Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tropical Disappointment

I should have known better, but hope against all hopes, I bought mangoes for a fruit salad. I already knew that bananas in the States aren't as sweet as ones in Mozambique. December, as I have mentioned in an earlier post, is fruit salad month in Mozambique--mangoes and pineapples are in season and bananas and papayas are always producing. So for the past six Decembers we have had luscious tropical fruit salad.

The mangoes I purchased came from Ecuador.  I cut into the first one, it was hard and pale yellow, not a succulent, juicy orange like I was accustomed to. The second one was a little riper and the third, though it looked much closer to Mozambican mangoes, the juice did not run down my hands, making it hard to hold the mango to slice.

Lesson learned...fruit that travels so far does not have the flavor or juice as local fresh fruit. Sigh. When I was in Moz I missed temperate climate fruit--apples, pears, peaches, berries. Now, I miss tropical fruit.

Monday, December 03, 2012

December

It's December again. For the first time in six years December is not hot! It certainly makes "getting in the Christmas spirit" much easier. We decorated our trees today; embarrassingly four. Two artificial (one we had and one my mom gave us), a small live Norway spruce that I gave Joel while we were dating and a smallish junky juniper in the flowerbed next to our front porch. The more the merrier, right?! Our mothers have both decided that now that we are in our own place here in the States, anything and everything that was ever ours in their homes are now in ours and in our house. We have way too many Christmas ornaments! We even have a themed tree--all the Christmas ornaments that we've ever received from Ten Thousand Villages or overseas, and it's not a small tree either. Yay for fair trade ornaments!
Our international ornaments tree--so big compared to what we had in Moz!

I've been missing Mozambique this week...The weekly women's Bible study that I attended, having a maid/nanny so I could get out of the house without the children, small cafes where we would get a cup of tea and pastry, the Anglican liturgy sung, the rich hues of the purple of Advent contrasting with white walls of the church's decorations, speaking Portuguese, and fruit salad. December in Moz is fruit salad month--bananas and papayas which are always in season and then mangoes and pineapples. As much as I longed for a cold November and December when I was there, I miss it now--not the sweating out every pore in my body but the now-familiar rhythms of the southern hemisphere seasons. Mangoes, papayas, bananas, pineapples that have to travel so far are just not the same as ones that are locally grown.  I noticed a picture of a mango in a magazine; it didn't even look ripe!

That said, it's been nice to see the decorations of the holiday season around. We admit that for the most part, our society goes overboard on the celebrating of Christmas and misses the amazing love of God coming to earth as Emmanuel; but from our perspective, it's lovely to see the wreaths, lights, colored balls, candles and holiday cheer. It's nice to be in a place where giving gifts is celebrated (in Moz people don't give gifts, usually because of poverty but also for unsaid cultural reasons). May you celebrate the love of God this Christmas season!