Does anyone remember what it was like to be a little kid on Christmas Eve? All of the excitement and anticipation for the following day – and the prospect of all of those presents, food, and fun – made it completely impossible to sleep? For hours you would just lay there in bed, knowing that the limited efforts to go to sleep were completely in vain. You couldn’t possibly sleep if you wanted to, or even if you had to. If you do, then you might have an idea of what I’m going through right now, though to a relatively minor extent – a state that is getting progressively more agonizing with each passing day.
I finally updated my myspace profile. I added a countdown. I don’t really like this particular one because it merely counts down to on August 28th. My plane doesn’t take off until around . That a difference of 6 ½ hours. That’s an eternity in my book.
I updated my facebook profile. I added a countdown there. I like this one. It counts down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until on August 28th. Such an acute attention to a detail even as slight as the seconds on a timer should indicate how ridiculously anxious I am to leave. If you click on it, it runs in real time. I also added a map of the earth with all of the places I’ve lived (red), visited (blue), and want to visit (green). My red zones feature
The fact that I’m going to
When I arrived in
And I was hungry. Very, very hungry. I arrived at my apartment and met my colleague, Seth, with whom I would spend the next 2 ½ months – the person who would have the biggest impact on my entire two years in
Once the spaghetti was ready, I dished up and began to eat. Of course, a good plate of spaghetti is hardly complete without any parmesan cheese. Fortunately for me, there was a familiar, cylindrical container sitting there in the middle of table, which I recognized instantaneously as being parmesan cheese. I twisted the cap and pour it all over my spaghetti. I really do love parmesan cheese, so I made sure I got plenty of it. Finally satisfied, I set it down and began to eat.
I took a bite, and chewed it without paying much attention. My mind was racing with all of the things I was being exposed to. I took another bite, my mind still racing. I took a third bite, and something seemed to awake me from my state of mental surrealism.
“Wow, this spaghetti is salty!” I thought to myself. I forced myself to swallow the bite, and looked down at my plate.
“Should I take another bite? Should I say something? I just met this guy. How is he going to take it if I complain that his spaghetti is too salty?” I thought to myself. By no means do I want to get things off on a bad foot. What was I to do?
Finally, without much more thought, I casually said, “This spaghetti is a bit salty.”
As I looked up at him standing by the stove, he grinned somewhat awkwardly and responded saying, “Yeah, you put a lot of salt on that.”
“Salt?” I replied, turning to the container of parmesan cheese set before me. I turned it slightly and saw, for the first time, the image of a blue whale that would be all too familiar in the future, with the titled “Baleine” and “sel” on it.
My French was terrible. I had no idea what “Baleine” was, nor did I have any idea what “Sel” was. For all I knew, it was a brand of parmesan cheese. How wrong I was.
“Ohhhh.” I said. “I thought that was parmesan cheese!” So there I sat, in a moment of awkward silence, staring at my beyond-excessively salty spaghetti.
“You don’t have to finish eating it if you don’t want to. I don’t want you getting sick.” he said.
Fortunately, we promptly laughed about the whole strange situation. As I am a terribly unobservant person, I didn’t notice the very strange look that was on his face as he watched me dump gobs and gobs of salt all over my spaghetti. He didn’t want to say anything for fear that I might freak out and scream, “Okay! So I like salt! Is that such a big deal?!”
I can’t even remember what I ate after that. Maybe it was a bowl of cereal; maybe it was just some M& Ms. I don’t think it really matters. What does matter was that we were able to have a sense of humor about things. I learned that lesson several times, and it’s one that I am definitely going to remember when I go to