On forks and grapes

… or little luxuries you aren’t willing to give up (and shouldn’t).

Back in June Roomie was very vocal in negatives when I proposed we buy Tupperware dishes for our leftovers and other needs. “I don’t need no dishes. They got paper plates in the breakfast area.” “But spoons and forks, though — “ “Breakfast area.” “Plastic.” “So?” Not surprisingly so, mind you; the only way she’s ever vocal is in immediately expressing an opinion opposite to her co-speaker’s.

Even there in that local Walmart, not even a week after my arrival, I was adamant about one thing: the suite is our home for the next four months. I’m gonna make it behave like one, too. Home, as every Slovene knows, begins with food.

She gave in and purchased a Spoon and a Fork, adorable polka dotted things. We’re matching. Even a set of knives was purchased — a Small Knife, a Medium knife, and a Near Butcher Knife (largely used by me on Cooking Days). I didn’t feel like risking to push Roomie into purchasing two Medium Knives, so we could both eat normally at the same time; she’s very strict about Unnecessary Expenses (unless they go into area of diet teas). Her rolling eyes were threatening to jump out at me as it was. That was quite enough cutlery excitement for one day.

Unfortunately though,the Forks of both of us gave up last week — I’ll assume for having been washed too vigorously, or perhaps they broke under pressure of being the Only Forks that took on all the general Fork Requirements. Thus I’ve been employing the infamous breakfast area forks — and let me say, they leave something to be desired for when you’re needing to turn a cordon bleu roll over in sizzling oil. They also put up a poor fight against (otherwise wonderful, spicy) meatballs, and are absolutely useless for twirling spaghetti with.

So that’s. Definitely on my shopping list, come tomorrow’s paycheck.

There’s other things I’m unwilling to give up, in spite of their price range (the Forks and Spoons being treated outside of that paragraph, with a one time price of $1.60). Fruit, for example. Some motherflippin’ juicy, firm grapes. They’re throwaway price, back home. Change, really; same thing with potatoes. I wanted to confirm, so I asked dad to flip through the newspapers and send me a picture of an ad. Sure enough, there it was: a kilogram of potato costs 40 cents (€). Certainly — there’s a whole issue of devaluation of the farmer’s work, the too low market prices, etc. Potato shouldn’t cost 40 cents. But it sure as hell is easier.

My point is: there will be grapes, and potatoes, and an onion here and there, and even a bowl of watermelon (that the juice of always spills out of into my backpack and I’ve still not found a solution), chicken without antibiotics — and if I pay double or triple for it, then so be it. I hardly touch junk food, and we don’t go out nearly as much as we could, so it’s something that balances itself. In addition, considering the weather here and the absolute sauna-level sweating during work, I’m also unwilling to cheat with shower gels. Not that this spoiled white skin wouldn’t let me know immediately if I was; I still remember the allergies that broke out in my first weeks here, and I’m not returning to that.

It’s worth it for the wave of prideful joy I feel when I’m taking pictures of my cooking handiwork in the makeshift kitchen. Basic, but effective (that goes for the both of us). Of course I have nobody to actually share the food with (Roomie not even wanting to taste, let alone sit down for a meal with me), so I’m appointing myself queen of leftovers — that’s an honourable title, anyway, because let me tell you, you wish you could get a taste of my leftover stew.

Through the weeks, I’ve become aware of the importance of those things I call ‘mine’ — not the material possessions, but the things you are in your tags. In the same way it’s important for me to keep up the Writing and Cooking, it’s important to go out — with my own initiative, my own time, my own exploring — and learn and grow. I have a favourite burger place now, for Christ’s sake, and not a chain restaurant type, either. I know shops, support the local places, don’t need to check the map to know whereabouts I am. I’ve even taken to spoiling myself (collective gasp); granted, it’s a lot easier when you actually have a credit card and income, but you get my drift.

Like I’ve told a friend today: I’m happy with who I am here (vicious knocking on wood commences). Mistakes and hiccups, all of that. Because I know the me here is free of the load of her family on her back, her dad’s demands and expectations, the pressure of exams and the need to excel, and I’m getting by with what I’ve gotten and made myself. Whatever shapes out of that mass is the real deal. I reward myself for work well done, but when it’s not, I don’t lose patience. And, surprise of all surprises: I don’t hate me (not on days that don’t start with a vicious hangover and knowing I fucked up severely just a few hours ago, anyway). This is someone I could continue to live with, grow old with, and we’d look back fondly. Us an our little luxuries, rejecting the unnecessary compromises.

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