- Area: Humanities
- Program: English
- Type of Writing: Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction
- Course Level: 1000
- English Speaking Nativeness: Non-Native
- Year: 2019
- Paper ID: H.E.F.N.1.N.2.1.1888
It had been 3 months since my arrival in the United States from Nepal. Being in this new city which was an entirely different experience than the place I was used to, it almost felt like being in upside-down. In this coolest fun upside-down place, I would constantly discover and see new things that would shock me, and food was no different in that manner. I was constantly branching out on my food discovery adventure. It was such a bizarre fun experience. I was trying super hard to digest all this adventure and fit myself in this unusual culture. I guess you could call me a Bilbo Baggins in a sense, not because I am a short gal but because I kept adventuring with the denial.
It was a cold rainy day with light snow. My stomach was growling after school. The Guy who was sitting next me was sort of giggling hearing stomach noises. Mom had prepared some snacks for me, but deep down I knew that snack was just not going to cut it. Today, my stomach was craving something new, something ultra-America; it was craving for a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a coke.
I was born and raised as a Hindu kid. My parents aren’t orthodox Hindu, but we were often told to avoid beef (especially cow). Female cows are worshiped as a female god in Hindu religion. So, just thinking about a cheeseburger is already considered a sin in a conservative Hindu family. But here I was ready to break that barrier and face that demon in hell if I must, and it was all for just a cheeseburger.
I grabbed my coat and umbrella started walking to a fast-food restaurant nearby my house which was about a ten-minute walk. As I was walking, all I ever thought of was a bacon cheeseburger with a fresh set of French fries and soda.
After reached there, I was cold and shaking a little bit. I waited on the line form my turn to order. After my turn came, I started shaking even more vigorously and I could hardly pounce a word. I know, I was cold and shaky but that wasn’t the main reason for my jerkiness. I was about to break the lesson I was taught ever since I was little kid. I started mumbling out words.
Me: Can I please get um! Umm! cheeseburger with fries and a coke?
Server replies; So, you want a combo, right?
Me: Um! Sureee…
I had no idea what combo meant back then so I trusted her with the order. Fortunately, the waitress understood that I wanted cheeseburger with fries and drink.
So, here I was on a corner table with my bacon cheeseburger, fries and a drink. Couple of minutes had already passed by as I was staring at my tray. I was half paralyzed as I was trying to process what I was about to do. My head was going a thousand miles an hour. I could hear my granddad in my head saying;
“don’t do this now. You have come so far! but not for this”.
Me in head: But I am hungry papa!!
I was woken up by a sharp voice of a kid who was behind me. I noticed my tongue was filled with watery saliva. I shook my head as I tried to snap out of that conversation in my head. I was very scared, but my curiosity and hunger triumphed my fears.
Finally, I hauled myself together and told myself to man up. I took a long deep breath and took a bite out of that cheeseburger. Oh, my goodness!! it was the best taste my tongue ever had tasted in my life.
I never thought that perfectly sliced vegetables mixed with a slab of meat put between two buns would taste so good. I was so shocked. The sour and watery taste of tomatoes, the slightly bitter taste of lettuce, salty and sourness of pickles, sharp taste of melted creamy cheddar, perfectly grilled greasy beef patty and crispy and salty bacon, all snuggled between buns was the taste my tongue was missing all these years. That cheeseburger hit all the notes for me. It was astonishingly delicious, or shall I say; it was heaven on earth?
That cheeseburger was sort of like a bridge between me and American culture, I so desperately wanted to be part of. This unusual awesome city didn’t feel like an upside down anymore. I also got a sense of being an adult and deciding things for myself. I realized that avoiding certain food doesn’t make you religious and you don’t have to be religious to be a good person.