It’s funny how I once thought that “the West” meant actually the whole West, all the countries in the Americas, Europe and Africa. Sometime in the past, probably at the university, I realized that “the West” is just USA, Canada, Europe, and sometimes, Australia and New Zealand.The East would be Asia and the islands of the Pacific (sometimes known as Oceania) and the South would be the rest: Latin America and Africa. I also realized a long time ago, that in most political or economic articles from the West, the South doesn’t exist, it’s just West and East, and the rest is an addendum.
Anyway (F.Y.I. I’m writing from a city from that addendum, a city called Caracas) it’s a good thing that I changed my life style to a more simple one some time ago, given my present situation. It’s very convenient that I stopped freaking out if my house didn’t look as the picture that I had in my head, and that I stopped obsessing about having a perfectly designed solution for every need in my life. It’s a good thing, too, that we don’t have as many stuff as we used to have, because we’re comfortable now in our small apartment. So in many ways, living in this city fits my life style.
But in many others it doesn’t. This new mind set of having to buy anything basic that you see at any given moment, is driving me crazy. What am I talking about? Well, in Venezuela there’s a shortage of almost every basic item that you can imagine. What’s a basic item? Something that can make your life hard if you don’t have it. For example: soap, detergent, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper; milk, chicken, fish (in my case, since my kids don’t like meat), eggs, salt, oil, sugar, butter, flour, etc. So what everybody does is that if you find one of these products with the regulated prices of the government, you buy it. It doesn’t matter that you already have lots of the stuff at home. Sometimes you share it with friends and family.
For example, my brother-in-law, looking at my impressed face when I saw that he was bringing yet another 3 kl pack of detergent, felt the need to explain himself: “Now we can find it, but then, Caracas could be months without detergent ; and what do you do if you can’t wash your clothes?” He also bought a shampoo for my sister-in-law, since she was running out of it, and more tooth paste for us. I’ve been here for almost two weeks and I already feel like we’re preparing for a war. I told my mom, regarding all the milk that we’ve stocked at home: “But what do I do with so much milk? Please, give some to Jane Doe”, “No, no ” she said, “keep it, you have kids and we don’t know what’s coming”.
Anyway, so far, in these 13 days that we’ve been living here, we’ve had everything. Well, not everything, I had to drink my coffee without cinnamon for 11 days! But I finally found it two days ago! Yeah! So, in spite of having to hoard a lot of stuff in my house ( which is not minimalistic at all), I get very happy by the simple pleasures of life, like drinking coffee with cinnamon! Not that bad for someone that wants a simple, minimalist, life style.
Til’ the next post.