Living away from home has been wearing on me these past few days. And today I decided to pick myself up by the purse strings and do some retail therapy. I have a lot on my list that I want to do before we go home for the summer and the weeks are closing in on me fast. So, rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I should give a little of myself to others and do the charity work that I do best – shopping.
I went and got a few of these beautiful boxes made from broken bangles. Yep, they are nice, aren’t they? Nope, they did not have enough for me to get everyone a box. So sorry.
And then I went to Sundar Nagar. I had heard about it. I had read about it – one of my real life-slash- blogging friends wrote this about it and I was reminded why it was on my list of places to give back shop. I am not sure why I had not made it over that way but I had not shopped there yet. Big. Mistake. What. Have. I. Been. Waiting. For?
My favorite thing was this bowl ‘o bells. I dunno why – but I have always loved bells. Maybe we lived near a church when my mom was pregnant with me. Each one of these has a different sound. Fantastic.
So I brought a few home. I can just imagine myself standing on my front porch in the U.S. ringing one of these bells to call my kids home for supper all June Cleaver-like. Ding ding ding – sweet children get your arses in here it’s dinner time. They will bring a whole new meaning to ringing in the New Year.
And I saw all of these gorgeous lanterns that you could probably very easily find in an Anthropologie catalog near you for at least 4 times the price.
And I saw these boxes too. Number One Hubby and I have an anniversary coming up very soon and I think 18 years of marriage (and a move to India) warrants these boxes appearing under wrapping paper in my hands very soon. Although I might hold out for something a little more sparkly, that I did not pick out myself, and that can be more easily transported on a finger or a wrist. As of the writing of this post, my husband has his heart set on getting me a street puppy – which is neither easily transportable nor sparkly and is quite possibly the very last thing I would ever want. We’ll see how this plays out. I will be sure to let you know.
There are two shops right next to each other in the corner of Sundar Nagar. The shopkeeper of the first store gave me this guy when I was done overpaying for my items. He told me it was a gift to wish me good luck – but actually it probably is more of a celebration of his good luck in finding me as a customer. 😉
And then I met this man- Fateh Singh – in the second shop I went into. (His shop actually had the bells).
I ended up sitting and talking with him for a very long time. His perspective on life was refreshing and I really needed a “what are you complaining about” kick in the bee-u-tee-tee. (That is “butt”.) He told me many stories – a few of which I will share in later blog posts. But the conversation that hit home the most was a twist on the good old “glass half full/glass half empty” trick question.
By way of history, there is a standing joke in our house about my husband’s answer to that question. So he immediately caught my attention when he brought this up. I joke that hubby won’t even discuss if the glass is half full or half empty until you prove to him, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is actually water in the glass. Hubby loves to play devil’s advocate – but that is another blog post entirely.
Anybowl, Fateh was demonstrating the singing bowls for me. I asked him if you were supposed to fill them with water. So, he demonstrated an empty bowl first, then filled it with water and made it sing again.
Then he said
Fateh: Let me ask you one question. Is this bowl half full or half empty?
Me: (I was so excited that I knew the “right” answer that I nearly fell out of my chair trying to raise my hand.) Well, of course, it is half full. Right?
Fateh: To say that it is half full means that it is also half empty. Why can it not simply be sufficiently full?
Now, if you are not a big fan of the Chicken Soup for Soul feel good philosophy, the significance of this might be quickly lost. But I as I sat with him, I realized that my perspective of my last few days was not helping me out one tiny little bit. There have been some stumbling blocks for sure – I miss my family and U.S. friends, we are almost out of American cheese slices, it’s hot as hell here, almost everyone who works in my house is a pain in the arse in one way or another, I am not getting much sleep, there is more of me when I really, really wanted there to be less of me, and yet I have all I need (and frankly more than I need in every respect except patience).
Sufficient is good. And I plan to start embracing it.
So remember, there is no price too high to pay for mental health -even when retail therapy is called for – sometimes shopping is the best medicine. Because when you help yourself, others will help you too. I went out looking for a simple distraction today and found a little peace of mind (and some great bells and bowls – cha ching!).