Peru was an amazing and trans-formative experience. We had plans and aspirations of building a life there and opening a guest house with an organic vegetarian cafe and a garden right out the back and of course almost everything would be made from scratch.
The ducks and chickens would roam about offering their unhatched offspring for deelicious omelets and pastries and the cows are standing by ready to give milk, it would all be very old fashioned, much like it still is in many countries today. This still a dream of ours but as we began to plan, the Universe stepped in and pointed us back to The States…frankly the last place at this point we were expecting to be headed.
The details are too many and irrelevant in this context but pretty much all of a sudden we found ourselves heading back to live in the desert lands of Phoenix looking for “real” jobs and trying to find a house. I was in a bit of a panic as I saw our dream and what was almost our reality of creating a different lifestyle in another land, rapidly dissolving in the rear view mirror. All of a sudden I had a car payment again, we were looking at a hefty lease on a house and Anthony was looking for a job dressed once again in his Hugo Boss clothes and wearing a tie for godsakes! All too suddenly gone were the days of sipping coconuts in Thailand and traipsing about the markets in the Andes…the “real world” was quickly setting in, and I was not one bit happy about it.
Coming back to the west I was extremely attuned to the cultural differences and mainly how we approach food in America. The overall presence and attitude towards food production and practices is relatively horrifying. Not to mention that we have created food as the the enemy and we embrace every single food fad that pops up in hopes of getting thinner and more beautiful. We have made processed food low fat, low carb, high fiber, sugar free, low cal and even “calorie free” (my personal fave) and we as a nation are fatter than ever. As a foodie and a person who has seen other ways of living it is even more magnified. Just heading to the grocery store was anxiety provoking and would at times cause me to leave the store virtually empty handed. Thankfully we have a movement where places like Whole Foods, community and farmers market and many individuals are doing amazing things to shift our industrial food production practices and elevate our awareness. For this I am incredibly grateful.
I was however upon my return, not in the financial position to be shopping at places that had sadly become elitist. Much of the food that comes from the earth is pretty freakin expensive and the people who seek it have become the minority. The cheap and readily available stuff is factory farmed and highly processed.
Despite my sadness and dissatisfaction I was not in a living situation where I was able to grow my own food. Not to mention that I was never taught how to truly feed myself. You would think that growing up in the agricultural mecca of Sonoma County this would kind of be a given course in grade school or high school. But just like teaching us all how to raise a child and how to balance a checkbook feeding ourselves fell by the wayside in favor of dodge ball and calculus. Suffices to say that I felt trapped, frustrated and I wanted to get on the next plane out of this mess.
Slowly I began to come to terms with The States and Phoenix once again and the culture shock was dissipating, much to the relief of my loved ones as I was not at all pleasant to be around I can assure you. I was not however giving up on my intention to contribute to putting fresh, healthy and unprocessed food a priority for all.