This is just to say

This is just to say

I have eaten
the can of American tuna
that was hidden at the back of
the cupboard

and which
you were probably saving
for lunch on a hard day.

Forgive me
it was delicious
creamy with Best Foods mayo
and so cool

             -Andreas Konstantinos Horaites

Boy was I mad. Andreas doesn’t even really LIKE albacore tuna. Perhaps I was a teensy bit unreasonable.  But I was so looking forward to that little treat. You can’t buy solid tuna in water here.

Last week I finished reading a short story collection titled On Being Foreign: Culture Shock in Short Fiction (Tom J. Lewis and Robert E. Jungman, eds).  One of the stories was “An Outpost of Progress” by Joseph Conrad. The piece is about two guys who’ve signed on to run a remote African trading post.

They do not adjust well.

A few months in the jungle and all that is left of the supplies they brought is coffee and rice, and the company steamer carrying fresh goods is several weeks overdue.  They’ve managed to make enemies of the locals, who now won’t trade with them, and they have no local food-gathering skills. The two men quarrel bitterly over a small stash of sugar that one of them has been hoarding. It’s to add to the coffee in case they get sick “because any little extra like that is cheering.” This being Conrad, both men end up dead: one guy kills the one who wants to eat the sugar, then he kills himself just before the boat arrives.

I am trying to hang onto the lesson in this story. My tuna may be gone, but I can hear the steamer coming around the bend. Only 4 more weeks until summer vacation.




About lornaofarabia

I am a teacher from Medford, Oregon. I currently live and work in Bangkok, Thailand.
This entry was posted in Expat experience, Family, Food, Home life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to This is just to say

  1. leslieellenjones says:

    You are now legitimately empowered to try anything you like until you find a substitute for albacore in water. Anything. Including chocolate.

    • Chocolate makes an excellent substitute for tuna in many situations. Especially the ones that stem from feelings of alienation. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Leslie!

  2. Alice says:

    the embassy doesn’t have TUNA? that’s a fail.

    • Yeah, I know. The embassy does often have tuna, but it’s usually an off-brand, wet and mushy. I special-ordered some through the commissary for fall; we’ll see what it’s like when it gets here.

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