Dinner Small Talk

Story of a man's immigration journey from a primitive African village to the United States Air Force Academy as an international exchange cadet. Stark images of the dissonance between two worlds, one where poverty reigns and the other where goodwill outweighs good sense. This book reveals the epic struggle of immigrants everywhere searching for a better life in the United States, only to find that what they've left behind haunts them even past pledging their allegiance to a new flag of hope.  Adopting America contains vivid imagery of what it's like to try to exist within a world that is not your own--of how it feels to adopt the ways of the Western world. A true story of International Adoption intertwines with the plot to give a realistic view of what it's like to adopt children from a third world country and hope they adopt American ways.  This book also includes a detailed account of life as an international exchange cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, with contrasts to third world military systems in comparison to the more developed U.S. military.

Story of a man’s immigration journey from a primitive African village to the United States Air Force Academy as an international exchange cadet. Stark images of the dissonance between two worlds, one where poverty reigns and the other where goodwill outweighs good sense. This book reveals the epic struggle of immigrants everywhere searching for a better life in the United States, only to find that what they’ve left behind haunts them even past pledging their allegiance to a new flag of hope.
Adopting America contains vivid imagery of what it’s like to try to exist within a world that is not your own–of how it feels to adopt the ways of the Western world. A true story of International Adoption intertwines with the plot to give a realistic view of what it’s like to adopt children from a third world country and hope they adopt American ways.
This book also includes a detailed account of life as an international exchange cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, with contrasts to third world military systems in comparison to the more developed U.S. military.

‘table topics’ is Googled around 49,000 times per month globally. Apparently, Table Topics is a game?!?
One major difference between me and the other cadets at the Academy was our perception of the dining hall, our communal cafeteria where we were required to eat most of the time. Among most of the foreign exchange cadets, being required to eat was one of the biggest oxymorons of western society in comparison to our own. Our brains were wired to hope for the privilege of having something to eat. Once my tastes were adjusted to the pungent tastes of American cuisine, no one had to force me to eat the food that was available in abundance, at the surplus frequency of three times a day. Initially, as if it were possible to be any skinnier, I lost at the least twenty pounds. This was in part because I couldn’t force enough food down, in the time allotted, and under the stress typical of mealtime for the basics. We were required to sit on the very edge of our seats and chew our food for a particular number of times, speaking only when spoken to. Generally, the meal was rushed to the point of eating very little and remaining hungry until the next mealtime that would be as equally traumatic.

I would later realize that in general, outside the Academy grounds, American mealtime was more of a social gathering than a chance for physical nourishment. Food was a centerpiece around which everyone could gather and have something in common—the desire to taste something good. Sometimes, on certain social occasions where cadets would meet at a restaurant to hang out, at least one fourth of the meal conversation would easily consist of discussions about what to eat, who had eaten it before, why that particular restaurant had been chosen and where we should eat next time. At first, it seemed very strange to me that so much time would be spent getting to know the food, instead of the person with whom you were sharing the food. But as time passed, it was a comfort to know that if I couldn’t think of what to say to the person sitting next to me at lunch, I could just comment on the salty mashed potatoes and they’d probably follow it up with a commentary on the gravy.

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