Posts Tagged ‘I need to rally emotionally so enough bawling about all the starving people. At least for now.’

Taking my cue from 70′s horror flicks

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Remember that part in The Amityville Horror where they first go to check out the house and it (in a rather urgent manner reinforced by the use of a voice that gives new meaning to ‘guttural’) instructs them to “GET OUT.”?

El Centenario house

My second - and much preferred - casita in Mexico. It never told me to 'get out', but the worm did start to turn in the last 24 hours...

Two things have always struck me about that moment:

1. An  inanimate object’s – in this case, a house – powerful sense of boundaries.

2. The human beings’ complete and total disregard of said request/order.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I climb into a rental car and it starts shrieking about how it’s going to twist me up in a fiery ball of molten metal or even just whispers something about how I’d make a nice hood ornament, and I’m out of there. No delays. No questions asked.

Same with a house that utilizes the voice of Satan to share an opinion about whether or not I lease the place.

I’m a child of the 70′s.

Best to heed the cultural wisdom, tune into the collective unconscious, and get the fuck out when you’re told.

That stated, in a mostly polite and largely incompetent way, Mexico gave me the old heave ho.

Woman in yellow room

The thing with these casitas is that they seem to repeat the exterior color on the inside, so you'd better pretty much LOVE whatever you decide to paint the thing (primarily red, coral, and yellow).

It started on Monday.

And – admittedly – 99% of the problem, or at least the incompetence part, was Telcel. Telcel is – from what I can tell – a very large cell phone and wifi and maybe other stuff it can’t do well provider. It’s also owned by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu. These two facts (large/incompetent Mexican company and richest man in the world) may or may not be a coincidence.

I say not.

Considering Telcel has managed to embezzle $75 out of my tight ass in just two weeks, I’d be impressed if I weren’t pissed.
So as not to devolve into the category known as ‘general bitching’ let me summarize and say it was an experience that can only be described as an extremely frustrating, time-consuming, and largely bullshit internet experience.

Bravo, Slim.

Richest man in the world

Carlos Slim Helu. I don't know about love, but I'd say this is pretty much proof that money can't buy you looks.

Bravo.

But it’s not just Slim and his crap ass company that showed me the door.

There was a trifecta: Internet, Rash, and Bugs – also known as RIB.

When the RIB situation starts to unfold, you know it’s time to head north.

In addition to my extensive and expensive internet woes, I broke out in a massive itchy rash all over the lower half of my body. I never nailed the culprit, but it was either my Mexican-bought SPF 15 or my “Lecha de Burra” cream that caused it.

Yeah.

You read that right.

I’m a friggin’ idiot.

You think I might have given pause at buying a lotion called “Milk of the Ass,” but no.

I didn’t really look at the packaging.

Or the words.

Or the picture of a donkey with a wreath around its neck.

Woman with can of beans

I love beans. So much so that I eat them from the can. And I'll eat them cold from the can. Like a hobo. Wanna make something of it?

I was basing my decision on smell.

And donkey milk smells damn good, apparently.

It sure does cause a hell of a rash though. Or the sunblock.

Either way, I was so freaked out, I didn’t apply anything to my skin for the last three days.

Finally, rounding out the RIB, were the insects.

First came the fruit flies.

Then the house flies.

And then, there I was, lying on my stomach working out my lower back, when I noticed several grains of rice crawling around. And then my brain started it’s slow turn around the hamster wheel, and I realized that rice doesn’t wriggle.

And I never made any rice.

And those are MAGGOTS.

Frickin’ MAGGOTS.

Woman in pool

In the pool. Make note of the hair, because it's gone. Let me rephrase that: It's not GONE, but it no longer looks like this. You shall see shortly.

Jumpin’ Jesus on a Pogo Stick MAGGOTS.

Oh, the horror.

Did you know maggots burst when you crush them under your flip-flop?

Yep.

A nice, satisfying pop

Long story short, Mexico showed me the door – at least for now – and I graciously exited stage left.

But no worries.

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger via one of the ten DVDs I had with me: I’ll be back.

Share This Post

Count to five

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

A child has died.

In the time it takes you to read the first few sentences of this post, another child will die of starvation. In fact, right now in our world, a child dies of hunger every five seconds –  over 16,000 (SIXTEEN THOUSAND) – a day.

I know it’s depressing, and I know there’s nothing that you, whoever you are – no matter how rich or powerful or beautiful or talented or good or kind you are; even if you’re Bill Gates or Angelina Jolie or Mother Teresa or Oprah – can do to fix that. But I’m willing to bet you could fix it for one person. Or maybe even two.

And I’m not trying to guilt trip you or lay it on thick like those ads with the lady who used to play the sister on “Roseanne” and the heart wrenching story about David and how he’s raising all his siblings even though he’s only eleven years old and how he goes hungry because they need food…but it’s probably true. And even if it’s not true or if David’s life got turned around or ended completely, there are no doubt thousands of other Davids out there.

And lest you think it’s an isolated problem in uneducated or backwards countries, be aware that in this country, in the United States, one in seven people do not have enough to eat.

I’ve had this idea to write to write a cookbook for people living on food stamps and welfare to help them figure out how to make $300 a month cover four people and show them how to cook simple whole foods and not force them to eat processed crap and somehow fund the book so that the people who need it can have it for free (because if you can’t afford to eat, where in the hell are you going to get money for a cookbook?), and  on some level I’m not even sure it’s possible (both good food on that budget or the free cookbook), but I have determined that that will now be at the top of my ‘to do’ list when I finally get my current book out to agents. But I digress.

I guess it just occurred to me that today was Thanksgiving, a day when we usually stuff ourselves full of incredible amounts of rich, delicious food, and it maybe was a good day to remember how freaking fortunate we are. And to be thankful. And humble. And grateful to whatever magical force or spiritual power or karma or great good fortune made us the lucky ones. Because somehow I wasn’t born in a desert  in Africa or on the streets of India, and to the best of my knowledge that wasn’t any great calculation or just reward on my part, but just plain dumb luck.

Although I am by no means a guru, I like to think I know a thing or two about a thing or two. And I’ve convinced a few other gullible souls of that. And once in a while, a friend will approach me with concerns about money or want some counseling about or ask for help in achieving abundance. And although I have an advanced degree in business, no one has ever approached me with these issues because they thought I could write them a great business plan (although I probably could) or tell them which stocks to buy (at which I’m not so bright as evidenced by my own dwindling holdings), but more in the spirit of what I guess you could call metaphysical guidance.

And assuming that you would like to have some of this knowledge too, and because I am happy to share it, I will tell you now a secret at the heart of abundance: The mere fact that you are sitting at a computer somewhere reading this and possibly in your own home and hopefully with a full belly or a way to fulfill it means that you are already prosperous in a way that so many of the people of this world will never know.

And abundance starts with gratitude: Gratitude for the exorbitant bills you have to pay; gratitude for the paycheck from the soul-stifling job at Wal-Mart that provides the money to pay them with; even gratitude for the time you had with the car before it was repossessed.

And then, if I haven’t already lost you with that, let me share with you the second paradoxical truth: Abundance comes when you learn to give when it hurts most to give and where it’s the scariest and when you really don’t think you can spare it. So it’s about giving your time,  your attention, your love, your energy, your support, your encouragement, your unbridled enthusiasm, your knowledge, and your patience. And it’s even quite literally about giving money, particularly if it’s hard to give money. (And if you have lots of money and it’s not so hard to give, then it’s not unreasonable to suppose that you may dedicate a lot of time making that money, and thus time is hard for you to give. And so there you find the answer to your own riddle.)

This is the picture from Summer 2008

This is the picture from Summer 2008

And in my case, one month before I left for Europe – knowing damn well that I had no income and wasn’t sure when I would once again have income (and technically still haven’t had income in a year and three months) – I ‘adopted’ an SOS Children’s Villages child. And I did it because it was hard. And my instincts were to cling to what I had and hoard it and look out for number one and make sure I had enough to eat and everybody else could fend for their own damn selves.

But thankfully I don’t often listen to Jerk Vanessa.

And they asked for $25 a month, so I signed myself up for $50. And they asked if I had a country I wanted or a sex I preferred, and I checked ‘wherever it is most needed’.

And my kid is Asseita and she lives in Burkina Faso in Africa (a country I’d never heard of before her), and they send me pictures of her and she has never once answered one of my letters, and I have no idea if the gifts I sent to the village last Christmas made it because in January I got a letter greeting me like I was a new sponsor, and it’s a very one-sided “I give and Asseita takes” relationship and once in a while I see that debit in my bank account and think, “I should cancel that! I can’t afford that!” but the reality is that that is bullshit.

This is the one from February of 2009

This is the one from February of 2009

I am an educated person.

I am an American.

I have opportunity and advantages and I have them because I’m really freaking lucky. And in a strange kind of way, it’s my duty to repay that luck by helping someone – an orphan with no one else to help her – go to school and grow up strong and be able to live in a village in her home country where these amazing women act as mothers to all these children. And I can help ensure that she learns to read despite growing up in a country with the lowest literacy rate in the world. And, by golly, I can make sure she has enough to eat.

And again, ‘technically’ I do not have $50 a month to spare.

And yet I do.
Because that’s the way abundance works: You give, and you find there’s always more. There’s always enough to provide for you, and the more you willingly give of yourself, the more that comes to you in all respects.

Seriously.

Try it.

Even if it doesn’t work exactly the way you think I’ve just described and promised, something else wonderful will happen. It’s guaranteed.

So happy Thanksgiving to you, and even if it’s not Thanksgiving where you live, I sincerely wish you a wonderful, food-filled, family/friend/love/laughter-filled day. And if somehow you’re moved by this and decide to toss a little of your own ‘not quite enough’ into the ethers in order to help one of the 16,000, here is a link:

http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/pages/default.aspx

I researched all the charities before deciding on this one, and they really are top notch (and even if the kid doesn’t write back, the lovely women raising them do and send you a picture and tell you about their hobbies and likes and dislikes. Asseita likes to sing and dance and last year she liked to play with plastic animals.) Plus, the next time you see David on TV you’ll know that you’re doing what you can, which is really all we can ask of ourselves in life.

Shine on.

Peace and blessings and Namaste,

Vanessa

Share This Post