Dear Lord, not today, dear stomach I know you’re wondering what the heck is going on.
The first time I smelled the food, I knew it was going to be a long day. I first encountered the smell of Chinese food back in 2015 at a Chinese e-commerce company I worked for. Majority of the staff were Chinese, so you can imagine my lunch ‘hour’. Day one lunchtime, oh Lord, what’s that? Er… ja, that’s something that will never touch my lips, it didn’t even look appetising. Look it was my uncultured self that was caught in a new environment, and I was devastated, luckily I had my own lunch, phew I’m saved.
Three years later, I find myself in China. Ja, life is amazing. Everywhere I go, turn, boom the lovely Chinese cuisine. Iyo, Jesu! Exclaimed my Zulu self. How am I going to survive a day, let alone a year? Day one hotel food, I landed at midnight, I wasn’t hungry, but my body needed food, so I had to oblige. I went downstairs for breakfast and saw familiar food or what I thought was familiar. Already the smell wasn’t welcoming but seeing what looked like polony and white bread I figured I’m not about to die. Oh Lord was I wrong, I ended up drinking green tea, which I love, so not a train smash. That morning I threw up, I saw my guts coming out. It’s funny when I think about it today how it took almost 6 months to get used to the food. Even so, I stuck with the famous franchise McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks and I’d eat instant noodle till I realised noodles disagree with me, constipation waya waya.
Every day when I stepped into the restaurant, I’d say a short prayer, “Dear Lord, not today, may I not throw up today.” My weight fluctuated like crazy because I threw up a lot, loss of appetite and the moment I could eat I’d binge on whatever.
My colleagues would make me try out some weird looking food, and they never understood that I’m a picky eater, but honestly, I didn’t mind trying out the various cuisines. Imagine if I didn’t try those fried dumplings would I have known that there’s a go-to cheap meal that I can stomach, but even so, diarrhoea would be my close friend. On my third week at a braai, I ate duck necks they taste like chicken. At some point, I ate frog legs, which I’ll never eat again. I’ll always remember the oh so famous durian, Jesus, Why, Jehovah, there goes Zulu girl once again a billion miles away from home. Look anything that smells foul, just don’t it in your mouth. A colleague gave me a packet of durian wafers after my classes. Not to be rude I had a small, on my way home I had to find the nearest subway toilets -they are the least hygienic toilets, but I had no time to be picky, throw up party.
Dear Lord, not today. Two years later, I’m still saying the same prayer and have stayed away from noodles. The lovely dumpling I enjoyed ewe, I don’t know what I was thinking. I eat more veggies than I ever did. Fruits not so much, most fruits don’t taste nice, and that sucks because I end up with an apple, banana, dragon fruit and pawpaw in my basket.
For a picky eater I explore a lot with my taste buds but hear me out, you’ll never see me eating anything with a foul smell because most definitely it tastes horrible.
My journey with food, Dear Lord not today but bring the plate of the unmentionables I’ll taste it, tasting doesn’t kill, right? Red meat, that’s something I’m not willing to risk my taste buds on, I’ve had what tasted and looked like elastic meat. So that’s one thing I’ll never go for.
Dear Lord, not today, I still like exploring.