Green bananas

Before telling you the story of the green bananas let me accentuate that I had a very happy childhood. My parents loved me very much and even we didn’t have options, I grew up a beautiful person.

Being under communism my first 12 years, I learned to deal with 2 or 3 options. Food, drinks, sports, traveling, etc. had only 2 or 3 options.

In the winter was skiing and in the summer was hiking.

Food was missing. Here are some photos of long lines to buy cheese or fruits or bread.

Images before 1989

We had a revolution in 1989 and things started to get better. We start having lots of choices, but some of them very expensive.

Let’s go back to my green bananas story.

One day, my mom came from work and told my dad that they got bananas at the sweetshop. My dad said he will not go and stay in line because there are just a few cases and will not get any. We (the children) decided to go and wait in line. We wait for 2 hours and when we had 20 people in front of us the bananas finished.  We came home crying our eyes out and we were so disappointed and mad. But that was our life. After a few hours a guy came to my dad with a small package. Inside there were 6 green bananas. It was the first time seeing a banana. I think I was around 10 years old.

My parents explain to us that we had to leave them in the closet in the dark to turn them yellow, but we were so impatient to eat that we couldn’t wait no more. So, I ate one green banana. It tasted so bad. But a green banana is still a banana and I needed that victory. Waiting in line for 2 hours for a 10 year kid to get a banana (my brother was 6) is not something I wish to anyone.

I remember, my uncle waking up at 4 am and wait in line with a small chair for milk every morning. The shop will open at 7 am. Bread, flour, oil and other food were on a ration book. At my grandparents in countryside, there were fresh fruits and vegetables in the garden, fresh eggs, milk, because people had lots of animals and birds around the house. So, spending my summer vacation there was like a dream. Food, freedom, play, nature and clean air. We use to eat in the morning, leave the house to play with other kids and comeback late in the evening starving to death. That was some great summer vacation!

Today, some wait in line for phones, some still wait in lines for food or water.

So, respect the food, respect the choices because some people don’t have any. Be tolerant, don’t waste food, and help others.

Even now, at almost 40 years old, I have fruits and vegetables I never tried. Don’t judge me if I still eat meat. I do it rarely, but I want to try as many different food as I can. Those years at the beginning of my life pushed me to travel around the world to meet people and see places, to discover food and sports that I never dreamed to discover when I was a child.

So enjoy life, food, drinks etc. Leave the moment and teach your kids to do the same.


133 thoughts on “Green bananas”

  1. What a touching story. You brought tears to my eyes. We take so many things for granted these and your reminder to cherish every mouthful and every sip of water needs to be heard by everyone. Beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing. xxx

  2. I grew up in the Western Part of divided Germany but part of my family was in the East. Your post brought back memories of packing parcels with my mum for the family in the East and trying to hide as many treats between books and clothes as possible and the disappointment when things had been removed in transit – again.

  3. Thank you for writing and sharing your beautiful story. I’m so thankful for the reminder. For a lot of families, food is love. Your family and community knew how to share that love as well as they could. Please keep writing your history!

  4. Today I looked at the fridge and thought how grateful and privileged I am now, than I stumbled upon your post.

    My memories of communism are fragmented – the blue meat ration books, ques, the special shop where you could see foreign toys called Pewex….

    To me its oranges that stand out most and foreign chocolate in my memory. Id keep orange peelings dried for ages because you could still smell their fantastic scent. I kept chocolate wrappers for the same reason.

    I vividly remember how much things have changed and how fast. I was only 7 years old at a time so to me it was all exciting. My first mars bars, snickers, milkshake. Oh the memories.

    Your post transported me instantly back to the era when one simply had to do without and than suddenly whole nation was dropped unprepared into capitalism of we have everything for a price…

  5. I’m humbled…I wish more people really understood what living under Communism is like…maybe they would appreciate the freedoms they enjoy in the Untied States instead of taking them for granted.

  6. Your story is very touching and to the point. My parents also worked hard to put food on the table, so I never take having food for granted. Thank you for sharing your story and important message.

  7. Today, this might sound like un unbelievable story…
    So many people take things for granted, that will be impossible for them to understand your experience and feelings! Unfortunately, nowadays, a lot of food is wasted (especially after holidays), while there are still starving people in many parts of the world. We should have more respect and responsibility for our food!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Yes, I remember those times, I cannot even remember eating bananas before ’89 😀 Oranges were indeed for the winter holidays. I remember a lot of food was very hard and tough to chew, especially bread, those fudge caramels, even chewing gum sometimes. First time I ate a soft caramel fudge I thought it had gone bad and that it should have been tough like a rock, like I was used to. Hehe.

  9. I’m surprised you didn’t get a bad stomach ache, eating that green banana! In the Tropics, we grow bananas, but only eat green bananas cooked, as the starch in them is totally indigestible! But, you survived, so that’s the important thing!

  10. Reading your story, it’s like I went back in time; I remember the lines at the shops, the poor food on the shelf’s and me wishing to eat some food that I only saw in the television, doing the homework at the candle light and so on. I also remember my grandpa saying that we are lucky to live in the country side cause we have more food then other people in the cities.
    About bananas – you were lucky to eat them before ’89, I only eat them after the revolution.

  11. Thank you for writing this. I hope you don’t mind me referencing this in my own blog later on. Though I never suffered through communism, I have many friends who did. These are stories that must be told so that we don’t allow anything like this to happen again.

  12. This post was very interesting. I never lived (luckily) under a communist dictatorship, those memories are always sad and I suppose painful for the people who lived those times, but I always find very interesting to see documents about it.
    PS: why people should judge you if you eat meat? I also do, and as you wrote I also eat much less meat than most of people do probably, but I’ll never give up completely to the meat, because I like it 🙂 and no one should judge us because of that 🙂

  13. Great post and funny you speak about green bananas because I’ve recently started to use non-ripe ones in my homemade ice cream – the reason being that when ripe the sugar content is of course lower and they are packed with resistant starch which is really good for your gut bacteria 😀

  14. A beautiful story that brought back memories of my childhood growing up in Croatia. I grew up in a small village with lots of freedom, fresh vegetables and fruit during the summer. However, we had to preserve the abundance of summer to carry us through the long cold winter. Today life is different, there is too much abundance in some countries and yet still poverty and lack of food in others. A balance for all. I still fondly remember climbing and sitting on the Mulberry tree and Cherry tree and gorging myself on the wonderful fruit. Sweet memories….:)

  15. Im so blessed to have born in America where we have so many great choices. With that being said, though, food waste is a huge problem here. My family does our best to do our part but it takes stories like yours to really help change mindsets. Thank you for sharing! Your blog is beautiful as well!

  16. The sentiment behind Communism seems well-meaning, but the logic is faulty, as the results can attest. It never seeems to have worked out well for any country which has tried it’s principles. That is why I grow alarmed at the youth in America who advocate strongly for more Socialist programs, and wonder why the ills of Communism aren’t more resoundingly heard. Thanks for putting that out there, Gabriela. And, by the way, I like your newer header adjustments.

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