The Basic Necessities

Monday evening I went to the grocery store to pick up some necessities in preparation for the holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It should not surprise you that the necessities included a package of waffles, a large bottle of water, a box of juice, and three pints of ice cream.  Now, you are probably thinking, “Since when is three pints of ice cream enough to satisfy Derrik Filippo for two days.”  Well, may answer is this; since my freezer isn’t large enough to hold three pints of ice cream and since said pints must be consumed over the next four to six hours.

I’ve discovered something contrary to my generally affable nature towards children; there is nothing I find more irritating or obnoxious than a noisy child splashing around in a pool while I am trying to read.  Seriously, most times when I see a child running around playing tag or swimming in a pool I cannot help but smile, however, throw a good book in my hands and all of a sudden my good natured Dr. Jekyll turns into an ugly and brutish Mr. Hyde.  Ok, so maybe I didn’t beat the kid to death with a cane, but still…

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong.

Here’s a joke I didn’t have a place for: this morning, when commenting on the fact that our spotty internet connection had again failed, I made the statement, “We’re out of internet again.”  I’m really not certain what was going through my head…

Yesterday evening I went out to dinner with my two engineers from China (the kids).  As I was changing out of my work clothes I threw on a pair of shorts and grabbed a t-shirt from the top of the stack, as I did so some voice in the back of my mind (planted there by my wife, I’m sure) screamed, “No!  You can’t wear black with brown.”  At that point my logic processors overrode that little voice stating, “They’re unmarried engineers, they probably know less about color coordinating than you do, plus they will appreciate the humor behind a t-shirt relating F=MA and Darth Vader.”  As we sat down and began to enjoy our pizza we discussed the many differences between our home countries and Brazil.  It is surprisingly difficult to compare the taste of pizza in the US (since I have never been to China) to that of pizza in China (since my engineers have never been to the US) when the only common reference you have is pizza in Brazil.

So you know that little bit of juice left at the end whenever you finish eating a bowl of strawberries that had a little bit of sugar sprinkled across the top?  You know, the stuff where the flavor explodes in your mouth as you tilt the bowl and put it to your lips; the juice that is likely the chosen nectar of the angels in heaven?  I think I may have discovered that stuff sold wholesale in box form.  I purchased a box of strawberry juice not having very high expectations for the flavor, however, when I poured my first glass and saw that what came out had a viscosity closer to that of honey than water I knew it had to be good.  To be fair, I’m no longer certain that what I have purchased is meant to be drunk straight from the box; it may very well be intended for cooking purposes.  Oh well, that won’t stop me from finishing off the box with my plate of waffles this evening.

I’ll admit that this last week has been pretty tough, I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands and it is difficult not to start counting down the days, despite the fact that I am doing my best to desire to be here.  As I had my quiet time this morning this occupied much of my thoughts and I was a little bit startled by the conclusions I came to.  Since I arrived in Brazil I have done a lot of complaining, most of it only to myself, but complaining nonetheless.  I have complained about my pay, but that shouldn’t really matter because I am still more blessed financially than I would ever care to admit.  I’ve complained about the difficulties I’ve experienced in the different roles I have held on site, yet I constantly desire to be challenged in my work.  I’ve complained about how different things are, but I have built a life around embracing the things that are different.  I had a conversation with Leslie last night about something entirely different, yet the point that I made was more relevant now than ever, attitude plays a huge role in reality because it invariably alters your perception.

This is nothing new to me, but while I have frequently tried to put the best face on things… or at least a face that is tolerable, I have internally reveled in the “woe is me” mindset.  I wasn’t seeking pity, but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to avoid it.  The really funny thing is that I have a very good idea of just how good I have it.  I’ve seen a lot of the suffering that is in the world and while I may never have personally experienced it I am aware of much of the evil that goes on, yet despite this I’ve gotten my kicks by describing my little sob story to anyone willing to listen.  To those of you who have had to sit through my complaints (this includes myself, I cannot tell you how often I have had to sit here listening to myself complain), I sincerely apologize.

As an aside, I still stand behind everything that I have written, my writing is rarely, if ever, a genuine complaint about my surroundings, rather it is often a sarcastic comment about the differences in my life.  Was I really worried about a peanut butter shortage when the TSA confiscated my tubs last month?  No.  Would I have missed it?  Yes.  Would it have created the lifelong impact that I made it out to?  No, nor did I expect anyone to really believe it would.

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