Thursday, March 17, 2016

Of food and dish cleaning liquids

Everything that happened to be today you need not have known about-

A new neighbor arrived from Korea today. He did not have much with him, so I gave him a few food items, including a packet of seaweed and a pair of chopsticks. He was thrilled. That's the most culturally sensitive thing I have done as a neighbor, offer a Korean Korean food and Korean cutlery. I also realized that anything in my kitchen that is not Bengali or Indian is Korean (not German). My first friend in Germany was Korean (she still is, just that she is not in Germany anymore). My firsthand exposure to the Korean culture started from there. I was already into watching Korean movies much before that, but now, I picked up basic Korean words too. For the first few months in Germany, my Korean friend was learning German while I was learning Korean.

My first night in Germany brings back depressing memories. I was dog-tired, did not have any money with me (my US bank cards refused to work), and I went to sleep with a growling stomach, eating just an apple and a few leftover crackers from the flight. Ever since, whenever a new neighbor arrives, I not only draw them a map to the nearby grocery store, but also unlock my fridge for them. We have locks in fridges here. I have developed some strange anxiety about going to bed hungry since that day. Whenever I return to Germany from Kolkata or Seattle, I make sure that I have plenty of food with me. A few weeks back, I got enough cooked food from Seattle to last me four days, thanks to G. My mom does the same.

On an unrelated note, the highlight of my happening life is that someone stole the dish cleaning liquid from the kitchen last night. We have a common kitchen, and the apartment manager provides cleaning stuff for our floor. The other floors have their own kitchen and buy their own stuff. Someone must have run out of dish cleaning liquid upstairs, and instead of using some of ours, stole the entire bottle. Now how harmful can stealing a bottle be, you'd think, right? Harmful enough that I could not do any of the dishes, and thus could not leave home until 9 am, when the apartment manager arrived and I informed her and she put a new bottle. Why would someone steal dish cleaning liquid and get me delayed in going to work by two hours, I kept wondering on my way back when I went to the grocery store to buy dish cleaning liquid for me. How expensive could it be, I thought? I don't know, since I have never had to buy one in Germany. Well, I discovered that the brand they provide us here is a mere 1.09 euros for a 500 ml bottle. Even better, I bought the store brand for much cheaper, all of 89 cents for a liter. And still, someone decided to steal dish cleaning liquid, of all the things.


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