I spend way too much money on imported microwaved popcorn (like $2 a bag) and eat it at all times of the day. 8am breakfast? Yum. A popcorn lunch with a side of fruit? Doesn't get any better. Popcorn for dinner? Yay, healthier than oil covered dumplings!
A few days ago I ventured again into the freezing hallway (buildings are not heated and it's a high of 30 degrees Fahrenheit today....) to the communal microwave. I left my bag in the ancient machine and headed back to my room (and warmth) to wait out the first few minutes of popping.
Soon, my Sri Lanken neighbors commandeered the kitchen for their afternoon meal of rice, fish, and whatever else make my hallway smell like Seaworld on a daily basis. I heard their doors open and pots clank down onto the metal table.
Then I heard yelling.
Yelling in another language is always disconcerting.
Someone could either be exclaiming, "Yay I won the lottery!" or "Everyone here is about to die!" and you wouldn't know the difference. So I poked my head out of my door to see what the commotion was about.
They were yelling at the microwave.
My neighbor saw me and motioned to me in giant arm circles and Chi.nese, "Come quick! The machine!"
I lept out thinking the machine was on fire or something worse since I have a stereotype (however earned) that things in this country are not wired for...safety.
I lunged toward the machine, pushed open the door, and yanked out my bag of popcorn in a swift motion. And was left standing with a bag of half-popped corn. Smelling of butter and salt and fibery goodness.
"Ahhhhhhhh," the Sri Lankens sighed in collective discovery, "the popping corn."
I doubled over in laughter as they went back to their cooking, slightly red with embarrassment.
How precious is that? To be surprised by the popping sound of microwaved popcorn.
I was telling some friends the story and I made the statement that, "I don't think I'm very shockable." Like, nothing really shocks me anymore. I'm sure that is a comment ridden with pride and that I haven't really seen as much of the world as I think I have, but I don't know that there are many daily actions that would surprise me.
Yet when living in community with this many cultures under one roof, there are bound to be discoveries. And what I take for granted from my developed country, others may find surprising.
I was touched by the innocence of my neighbors. By the discovery of an unfamiliar sound; the violent poppoppop of "the popping corn."
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some popcorn to go make. :)
walk slow. xoxo.