Nutella vs Marmite

We have a pastor in my church who reminds me of Minority Report. He has been nice to give me some of his time as of late even though we hardly knew each other before I fell ill. I can’t remember at quite what point during one of our conversations that he finished off with the courteous phrase, “Allt gott”. I wanted to bite his head off, for I thought he was insane to say “Allt gott” (translation: All well/good/bien/bon/tasty) to me, a 28 year-old cancer case. At the utterance of these two words, I was able to remain calm, smile without using my eyes, and walk away. I am not sure if I would smile today if left in a similar situation. However, I believe I asked for a very good explanation via email some time later. See, this is where communication is so important. His term “Allt gott” I guess you could say is the equivalent of the phrase “With Christian greetings”, a phrase I read every time I get an email with an attached Prayer/Information letter from a couple in Manchester.

The pair, who have just celebrated their 40th anniversary in South Africa, are connected with the Globe Café and work for Friends International in Greater Manchester. I can’t remember how I started speaking to someone who looks like Santa Clause, but I totally fell for the white-bearded man at Manchester University’s International Society, where I was taking refuge after my “incident” with ICC/ICOC. It also turned out that their location was just a few blocks from my halls of residence, Canterbury Court, on Kent Road East. Hence I started going to Globe Café to sip tea with (mostly) Chinese students as well as learn some new proverbs, which naturally originated from the Bible.

A lot of good came out of these meetings, such as later meeting Jane (JC) and her beautiful mother. I still can’t believe I delighted in (SWEDISH) Blixt’s stew comprising of English sausages and chicken liver! We went on some pretty wild trips where I had my own delight and fed JC “Kalles Kaviar“. I know you thought Swedish Kaviar was appalling, but I believed that if I can learn to like Marmite then Kalles should be effortless.

“Kaviar is the classic sandwich paste made from cod roe. Kalle is the fair-haired boy who is on the tube – his father was the managing director at the time of the product’s launch in 1954. Abba the manufacture is a long-established company so Abba the band had to ask permission.”

Text from book Things Swedish

Marmite? I thought it was Nutella the first time I tried it in Canterbury Court, Flat 13. Listen up, France! There are other spreads for your breakfast toast than “chocolaty hazelnut spread”. God should know. I deduce it was either the woman footballer or the margareta medic (definitely not Biochem-AZPhD or “cleaning whilst spraying perfume”) who offered the naive Swedish girl a nice big taste. Need I add that I was the only foreigner in the flat (thanks for the card by the way)? One last note before I finish off and take “just” 1 x 10 mg of what-ever-it-is-called. Now I understand why my husband always cracks up when I talk about living in a flat with ten British girls. A flat(a) is supposedly slang for lesbian in Swedish. Girls, should I let the world’s imagination run wild, for we were definitely gay, right?

Last but not least, it was YOUR TOAST, Ms. Tinkerbell, that left me yearning for more. Interestingly, I believe the last Marmite jar I picked up was in a small shop in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem. I really have tried to “seek first to understand” and I still don’t comprehend. Am I just being fed the “wrong” web sites?

“Food for thought”: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas A. Edison-


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