Note: I have, only now, found time to type this in. The 'blog' was written as my day unfolded on Tuesday. I'm struggling to read it, as most was written on the bus. Some was written while waiting on 'land', so you'll see me varying from past to present.
Getting up at 4:30am isn't usually my idea of fun, but now I'm grateful. I stepped out into the half-light created by the street lamp, grateful for the balmy, but still relatively cool air on my skin. It's going to be 31°C again today with humidity still up there in the 90's.
I'm loving the bus ride through the city, catching occasional glimpses of curtains of Christmas lights. Christmas is almost here and I'm grateful for so much! Hope seems to be the theme. Close to my destination is a wide, grassy island in the road. I spotted a kitten. No, not just one, but two kittens. The kittens were well-kept and playful - and on leashes! The couple were busy packing up their 'home' for the night, making sure to clean and apply deodorant, their neatly ordered, but homeless world fitting into their two backpacks. I saw them later, walking, a kitten riding atop each backpack. The impression I got was one of hope. I doubt they'd been sleeping on the streets for long. Their pace is slow, steady and firm as they chat among themselves. Animals aren't allowed on public transport. I wonder how far they have to go with their two kittens.
11am and I'm back on the bus. My Tuesday routine involves leaving home at 5:30am. I get into town, teach, then get the bus home again. At home, I collect materials, grab some tea and a packed lunch, then head back into town. This bus ride takes me 2 hours. I go into town, then out in the opposite direction. I know it sounds long and, when I think about it, not worth it at all (it's one of those awkward times when there is too much time between classes to stay in town, but too little to really make the trip home worth it), but that's the way this particular cookie crumbles. It does make for great nap time, zone-out-to-my-mp3-player time, study or reading time, reflexology time, writing, or just sitting people-watching.
Ah... I got sidetracked! When I arrive in town for the early teaching session, I walk a few blocks to the school. It's quiet, pleasant and it's where someone had graffitied "Positividade" across a wall. That always makes me smile. One day, when I pluck up the courage, I'll take the camera to share the scene with you.
Near the school, there are two major roads that intersect. On the one island, I saw a blonde woman sitting rubbing her ankle and looking carefully at her elbows. I've been in that situation so often. She had obviously fallen. I went over to her, somewhat puzzled that no one else was helping her. Her face had a look of bleak desperation. Here was a woman who had lost hope. The neighbourhood is not a poor one. I wondered how long she'd been out on the street. She was well dressed, not your usual homeless type. Her perfume was alcohol. What drove her to the bottle? What drove her out onto the street? What robbed her of her hope and dignity? She refused my help and hobble-ran, clutching her purpling elbow, into the residential part of the area with its tall apartment blocks. I hoped, as she disappeared, that there was someone to love her once she got home.
Home. A refuge. A shelter from the winds of life. I have so much. Hmm... the bus just went past an eating place and a delicious smell wafted in reminding me of sausage rolls. (This photo is from Ina Parman's site, where she gives a scrummy-looking recipe on how to make them) I think I'll make some soon, which brings me back to my subject. There was a time not long ago when I couldn't plan treats like that, a time when meals were stretched and stretched again. As a family, we have weathered some pretty major storms. It has had the effect of bringing us closer together, I think. We now take pleasure in the simple things in life (though a few of the more luxurious things go down just as well). We're also a lot more focused on our plans while still getting the best out of our 'here and now' or at least... we try.
I'm grateful for my work, which gives me new challenges every day. I work with some wonderful people. I love that I've had the opportunity to work with my daughter, something few mothers get to experience.
And speaking of family, I'm so, so grateful, more than words can express, for my family - Jurgis, Tat, my brothers, cousins, in-laws (yes them too *laugh*). Oh, let me not forget very dear friends who are like family to me.
See? I have much to be grateful for. We even found a turkey in the supermarket freezer! *grins*