Thursday, May 28, 2009

crying over salt

ophf, today felt like a loOoOong day.

i left my apartment at 9:30am and squeezed myself onto the subte. depending on what kind of mood i'm in, the ride isn't so bad, but today, being stepped on and elbowed wasn't pleasant.

i taught from 10-2, and then walked to my 3pm student. it took me about 15 min to walk to him, so i didn't want to pay for food and just sit for 45 min, so i just sat and read near his office. mr.gordito walked passed me while i was reading, he yelled 'gordita' at me with a big smile. i have a feeling i'll be hearing this nickname more.

after my 3pm student (at 4pm) i had 2.5 hours to spare until my next student. i walked and walked looking for a suitable cafe. i wasn't hungry, even though i only had yogurt and granola at 9am, but i knew i needed to eat. i passed cafe after boring food cafe (pasta, pizza, empanadas and breaded chicken and more fried food bla). finally i came across a 'natural' food place and i felt hopeful. i scoped out the menu and it looked good. many interesting salads, rice, some curry dishes. i thought "um. ok!" (it was on the corner of Esmeralda and Juan Peron)

i went inside and took a seat. 2 min later a woman appeared at my table. in spanish i asked her to bring me a menu (like the one i saw posted outside). she told me it was self-service. ok.

i gathered my purse and made my way up to the glass counter where there were several dishes on display. there was only one "salad" but it didn't have lettuce, instead it had cous-cous (and in my opinion that is NOT a salad), so i asked if there were more salads and she said no. there were many fancy disguised empanadas (they weren't the traditionally wrapped empanadas but rather the deep-fried pastry was folded in another fashion). there were also several tortas (like a quiche), but i went with the curry rice.

to my surprise and disgusted the woman took the rice dish that was on display and put it in the microwave to warm up! i thought those were just displays so you know what they look like? how long was is sitting there....and the microwave??

i paid 17 pesos and they so kindly brought my microwaved meal over to me. at this point i still wasn't hungry, even with food now in front of me, but i dug in.....the first bite tasted like i put a spoonful of salt in my mouth. i almost cried out of frustration. i'm not hungry, i have no appetite and when i do try to eat, the food is disgusting.

after some pouting, i returned the food telling them it had too much salt. i chose the 'salad' that was incredibly boring with no taste but it was slightly editable.

i never had an eating problem in the states. i was always hungry and always looked forward to eating. today i had my second strong pang of homesickness. i just wanted to get on a plane and eat the second i landed. i wanted to fulfill my new nickname 'gordita' (little fat girl)

feeling low, and tired and frustrated, and maybe a little sick (chills and my stomach still hurts occasionally), and not happy about the chilly weather, i marched to starbucks. i'm a little disappointed in myself for 'breaking'. i've been so good at not relying on american restaurants here. i'll go, but there is always a reason...well, i guess i had one today.

at starbucks i paid 17 pesos (the same amount for my lunch) for a latte and a chocolate chip muffin. i then fell into one of the big chairs and put up my feet. it was my temporary slice of home. (afterward my stomach hurt more from the whole milk they put in the latte...i can't win)

at 6:30 i taught another student. he's an older married man with a child who i think wants more than english lessons; i get that vibe from him. he invited me to dinner (which really sounded appealing at that point) and he offered to take me home with his car. i would have declined even if i didn't have a student at 7:30. i'm not in the home wrecking business.

by 8:45pm i was on the subway home and around 9:10pm i got off at my stop. almost 12 hours in the centro. i'm still hungry and my stomach still has mystery pains that come and go...probably its telling me to eat, which i plan on doing a.s.a.p tomorrow morning.


Anonymous said...

Something we've noticed living in various places outside the States for a very long time, culture shock is never a real problem, food shock always is, except in southern Europe, of course. The food on offering, by and large, on Buenos Aires is bland and boring, and it doesn't take very long to get tired of it. There are interesting and edible choices here, but they are rare and one has to work pretty hard to find them. I have finally figured out that the best food in Buenos Aires is not Argentine, it is Peruvian, so now we seek out Peruvian restaurants ... with the American-style addition of Kansas. I never thought I would get tired of eating steaks, but I already am, and I think I don't really want to eat another empanada for the rest of my life. A long time ago, living in eastern Europe, someone asked me what I missed about the States ... my answer was -- VARIETY, and that is especially true when it comes to food and restaurants.

yillabean said...

well said.

having 'food shock' comes as a surprise to me because i had no problems eating in the u.s. and i had absolutely no problems eating in sweden for the year i lived there.

i agree that peruvian food is the ticket! there is a place close to centro (in congresso), so i may go there more often when i have a 2 hour break between students.