Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Memoir Essay
22 september 2015
22 September 2015
Smack, Smack, Smack
BAM! My Father hits his hand flat on the table. “Now I’ve had it!” My Sister, across from me at the dining table, has pulled her elbows to her side for the hundredth time. She looks up as if nothing has happened. I however jump up in the air, throwing my utensils across the table. That sudden loud noise has frightened me like the devil himself. I start crying, while my parents and sister start laughing.
I do not recall my Dad as a strict parent, except when it comes to dining manners. “Don’t poke my eye out with your elbow! Put your hand on the table! Turn the spoon with your wrist towards your mouth, not your whole arm!” I have always been jealous of my friends who were allowed to hold their knives comfortably, that being with their entire fist. Now I am older I understand why I was not allowed to; my appetite fades away when I see others doing so and that is exactly how my Dad has been experiencing it.
The unmanageable intolerance towards poor eating manners runs in the family. My grandparents taught my Dad, who passed it on to me. Of course I didn’t like to be told off, but I knew my Dad was usually easy on me as compared to his mother on him. He would tell me stories of when he was young and they would terrify me. Though as I am getting older I am appreciating my upbringing more and more. “You are going to marry a farmer if you eat like that” is just one of my Dad's quotes that will always be stuck in my mind. I always thought he was joking, but frankly, it has some truth to it. People eat every single day and in some ways, it portrays your upbringing and personality. Little details, like repeatedly putting your utensils down, can tell you more about a person then you think. This type of person is probably very chatty and talks with his/her hands.
It is 2010 and my family and I are on a skiing trip in France. We are staying in a chalet called Montana Valbel and it flatters me that this village and everything in it has my name. We sit down in this beautiful, old-fashioned restaurant. Our table is close to the window and we enjoy looking at the snow falling down and the lights of the snow groomers on the empty slopes. We decided to share cheese-fondue, as it is the typical local meal. After the daylong drive, it is nice to relax, but suddenly the mood turns. My Dad pulls a face, and I’m confused. “Let it go.” my Moms says, who is sitting next to him. “Montana, switch sides with your Dad.” I obey to hopefully better the mood. My confusion disappears. There, sitting at the table that was at first behind me, is a young couple. From my new position the view of the girl is unavoidable. First impression: a pretty and joyful girl. But when she took a bite of the cheese-fondue my eyes widened and my jaw dropped. This beautiful blond girl is eating like a pig right in front of her boyfriend, who she should be impressing in a more positive manner.
I understand why my Dad wanted to switch. My mind is telling me to look away, but for some reason it seems impossible. My eyes are stuck on the wisps of cheese that connect her top and bottom teeth. The melted cheese is sticking in every corner of her mouth and it moves along with her every jaw movement. I look at the bowl in front of me, then look back up and see her talking with yellow strands swirling around her mouth. This beautiful girl is in a way offending me. Is it possible that I picked up my Dad's intolerance? Sometimes I can’t believe how intolerant he is, but maybe the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I think about her long, blond wavy hair and how it is likely to get caught in the sticky prison that is her mouth. Did her parents really, not tell her to chew with her mouth closed? Not even once? My appetite for this delicious meal has vanished as fast as a handful of snow in the Sahara. “That relationship is over after this trip,” my Dad says to me and I agree.
Learning to eat properly ever since I left my baby seat has made me intolerant of those who eat as if they would rather marry a farmer than a billionaire, as my dad would say. Don’t get me wrong; you can eat with your hands in the cafeteria. I’ll try not to overthink it. However, in a restaurant, bring your fork to your mouth and not the other way around. People please, food on a plate looks delicious, but it doesn’t in your mouth.
For about a month now I’ve moved far away from home. Here in America, the lifestyle is completely different. Music, shops, roads and schools are all bizarre to me. A few years ago, I was eating with some American girls and they directly asked me why I used utensils while they were eating their chicken with their hands. “That’s just what I’m used to,” I answered, but then they didn’t understand why I did eat French fries with my fingers. “Well, I’ve just always done it like this.” Was that a loophole in my Dad’s strict legislation of dining? And then the fact that he licks the chocolate sprinkles off his plate; my sister and I were not allowed to. We did do it anyways because he did so too.
I hope this experience away from home will make me create my own point of view towards dining manners. Most peers I talk to here say that they do not eat as a family. I find this strange, as this used to be an everyday thing for me and friends back home. I miss those simple, but meaningful, family times. Now I have to take care of dinner myself and I often eat alone. The effect: I don’t care as much. I have become more laid back. One bad habit I have picked up so far is eating with just a fork in my right hand, while scrolling through Facebook on my left. He is not watching me, so why can’t I eat comfortably?
Maybe not everyone wants to marry a billionaire. Do I? Perhaps I would like life on a farm, if only there will be a dog there too. And do all billionaires care about eat properly? Anyway, the world is full of different beliefs and everyone's ‘normal’ is not normal to others. Some have more trouble understanding peoples’ habits and traits than others. I used to belong to this group, but I’m slowly diverging from this category. Now I see the purpose of my upbringing, but I have also realized that every situation is different and people adapt. That’s how it has affected me. I am grateful that I learned table manners, and that family and friends won’t be embarrassed of me when I eat cheese-fondue. It’s one of those things, like riding a bike, that come in very handy but are not applicable for every situation. I’m not accepting it, but I’m slowly moving past it.
12 oktober 2015 18:30 | Door: Mama
Now that deserves an A+
12 oktober 2015 19:18 | Door: emy mastrocola
Waw, wat een goede observer ben je. Dat heb ik me nog niet gerealiseerd( wel, dat je netjes
eet). Als je de volgende keer komt, moet ik beter op m'n eigen tafelmanieren letten.
Jouw opa en ik hadden dezelfde vader, dus ik weet, hoe het gaat mer tafelmanieren!
Hier in Amerika sta je te kijken, hoe ze eten en hun vork vasthouden. Ik snap ook niet, waarom ze steeds hun vlees met hun vork " snijden", terwijl er een mes naast hun ligt.
Hihi, zoals je al zo wijs zei: " Iedereen doet, wat ze geleerd hebben, en het is misschien niet zo belangrijk".
Leuk bedacht om hier over te schrijven.
14 oktober 2015 05:11 | Door: Nanny Kiwi
Oh I really enjoyed that story Montana.