Thursday, February 24, 2011

Squash falling from the sky!!!

I'm not saying that yesterday was an awful day, but if I were to say that both the child who cries pretty much everyday, and the teacher who cries every other day, met together on this day, that might paint a clearer picture for you.

All is not lost however.  At the pulperia (or small convenience store) for example, I have started to translate one fruit name in English a day.  Today was grape.  I have no idea how to say grape in Spanish.  I sure hope I was right.

Then later, while walking home from my host sister's house, I saw two bikes on the side of the road.  They were pretty small bikes, so I figured they were some of my students.  This was in fact the case, but who were they, and perhaps even more important, where were they?  So I kept walking up the hill and I saw this orange thing fall from a tree.  Oh, they're in the tree!  I see.  It was a pretty skinny tree and I was impressed to say the least. (Though you can ask anyone who knew me as a child, I have never been too adventurous when climbing trees.  We had an awesome tree in my yard as a child.  It was known as the "climbing tree."  Kids came from all over the neighborhood to marvel and climb.  I usually made it to the third branch, about two feet off the ground before I stopped.  These kids however would have put the whole neighborhood to shame.) 

So from in the tree I hear a bunch of mumbling, then "Teacher, Teacher!"  To which I respond, "Hola!"  Then there is more mumbling and a thud as another orange thing falls to the ground.  I move in a bit closer to investigate.  These orange things look a lot like squash, but why would kids climb up a tree to get squash?   It didn't make any sense.  So I asked, "What is that?"  The answer "Cacao." 

Wait, Cacao, that from which chocolate is made?  She answers, "No, you eat the seeds."  I have no idea what this is now.  I had just learned after all, what we think of as guava is guayaba in Spanish, but there is another long fruit known as guava in Spanish.  What it is, I do not know.   Therefore I took her word for it.  Ok.  Whatever, who knows what this awesome squash thing is.  Which by the way, I'm fairly certain they were stealing from another neighbor.  If this is ok or not, I do not know, but they did have a rather sheepish look on their faces when someone drove by on a motorcycle.

So I am gifted one of the "cacaos", if you will and was wondering how does one eat this thing?  I kind of asked, but I didn't understand the response.  I figured I would just take it home and ask my host Mom.  So we continue the walk into town and since they have bikes, I am carrying the loot if you will.  A bag full of squash, so I think.  We get to a fork in the road and they divide up the booty and one is still for me. Plus, the little boy picks out a small one that looks good and gives that to me.  Sweet, two squash stolen from the neighbor's yard.  I am unsure that I am presenting myself as a good example.

Later in the evening, I asked my host mother about these whatever they are.  They are cacao beans (or pods, if you will)!  They are what they make chocolate out of!  You do eat the seeds!  Kind of, I really just sucked the membrane off of the outside of the seeds (Or beans? Now I am terribly confused.).  I was told that the seeds were bitter (or tasted bad, I don't know the word for bitter.) and that they were the part that was dried in the sun and made into chocolate.  "Don't you want to eat it?" she asks.  Why yes I do, but first I photographed it.  Then I watched my host mom whack at the smaller pod with a big knife (I wouldn't go so far as to say machete.).  I should figure out how to make chocolate, there is another pod in the cupboard.

I have also found that the seeds have caffeine, as this is the fastest I have ever finished a blog.  Pura Vida.  Good Luck getting to sleep LeeAnn.

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