In my time spent at Costa Rica this past summer, I noticed quite a bit of impoverishment around the resort I stayed at but I also noticed how the natives seemed to be pretty content with what they had. Adept pottery makers and merchandise sellers lay on the side of many drawn-out roads that seemed to lead to nowhere. They certainly had a striking passion for what they were doing, but perhaps not out of choice. This was their way of living, their everyday routine for being the breadwinner of their families. I also observed how many of the locals were secretly ingenuous salespersons as they would not leniently bargain unless that was the circumstance it came down to. It brought me to reminisce all the lost time spent in India in December of 2006–something that now feels like ages ago.
I can still recall what little the natives had to get by with on a day-to-day basis yet how much they had by not having the excessive commodities and luxuries that many of us take for granted. In the three weeks that I was settled there, I learned how having an overabundance of food is suboptimal to having just the right amount, how the ties of kinship are brought closer when everyone lives under the same roof, and how a few great books can make time move by more smoothly. Despite not being bestowed upon with the average means of communication that we are so gracefully handed today, the increased amount of personal interactions and unconventional ways made for a timeless substitution, if not a lesson from what may now be known as ancient history.
Likewise, these encounters can be closely paralleled to the recent catastrophic event that has stricken the Northeast. Over the past two weeks, I came across various people who were either from the Staten Island area or were somehow affected by that particular area in the Hurricane Sandy aftermath. Many of the locals were completely devastated by how the businesses were negatively impacted and others were just blissful to be alive. But the subliminal message that I acquired from all the random chattering was how this island was not just a washed-out speck of the larger New York area but a close-knit community within its own little world. These people grew up alongside one another and were familiar with the impact that had stricken them so close to home. What may be perceived as some poor tracings of Mother Nature’s recent whirlwind is actually a breeding ground for rescue efforts and locals battling to stay closer than ever.
While one may argue that people are most comfortable with what they have grown around, the current state of our country is depicting to us, in very lucid details, that times are changing. Maybe we need to learn that simplicity is at the core of breaking our recent downfalls. Perhaps, on a grander scale, observing the many differences among multiple nations and how people do so much with what little they have can fuel some of us to be happy with our gifts. After all, it is not until those memories are buried away that the presence of what we have now can truly be perceived and, more so, appreciated.