BootsnAll Travel Network

Kitchen Confidential

My host mom still hasn’t returned from her leave of absence in the home.  Either tomorrow or on Tuesday is the estimated time of arrival.  And then on Wednesday I’ll be taking off.  I haven’t signed up for it yet, but I’ll be hiking up Santiaguito Volcano and camping overnight.  I’ll be back on Thursday evening and will need a place to sleep, which will probably be a local hostel.  After yesterday’s hike with my classmates up (and down) to Laguna Chicobal, I’m a little concerned about how well my body will hold up.  I’m still quite sore from yesterday’s morning activity, and oftentimes found myself out of breath and needing a break.  Slow and steady.

And last night after the big futbol game and hanging out til midnight, I sauntered home only to find that my key didn’t work in the door.  I was locked out.  With my key.  That didn’t work.  No matter what I did, the door didn’t budge.  I began to think of what I should do.  I didn’t have any money to get a hostel.  And I don’t really know precisely where my fellow students are staying with their host families.  Maybe try and climb up to the balcony?  Or wait around for the neighbor (who shares the 2 car garage) to show up.  Maybe I should ring his doorbell and wake him up to open the door for me?  After 20 minutes, I heard Rolando’s door unlock and there he was! Perfect timing. But desafortunadamente (unfortunately), here was another opportune time where I really wish I could speak a little Español. He figured out that I was having trouble with opening the garage door because he heard my key in the lock and my rattling on the door. After he let me in, we inspected the door to find that it was a bit off kelter. The locking mechanism is in a permanent state of being locked, so I have to be careful about closing the door when I leave or I’ll be locked out again. In the end though, I was able to get into the house and promptly went to bed.

This morning. Should I go out and treat myself to breakfast? Or try to salvage whatever is in the kitchen and make myself something to eat? Friday morning was my first sight of a cockroach on the kitchen counter. It’s not a pretty site, with a bunch of dirty dishes and food left all around. An open can of refried black beans. Margarine. Some moldy tomatoes. Random tortillas in their plastic bags. Stale “bread items” in their plastic wraps (I tried a little crumble of one and decided that it just needed to stay in its package). Eggs. Cooking oil. Wilted red peppers (yes, wilted). Some other things I can’t remember at this point.

But I did spot a box of pancake mix. I have eggs. I have milk. I have margarine. So I’ll make PANCAKES for breakfast! Dulce! (I’m totally using my spanish in the mostest, worstest way possible just like this sentence). Any syrup? I look around. Yes! YES!!! It is maple syrup from… Canada? Yeah, it is in the shape of the Maple Leaf and it looks like it’s never been opened. It also looks like it hasn’t been opened because it’s been sitting on the shelf for a few years. Is there an expiration date for maple syrup? The power left in my brain starts turning out an assumption: this syrup was actually a GIFT that a former student brought. Just like my Portland calendar. But the syrup has never been used. Okay, perfect, brand new maple syrup direct from Canada for my pancakes! But wait a sec…what are these black spore-like spots on the inside mouth of the glass container? Surely it can’t be….nah. But on second thought, I don’t want to take any chances. I think the syrup has passed its useful life and has been left on the shelf for a reason.

So looks like no syrup for my pancakes. How bout some jelly? Sure, but the jam on the table looks like it’s been sitting in the jar for a long time. Plus it just doesn’t smell right. So no syrup, no jelly, and there are no fresh fruits so rule that out. That’s okay, I can live without those accompaninments. The pancakes will be just fine with just the right amount of margarine.

I get my eggs and a bowl. Get out the milk, which strangely is a little frozen. I take the pancake box and open it. It’s been used. That’s fine, there’s still plenty for me to make 2 or 3 pancakes. I take a whiff of the powdered mixture. Can’t really smell anything. So I pour some of it into a bowl. And I get the pancake mix and a little bit more than I was expecting. No, that’s a lie. At this point I can only expect the worst. And on this morning, I expected that I was not to have my pancakes. Because something else had already gotten to that pancake mix and invited his/her entire family. But I reckon that they had too much of a good thing because all the little friendly insecto critters were already dead. And if they are already dead, then that means cooking them even more will do me no harm, right? But wait…why are they dead in the first place? Maybe it’s because the pancake mix is 5 kabillion years old! With remants of some galactic asbestos-esque toxin that renders its victims dead in a few minutes.

Suffice to say, no pancakes for me on this morning. Just don’t tell my host mom that I snooped around the kitchen, as this is confidential information and I just want to last my last 2 days and be done with it. Hopefully when I return to classes next week I’ll inherit Kathy’s family, or Chelsia’s or anyone else instead of my current mom. I can’t believe I’ve lived in this home for over 1 month now. Aside from the food portions, food variety, lack of definite eating times (general outlines only apply, plus or minus 1.5 hours, but always the former), bed bugs, shortage of toilet paper, questionable kitchen food handling practices, lack of Spanish language practice and little adorable Tonito making loud action figure noises and running right up to me screaming and laughing while I’m trying to take a nap on the living room couch, I have no issues whatsoever and am glad that I have something fun to write about in my blogs. I mean, it would just be awful if all my blogs were “I had a wonderfully delicious meal filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, juices and this situation rocks, I don’t want to leave!” Nah, that would be boring and I wouldn’t truly appreciate all the great things that I take for granted back home. So this is a good thing, a blessing in disguise. I’ve said it all along and I’ll say it again. At least this experience has allowed me to lose 256 pounds during my month here. I’ve always wanted to go on Jeopardy and buzz in for every answer and give the wrong response, just to see how many points I can be behind before the final Jeopardy round. Same thing applies here. Is it humanly possible for me to lose weight in the negative so that when I return I’ll be -160 pounds? But if I go to Pluto then I’d weigh like 5 million tons. Just stuff to ponder as I wrap this Sunday evening up. Okay, so that’s our little secret. I haven’t exactly enjoyed my homestay, it has been fine for what it is, but I’m glad it’s coming to its end. “Well hey dummy, if this is so bad then why didn’t you just change in the first place?” Great question whoever posed it, or perhaps everyone has posed it but just to be nice haven’t said anything. Well here’s my answer. I have NONE. Nope, nothing, goose egg, nil, no rhyme or reason. I just decided to “suffer” because I know that I can take it. I might not necessarily be happy with it, but I suppose I just look at it as a personal challenge. Sort of like how I was going to move to Houston a year and a half ago just because it sounded like such a challege. #1 most unfit city in the USA. Traffic snarls and near the top 3 cities with smog/pollution. Heat and humidity. No urban planning, just sprawl everywhere. Yeah, a challenge. Just like reading this post is! I better stop here before I dig myself a bigger hole from which there is no possibility of crawling out. So let’s just say that I was enjoying myself so much trying to figure out what new surprise would pop up in my homestay that I just didn’t want to leave because then that would take all the fun out of it. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but then again, eating eggs and refried black beans everyday can affect your common sense, of which I’ve totally exhausted.

My disclaimer. Despite all the fun I’ve had during my last month in my homestay, mine is a unique situation and many (all) of my fellow students have had the exact opposite experiences. Well, I’m sure that they would have their own incidents and stories, but for the most part their experiences are filled with good food, warm (and sometimes too hot) showers, good families and lifelong relationships. Maybe I’ll get that during my next homestay next week, only time will tell. So that’s all I have for this night, time for me to go home to enjoy my last instant cup o noodles shrimp flavor (with an extra packet of hot sauce, gee whiz aye caramba!) and one of the last unmoldied tomatoes with my host mom’s killer dressing (I need that recipe). And tomorrow I’ll probably have my infant formula cream of wheat hot cereal, it works so well as a breakfast because it doesn’t upset my stomach and tides me over for 2.5 hours before our morning break where I end up buying a meal fit for king for under $5. Now I’m rambling, so that’s all the rambling I have until tomorrow night!


One response to “Kitchen Confidential”

  1. BP4L says:

    Yeah negro!!

    This trip looks awsome!

    I was telling ya about the feelings I had while traveling India, the
    people, the culture, the life of a less industrilized nation. Its
    amazing. It really helps you get everything in perspective. The little things,
    the big things, and your outlook along with a reflection on yourself
    and the Country you call home. Little things you take for granted. Simple
    things back home, that are overlooked and an entire mindset that has
    been tucked away in the back of your head coming to the front.

    This expierence looks awsome man. Seeing the pics of the city and
    Villages you posted brings it back. Cool shit negro. This is a once in a
    lifetime expierence. Enjoy it mang.

    More Pics!!

    Dang, that food looks real real good. Better than LaCretta!

    This comment was reposted from a previous post that was accidentally deleted.

  2. Mike says:

    I agree with you. We all appreciate you suffering for our entertainment. On a side note I ate pizza tonight. Went Karaoking last night. Played mad hoops yeswterday and had ice cream. Tonight I watched two movies, paying for one of course.
    But I won’t be posting a blog about it, I won’t remember what I did in a month and I won’t tell my Grandkids about it. Comedy is really tragedy just with some perspective.
    You rock! Live the life most of us dream of.

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