Tonight we had pineapple for dinner. To be exact, tonight we each had a WHOLE pineapple for dinner. To be fair though they were single-serving size and it tasted really good after a 90 degree day (no we haven’t switched our brains to Celsius yet, we may never). Fruit is definitely a different experience here. We already shared about the many kinds of bananas and mangas but beyond that fruit is so much a part of daily life here. There’s always fresh fruit juice for sale on the street and fruit is overall pretty inexpensive. Sometimes you can buy 7-9 mangas for 1 boliviano. That’s practically a penny a piece. And, the Sisters always keep themselves and us pretty well stocked with a variety of fruit.
Some fruit is eaten a little bit differently however. Apples, peaches, and oranges are peeled completely before eaten. However oranges are peeled with a knife. Oranges here are yellow/green, never orange, and the peel is so thin and hard that it’s impossible to peel by hand. So they peel the whole thing with a paring knife and then cut it in half and suck the orange out of the white part. Also seedless oranges don’t exist so that makes the seed extraction easier. Mangoes on the other hand are not peeled. Most small mangoes are just bitten open and then the mango part is squished with your hands and sucked out of the hole. For larger mangoes the fruit is cut off of the seed and eaten out of the peel. Both of which are amazingly mess-free.
In the Guarderia it often falls to me to prepare the kids’ snacks for them. The morning snack is always fruit that the kids bring from home. Some kids bring easy things like bananas and mangoes; I just wash them and give them to the child, sometimes I help them peel it. Then there are the kids who bring apples and oranges which are a bit more stressful because I have one dull paring knife and 16 kids clamoring around me but I get it done. One was kind enough to say one day, “The other Tia (what they call us) peels a lot faster than you do.” Yeah, thanks. Then there are the kids that show up with whole papayas and pineapples that they just hand to you and expect you to hand back to them in edible form. Today for example, I was handed three pineapples, a bag of (tiny) plums, 2 apples and 5 bananas. I ended up leaving the other Tia with the plums, apples and bananas and escaping to the kitchen to get the pineapple situation under control. As I was frantically carving up the pineapples, the other Tia strolls in and sees that I’m only on my second and says, “Oh is this hard for you?” Feeling a little frustrated I’m thinking in my head “Actually, where I come from it’s considered hard for most people.” But I just said, “Yes, it’s always difficult for me.” Perhaps I should have added, actually this is possibly the 5th pineapple I’ve ever cut in my life, the first being just 2 weeks ago! Sigh, the standard skill-set for a woman of my age is definitely different here.