Today I had a fight with the toilet.
At first glance the bathroom in my host family’s house appears to be modern. There’s a tub with a shower, a sink, a toilet, even a bidet. But there are also plastic tubs and buckets everywhere filled with water because there’s only occasional running water out of the faucet in the tub. So I bring bottled water to brush my teeth, and use the buckets to take a bucket bath. To flush the toilet, I simply pour in a bucket of water. Simple enough until this morning when I poured in the water, and the water went down but didn’t take the mess with it. The next water I poured in didn’t go down at all. I looked around for a plunger and found a stick with about a sixth of what was once a rubber plunger head attached. I tried it. And do you know that merely stirs up what’s already floating around in the toilet? I willed it to go down. I tried again. I willed myself not to be sick as I knew that would merely add to the grossness that wouldn’t go down. I even sat and prayed for it to go down because I couldn’t bear the embarrassment of anyone else in the house seeing it. Eventually I explained my predicament to my host mother and sister. Julieta said she would take care of it. “No, please don’t look in there!” I told her. So she told me to really use the plunger forcefully. So I did. No luck. I asked her where I could go and buy a complete plunger. She said she would do it. “No, don’t look in there!” I tried one more time as forcefully as I could, knowing the alternative would be to have someone else try. (I mean don’t these scenes usually occur in movies with Jim Carrey or Ben Stiller?) Seemingly magically it went down. Thank goodness! I told Dona Ana and Julieta that it finally worked. They were very apologetic. I was very apologetic. Then Dona Ana told me that she liked me even more because I was so concerned. Well, I’m glad something good came of it.
I didn’t have much of an appetite for lunch but knew it would be rude not to eat. So I sat down at the table and began to open the pots in front of me. I never know what I’m going to get as it’s always served in closed dishes. “Mmm, rice…and salad…and what’s this?” Small pieces of slightly twisty, rubbery meat. “Moelas,” Moses told me. “From what animal?” I asked. “Chicken.” “Chicken?” Julieta explained in English that they come from the stomach of a chicken. “You don’t know what this is?” she asked me. I didn’t, and I was kind of sorry I had asked about it. I don’t eat much meat anyway, and I wasn’t sure about these moelas that come from the stomach of a chicken. I ate a few pieces to be polite. Just now I tried to look up moelas in the dictionary and couldn’t find it. I texted a friend who replied: “It’s gizzards…Ew!”
Ew is right! All day, ew!