Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Giving Up Guilt and Cooking

Of course I'll make food for my family, why wouldn't I? Then I moved to Papua and stopped cooking.

Like so many other "normal" things, cooking changed when we arrived in Papua. Western products are expensive and I don't know how to prepare Indonesian meals. Dairy, a major part of our normal diet, is hardly used here at all. Top that off with the exhaustion of language school and cooking felt down right impossible.

So we did something I thought we'd never do. We hired a cook.

While my brain is turning to mush everyday learning new words and phrases in class, our neighbor Oma is happily preparing mouth watering Indonesian lunches and dinners.

Oma's food is absolutely delicious and I felt guilty with every mouthful.

Guilty because this is supposed to be my job, but I can't hack cooking here. Guilty because people might think we're being frivolous with donations.
Guilt, that old unwelcome friend.

Truth is my job right now is to make it through language learning and adjusting to the culture with my family intact, not be wonder mom. Truth is Oma's food is delicious and it's less expensive than buying imported western products.

Truth is when "Mommy, please can I have more bean sprouts and tofu?" became a regular part of my three year old's dinner conversation, I knew we'd be just fine without my cooking.

So I kicked guilt to the curb and enjoyed another bite of Oma's lemon ginger steamed tofu. 

Oma's home cooking. One of my favorite meals.
"Selamat Makan!"


  1. Maybe Oma can teach you, Ben and Isaiah to cook. Learn to live culturally and practice your language skills with Oma. Love, Dad

  2. Yes, I'd like to. Hopefully we can once we get past the brain dead phase of language learning. It's supposed to get a little better by the three months mark...