Quote of Inspiration

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fig #6: The Unexpected Fig

As you know, I went to Europe to attend the wedding of a friend, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer. The wedding was in northern Spain, so after a few days in Paris (and one paltry sunrise), I took a 10-hour train ride from Paris to Spain and landed in a hotel with a few other Peace Corps gals, loads of coffee and heaps of bread (we had room service).

The wedding was the following day, and it was one of those weddings that makes you cry for the simplicity and sincerity of it. As I looked around the church, it was clear that every person there cared about the couple. There was none of that big-wedding-invite-everyone feeling. Nearly everyone in our row and in the rows above and behind us was all teary-eyed as the bride came down the aisle. It was touching because of the quiet emotion that sort of permeated this little Spanish cathedral perched on top of a hill overlooking the quaintest town I've seen in a long time.

Well, after the throwing of rose petals and pelting the couple with handfuls of rice, we all made our way to the reception, which ended up being a multi-course sit-down meal in a beautiful, sun-filled banquet hall that somehow makes American banquet halls seem all dingy and dark and missing a strobe light and disco ball.

Okay, I digress. Back to the food. I have to say that the dinner came on the heels of tapas, and I thought more than once of the ubiquitous Chinese expression: man, man chi. Slow, slow eat. They would always say it at dinners and banquets - eat slowly, enjoy yourself, have another glass of beer.........eat slowly.

So, the first course of our dinner was a fois gras and apple pate/terrine and slices of bread and toasts. It was lovely, and I had to stop myself half-way through eating it, reminding myself to slow, slow eat and wait for more to come.

Okay...........the second course was.........................SCALLOPS.

I know. Fig #28 on my list just happens to be EAT SCALLOPS.

I have to tell you why I've never eaten scallops. It all started back when I was a child, and my parents were divorced. My mother, sisters, brother and I all lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon, and my mother was dating the man who would later become my step-father (for 7 years). I should also mention that I was raised Mormon, but my mother had sort of fallen off the wagon after her divorce (likely during my parents' marriage), and as much as we still went to church, there were these little paths taken that were definitely not sanctioned by the Joseph Smith.

For example, I found my mother in the back yard of the apartment complex one evening, on a lawn chair, in a bikini. I know. Well, as if being half-naked wasn't enough, my step-dad was there, and they were drinking wine. I think it might have been wine spritzers - those horrid Bartles and James things that were popular in the 80's - but whatever it was, the whole thing was very sordid and dangerous to my 8-year-old mind.

They were eating scallops. My step-dad offered one to me, and I declined. He insisted. I think I might have cried, and I think I was forced to take a bite, and of course I hated it and thought it was disgusting and have refused to even consider eating them again for the rest of my life.

So, there I am, at this lovely wedding reception, and along come a plate of scallops. I look across the table at a fellow Peace Corps volunteer and smile, because she follows me here at 52 Figs and she could appreciate the poignancy of this moment.

The scallops were actually not in full scallop form. They were mixed together with all sorts of cheese and cream, and they were served in big shells, all hot and bubbly, so it was sort of like eating scallops-light. I dug in, and I loved them of course. It's nice when it works out that way.

Luckily, my Peace Corps friend happens to be a fabulous photographer, and she took a photo of me with my surprise scallops. So, for those of you who don't know me, here I am - a plate of steaming, creamy scallops in my hands:

So, there it is. Me, eating scallops, at a gorgeous wedding of a great friend in a charming Spanish town. Does life get better?


1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...