Rain and classic literature

26 May

It’s Saturday and Cota na Daco, my new home, is like a ghost town. I did my laundry this morning and as I was just upstairs moving it out of the rain that appeared completely out of nowhere, I heard the call of a merienda vendor downstairs… “Sinapud! Kamote-cue!” she called. Sinapud (bananas battered in flour and of course deep fried) and Kamote-cue (kamote, or sweet potato, glazed in a delicious sugary sauce and barbecued) are my favourite of the merienda varieties and had I not been wearing naught but undies and a singlet. no shoes and was up 3 flights of stairs, I would have ran down and gotten several serves of each. Probs better that I didn’t since I am in danger of paying excess baggage for my own weight when I fly to Manila next month for a lovers reunion with my Melbourne man.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve been smashing books like crazy, seriously reading like a book a week. It’s great for my English vocabulary, which doesn’t really help in conversations here (if anything, having an extensive vocabulary probably hinders conversations). All my life I have been crazy about reading and being here alone is giving me the opportunity to give books my full attention as they often don’t at home since they are up again stiff competition like girly gossip sessions, 3 hour yoga workshops, sushi at Momoco or my old friend the dvd player. I haven’t added to much to my slang and mannerisms since being here (pretty devballs really) but Kerry and I do this thing where we kiss our various technologies and tell them how much we love them since they are our pretty close friends here. Hence, mwah mwah mwah…. kindle… I love you….

I love you kindle…. mwah mwah mwah. But I also love you macbook ….mwah mwah mwah…. and you iPhone… you’re the one in bed with me… mwah mwah mwah

So that was a long-winded opener to my main point here. Finished “A thousand splendid suns” about an hour ago and after a little lunch and some DIY mani-pedi-botox, I sat down to get started on “The great Gatsby” which opened with a quote:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatby, p1

You can probably already imagine why I was immediately inspired to put down my kindle (mwah mwah mwah) and write a blog post. Just 3 weeks ago, I was having a little cry to my mate Blake, a volunteer from the previous intake, about how I wouldn’t make any girl friends here because the girls are so superficial. I was crying about this and many many other things in a general flurry of complaining and judgement (which I put down to settling in jitters!). Since then, I have made very good friends with the very same people I was complaining about and have also had a lot of time to reflect on everything I see around me and have changed my perspective on all those snap judgements I initially made.

In Australia, it’s so very common, easy and almost expected to complain about not having enough money, not having enough time to exercise, not having a big enough house, electricity bills being too high, too much rain, not enough rain etc etc. Of course we do, because that is the life we are living and those are the parts of our life that demand our attention. And here, I’ve been very quick to judge the way that things are done here because of my own experiences back home. But the main advantage we have had growing up in Australia, even when you don’t feel very advantaged, is that you can choose to complain about the shit things going on in your life and you have choice and capacity and support and yes, money among other things at your disposal to change those things if you wanted to. Here, people don’t complain about their lot in life because for some people. the best that can be done working as hard as they possibly can is that they can live a bit more comfortable under the conditions they are already in. And they do not complain about the conditions at all. If anything, lots of the people I have met here are the happiest people I have ever met.

It is this positive attitude to everyday life that had made me slather my foot in catsup (banana ketchup – delicious) and eat it to try to back peddle from all the judgement I cast on the people here when I first arrived and was not being the very open person I came here claiming to be. I have since settled down and improved, but nothing like some timeless literature to remind you to think differently.


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