Friday, August 17, 2012

The Spinach Scandal

In my homestay I am provided with breakfast seven days a week and dinner five days a week, but I am on my own everyday for lunch. For breakfast I used to have toast, but my host mother kept burning it, and I don't want to eat crusty burnt toast, so I decided to buy some cereal. When the bag that I bought ran out, she bought one like the one I bought and some other kind that looks like frosted mini wheats, but it is stuffed with the gross looking strawberry stuff that I know I am not going to like. Anywho, dinner is mostly meat. Sometimes meat and potatoes, so I decided that I would buy spinach and have it for lunch this week in a salad to get some vitamins and nutrients.

I went off to the fruit stand and I bought a huge bag of spinach, a bag with two romaine hearts and a lemon (for dressing) for 11 Argentine pesos (~$2 USD). The only catch was that the spinach was the dirtiest that I have ever seen in my life. I'm talking visible dirt, roots, just nasty. So I figured it must be extra fresh and I would have to wash it a lot before I ate it. I got home and I showed my host mother my purchases and explained to her that I was going to take the spinach to school for lunch so I didn't have to spend money everyday on lunch and she seemed to understand at the time. She even got me some bowls to wash it in and some newspaper to put it on to dry. I washed and washed like little Cinderella until it was clean and the water was clear. Then I put it in a bag and put it in the vegetable drawer in the fridge.

The two days later I went into the kitchen for lunch after a hard day at school and I was excited about my salad because I bought an avocado the night before and I was excited to have half of it in my salad. I open the fridge and to my surprise, there was no avocado there. I asked my host mother what happened to it and she surmised that my host brother must have eaten it. I could not help but be a little perturbed because she allowed him to eat something she knew she did not buy, but she went out later and bought some more, so I let it go.

The following day I was going to have salad at school so I got up early to pack my lunch and when I went into the fridge to  get my spinach, I noticed that there was a plate already in the fridge with some of my spinach on it that seemed to be leftovers. I thought that was strange, but I went ahead and packed my lunch and went on my way. I had lunch and I had an evening class, so I was happy to get home and eat dinner. When I arrived everyone was waiting for me at the table and as soon as I sat down the maid brought out a bowl of salad, made with my spinach! I could not believe this and I was doing everything I could to stop myself from falling out of my chair. I ate the salad but I kept thinking that maybe they bought some, and mine was still safely tucked in the veggie drawer waiting to be eaten by its rightful owner! To my disappointment after dinner I snuck into the kitchen and there was no trace of my spinach, not a leaf!

I am not sure what to do. What is the world coming to when a woman cannot have spinach in her own house??!! I could talk to them, but I feel awkward about it because they clearly don't think there was anything wrong with eating something they know I paid for with my own money, but I explicitly told her that it was for my lunch, but I don't want to seem like I am selfish, even though it was my spinach. I could just talk to her or write my name on my food, but I don't really think that would do much. I am going to keep my lunch in the fridge at school and write my name on it. I could just write my name on it and keep it at home, but I feel like that is passive aggressive and overtly saying that I have a problem with them eating my food, which I do, but I don't want them to know. I think here are some cultural differences here when it comes to the idea of what is personal and what is communal, but I have a solution for all of this to bypass the awkwardness and confusion of it all. I am going to keep my food in the fridge at school and write my name on it because at least then I don't feel bad about writing my name on it because it is semi public. I just dont want to make waves. I have 3 more months here and I am just trying to keep the peace and not shame Americans everywhere with my selfish ways, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

Over and out.

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