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Monday, November 22, 2010

Pink mushrooms

This morning for breakfast I had soup with pink mushrooms, carrot slices, green leaves and stems (maybe cassava) cauliflower and garlic. And I had white rice (of course) and deep fried shrimp with tails but no heads or eyes or antennas. Plus I had juice. Maybe it was an orange juice, guava juice combo.

What I’ve realized is that the varieties of food are different everywhere. Don’t know why it took me so long to figure out why peanuts don’t exactly taste like peanuts. Whatever variety of peanuts we have in the US are different from the kind that grows here. These are smaller and taste a little bit like soy nuts. The word for peanut is the same as the word for seed and nut. So I think I remember what peanuts and soy nuts taste like and I think these are peanuts with a soy taste, but they may be soy nuts with a peanut taste.

The mushrooms here are amazing. They are lacy and big and yummy. Today was the first time I had pink ones.

Meals are always a surprise. I enjoy lifting up the fly cover – a large plastic bowl – net and seeing what is under there. That’s what I will eat for the day. Many Peace Corps assignments include an individual house or room where the volunteer gets to fix her or his own food. Here in Indonesia, we are assigned to live with families who fix our food.

My daughter sent me some of my favorite herbal tea from America. In many ways I am a like a helpless baby. I have been forbidden to turn on the stove. The reason is that there were many stoves that were exploding in Indonesia and my family doesn’t trust me to turn it on. I think I’ll make sun tea – just put the tea bag in a water bottle and leave it in the sun. The advantage of not fixing my own food is that I have more time for other things and I eat less. The disadvantage is that it’s just another little aspect of life that I have no control over.

That’s the challenge of Peace Corps – accepting the things you cannot change and changing the things you can. I pick what I want to change carefully. Usually it begins with changing my own mind. This is a lot harder than it sounds.

Here’s your assignment for the day. Pick anything. Then change your mind about how you think about it.

Welcome to my life.

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