Eating a “Bad Apple” : A Lesson on Open-Mindedness

I enjoy a good apple, especially a Gala or Honeycrisp with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese…my mouth is already watering! Biting into a cold, crisp & refreshing apple is just what I need to fend off other unhealthy cravings and keep these curves in check (ha!).

The first week we were here in Paraguay, I got an apple out of the fridge and sunk my teeth into it expecting it to be a little different than the selectively bred and designer apples us pampered Americans are used to. I knew it would be different…I wasn’t fooled. What I got when I took a nice sized chomp out of that apple was not only different, but an apple-lover’s worst nightmare-it was mealy, mushy, tasted old, and just…gah…I couldn’t finish it. Sorely disappointed and ever ungrateful, I threw it away and began my dire search for a new fruit to take its place. Whenever we would go to the supermercado, I would look at the apples, disappointed in their gutsy move…they might be able to avoid me, but I would find a substitution. I would have my revenge. You see…with that one bad experience, I crossed all apples off my mind. To me, apples in Paraguay would all yield the same result: sheer disappointment.

I tried papayas-nope.

Bananas-tasty, but I wouldn’t recommend eating more than one a day. Your digestive system won’t appreciate it.

Strawberries-YES PLEASE! but waaay to expensive.

Pears-they taste great but its hard to find them soft enough.

Kiwis-more expensive than strawberries

Grapes-sour

My endeavor to find a substitution returned void. I could not find anything to take the place of my lovely apple. Nothing as sweet, crisp, refreshing and cheap. Would I have to give up eating fruit? (drama added for flair)

Weeks went by and I silently scoffed whenever I saw anyone eating an apple. How could they? gross. I didn’t like my attitude, but I wasn’t pleased with the current apple-situation either.

About 3 weeks later, my brother-in-law came home from buying groceries and told me he bought me some fruit. Happily I skipped into the kitchen and then saw a bag of

bright

shiny

apples.

To be polite, I decided to eat one. Placing an apple on the cutting board and preparing myself to suffer through the ordeal, I sliced off a piece of the apple and took a bite. I expected mealy mediocrity but instead got a wonderfully juicy and crisp, scrumptiously sweet bite of apple.

It was seriously tasty.

While I savored my apple, I reflected on the whole situation. I had completely written off apples because I had the luck of eating the one bad one out of the bushel. I’ve eaten some seriously weird things in my many travels and not even batted an eyelash, but when faced with one “bad apple”, I couldn’t even look at them without internally rolling my eyes. Who had I become? Seriously–who was I? Then I started asking myself what other things or people for that matter had I treated like bad apples? How often had I either consciously or unconsciously pushed aside things, or more importantly, people…to look for a better substitute?

This “bad apple” incident has really opened my eyes and I am beginning to be more aware of my prejudices, how I react to less-than-perfect experiences, and most importantly, how I treat people. I need to be, no–I must be– more open, more aware, more understanding. I am living in a new culture, a new part of the world where I am not the queen of what matters or what is important, or what is correct. I can’t write people or things or places off because they don’t easily fit into my understanding of the world. I can’t afford it. I can’t isolate myself. I might as well go back to the U.S. if that is how I choose to remain, which I refuse to, even if it is just an apple.

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