Thursday, July 15, 8 p.m.
My host sister just gave me two big, beautiful grape tomatoes. I detected the faintest taste of soil as I ate the first one, and various things came to mind. I recalled what our medical officers told us about the produce here, and where it sometimes comes from (China) and how it’s sometimes grown (in human shit) and how it is therefore a very good idea to scrub and bleach and peel the crap out of everything (LITERALLY! lolololol lolz rite). As I chewed the ripe, juicy flesh of that delicious-ass tomato, I thought of parasites and bacteria and intestinal distress. Violent, protracted, unyielding intestinal distress. Vomiting. Pooping. All day long.
And then I done ate that other tomato anyway: YEEHAW
My skin is really dry here, all the time. Have I told you this? Right now, as I was writing, I looked at my hand and was grossed out by the papery oldness of it. FYI.
Somebody’s phone is ringing, and the ringtone is 50 cent (Go shawty, it’s your birfday).
Here is what my last couple of hours have been like:
I came home at about 6:40 to find my host brother Gomba napping on the couch, and the vegetable-and-meat soup from lunch still sitting in a pot on the camp stove. Nobody else was around. I thought to myself: I will take some initiative, and I will put some of this soup in a bowl and then I will microwave the crap out of it and then voila! I will have made myself dinner, and Gomba will have not awoken from his sweet Gomba-slumber. So I went to turn on the microwave, and it was dead. I flicked a light switch: Nothing.
No problem, I thought: I will pour this bowl of soup in a pan, and then I will put the pan on the gas-powered camp stove, and then I will boil the crap out of it and then voila! Me dinner, Gomba sleep, etc. But when I went to turn on the gas, that was dead, too.
So I’m standing there in the slowly darkening kitchen, bowl of room temperature soup in hand. I’m totally befuddled (the power’s out AND we’re out of gas?), I’m trying not to awaken my bro, and I’m unable to pour the bowl of soup back into the pot because I have already sprinkled it, liberally, with Tobasco sauce (everybody else in the family hates my Tobasco sauce). So like the silly, powerless adult-child that I am, I put the bowl on the kitchen table and covered it with another bowl and prayed to the Language Barrier Gods that the power would come back on before my family arrived home.
No such luck, of course, ha ha ha! Ha. Mom and Dad and Big Sister are out in the kitchen right now. The power is still out, and they’re fixing dinner on the stove with a new can of propane. My Mongolian is godawful, but I can tell that The Mystery Bowl of Food is a big topic of conversation at the moment (“What is this?” ” Oh it’s food from lunch” “Why is it here?” “I don’t know” “Whose is it?” “I don’t know” “Gomba, is this yours?” “NO MOM IT’S NOT MINE” “Well maybe it’s Katie’s food” “Well wtf is that weird American up to now” etc).
Excuse me while I look up the phrase “Oh sorry, I was going to microwave that but the power was out, and then I was going to cook it but I couldn’t figure out the stove, and then I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing. Silly me! Ha! I think I’ll just sit here in the kitchen and smile for a while, as per usual, if that’s okay with you.”