Many fellows have been counting down the days until we leave Ecuador and for various reasons. Sometimes its big and obvious reasons, they miss their family and friends, and, sometimes its for small reasons that add up, missing driving a car and the familiarity of their town. I started counting down the days until I return home a couple of weeks ago. The reason that pushed me into the habit of checking my countdown clock regularly for how much longer until I land in Milwaukee on April 14th is seemingly simple and small: rice.
In the US my dad is a chef, and, my mom knows her way around a kitchen. This means a different type of food everyday and maybe rice twice a week at the most. However, for the past few months I have had rice twice a day every day and it has finally caught up to me. In the beginning this lack of variety in my diet didn’t cause any problems. The way I viewed my meals was if it wasn’t bad then it was automatically good. Unfortunately, this positive attitude hasn’t been enough.
There is a list currently on my phone of all of the food that I miss and that I am determined to eat when I get back to the US. There are 78 food items, and more are added every week. From simple items like ice and ranch to a beef sandwich with specific toppings and sour dough bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, everything that I miss is on this list. What I look forward to during my weeks now are Fridays where I have to travel two hours to Cuenca for Spanish class. This is due to the fact that after Spanish class I enjoy a delicious hot chocolate with eggs benedict and hash browns, one of my favorite meals of all time.
Below are some photos of recent meals I’ve had with my family all of which contain rice.
Now not all of these meals are bad. The yellow rice with ham, peas, and carrots actually has flavor and is a meal I get excited for. The avocado here is fantastic and way creamier than any I’ve tasted in the US and certainly something I’ll miss. Fried plantains are a favorite of mine and they successfully satisfy my sweet tooth. However, none of these facts can make up for the monotony of my meals which always feature rice and simply switch between the same sides of fries, mote, avocado, plantains, potatoes, eggs, and peas.
While I will be savoring every experience I have left here in Ecuador, I will also be planning the meals I’ll have back home in 77 days.