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Friday, October 25, 2013

Nuts, Sweets, Festivities: What Dreams are Made Of

We went grocery shopping last night, and our supermarket just stocked some nuts. You know the sorts: hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, etc. What really stoked me was that they also have the nuts in the shells. The nuts in the shells. For the first time in my life I saw what an almond looked like in its shell, and the little round hazelnuts that I so often see depicted in the sachet of my instant coffee in Indonesia, and of course the roundish wrinkled walnuts. I remember looking at them, touching them, and felt like on the verge of crying.

But that was not all. In anticipation for the holiday season, the supermarket's bakery section was chock filled with various goods: pumpkin pies, cherry pies, apple pies, the thin versions, the one piled high with whipped creams, any kind of pies that you can imagine; stacks and stacks of cookies with colorful icing on it; slices of cheese cakes and full carrot cakes and other type of cakes; decorated butter cream cakes with frankestein face and some cute fluffy monsters, all in different colors and styles; packs and packs of cupcakes with delicious icing on top, chocolate white green yellow and all sort of colors; and candies, endless rows of candies. Last night was probably THE best night of my life here in US.

My first banana split

To an [adult] American, I probably looked foolish. Holidays come and go here, and probably only children shared my excitement about the holiday season and the treats to come. I grew with it. From my forever sunny country I grew (and learned my English) with tales of Christmas, of tables laden with delicious meals and pies and small cakes and puddings, of winter stories where everyone huddled for warmth, of the nutcrackers and Christmas candies and how children and squirrel eat their nuts from the shell. All the stories and European folklore I grew up with told about the rich savory meals and the delicious sweets, their adventures were awesome and their stories were powerful, but the depiction of the meals was what seemed so real and so relatable to me. I would probably feels the same when I see a real castle and/or a real royal horse and/or a real princess/prince in the old days costume complete with air of grace and royalty, but for now it was the food, the glorious food.

The real treat is, of course, not the food itself. The real treat is realizing that the thing you can only see as fiction is indeed verily real. I had a candy cane before in Indonesia, as well as Christmas tree and even a full set of Santa's cabin in the "snow" with "snow" falling on it. I remember being so happy and ecstatic, yet it didn't feel right. There was something amiss there. The snow, the candy, the little deer ornaments on the Christmas tree, these were all fascinating, but they don't belong there. They don't belong in the tropical paradise, they belong to four seasons countries. And I thought I would live all my life without tasting what fresh blueberries taste like (they're delicious!) and what a joy freshly baked banana bread would be (my husband made the best ever!). But they're real. Everything that I have read, all the things that filled my childhood with wonder and amazement, all the emotion stirred in the stories and how I imagined them to be, they are real. Just as the cold weather told in Fall and winter stories, they are too, frighteningly real.  

My husband once asked me, what impresses me the most about US. I said it was the tap water, that we can actually drink right from the tap. Last night he jokingly said he couldn't fathom that after all the things he showed to impress me in US, I was instead ecstatic about tap water and nuts. I felt kind of bad, but to me that is what dreams are made of. People so often took for granted things in their daily life, things that they are so accustomed to. But to others, to people who do not lived the way they do or even think the way they do, those things might be an exciting experience to itself. I remember my husband smile as he waited patiently for me to checked the cookies and cakes display in the supermarket's bakery, and how he offered me to buy a bag of mixed nuts and the nutcracker. I declined though, thinking the nutcracker is a monstrous hammer-like thing the size of a nutcracker soldier doll; how surprised I was when he showed me the nutcracker was only the size of letter L keys, and I laughed and laughed like crazy there. I am glad he had the patience and open-mind to be joyful and excited with my new "discoveries", instead of being angry and confuse and say "It's just some walnuts, get over it!".

Every night it grew colder here, and the mornings seemed to come really late. I snuggled happily in my bed with my husband next to me, and the thought of having his homemade warm hot pancakes with syrup for breakfast makes me all happy and joyful. This is just like the story book. This is what dreams are made of.    

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