It’s as if you were looking through the car window – everything moves really slowly at the back, in the distance, while in front of you life passes by at full speed. On the one hand, you receive news from home – birthdays you missed celebrations you won’t be able to attend. On the other hand, in your new home life goes by at top speed. Time is so distorted now, that you learn how to measure it in tiny little moments, either a Skype call with your family and old friends or a pint with the new ones. This is when you realize every minute is important because you have lot of things do to talking about assignments, attending lectures, laundry, cleaning and the most time consuming cooking. The best Indian food which I thought was healthy was frozen parathas, snacks and ready to cook food. I also enjoyed fresh vegetable pizzas, burgers and lot of potato wedges for couple of weeks. Three weeks down the line I realized I was falling ill and I had a bad tummy. I visited the local doctor and he advised me to avoid packed and frozen food for some months and gave me medication. I realized that frozen and packed food had taken a toll on my energy levels and health that’s when I moved to eating healthy home nutritious food.
I was totally helpless, surfing the internet for instant recipes and then walking down to the grocery stores. I had no idea about fruits, vegetables or even grocery. When you live abroad, the simplest task such as buying fruits, vegetables, lentils and then deciding what and how to cook these dishes can become a huge challenge. A food, a song, a smell. The smallest trifle can overwhelm you with homesickness. You miss those little things like home cooked food you never thought you’d miss, and you’d give anything to go back to that place, even if it were just for an instant.
The first time I entered the store my reaction went something like this: "Oh my gosh, I love that store! It's the greatest grocery store ever. Seriously. Best. Store. Ever." Suddenly I felt like we'd just spotted Brad Pitt: voices got shrill, heart rates sped up. Words like love and amazing and can't live without it flew around the group. It was frenzied devotion — and all for a grocery store that I at the time had never even heard of! I was amazed to see all those delicious fruits and fresh vegetables but the next minute I was confused what and how to buy? Walking down the vegetable section I realized my favorite vegetable “Lady Finger” is not available. I walked up to the store manager and asked her if they have Lady Finger. I tried to give the best description of the vegetable. “A finger size dark green sticky elongated vegetable. The store manager had a hearty laugh and I was very embarrassed. She had no clue what I was talking about and she said that no store has a lady finger (vegetable) and she walked away. I couldn’t imagine my life abroad without eating bhindi !
To be continued….
Author: Mohit R Trivedi
Manager Instructional Design and Training Delivery