January 20th, 1981. I was 14 years-old and terrified. I had just left my home in Brasilia to spend 6 months in the US as an exchange student. I vividly remember the car’s frosty windows on my way from Logan to Marlborough. I had never seen snow. I had never been abroad. And, needless to say, I had never seen the Palardys – Mom, Dad, Bernadette, Donna or Susan. It was all new. Exciting, but terrifying.
This American family opened their home to me. I think of them as family, and they have always treated me as one of their own. It was an experience that changed my life and in a way shaped my future – I have never stopped travelling after that (well.. now I have, but then again I now have a home, a husband, a son and step-daughter! It had to stop somehow…LOL).
Those who know me well will agree it is strange, but for some reason, a lot of my memories have something to do with food! LOL (No wonder I gained 40 pounds over there!)
French toasts before school at Vicki and Sandy’s home. Their mother was extremely kind to me, and I will always remember those mornings.
Frozen donuts heated in the microwave – I remember them so well I can almost taste them! I thought I had imagined them, but then I found Morton Frozen Donuts! There is even an article entitled “Bring back Morton’s honeybuns”.
Dad’s spaghetti with meatball – I loved those dinners. At first he was a bit impatient with me because I couldn’t do anything (and I really mean anything!)to help him in the kitchen (you should see me now, Dad, you would be proud: I can cook for 200!). Back then I was the typical spoiled Brazilian teenager…
Chicken Fingers – At one point, I went to a Chinese restaurant and someone ordered Chicken Fingers. I was so concerned “because we don’t eat chicken fingers back home”. Chinese food in Boston is very different from anywhere else. I hadn’t realized I was going to eat sliced, battered and fried chicken breast. I thought I was going to eat the actual “fingers” (or “tenders”), as they call them in New Hampshire.
And GREEN BEANS – oh my God… how I hate them! And Mom wanted to force-feed them to me – Mom, I still hate them (as well as grapefruit! But I have learned to appreciate a good cottage cheese after many years of trying…).
Black Beans Palardy Style– Trying to do something from Brazil, Dad cooked black beans for us all once. Susan very delicately pointed out they looked like rabbit’s pooh. Quite the lady she was … Well, they all hated it, and it was the last time black beans were ever cooked in the Palardy’s kitchen. I, however, loved them and was very touched by their effort to make me feel at home.
Boston Baked Beans – I saw a can of BBB and was sooo happy. Thought I was going to eat beans… but I was mistaken – I can’t think of many things as strange to a Brazilian as beans cooked with brown sugar! They simply are NOT cooked that way! And NOT served with hotdogs! I was sooo disappointed…lol
And the list could go on and on…
Thank you guys, I love you all.