Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's All Relaltive

Other than a mildly unpleasant disagreement between the contractor and the electrician over building codes, our kitchen reno is going quite well, thank you. With the ceramic tile laid, we are now ready to take delivery of the cabinets. Unfortunately, we just found out that they won't be ready for another ten days!
This would normally be upsetting news to us but in light of what has been happening in Haiti and more recently in Chile, we see it as a mere hiccup. I think about all those poor people out there as my husband and I camp out in the safety and relative comfort of our own home and I am so very moved by their plight. We may not have a kitchen for the moment but we do have a roof over our heads and for that we are most grateful. Lives change on a dime.
I can certainly attest to the fact that being without a kitchen, without a sink, without a stove, is terribly inconvenient. I can only imagine what it must be like not to have anything left other than the clothes on your back. It has been a challenge to serve meals and to clean up afterwards by taking the dishes to the bathtub and I am reminded by the recent tragedies that many, many people all over the world live like this day in and day out.
When I try to imagine what it must be like for those people out there, reduced to sleeping in parks or by the rubble of their destroyed homes, desperately dipping containers into swimming pools and puddles for lack of access to potable water, I feel humbled.
I am thinking a lot about my paternal grandmother these days as I attempt to work around our reno. For as long as I can remember she and my grandfather, post war immigrants with very limited means, lived in a three room cold-water flat. The bathroom and kitchen were in the same room with only a thin curtain for a bit of privacy. I remember that my grandparents kept a piece of plywood over the old claw tub when it wasn't being used for bathing, as a makeshift counter. My grandmother would have to stoop uncomfortably over it whenever she had to peel potatoes or carrots yet she never complained because to her, those three depressing little rooms were palatial. Once you have lost everything you own, either through war or a natural disaster, anything you can acquire afterwards, even a dingy three-room flat, seems like a great and luxurious gift.
My thoughts, as we await delivery of our kitchen cabinets, are about the many who have no kitchens at all.

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