I love spending time with our contacts, I love chatting and just getting to know them more. And one way that happens is when people invite us to stay for lunch. Lunch is the biggest and most important meal of the day here.
Well, last week Petronila invited us to stay for lunch after we finished with our lesson. It was great food, she served us acopa, which is a puree of crackes, cheese, peanuts and milk and is served with potatoes. It might sound weird, but really, its delicious! Normally, its served as a dip with potatoes. But Petronila, she loves her food and she goes big and does not go home! :) Petronila served us up what I would call acopa soup. She served us a whole bowl of this puree with potatoes sunken in the cheese, milk, cracker, peanut mixture. It was incredible, especially since I already love this dish. But, seeing as I don’t eat much dairy here and the serving size was for a family of four, after almost finishing the food she served, I felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the day.
It’s very important to eat what you are served in someone’s house. It’s a special treat to be 'invited’ to stay for lunch and the people here take it very personally if you don’t like the food they serve. So I finished my acopa soup last week, minus a bit of soup and 2-3 small potatoes at the bottom of the bowl. Normally I wouldn’t leave anything when someone serves us food, but I literally could not bear anymore. So, Petronila graciously gave my leftovers to the dog and said nothing about it. Thank the Lord!
Today, Petronila, bless her heart, had us stay for lunch again. I sat at the table as she set the bowls down one for each of us, Guillermo, Francisca, myself, Petronila and their friend Felipe who we are also discipling. I looked down at the giant bowl of food, another large serving, only to find out on the menu today was rice, onions, cow heart, cow stomach and intestine. Seriously! All in one dish!? I’ve had intestine soup before, or at least a few bites of it, and I’ve had one little bite of heart. With that, I’ve also had a little bite of tongue and lots of chuño. So I’m open to trying things, in small portions, like, one bite.
I sat at the table shaking, fidgeting, not sure what to do except for ask God for help. Finally everyone was served, which really, I was not waiting in anticipation, as far as I was concerned, Petronila could take a week to get everyone served and I’d be okay with that! But, we were served, Franci prayed and it was time to dig in. I tried cutting a piece of stomach with my spoon to make it a smaller, more manageable bite; but it would not cut. So I found a smaller piece along with the other organs that sat in my plate and I took a bit of stomach with some rice. I could barely get it down. I thought I was going to spit it out and throw up right there on the table. I chugged some water and calmed myself down.
But I couldn’t get myself to take another bite. In fact, I was ready to cry thinking about the situation. So I grabbed my phone and stepped outside. I called my brother, Trevor who didn’t answer and Garren who did. With tears in my eyes and desperation in my voice I told Garren I had a problem and didn’t know what to do. He was able to make me laugh about the problem and we decided I should pull the “diabetes card”, that I should make up some excuse including my diabetes on why I couldn’t finish the food. So I went back in, sat down at the table again, and proceeded to take another bite, this time with heart. I got it down and just as I finished washing it down with water, my phone rang. Trevor was calling me back. I stepped outside again and answered the call. I went through the whole situation again with Trevor and we chatted for a few minutes.
I went back inside yet again and as I sat down I apologized for the disruptions. After I apologized Petronila told me the food wasn’t good cold and asked if I wanted it warmed up. I told her not to go to the trouble because everyone was already done eating by this time and I asked her if I could take the food with me to eat later. (That’s a big FAT lie!). So Petronila gave me a tupperware to borrow, I slopped the nasty organs and rice into the tupperware and took the food with me. Thank the Lord I didn’t have to eat that bowl of organs! I was saved by the bell, because I spent so much time on the phone, my food got cold and obviously I couldn’t eat the cold food. hehe. So, that’s my story and lunch adventure for today! Keep reading and I’ll keep you posted on more adventures in Peru! :)