Warm Vanilla Sugar

Laundry detergent.  Lotion.  Chocolate chips.  A good book.  Lemonade.  Almonds.  Mail.  As I finished my bucket bath and lathered my body in Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion, I realized how grateful I was at that very moment.  I was clean, using much less water than I used in America, and I had a special treat – new lotion, thanks to my thoughtful grandmother.  The smell reminded me of home; I was soaking up a missed comfort, from head to toe.

We tend to forget just how much we have, how spoiled we are.  Moving to Cape Verde has stirred up a new gratitude, a new acknowledgement of people and small pleasures that I so often overlook.  I am embarrassed to say it, but many things had lost their novelty for me.  I could get, within reason, anything I wanted, at any time of day – 24-hour gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.  I had everything at my fingertips, or at least at the click of a button.  If I wanted Mexican food, I could have it in ten minutes or less.  If I wanted an iced latte, I only had to drive to the nearest coffee shop.  If I wanted a new book to read, I downloaded it to my Kindle.  If I needed new running shoes, I had the choice of ten specialized shoe stores.

I even had a lack of appreciation for people.  When my family gathered for holidays, it was expected, an annual event.  Now, I enjoy every phone call, every email, every letter, because it’s not an every day occurrence.  When I miss someone, or something, I can’t do much about it.  I can’t fly home for a day; I can’t run to the nearest store.  Rather, I have to figure out how to deal with that homesickness, that feeling that so often creeps up into my throat and threatens to overtake me for just a moment.  And this leads me to appreciate — to count down the days until that next Skype call.

Sometimes I just want to dance it out with my sis...

Now, when I find strawberries in the market, it makes my week.  I savor every juicy bite and then lick the strawberry juice off my fingers.  Things have become special again.  Life’s little pleasures we tend to forget about, have a new value.  No, I don’t need these things to make me happy; no I don’t need them to survive.  However, when they come my way every now and then, I smile just a little bit more.  I share.  I savor every last bite, every last word, every last drop.

Strawberry lady makes me one happy gal

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