocultural brother RL (the explorer mentioned in an earlier post) to PLEASE go to Kmart and buy me their cheapest pillow. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t ‘just’ go to a similar store and get one.
Although my Japanese bathroom was unheated (like the rest of the house) the shower had digital controls so I knew EXACTLY what temperature I liked and didn’t have to waste water trying to find what felt right every day. And even better, the heated toilet seat was oh so wonderful…..
I can manage to make a packet of instant miso soup if I’m missing Japan; or some hard rolls with cheese, and coffee if I’m having a Brasilian morning; or alternately a croissant with honey, and coffee if I’m wanting a Viennese breakfast. (Did you know the croissant was invented in Vienna? In 1683 they drove out the Turks and created the croissant….symbolically eating their foes.)
But the breakfast that’s really delicious and filling is Bahamian Boil Fish, with Johnny Cake on the side. I only get to eat that when I go home to the Bahamas. I also love Jamaican cornmeal porridge, which I tasted on a trip there. I’ll take that over Cream of Wheat any day!
In Vienna, I only had to cross the street and wait at the bus top on the corner of Turkenschanz Park. This took me to the U-Bahn, where I took the subway around the Ringstrasse and only had to come up to street level and cross the street. No traffic, less pollution. Also, by taking public transportation, I felt like I also got exercise, since there were always times when I’d have to stand on the U-Bahn.
My shortest commute was in my first apartment in Florida. Oh! Half a mile from the water, then over the bridge – with a gorgeous view of the ocean – and on to Hutchinson Island, a mile up AIA and I was at work. I even was able to go home for lunch, and on Fridays, I’d stop at the beach and walk, or take a book and read.
In Brasil, I went home for lunch and our maid had it cooked and waiting for us. That was really nice! Of course, in Brasil the maid is also the dishwasher and the washing machine – as well as providing employment for people.
In Vienna, they did have a McDonald’s across the street from the university, but I preferred to go to NordSee, a local chain restaurant. They had delicious fresh fish – something I missed when back in Missouri because I had grown used to eating it frequently in the Bahamas.
In Brasil they have Café in the afternoon, much like the English Teatime. You have coffee of course, with cookies and sweets, and sandwiches or a hard roll with meat and cheese. I really loved that extra meal!
In Japan for a snack, I’d sometimes stop by 7-11 and get some packaged sushi. This is now available in the US at some grocery stores, but back then it was unique to Japan. A few Inari are a great quick snack!
In Vienna, my friends and I would get Kartoffeln – hot roasted potato wedges from street vendors, cooked in big barrels right on the street.
And the ultimate snack: conch fritters from a vendor on the beach in the Bahamas. Hot and freshly made, nothing can compare to the deliciousness! Getting a wedge of Bahamian macaroni only adds to the enjoyment. (Macaroni is a finger food there – it is baked in a pan like a casserole and then cut into squares that are easy to hold. It is often served at room temperature and is still delicious.)
And I still haven’t gotten to dinner or dessert!
Enjoying afternoon Cafe in Gramado, RS, Brasil with other exchange students.