Senior Memories of Culture Shock

Mar 17th, 2010 | By Jeannine Becker | Category: For Senior Women

We have spent extended periods of time in other cultures and one of the funny memories (today) of these experiences is the culture shock I would invariably have to deal with.  If we were in another country or culture less than 3 weeks, this ordeal could be avoided, at least in my life.  If, however, we were longer in any one place, even if just visiting,  not living,  culture shock would set in for me during that 3rd week.

In Argentina, one afternoon as my husband and I were walking on the street, I started to cry and all I could say was that I couldn’t handle the hours in which they lived their day:  We ate dinner at 10:00 at night,  went to bed right after dinner, around 11 or 11:30.  Had lunch at 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  Then I suddenly started to laugh… I said to my husband,  “This is culture shock that I’m reacting to, isn’t it?”  Fortunately for me, the experience of culture shock was familiar and I recognized it when I started complaining about the ‘hours issues’.

A few years previously,  we’d spent 3 months in southern France.  One day during the 3rd week, I was suddenly, utterly and completely fed up with everything.  “The forks were too big,  the cups were too small,  the chairs were too short,  the table was too large,  the counter was too low,  the washing machine was  too slow,  the plates were too large…” and all I could do was put my head on my husband’s shoulder and cry.  He kindly and gently said to me,  “This is called culture shock.”   And I was able, shortly,  to look at it as just that and begin to accept the differences. 

That summer in southern France, I found a recipe that we’ve dearly loved.  It has all the flavors of Provence…garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, green peppers and onion with either chicken or tuna added for a complete meal.   I love this recipe and can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it and how really easy it is.  It smells so delicious while it is stewing.

The amounts are  easily increased or decreased depending on the number of servings you need.

It is called Poulet Basquaise
I  chicken cut up
2 lbs tomatoes peeled cut in large chunks
1 onion cut in large chunks
2 green peppers cut in large chunks
Fresh garlic, several cloves chopped
Brown the chicken in olive oil, season with salt and pepper.   Add the rest of the ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, cook half covered 45 to 50 minutes.   Serve with rice. 

This dish can be made with tuna rather than chicken as some French friends showed us and we found a delicious alternative.  When we made it with the tuna, we cooked the vegetables first, then just before serving, added the tuna and cooked it only until the tuna was ready to eat.

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