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Re: OT Cooking lessons

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  • johnji_nz
    I m glad to hear you enjoyed my (highly self-indulgent) post Sarah, but I must admit that I didn t much enjoy my stay in PEI. While New Zealand is hardly the
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 26, 2006
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      I'm glad to hear you enjoyed my (highly self-indulgent) post Sarah, but
      I must admit that I didn't much enjoy my stay in PEI. While New Zealand
      is hardly the height centre of culture and civilisation, being
      transplanted from the Antipodes to 20 miles down the road from the
      middle of nowhere (I lived in a rural part of PEI remote even by the
      locals definition, beyond reaches of cable tv!) was a bit of a sore
      point at the time.

      I suspect I would enjoy it much more now, as the calm and beauty of
      oceanic and pastoral surrounds are very conducive to meditation. Which
      is actually why my stuck in the 60s father moved there...

      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sarah_inseattle
      <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi John,
      >
      > I also enjoyed reading this post, specially the part about PEI.
      > What a great place to have spent a year of your childhood. I visited
      > PEI around 1970 and was totally charmed by it. What I liked best
      > was how pastoral it was, with many farms right on the water. I
      > thought it was paradise. The red dirt roads were beautiful, too.
      >
      > I admit to being an Anne of Green Gables fan, though I didn't read
      > the books until after my visit there. I don't know about a TV
      > miniseries, but there is an Anne of Green Gables movie starring
      > Megan Follows & Colleen Dewhurst which is one of my all-time
      > favorite movies. Watching the movie makes me fall in love with PEI
      > all over again, every time.
      >
      > I am shocked to learn PEI can now be accessed by bridge, since 1997
      > it seems. We, of course, took a ferry. I hope PEI hasn't
      > changed/doesn't change too much. It is a real treasure.
      >
      > Thanks again for the post.
      >
      > Sarah
      > Seattle
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, johnji_nz
      > no_reply@ wrote:
      > >
      > > Thank you Dharmaja and Sharani for the kind words. I forgot to add
      > an
      > > "Off-Topic" preface to this post, or even an introduction that it
      > > would, after some quite considerable verbiage, reach something of
      > an
      > > illumining conclusion. So thanks for sticking in there ;-)
      > >
      > > To reply to a few points:
      > >
      > > 1. The beaches in PEI are famously red, the reason for which you
      > can
      > > find in the following for kids FAQ website about PEI
      > > (http://ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/landuse/ecosites/pei.cfm).
      > > Incidentally the bridge is no longer the world's longest, but is
      > still
      > > pretty impressive.
      > >
      > > 2. I cannot completely verify the full dietary preferences of
      > Japanese
      > > tourists, although on a recent trip to Japan I found little
      > evidence
      > > of a taste for red soil. Seaweed, on the other hand was everywhere.
      > > There was even green icecream, and we're not talking peppermint!
      > >
      > > 3. Of course you realise Simahin is Australian, an accent which no-
      > one
      > > would ever mistake for charming! ;-) Also, almost ten years of
      > living
      > > here in New Zealand with us have made Simahin considerable more
      > > intelligable, in my opinion.
      > >
      > > 4. Anne of Green Gables the TV miniseries actually came out while I
      > > was on the Island. It was a source of deep embarrasment I must say,
      > > but as I said in the story, 12 year old boys do their best to avoid
      > > culture...
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > >
      > > John-Paul
      > >
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, dharmaja
      > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Hallo, there John-Paul,
      > > >
      > > > First of all: Excellent post.
      > > >
      > > > Did some independent research, to verify your data report. Used
      > the
      > > > Mapquest system to find a map of PEI, and, as you said, it looks
      > just
      > > > like a bowtie. But it was shown as white, not red. No matter,
      > I'm
      > > > fine with that.
      > > >
      > > > You stated: PEI is home to red soil, red potatoes and yes, red
      > > > lobsters as well. Every summer, "The Island" is visited by
      > busloads of
      > > > Japanese tourists, who, having read the former (Green Gables),
      > wish to
      > > > feed on all of the latter.
      > > >
      > > > Do the Japanese tourists eat the red soil as well?
      > > >
      > > > On dealing with the bully: good technique, bravo.
      > > >
      > > > I am also fond of the Candadian speech. However, if Simahin
      > gets up
      > > > there to make annoucements, take cover fast!
      > > >
      > > > Yeah, origami can play a surprising role! Good tale.
      > > >
      > > > Back when I had a television, I viewed a few episodes of Anne of
      > Green
      > > > Gables. Wow, plenty teary!
      > > >
      > > > D.
      > > > San Diego, Calif.
      > > > ________________________________
      > > >
      > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, johnji_nz
      > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > At the age of eleven I spent a year living in the middle of
      > nowhere:
      > > > > Prince Edward Island, Canada, a red coloured, bow-tie shaped
      > dot on
      > > > > the icy edge of the northern Atlantic Ocean. To
      > the "Islanders", as
      > > > > they are known, far less the fervent supporters of the British
      > > > > monarchy than their Anglophile forefathers, my newly adopted
      > home was
      > > > > simply "PEI"; to the rest of the world, Prince Edward Island
      > is not
      > > > > quite famous as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of
      > Green
      > > > > Gables, the birthplace of the Canadian Confederation, and
      > > > home to red soil, red potatoes and yes, red lobsters as well.
      > Every
      > > > summer, "The Island" is visited by busloads of Japanese
      > tourists, who,
      > > > having read the former, wish to feed on all of the latter.
      > > > >
      > > > > Upon my return to New Zealand, not only had I, courtesy of the
      > > > > asynchronous northern and southern hemisphere calendars,
      > missed the
      > > > > end of primary school and the beginning of 'intermediate'—a
      > unique to
      > > > > New Zealand two year junior high-school before actual high-
      > school
      > > > > begins—I had acquired a strong, not quite as sweet as maple
      > syrup
      > > > > poured on top flavouring: a Canadian accent to my speech.
      > > > >
      > > > > To my ears, the Canadian version of English evokes pleasant
      > > > > associations. Even though I am through parentage half born of
      > the land
      > > > > of tree-syrup and year-round snow, and therefore as likely to
      > possess
      > > > > a blind patriotic fondness as to know the words to "O Canad-
      > aaaa" (to
      > > > > both yes), with just a little objectivity I would describe the
      > > > > Canadian tongue pleasingly warm and mild, communicating
      > clearly the
      > > > > softness and openness of heart that citizens of Canada are
      > correctly
      > > > > known for the world wide.
      > > > >
      > > > > But lest I lull you further into a red-leafed, snow-flaked
      > idyllic
      > > > > world of children's literature and maple-frosted nostalgia,
      > remember
      > > > > that for most 12 year old boys, the niceties of civilisation
      > are to be
      > > > > shunned rather than learned. Forget reading—even politeness;
      > > > > consideration and tolerance are for girls!
      > > > >
      > > > > The New Zealand I returned to in the mid-1980s, although to
      > some fame
      > > > > recently nuclear-free, was still sufficiently insulated from
      > the rest
      > > > > of the world for anything non-homogenous to stand out like the
      > Rocky
      > > > > Mountains—which is precisely what this boy from "Canadia"
      > [sic] did on
      > > > > his first day back at school. New Zealand would change
      > profoundly in
      > > > > the next couple of years, but for now, integrating as a young
      > > > > "foreigner" back into the land of milk, milk and money was a
      > blend
      > > > > stirred way past lumpy.
      > > > >
      > > > > Of course a quiet return would be completely out of the
      > question—it
      > > > > seems experiences seldom come my way by halves. By fate's
      > mysterious
      > > > > providence my loaded vocabulary and I were seated beside a boy
      > whom,
      > > > > following a less than enthusiastically returned introduction,
      > revealed
      > > > > himself to be both class loud mouth and bully. Looking as
      > though he
      > > > > had recently leapt a farmyard fence, "agricultural" was his
      > > > > personality as well as appearance. With squinted eyes and red
      > nostrils
      > > > > flared, he charged a barrage of questions barbed and not at
      > all veiled
      > > > > insults my way, in volume calculated to carry to the rest of
      > the class
      > > > > beyond.
      > > > >
      > > > > My masculinity was questioned because of my unusual accent—
      > "Say where
      > > > > you're from again! Say it again, ha-ha-ha!" Vocalised doubts
      > were
      > > > > reinforced further out loud by the peculiarity of— and even
      I
      > am now
      > > > > embarrassed to admit this—"product" in my hair, and should a
      > dubious
      > > > > first impression have needed further destroying, I was wearing
      > clothes
      > > > > a full season ahead of these shores.
      > > > > A mongoose
      > > > >
      > > > > While I do like to portray myself as the long-suffering,
      > > > > sympathetically mild hero of the titular, when backed into a
      > corner,
      > > > > and with pride at stake, something akin to a small yet
      > ferocious, fast
      > > > > moving creature of the forest edges to the fore. Facing a
      > torrent of
      > > > > insults with no end in sight, action in form drastic was
      > required,
      > > > > lest a bad beginning establish the school yard tone until the
      > ending
      > > > > of the year. To this day however I surprised by what I did
      > next...
      > > > >
      > > > > Sitting quietly, taking insult and joke after insult and joke,
      > my
      > > > > pride was stung and my fury grew. I resolved that this time I
      > wasn't
      > > > > going to turn the other cheek, strong upbringing in the mores
      > of
      > > > > Christianity aside. At the dying moment of the first school
      > day, I
      > > > > would quite literally turned the tables and upright my pride.
      > > > >
      > > > > The leering tormentor, rocking precariously upon an
      > overburdened
      > > > > classroom chair, possessed an assured sense of security
      > brought by an
      > > > > advantage in both size and age, but his security breed a
      > complacency
      > > > > which was also his weakness. Temporarily vulnerable with
      > teacher
      > > > > absent and his chair half air-borne, I seized my opportunity
      > and quite
      > > > > deliberately shoved him backwards, where he sprawled quite
      > > > > dramatically face first into aisle, the laughter and high
      > amusement of
      > > > > the entire classroom additional insult to his humiliation.
      > > > >
      > > > > The battle won but the war only beginning, he was silenced at
      > the
      > > > > close of the day. Total victory would require advantage
      > pressed home
      > > > > with fists in the carpark afterwards—the act of a rugby
      style
      > > > > "enforcer" which, bar a couple of notable exceptions, I have
      > never
      > > > > been. Yet despite my avoidance of this most violent
      > conclusion, aside
      > > > > from a couple of minor humiliations—the "accidental"
      breaking
      > of my
      > > > > nose in a class game of softball included—strangely, over
      the
      > three
      > > > > months that made up the completion of my seventh year of
      > school, this
      > > > > 13 year old proto-meglomaniac kept a wary and I must say
      > welcome
      > > > distance.
      > > > >
      > > > > That may have been because as I learnt In time, my call it
      > bravery or
      > > > > call it temporary insanity had made friends that day.
      > Impressed by the
      > > > > overturning of both chair and tormenter were several older
      > boys—brave
      > > > > of heart and even greater in physical size—who took it upon
      > themselves
      > > > > to lend me their protection, albeit with something of an
      > ulterior
      > > > > motive in mind:
      > > > >
      > > > > "Don't worry about him—he'll be leaving you alone from now
      on.
      > But
      > > > > could you make us some more of those paper throwing stars...?"
      > A pact
      > > > > with the devil was entered into, one to my advantage if not to
      > some
      > > > > poor teachers'...
      > > > >
      > > > > In a sinister twist to the noble but not normally life-
      > threatening art
      > > > > of origami, a paper 'shuriken' craze had violently captured the
      > > > > imagination of my former Canadian school—"dangerous" sixth
      > graders
      > > > > stalked the hallways like ninjas when the teachers were
      > absent; just
      > > > > plain dangerous eighth graders throwing them at the windows of
      > our
      > > > > passing school bus, paper weighted by copper pennies for extra
      > > > lethality.
      > > > >
      > > > > To diverge to the topic of passing school-yard fashions for
      > just a
      > > > > moment, paper throwing stars were the best of several that
      > appeared
      > > > > that year, appealing as they did to the lover of fast moving
      > > > > projectiles in every young boy. Lasting all of approximately
      > two days
      > > > > however, "sissy burns" were definitely the worst, a discovery
      > that if
      > > > > a patch of skin—for example the forearm—is rubbed
      intensely
      > for half
      > > > > an hour or more, the resulting friction painlessly gives one
      > the
      > > > > appearance of having been burned. I vehemently avoided this
      > particular
      > > > > fad, and with good cause—a day later all the participants
      were
      > to
      > > > > their deep regret and quite real pain nursing scab-forming
      > burns!
      > > > >
      > > > > Back in New Zealand the school year ended, and so too I
      > thought my
      > > > > involvement with this 'farmyard bully', and it did for quite a
      > few
      > > > > years, until by some strange working of fate's hand our paths
      > crossed
      > > > > again. It didn't seem like they would; I went on to a
      > different high
      > > > > school from his—my mother, a teacher at the former, had
      sworn
      > that her
      > > > > son would not be attending. Not because of the afore-mentioned
      > topic
      > > > > of bullying, which in truth children of teachers can
      > experience, but
      > > > > more because she actually didn't rate the school she taught at
      > high
      > > > > enough to send her own offspring there.
      > > > >
      > > > > It was in her role as "Home Technology" teacher (cooking,
      > nutrition,
      > > > > clothing etc) that my mother introduced my "greatest fan" to
      > cooking,
      > > > > where, following an initial period of disruptive behaviour he
      > actually
      > > > > applied himself, turning with sheer hard work into a more than
      > useful
      > > > > cook. Leaving school early to acquire a chef's qualification,
      > he rose
      > > > > quickly to a position considered near the pinnacle of his
      > trade—a
      > > > > professional chef with an American NFL football side.
      > > > >
      > > > > Years later and "living the dream", he sought out my mother,
      > thanking
      > > > > her profusely for turning him in this very profitable
      > direction, and
      > > > > gave an inspiring talk to her students about fulfilling their
      > > > > potential. My mother told me of this completely unaware of his
      > status
      > > > > as my former antagonist, and I must admit it was a little hard
      > to
      > > > > swallow—a grudging admittance that maybe the tormenter of
      > years past
      > > > > wasn't quite as all-black as I had self-righteously painted
      > him. It
      > > > > was a good lesson, and one that I often need reminding
      of—one
      > > > > shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, not even a thin one...
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > John-Paul
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >



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