All Kinds of Everything

The other day I noticed an Asian supermarket as I was driving home. Curious as to what they might sell, I decided to stop and take a look. Inside was a treasure trove of goodies: apricot jam from Armenia, small bottles of Egyptian mango juice, Turkish delight and other sweetmeats from Istanbul, fresh goat meat, jasmine teabags from Iran … to mention but a few – and not forgetting a wonderful array of flours, grains and spices.
Asians represent just 2.3 percent of the city of San Antonio’s 1.3 residents, although more live in outlying areas. Many of them come from India, Turkey, China and Bangladesh. Amongst other things at the supermarket, I bought some freshly made wholewheat pitta breads and gave one to Mattie when she arrived home from school. I grilled the pitta first and then filled it with cheddar and tomato. It reminded me how, back home, Mattie’s Aunty Molly often used to make these as a snack. Funny, the things that remind one of home! I thought the same thing on Saturday night: I was listening to the radio and someone requested Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I had bought the CD not long before emigrating and remember discussing it with my friend, Wei Ping. Suddenly, it was as though Wei Ping were actually there with me. I remembered her exact words. If someone had asked me, before emigrating, what might recall England I would never have suggested pitta bread and Bach!
Earlier on the same Saturday, Mike and I had watched a program about John Lennon and his fight with the Nixon government, back in the 70s, when he lived in the US. I had forgotten about how much a protest figure, and bastion for peace, Lennon had been. Not surprisingly, he had a long battle with the Nixon government and immigration services about his right to abode in the US. This was finally settled only after Nixon resigned. During the program we saw a copy of Lennon’s passport and I discovered his middle name was Winston.
This evening, I am about to start Spanish lessons at the Winston Churchill High School, not far from our house. With Hispanics making up about 60% of the San Antonio population one hears Spanish almost everywhere – in restaurants, the post office, on the bus. I asked one of our Mexican workmen whether it feels like home here and he said it was indeed like living in a little Mexico. Mike and I passed by Churchill school today. It has a large Union Jack on the building. I recalled that the Asian supermarket also sells Bird’s custard powder, Brooke Bond tea and mint sauce! One comes to realize what a truly cosmopolitan city San Antonio is.

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