I really do love my coffee.

I like it hot and strong and (equally important) the clean up later should not be too complicated. These are my simple rules and this is what I have collected so far in my quest to make a good cup of coffee:

  •   A Cafetiere/French Press (call it what you may) bought from the UK (not France :))
  •   A stovetop Moka Express coffee maker from Italy
  •   An Armenian/Turkish coffee pot (a gift from a friend)
  •   [The electrical filter coffee maker from the US broke, thanks to our packers in NYC :(]

This might make me seem a bit spoilt but it is just a quest for perfection, for the perfect cup of coffee. I have stopped short of buying one of the fancy programmable coffee brewing systems; I prefer things that are easy to transport.

These are some of my treasures that I will carry with me when I move. Sometimes, on one of those rare occasions when I have some time to myself, it’s nice to sit (with a good cup of coffee, of course) and think of what else I may have picked up, knowingly or unknowingly, from different parts of the world.

I am not referring only to those things that I can hold in my hand. Apart from the books, the photographs and the wall hangings, how many of our habits and points-of-view are acquired from the different corners of the globe?

There was a time, long before I ever stepped out of my country, and long before I had children, I met a family where the parents and children had accents differing from each other. I still recall how strange it had seemed to me then. Now, for us, it is the norm.

Living in Kenya, I seem to have picked up the polite habit of saying sorry to others when they get hurt, drop something or even bump into the wall! I am not apologizing for it being my fault but I am expressing my regret that they have been hurt or inconvenienced; I am sorry that they had to go through something unpleasant. It used to sound strange to me when I experienced it as a new comer. I dropped some boxes of tissues in a store, and the salesperson standing near me said ‘Sorry, sorry’. I spent some time explaining that he had nothing to do with it and it was all my fault! It was a long while, and several mistakes later, before I finally got it. And, now, I find myself doing the same thing, without even noticing it. Moreover, I have a feeling this practice will stay with me for a long time to come.

So what have you acquired from the various parts of the world that you have lived in? Where has your quest led you? Do you have the ultimate warm blanket? Or, like me, a jacket bought in NYC which is perfect for every weather? A particular colour or a style of cooking? A habit, some nuances? Do you go around saying ‘sorry’ when it not your fault? Do you kiss friends on one cheek or both or three times? (I still haven’t got the hang of that one and get it wrong EVERY time. Whenever I draw back after the first, I realize my friend is waiting for the second; when I go for the third, she’s already greeting someone else!)

If we don’t acquire anything or learn anything new during our various moves, then where’s the fun in that?

7 Responses to Savour the Flavour – Attributes and Acquisitions from Around the Globe

  1. Cheryl McKeon says:

    Ayesha ~~
    I love this post! Being sentimental I have something from everyplace I have lived, which has never included anywhere outside the US: a very demanding quest for perfect tomatoes (as an Ohio native); a love of New York humor; and, most recently, my 16-year-old “commitment-to-Seattle” more-than-I had-ever-spent on -a -garment red raincoat, which does not see much use in California but continues to cheer me when I put it on.

    • Ayesha says:

      Thank you, Cheryl. It’s good to read about the acquisitions of others, whatever form they may take. Every place we live in touches our personalities in some way. I feel it’s lovely to carry these treasures with us wherever we may go.

  2. Susan says:

    Lovely post! Some of my favorite “souvenirs” are words from the languages of other countries that just seem to do the job better than any English equivalent. Here in Nigeria, I’ve fallen hard for wahala, a pidgin word for trouble or upset; Kenya gave me pole (sorry — the sorry you write about in your post)and sawa (OK). From Macedonia, I still cling to ajde (ay-day), which means “let’s go.”

  3. Ayesha says:

    So true, Susan. Each language has its own gems. What an amazing vocabulary you have and what a treasure trove! Your very own private dictionary. It has sometimes happened with me that a word or two of one language has slipped out while I have been conversing in another, just because my brain thought it was a better fit.

  4. mahwish sohail says:

    Aysha,
    Lovely post, very touching, when we travel and live some where for some times and we fall in love with some things and learn many things, they become part of your personality,fOR me“souvenirs” are the pieces we collect for our selves,memories which we carry all around with us.

    • Ayesha says:

      Thank you, Mahwish, You’re right, these memories and ‘souvenirs’ make us who we are and, hopefully, enrich our lives.

  5. Heather says:

    What exactly honestly stimulated you to write “Attributes and Acquisitions from
    Around the Globe – Defining Moves”? Ihonestly
    enjoyed reading the post! Thanks for the post
    -Rosaria

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