For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve believed that I am Pippi Longstocking. My mother encouraged this belief as soon as I could scan pages in the Pippi book (this was before Pippi was immortalized in film). Pippi, after all, was from Sweden – and so was my mother’s father. Pippi was red-headed and freckled like me, and she not only was a ‘character’ (which was a good thing, in my mother’s mind) but she was the strongest girl in the world.
Before reading Pippi, I’m afraid the way I was shaping up was just not to my mother’s tastes. The things that seemed wrong to her had been introduced by my grandmother – including, at the grand old age of four years old, desperately wanting a lavender colored two-piece linen skirt suit with matching hat, tiny little clasp purse, and white gloves to wear to church – on Easter. My mother did not like church nor did she like the idea of girl growing up to be like a ‘church-woman’ in any way. So Pippi was the application of medicine she applied, and it took quite successfully!
Now Pippi had many adventures – the real Pippi. And so have I. If I had become a little lady with white gloves as opposed to becoming Pippi, I never would have been able to walk into a professional kitchen and learn to kick ass well enough in that environment to eventually become an executive chef. White gloves simply don’t cut it in many environments.
My big adventure, at this moment of my life, is raising my children. I raise them alone as a single mother. I’ve got my own ideas of what that encompasses, for me and for my children, and this adventure is of a rather quiet nature. It’s a private adventure. Not thrilling to talk about, in general. But I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
But a few days ago, Diana Buja left a comment (for ‘foodvixen the chef’) that mentioned going to Africa – where her own adventure takes place – and working for a month in the kitchen being grown there in Burundi at the gorgeous hotel built to charm tourists into visiting a fascinating and beautiful country where hope lives right alongside terrible and deep challenges of the sort many of us will never have to face.
My heart soared in the face of this invitation. Pippi, me – I would go! I knew this adventure would teach me more than I carried along with me . . . for things like this always do. And I was ready to go!
After imagining just how it would be, after a bit of time reality set in. I may be Pippi, but I still have two kittens here at home – and I won’t leave them for this sort of adventure just yet. Because that is the sort of Mommy-Cat I am.
But what could I see, if I did go? Maybe I would see Gustav!
The hand of a crocodile at the Musee Vivant in Bujumbura. Urban legend has it in the countries surrounding Lac Tanganyika that within the lake lives a 30m crocodile known as Gustav. He is reported to have eaten over 100 people drowning after a ferry capsized en route to Burundi from Tanzania.
I’d have to decide whether I thought of myself as Stanley or as Livingstone, when I went to the place the two of them met in 1871
And there would be many interesting things to eat!
Dried fish, Lates stappersii known in Tanzania as "mikebuka". This species is endemic to Lake Tanganyika.
This would be an adventure of a Pippi sort! I’d love to do it – and maybe it will happen . . . next year? Or the year after? As they say, ‘God willing’. Let’s change that to ‘Goddess willing’ and I’m going to cross my fingers, too! The adventures we are allowed – and even those we sometimes fall into unwittingly – bring us to life. As do the stories we believe!
Some music? Of course!
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