Published: August 31st 2006August 26th 2006
I have had to make an unfortunate pact with the spiders residing in my bathroom. I uphold my end of the bargain sitting idly by and watching as the arachnids encroach upon my space while, for their part, they eat all of the mosquitoes and ants unlucky enough to wander into one of their ever-growing webs.
As spiders fall into the Jayme creature category of things with two many legs (accompanied by centipedes, squids, octopi, millipedes, crabs, and lobsters), I am not particularly fond of the situation, yet the dozen new bites I acquire every day have compelled me to let nature run its course. That is, until I discover a spider bite. Then those suckers are out of here.
This afternoon I drank most deliciously disgusting drink I have ever had the pleasure (?) of tasting. It was the most unnatural shade of green crowned with the most unnatural shade of orange, and it was thick, like a smoothie from the mall. What was it, you ask? A puréed avocado mixed with sugar and topped with a dollop of mango ice cream.
I feel that in the states, avocado is more or less considered to be a vegetable. It can be found rolled into sushi, mashed into guacamole, or tucked into sandwiches from California, but rarely if ever will you find it alone, waiting to be consumed like an apple or a peach. The nation of Sri Lanka feels quite differently about the avocado, or butter fruit, as I have unfortunately come to discover. One of the desserts of which my family is particularly fond is avocado pudding, partially mashed avocado mixed with sugar. All in all, it tastes not unlike the sugar butter my mom swears she never fed my sister and me when we were children. Of course on the rare occasions we ate butter sugar, we never consumed more than a tablespoon at a time; here I am forced to eat an entire avocado before leaving the table. The overexposure is making me seriously consider my heretofore affinity for avocado. Blech.
Sometimes I feel like a show dog when it comes to my homestay. Relation after relation and neighbor after neighbor has been invited to the house to see “the American.” They speak casually with my amma, forgetting that while I might not know much Sinhala, I know the word for American. I stand idly by waiting to be addressed directly, at which time I answer questions with one word Sinhala phrases. I have taken to doing so as when I attempt to expand my vocabulary, my amma sniggers incessantly. Sometimes it is warranted, as when I confuse the verbs danəwa (to burn), dannəwa (to know), and daanəwa (to put) - they sound exactly the same to my untrained ear - but other times it simply confuses me, as I am positive I have said the phrase correctly.
My locu amma visited us in Kandy this weekend accompanied by her husband and two of her three children, a girl and a boy, ages fifteen and eighteen respectively. I somehow managed to teach the children Go Fish using the scant phrases hatəray (four) and eyaatə kiyannə (say to her) mixed with English. It was as fun as Go Fish can ever be, once they got the hang of it. I did manage to embarrass myself in front of the children, however, after I completed my afternoon shower. Due to the heat and oppressive humidity, I have taken to walking around my room in the buff for about fifteen minutes before trying to pull clothes over my sticky skin. Today I forgot that I had opened the curtains to prop the window open and rounded the corner to see my nangi and the female cousin walking on the wall outside my window. There was an embarrassed rush away from the window on both sides, and we never spoke of it again.