The mango fruit under the Christmas tree

I started thinking that something like globalization existed when I had to grab a jar of cucumbers from the pantry. I decided to look for some cookies too. Then I also found a wooden box, with colourful badges of different countries.

That “Cucumber Jar” day, I was just six, maybe seven years old. I started making questions, and learned: my mother travelled to the USA with this box when she was young, to work as a nanny. She heaved that chest with a ship; she had no luggage but that. Until then, I didn’t really think twice about the fact that we received constantly mail from America or Indonesia. Neither that my mother normally kept buying marshmallows, nor that she already knew of fruits I never heard about. In Christmas, my father always tried to find a mango fruit, because my mother fell in love with it when she was on travel. If he was able to find any, he packed it in gift-wrap paper and placed it under the Christmas tree; my mother was touched. I started getting interested in exotic fruits and foreign languages.

Whereupon I did understand the fruit thing was when I suddenly saw for the first time mango fruits in Kupsch’s and Kaufland’s greengrocer section, at all seasons, as if they were part of our national menu as potatoes and beetroot are. At Christmas, my mother behaved as usual: as if she was still touched of seeing a mango fruit under the tree. But everyone knew: surprise and the “where on earth did you find THAT?” was all faked. Anyone could buy a mango fruit. Then, kiwis started being usually present too, and I still remember how I had no idea how to eat them for the first time. And then I realized it was the most practical fruit: cut in half, eat each half with a teaspoon. Awesome. I understood later, that globalization meant more than just exotic fruits. And how fatal consequences for world’s weaknesses could arise from it, if combined with an unlimited capitalist acquisitiveness. And I understood too, that the land where I grew up was a happy enclave in a world where loads of things were going wrong.

When my friends come to Buenos Aires to pay me a visit, they see a modern city. And they’re surprised again and again that they feel themselves “far away”, because they’re not able to solve everything with just a couple of clicks. And they are surprised to find a land in which not everyone knows who Lady Gaga is. In which you almost see no iPods at all in buses and underground. They’re surprised about a currency that you’re unable to exchange abroad. Surprised about a Miele hoover without any dust bag, because they don’t import them anymore. Surprised about a country from which you’re not able to buy books in Amazon without going to the International Post Office, then wait two hours, and then pay a horrible duty customs fee. Surprised about a country from which you can’t buy MP3’s in international stores, because you live in the wrong country to do so, with a wrong IP address: “The wished product has unfortunately geographical restrictions”.

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