friendly fish (& farmers)
Some neighbors and strangers have been incredibly welcoming and generous:
Last week, a few days after our arrival,
a farmer gave us one of his watermelons,
handing it down from his tractor.
Marmalade loves watermelon AND tractors,
so beyond a simple act of kindness
this becomes the most welcoming gesture one could possibly make to her.
And the fresh cool taste made us grateful to be living here.
Last night while at the beach,
a fisherman came over and asked if we were on holiday.
Mohammed said no, that we were looking to buy a farm and live here.
He nodded and handed Mohammed and Marmalade his bag with five fish inside.
Again, an act of welcoming beyond imagine,
as Mohammed had been homesick for saltwater fish.
Gutting, stuffing with spices, frying, and eating became a holy ritual,
returning him to himself, filling some emptiness inside.
You are what you eat, and they became a little more at home,
and this place became more of our home,
by being given them, and by eating them.
We are grateful.
We’re not sure of the species,
yet Mohammed had seen them alongside the rocks
when he went swimming with his mask last week…
now curious to go back and learn more about them,
and the other creatures living in this stretch of the ocean.
And yet, my time of welcoming was fast approaching:
one of our (temporary) neighbors, a farmer
with three (not so little) pigs, a field full of vegetables and lots of fruit trees,
invited us over to meet the pigs, and see his farm,
(and his well, which we can use to get buckets of water).
Near the pig enclosure, there were some butternut squash
growing on a vine along the ground.
Marmalade asked what they were, I replied “Kürbis”
as she is familiar with the German name for them,
(& it is one of my nicknames for her as well).
The farmer bent down and picked one, giving it to Marmalade to hold.
(As a vegetarian, this Kürbis is my saltwater fish,
which I typically make into a Caribbean-style squash & bean stew)
bringing a taste of my own liking into our temporary home.
He also dug some sweet onions, and picked peppers and tons of tomatoes,
which I’ve used to make some seawater pasta (recipes perhaps in later blog!)
The greatest gifts are those given openly from the heart,
and given to weary travelers who are trying to make a new life in a foreign land.
Added to the joy that all the produce was biologic/organically grown,
a warm thanks to the pigs for supplying the fertilizer.