An open letter to goat cheese

Cheese_55_bg_061806Dear Queso de Cabra,

It has been just over two months now that I have been here in Spain. There have been a whirlwind of emotions, adjustments and experiences.  Even though it hasn’t been easy, is has been very beautiful. God has been so good to me and so present. Getting acclimated to Europe is an adventure; new people, food, schedules, values, and infrastructures- most everything is different, helping me realize just how American I am. Each day is another opportunity to choose to bring in something new and outside my comfort zone or choose not to and miss out on the richness this time has to offer. But now the initial excitement is beginning to wear off and I am being left to face the cold hard truth. There are some things that I don’t like and some things that I miss.  I miss eating peanut butter with my apples or bananas, being able to harmonize to the songs during Mass, saying prayers that I understand and being able to read emails I receive. I don’t mind not having these things, its helping me to appreciate them more.  I am learning to be flexible because change is inevitable and flexibility allows for the experience of life without getting stuck in the details.

But honestly Queso, I can only flex so much at one time. And when we first met last month, I thought I could bend to you- I was wrong. You caught me off guard in a vulnerable moment after a long day. It was just dinner, a Spanish dinner of salad with tomatoes and olives. Great! But those of my community (and myself) who are new to the country were feeling, well, a lack in the protein area. So some merciful soul went to the kitchen to see what she could find. She came back with a plate of cheese. Awesome! Who doesn’t love cheese? So as the plate is passed around and the different types are being identified, our conversation turns to how the Spanish take pride in their cheeses. I’m not a picky eater and absorb this information with the desire to be cultured (all pun intended). But I missed the subtle warning about you: “Just so you know, it’s strong”. Strong is not the word. Vile is more suitable. I don’t know how I missed the smell, but as I look back I do recall suddenly sensing a rank combination of feet and bathroom cleaner. Neither of us was prepared for what happened next. I do want to apologize for gagging and discarding you into my napkin. But I think it’s also fair to expect an apology from you for making me cry a little. I was tired and quite honestly you deceived me.  You made me think you were merely outside my normal range of preferences, meant to be assimilated into my experience of the world like other things here. But, Queso de Cabra, I don’t think that is the case with you. I think we need to stay very far away from each other. I promise not to publicly express my disgust with you anymore, but you need to stop sneaking into the salad (and the eggs and the pizza and that thing we ate last week with the chicken).

One last thing Queso, Jesus said in Matthew 25:33 that “he will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left” and I think we both know why….

About Victoria O'Donnell

Victoria is from Cincinnati, OH and studied for a BS in psychology at Northern Kentucky University for three years when she discovered that God was calling her to discern consecrated life in Regnum Christi. She is currently studying at Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso. Her favorite catholic bloggers are Simcha Fisher, Fr. Robert Barron and anyone on RC live.
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