This morning, I began my Christmas shopping. It is so hard to decide what to buy.
Should I get a mosquito net for a child in Gambia? (13.00) Or a pig for a family in Indonesia (24.00). (Always thought it would be fascinating to raise a pig, but they are incredibly smart and knowing this makes the animal’s long-term fate is too dismal for me to consider. Naw, I’ll skip the pig.)
I could go with a goat for a family in Zambia (51.00) but that would make it seem I lack creativity, because I’ve bought goats several times as Christmas gifts in the past. I used to buy a cow every year, but after moving to Georgia I ventured out and bought different things – a llama, a goat,and/or rabbits. I’m forever choosing something that relates to my life in some small way. I like the symbolism, I guess.
My budget for this season is limited, but for all I can’t really afford to be generous this season, I’m not going to skip buying gifts for the important strangers on my list. I’m keeping my Christmas giving to about 100 bucks this year, wish it could be more, but even so, that’s enough to send a water purifier and filter to a rural school in Ecuador (87.00) leaving me enough for 10 chicks for a family in Mozambique (9.00).
Actually, Mark sold a house on ten acres to a fellow that professed the first thing he wants to get is some chickens, so I agreed Mark could give him mine as a closing gift this Monday. That said, perhaps sending some chickens to an unknown family in a third world country will make Christmas morning special for me, I’ll have that symbolic exchange of both my chickens and those overseas to make the omelet I eat that morning a reminder of all there is to celebrate this year.
That leaves me 3.00 under budget. I can find some jar on a restaurant counter for a children’s stocking fund for that. No prob.
Yesterday, I got a letter from Meaza Zergaw (above). She’s the girl I’ve been sponsoring for several years through ChildFund, international. She is my replacement child, you see, because after 12 years of sending money to a boy named Malukin, he one day disappeared out of the system. No explanation or warning. Just the picture of a new kid in my mailbox one day. Never sat well with me, but I turned my attention and donations to Meaza regardless. Maybe it’s better I not know the fate of my old friend Muluken. But I think of him often, wondering.
Meaza’s father writes me whenever I’m slacking off (which is always, I’m a dismal failure as an overseas sponsor correspondent, sad but true) to gently remind me how important it is for her to receive letters. I’m overdue, so this morning I wrote her the news of America and I’m sending it with some brochures from my studio. Not that she can read them, but she likes receiving pictures and I figure she’ll show the brochures off to her friends. I tried to explain what yoga is in the letter. Considering how simplistic I try to keep descriptions, due to cultural differences and respect to her narrow life options, I really struggled. It was sort of funny.
She has already received my Christmas gift, which comes in the form of a check. That money will be dispersed in such a way that she will get a little something personal, but the family will get the rest, and in some cases, a portion is given to the village. Yes, I’d like to send her something frivolous and indulgent, like a doll or an I-pod, but that is not allowed, and all it would do is show how clueless we spoiled middleclass Americans are about the real life issues of those unfortunate enough to be born into hardship and difficult environmental, cultural and political climates. I believe she is prouder and more grateful for my donation of life necessities than she would ever be of a brightly wrapped personal toy. That is why I think about her so much – she reminds me that life for everyone is a box and the boxes come in all sizes. I shouldn’t be so hung up on the limitations of mine – because the truth is, I’ve been blessed with a pretty roomy box.
So, today, I’m “buying my ticket into heaven” as Mark so aptly puts it. (And he also once added that because he decided to marry me, he has earned a ticket into the pearly gates too – he doesn’t need to be a do-gooder, you see, because I’m the family bleeding heart representative and I do enough for us all. Harrumph. Talk about riding someone’s coat tails.)
Since Christmas is the theme today, and Mark is working, working, working, I think I will drag Neva and her friend to the studio to put up decorations to make the place festive. I’ll get creative and come up with some kind of yoga themed tree – now if that isn’t a challange what is? I’ll listen to all our new-agey Christmas music as we putter and pick some selections for yoga classes. That will make going to work rather fun for the next month.
It will be a productive day, but an easygoing, upbeat one at the same time. I like days like that. And then, I’ll come home because today is the day I cook. I’m going to make a cheesecake this morning for Mark’s mom (her ultimate favorite) because I’m feeling guilty that I won’t be here to cook on Thanksgiving, and later I will just throw in a ham (keeping it simple) because this also gives Teddy a seriously fun bone later – and yes, I’m still feeling bad that I let him get hit by a car . (He is fine, by the way). Then I’ll make homemade Mac and Cheese (Neva’s favorite) and a fancy salad (For Mark) and some buttery homemade bread (for Kent) and veggies and whatever else might catch my fancy when I start thumbing through my gigantic “one of these days I’m going to make” receipe collection.
By then, I’ll be ready to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors. And I’ll feel good knowing I made the day count. Which reminds me – I need to put a fresh bottle of wine in the fridge to cool.
You don’t believe I really just think of other people all the time do you? Get real!I
I’m a selfish prig, I just don’t blog about it.