Chet, an American, came over to marry me, a Romanian, back in 1993. The revolution of 1989 and fall of communism was still fresh in our hearts.
Within the confinements of our apartment back in Hunedoara, we fed him and stared as if he was a shiny extraterrestrial object, waiting eagerly- as per our cultural expectations at the time- to see what gifts he brought along. After handing me and my mom the most beautiful red roses we’ve even seen in our lives, and now full, he pulled out the gifts he brought. Among those was a potato-peeler my mother-in-law sent to my own mom. It was the Cadillac version of potato-peelers but since we’ve never seen such a contraption we had no idea of its significants.
“This is for you from my mother.” Chet spoke through my brother Alin who became our translator.
“What is it?” Mom asked, after which Chet proceeded to explain the purpose of this very weird looking object in his hand.
“Ah, no need for that! I peel potatoes just fine with my knife, but thank your mom, it’s very kind of her to send me a present.” Chet, not giving up, proceeded to further explain how much easier her job of peeling potatoes will be with the new devise.
“Okay. Let’s have a race. I peel potatoes the way I’ve always done and you peel it with your contraption.”
“Sounds good.” Chet was prepared to win and awaited eagerly the start of the challenge. Mom brought out the burlap bag half full of potatoes and dumped them on the kitchen table.
“Go ahead.” She encouraged him as she grabbed potato after potato and began her speedy work. In front of them laid the smallest potatoes Chet’s ever seen and despite his efforts not to peel off the skin on his fingers, he realized he was in serious trouble. By the time mom peeled ten potatoes, Chet had a quarter of his done. Laughing full heartedly, mom teased him further.
“I guess I’ll keep my own ways.”
“In America the potatoes are big.” Chet clarified.
“Sure! In America everything is big!” Mom laughed while circled by twelve kids who joined in, leaving poor Chet to realize some rules in one country do not apply in another.
Hope that puts a smile on your face the way it does on mine when I remember how funny mom was:)