Hello there, dear neglected foodblog. It appears that yet again, another 3 months has passed since. I do have much to tell though, even if it’s not about food, really.
It has been more than 3 months, actually, since things in my life has moved on from its stalemate status, and I have officially crossed over the ‘adulthood’ threshold, joining the countless before me – I have officially joined the workforce! Yes, I now am earning for my keep, and it does feel much better than life as an unemployed new graduate. The major thing though, is not so much getting employed.. But moving back home for the job.
I’ve been looking forward to it for ages, going back home, that is. I wanted to, straight after graduating, but for more than one reason, I decided to stay where I was. I still looked for opportunities though, but it was a strange feeling when that opportunity came to me. But cutting out all the unnecessary bits, I did it, I moved back home after being away and pretty much living on my own for 5 years.
Of course, I came back, at times, more than once a year in the past few years. So despite the rapid changes here, I thought it wouldn’t be a big difference, just a little bit of getting used to again. After all, the majority of the way things work around here should be something I’m familiar with, no? I wasn’t wrong, but my initial self-assurances weren’t right either. 4 months on, and there are still times I wonder just how much has changed for people here.. and how much have I changed over there. That even my tastebuds could have changed so much.
Being away and on my own, it opened me up to food. I confess my picky-eating habits as a child. I absolutely refused spicy food until I was 15, I refused to eat several different types of vegetables, offals, and never really drank coffee till I was away. Having to shop for your own groceries to cook can become an obsession for most overseas students – we all somehow fall in love with grocery shopping, absolutely no joke – and you begin to tell the good from the bad, what’s cheap and what’s expensive, and whether it is all worth it. You try new things, because after all, you are in a new land, you’re young, and surrounded by multiple cultures, why not? New friends, new experiences. Food simply becomes a part of it. Food becomes the centre of it. You learn to eat food, to buy it, to cook it, and really begin to appreciate it. Through food, you get to know people, and you get to know about other cultures as well. That was how it was for me. So, there you go, go out, live out there, and food itself will surprise you!
One thing that some might agree with, and some might not. I, myself, am in conflict. My tongue has a certain type of memory that can tell when a familiar taste is lost. Which is probably why I like to ask for my mom to cook something herself rather than get someone else to do it. Which is why I get extremely upset when I return to a place that has changed beyond recognition, and of course, the food has, too. But yet, I have noticed that despite my boring, habitual tongue has also changed. There are definite types of foods I prefer to others for everyday, because I have just gotten so used to the flavours I partake overseas, and in my own cooking, that upon return home, I can distinctly feel a disconnect. As much as I hanker for local cuisine, I cannot erase the last 5 years of eating away from my food memories, the ones my tongue have stored away for me. No longer can I eat oily, salty, and strongly flavoured foods everyday like I used to. Now, instead of craving for local cuisine, of which I have greater variety available to me than before, I crave and miss the food of my second home.
Getting used to being back home, having to reconcile with the changes I have not had an opportunity to before, familiarising myself with what I am supposed to be familiar with again.. Even if all that is done, the food memories, and the subsequent food cravings, will be the worst to bear. Because it will last, wherever I go.