Today I finally came back to the smiley Malay mom preparing noodles and got my bowl of yummy Mee Rebus.
She was as lovely as last time and she remembered me from last week. So she engaged again in a friendly conversation.
Once again, she asked me if this time I was wanted lots of chilli.
Today she also asked me where I come from and she loved when I told her I am Spanish. She was convinced that there we eat tempeh, one of her (and mine!) favourite food, and so, she likes Spain too. And of course, if I knew how to eat the noodles.
I am so grateful and full of admiration for her.
Even though when she was preparing she explained me what she was putting in her bowl, as if I was one of her grand kid that was supposed to follow her in the future, when I started eating still some surprises came.Surprises in food are probably the only ones I don’t like but that is also what I have to embrace, so that food becomes just another aspect of my life.
This time the scaring moment was finding a bunch of little fried anchovies, Ikan Bilis, in the bottom of my bowl. I was savouring the sweet soup made of sweet potato, the sour lime juice mixed in it, the crispy and addictive chilli, the crunchy and refreshing bean sprouts, the deep flavors of fried tempeh, the creamy egg when… I swallow into of those small fishes.
First reaction, disgust, anxiety.
Eating Disorder: “Why do they have to put this? I am not supposed to eat fish today.”
Me, my body, my soul: “You are just supposed to eat what, me, your body wants. Be grateful that you could get it.”
Second reaction, finding a reason to remove it from my dish and not eating it.
Eating Disorder: “Plus, it is terribly salty. I din’t need it. I was enjoying my noodles without it.”
Me, my body, my soul: “Experience all flavors and textures, it is the whole that matters, not each element separated. You know you like it, allow yourself to enjoy it. You do like it. You do appreciate it. You do deserve it.”
And as I was embracing all the little things from my food, I started to embrace everything around me. Wanting to change my view on food, I changed my whole view of what was around me.
I opened my eyes differently and I saw the humans making possible the experience of hawker food, one of the things I enjoy more in Singapore. There was the noodles and eggs delivery, an old Indian family cooking literally on the street and an old man peeling coconuts in the garden hiding behind the old hawker. Today’s lunch connected me to all of them and their stories became mine. And I suddenly also felt I could belong to here, and felt less lonely, almost complete.
That is the magic of little things in life. It had come to me. I had access to those people’s stories because I just witnessed, without rules, without expectations, without judgements.