Saturday, August 23, 2008

Such a Hottie

I am sorry to inform Helen and Janet that I have been adopted by a family in the market and will not be coming home.

My new parents are in their mid-forties, own a foodstall where they make THE BEST sandwiches ever (have you figured out the key to winning my affection yet? I don't even like sandwiches) and have two daughters in their early twenties. My new dad is deceptively shorter than me and doesn't speak any English, and I don't look anything like my new sisters, but no worries. My Vietnamese is coming along.

I had never really thought my foodie-ism was that extreme, but this all came about because apparently I am fun to feed. Lily has been trying to fatten me up by appearing at my desk several times a day with a snack and my new family has gotten in on the act. I recently learned that you have to keep a buffer of food in your bowl, because if you empty it, it will be snatched from your hands and refilled. And Im not sure speaking Vietnamese would help you protest. Meals are usually a five-course affair - savory vegetable rice porridge with homemade croutons, sour tofu soup, fried morning glory, bitter melon stew, stewed mushrooms... eaten in the market. I think they like having me around because I help the girls practice their English, and because it gives them a reason to cook. I like stealing recipes.

Also, they are homeopathic healers of a sort. I got a monster cankersore (thanks, Malarone) and am generally the sweatiest German in the county, so it was determined that I am generally "too hot." Hot humors and cold humors are constantly at war in a person, and my hot humors win. So there have been lots of dishes with coconut, which is cooling, and also some drinks made out of untranslatable ground up vegetables, but the cankersore went away immediately.

This gets me to the challenge of my new clan. I am the only one who doesnt speak Vietnamese, which means I am effectively the little sister who can't protest ill treatment. If one of the other volunteers, who were adopted long before I got here, are handed an avocado smoothie they don't want to drink, for instance... guess who gets it. "Claire really likes avocado and she has an upset stomach, too." This is karmic payback for all the times I locked Janet in the closet when we were kids.

A side note: Dad's family was in the VietCong, and Mom's was in the South Vietnamese Army. Now Dad's connected, so his daughter has access to some higher education that wouldn't be available otherwise, and all of Mom's family are in the US. This was communicated in a very light-hearted pragmatic fashion, which sort of astounds me.


Ryan Wanger said...

All of the sudden I become a halfway decent cook, and then you go and raise your standards. Harumph!

Anonymous said...

I really hated being locked in that damn closet! I'm so glad that someone is getting you back, especially after I gave up many years ago...