Tag: perspective


I used to think grocery shopping was a chore, I loathed it.  When I lived in Botswana it really was a chore.  Now I find it an enjoyable luxury, I love it.

perspective 1

BA – Before Africa

Shopping was a series of tasks that ended in nothing to eat on hand.  Does this sound familiar?

grocery listMake a list, cut coupons, sort through previously cut coupons checking expiration dates, load digital coupons to my “card.”

Remember to bring bags into the store, find a small cart vs the large, family-size cart, wander the store to find items, cross them off the list, and load into the cart.

Move selected items from the cart to the check-out conveyor, from the conveyor to bags, bags move to the cart, find the car, and move the bags to the trunk.

Once home, carry bags into the house, unload the bags, and put everything away.

Open the refrigerator and cupboards and there is nothing to eat.

A – Africa

Carry two light-weight, recyclable bags in the backpack at all times.

Mentally assess what will be needed or wanted in near future and prioritize urgency.  Make a list.

sparStop at THE store on the walk home from work, wander the store to find items from limited choices, cross them off the list, and load into the cart.

Move selected items from the cart to the check-out conveyor, from the conveyor to bags, balancing the weight of the two bags that will be carried, one on each shoulder, adding them to the laptop, cross-body bag, and backpack of files, water, and current project notes already strapped on.

Walk fifteen minutes in 90-degree plus weather; the end of the trip in deep sand.

Once home, unload the bags, and put everything away.

Open the refrigerator and cupboards and there is nothing to eat.

Many of my friends in Africa had it much harder.  It was a day-long bus ride to get to the town where there was an ATM to get cash before shopping.  They had to find a friend to stay with overnight.  They could purchase only what they could carry on the return trip home.  If lucky, there was a small tuck shop (corner store) for produce and cold items.

perspective 2

AA – After Africa

Grocery shopping is the same process as Before Africa with a new perspective.  I enjoy shopping now.  But I wondered what it must be like to live in my current hometown, use public transportation, and grocery shop.

grocery cartThen I met a woman in the check-out line who does just that.  She travels 6 miles on a bus that runs every hour.  She has her own cart, fills it with what she wants, and does the whole check-out routine.  Then it is off to the bus stop for the ride home, hoping her timing is such that she does not have to wait very long.  We have all kinds of weather in this state:  rain, hail, sleet, snow, sun, heat, cold, and wind.  Wating might be the worst part of the excursion.

This woman was not complaining.  She seems to take the whole thing in stride.  After working all week, grocery shopping is part of her Saturday routine.

Grocery shopping:  do you love it or loathe it?  I now find joy in every step of the process.  And still, when I open the refrigerator and cupboards, there is nothing to eat.  Some things never change.

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

Karen took in the view from her spot at the front of the room. Brighlty flowerd curtains, rows of chairs split by an aisle, dim lighting, and fresh flowers were scattered around.  The scent of roses and gardenias overpowered a hint of incense clinging to the walls.

Aunt Mini, matriarch of the family, was first to arrive. Cane in one hand and supported by her son’s arm, took her usual place in the first row.

Cousin Candace with her brood, ranging from three to thirteen, sat in the back. A quick exit might be necessary if one of her kids started acting up.

Friends arrived in two’s and three’s.  Some from work and others from her high school days.

More people arrived; the noise level rose.  Lots of hugging and hand-shaking among old friends and long-lost relatives warmed the room.

“I can’t believe how big you are.  So grown up!” out-of-town relatives exclaimed, seeing one another for the first time in years.

Karen counted 52 people in all:  34 relatives, 17 friends, and one stranger who wandered in.

* * *

Tim walked to the front of the room.  Conversations wrapped-up and all attention focused on him.

“Thank you for coming,” he said, looking out at the friendly faces.

After a glance at Karen in her place of honor, Tim looked down at the notes in his hand.

“As you know, we are here to celebrate Karen.”

Tim droned on about his sister.  He recalled childhood escapades, divulging which one of them came up with the idea of digging up their mother’s garden.

“What can I say?  We were looking for buried treasure.”

room with view 4

Karen tuned out his words and surveyed the crowd.  She memorized the expressions on faces.  She took note of who laughed at Tim’s jokes, who dabbed tears from eyes welling up with emotion, and who yawned in boredom.

Tim gestured with both hands, palms up lifting them toward heaven. “Let’s stand and sing to Karen on this special occasion.”

Karen wanted to cover her ears. The well-intentioned singing reminded her of the choir in the old country church she attended when at her summer home.  No two people sang in the same key.  One enthusiastic singer rushed the words while another sang a beat behind, creating an echo.  It was all she could do to keep from giggling.

“Again, thank you everyone for coming.  After you share your personal thoughts with Karen, join us in the next room for refreshments.”

Tim escorted Karen to the reception. One thought ran through her mind.

I wonder where I will go from hereI hope whoever wins custody of my urn places me in a room with a good view of the outdoors.

room with view 6