No. 213: Primark Bag.

I bid goodbye to an old friend today: Primark bag, you have served me so well.

I went about a big old spring cleaning and organizing session today and when compiling things to toss, I knew it was time for this bag to meet its timely end. I bought it back in 2009 when I was studying abroad in London and I needed a cheap weekender type bag to take to Scotland with me on a group trip. I couldn’t have paid more than £20 for it, in true Primark style, and in time, it helped with more than just that weekend trip. It was the bag I took as my single carry-on with Ryan Air, the bag I slept on as I took trains rides, the one that followed be on bus and car rides while in long-distance relationships. This bag has seen: London, Scotland, Prague, Salzburg, the entire tri-state area and countless weekend trips. It held up remarkably well: it was only last month when the zipper decided to break and I finally cared enough about the breaking purple vinyl near the seams and splitting lining.

Purple bag, you’ve seen me through incredible adventures. Scary trips, easy trips, exciting ones: we have weathered them all. Thank you for being my buddy in this international campaign for independence and adventure.

No. 212: Seltzer.

I have become addicted to seltzer.

Don’t get me wrong, as far as addictions go, mine is benign. (It means I’m more hydrated, right?) But as I finish up my third one liter bottle of Polar Ruby Red Grapefruit Seltzer I can’t help but imagine if this addiction has gone too far.

If drinking copious amounts of you, seltzer, is wrong – I don’t want to be right.

(PS: Image credit.)

No. 211: Flea Market Finds.

I went to the Punk Rock Flea Market in Trenton this afternoon, and before I arrived, I had no idea of what I would be attending. The sheer number of people was insane: there was a line I stood in for about 15 minutes before even entering the building. But the people watching? Supreme. It was clear there were two distinct parties I could select out of the crowd: one, the twenties/thirties punks with their punk babies and children, and the older demographic who negated to register “punk rock” in the “flea market” title.

There was something for everyone inside. Records, art, soaps, treats… I scored the former, taking home four records for $5 (Cat Stevens, Seals and Crofts, Meatloaf, and Neil Young). There’s also a new beautiful silhouette of Peter Pan drawn on a page of printed script that’s hanging on my wall. I couldn’t have asked for more charming, lovely finds on a Sunday afternoon.

Thanks, PRFM, for bringing some action to downtown Trenton – and some new finds into my home!

(PS: Image credit.)

No. 209: Caregivers.

I spent some time this past week helping my mom recover from a minor medical procedure. I offered to come down for a few days off handedly; my mom assumed she’d be ready for work on Monday, so at the very least it would be time to watch movies and eat Chipotle. It was simple, straightforward, and she is on her way to recovery, but the healing process is a lengthy one. She’s looking at anywhere from two weeks to a month, and for a really active woman, this is not an easy condition to accept.

What was even harder for her was asking for help. The pain was really unbearable- she needed help getting out of bed, I brought her meals up to her, and made sure her usual duties like cleaning and laundry were covered.

Let me tell you: I’m exhausted. I found myself thinking of the other caregivers of the world, how selflessly they provide attention to others’ needs. My mom can speak and eat normally, what about those who cannot? Would I someday be fit to provide care to my own elderly parents? The questions turned over in my mind during the week…

What I am really coming away with is awe and respect for the caregivers of the world. Those who love unconditionally, press against the normal confines of energy and effort, and give and give and give of themselves. Whether your family members can thank you or not, know that you are modeling to the rest of us what living by example can do.

No. 207: Awkward Tooth.

I went to the dentist today for a cleaning and a check up. I have been to this practice a few times before, and though I experience the typical amount of dentist stress I wasn’t too worried about my pearly whites.

The cleaning was normal, and a was going fine until the hygenist asked me if my misaligned bottom row bothered me. “Uhm, yeah,” I replied, once she had removed her tools from my mouth. And it did. It bothered me in a way that I thought every once in a blue moon “curse you, impacted wisdom tooth! You ruined it!” But bothered to the level of smiling with my lips closed or recalling fake flashbacks of being called K9 I was not.

She nodded her head, and before I knew it, she was touting the benefits of Invisalign. My smile could be so perfect! It would improve my bite! The doctor came in a short time later with models and financing option discussion points. “Woah,” I remember thinking. “Aren’t you even going to look at my chart?” Instead there we’re binders of success stories and comments like “see? Her bottom row had crowding and misalignment too.”

Here’s the thing: before I knew it, I was buying into it. My smile is flawed, I thought. Even hours later I still feel sensitive and aware about this previously neglected, blatant physical deformity. I did need this.

But I took a step back. The price, at a few grand, is certainly not cheap. One figure was quoted at around $5,000. My first thought was that I could use $5,000 to travel to Europe again, helpe worthy families out. I could buy myself a lot more reasons to smile.

My smile is not one tooth. It is not a representation of all of me, or of anyone else either. My smile is my way of sharing with the world my gratitude- not my wallet. What’s important is not my flawless smile, but the many reasons I have to share it with the world.

In other words, awkward tooth, we’re in for a long ride together. Hang on tight, right where you are.

No. 207: Krista.

Dear Krista,

As we only spoke over the phone, I don’t know how your name is spelled. We never chatted in person, so I don’t know what you look like. But what I do know is that you were a true hero today.

After my mom had her procedure done, and the type of painkiller was in stock at seemingly no pharmacy ever, it was scary for me. My mom has always taken care of everyone, and I wanted to take good care of her as a returned favor and to aid her recovery. Knowing that she was in pain was stressful enough, but worse still was not knowing how I could fix it without the painkillers I was due to arrive home with.

Fortunately, you picked up at the doctor’s office. You must have heard the desperation in my voice because you handled my call with attentive speed: calling to see if there was a pharmacy to fill it, checking our main pharmacy to see if there was a better option, phoning the doctor to get a confirmation. By the time I arrived at the office to collect the new prescription you had left at the desk, I could breathe freely. The script would be filled and I could maybe alleviate some of the pain my mom was feeling.

Thank you for helping me in my first true experience of almost-caregiving today. The road to my moms recovery may have started out a bit rocky, but thanks to your help, it was certainly smoothed over quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing my mom back on her feet, ready to take on the world as always!

Best,

Christina