Humble Beginnings & a Fast Cat
I posted baby stuff to sell on Craigslist and a young and lovely Bulgarian people came by to buy it because they are having a baby girl in March. I asked them how long they had been in the States - one year they said. I asked them where they lived and they told me. And it took me back 10 years because I remember me and Craig when we first got here and we lived at the same apartment complex as them. As I showed them the baby item she said "ohh, is beautiful!" and she meant it. I was thinking how old and scruffy it looked but then I thought back to me and Craig again, when we had nothing and how beautiful anything looked because the alternative was nothing at all.
When they had left I stood and looked all around me, at my home, my things, my Christmas tree and piles of presents and shiny wood floors and precious things. I wondered how my house looked to these people. Did they walk away whispering to each other "such a nice house - they must be so rich!" like we would have done 10 years ago. Here's the thing. My house isn't posh. By my friend's standards I am the back sheep - no solid wood antique furniture or kitchen appliances worth a grand. But we have so much more than we did 10 years ago that to them it must seem like luxury.
I hope I don't sound condescending for the young couple - it's just that they reminded me of how we were when we got here. In a new world. Trying to gather all of life's necessities for little or no money. Craig and I dumpster-dived for a stereo cabinet, inherited a flea-ridden couch and on many occasions didn't have money for gas or food. At one point my husband sat in the work truck while all his colleagues went into McDonalds and had lunch while he sat in the freezing van eating dry bread. It sounds so far-fetched now but at the time that was our life. I still remember coming home from work and Craig had been out to buy a mop and a bucket and some cleaning supplies. All together it cost about $25 but it felt great, like we'd started to finally make it. One of the funniest stories from that era involved my cat Frank. We had a tin of tuna left to eat so we mixed it with mayo and got some bread out for dinner. As we left the room to get a drink, Frank got stuck in. I think we spent the next two hours chasing the little bugger round the room with the new mop.
I wouldn't change any of it for the world of course, as I think it made us who we are and it gives us funny stories to tell at dinner parties. Life is actually pretty great when you have some challenges isn't it. I will be thinking about the Bulgarian couple a lot this Christmas though and hope they are okay.