Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eating away from home

This whole internship thing has me in a tizzy. From the middle of last week to today I’ve been turning in papers, training, and learning all I can to make these next five weeks a great adventure for everyone involved. At twenty-one, this is my first experience in putting conflict resolution into practice with people outside my family. And I’m getting paid for it!

Today's lunch: turkey & Gouda rice cracker sandwich, Granny Smith apple, handful of almonds, and veggie slices.

I’m more excited than I am terrified. I only learned last week that I would have to provide my own meals, likely from my dorm room at certain times in the day. Cheryl mentioned that I should plan out my meals, at least for the first week, so the “hard” part would just be finding time to go to the grocery store. I will do my best to blog as often as I can throughout this experience, but it will likely be once a week, and much like my “Bento Box Snapshot” series. But I’m still having trouble with not eating enough to sustain me, likely where protein is concerned.

Everything seemed to be put on hold, however, when we got a call from Grandma D last Thursday evening, saying that Grandpa B was in the hospital. By Friday afternoon, we were back in North Carolina, the joke being that it seemed like it was only a week since we’d last visited.

Actually, it was just the week before last Mama Dazz and I trekked down to Tarboro to celebrate Father’s Day with the folks. I always look forward to our visits down there. Grandpa B is a man who is set in his ways but progressive, a talented storyteller and animal lover, and a bangin’ griller. He and Grandma D have quite the green thumbs, so we like to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ the wonders of the backyard those afternoons we arrive. There’s such calmness in that part of North Carolina, where the pine trees shadow the neighborhoods and cows randomly ‘moo’, that I have a tendency to nap before dinner and be in bed asleep before 9 p.m. 


It’s in the morning as we drink coffee on the porch that I ask why we don’t come down more often. But after driving close to eleven hours, visiting the hospital, taking Grandma D back and forth, doing all we can while we were there, it has taken a toll on everyone involved. To quote Mama Dazz, “It’s like I’m wading through soup today.”

Grandpa B was in the cardiac wing of the hospital connected to East Carolina University, and out by Monday afternoon. The inside of the buildings were simply marvelous, and the staff were hospitable and welcoming. But when I looked at the food, it seemed better than most hospitals provided, but the cafeteria had few gluten free options. I did make my own food, packing fruits, veggies, a jar filled with brown rice and pinto beans for myself, and sandwiches for Mama Dazz and Uncle R. But after seeing Grandpa B’s meals, it made me realize that I would have to provide my own sustenance should I end up in a hospital’s sanitized walls. Mama Dazz agreed wholeheartedly.

For a while I’ve been bringing my own food to eat during our stay, but now Mama Dazz and I simply bring dinner ingredients to make when we get there. Even better, we found a jar of organic peanut butter in Greenville that I can keep there for future visits.

As for the internship, I’ve been given a small fridge to put in my room, and I have a feeling my rice cooker and I are going to become even better friends. I’ve been looking at the recipe booklet that came with it, and really, it’s a multipurpose cooker. I plan on making omelets, oatmeal, quinoa, one-pot meals, and so much more. We’ve already planned amongst ourselves when we have time off. Oh! And I’ve been chosen to go with them to Philadelphia and New York City for an overnight trip. That’s another gluten-free adventure in and of itself that I’ll be sure to write about when we come to that.

Tomorrow we will have early arrivals from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. On Thursday the rest of the campers from Tajikistan, Pakistan, and the U.S. will arrive, and we will be going on a tour of D.C. after they’ve settled in the dorms on Friday.

And to think, it’s only Tuesday.

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