Wednesday, April 30, 2008

india: dumpsters and memories

so the past two days, as i've walked to the gym, i've passed this dumpster that stinks pretty bad. actually, i pass this dumpster all the time, but only the past two days has it really smelled bad.

the funny thing is that this immediately brought about memories of india. and good ones at that.

almost every day when i lived in india, i'd walk past the nastiest dumpsters you can imagine. i mean, stinky, gross, with trash overflowing EVERYWHERE. and quite often, animals or people digging in them. so gross, but so normal.

we had to pretty much walk everywhere that we wanted to go. i was lazy and tried to take rickshaws as often as possible, but even then, we often had to walk to catch a rickshaw, and walking in india is not like walking in the US. really, i've noticed that hardly anybody walks here, but that's another story.

i live pretty close to the gym here, so i try to walk there, and it's really a nice walk. shady, beautiful neighborhood, little traffic, nice trees blooming, etc. nothing like walking to the gym (or anywhere else) in india. even just a five minute stroll down the street involved dodging cars, buses, bicycles, people, animals, animal droppings, trash, beggars, carts full of vegetables, and all sorts of other random things. not to mention being stared at and even whistled or yelled at most days.

but i got used to it. i won't say that i liked it, but eventually all that becomes pretty normal. and yet, in the past 9 months, normal has changed and i'd forgotten the adventure that walking/living in india is.

until i walked past that stinky dumpster.

the smell was a shock to the senses, and something i wanted to get away from as quickly as possible, but it was also a little wake up call to how nice it usually is to walk down the street here. to enjoy nice weather and shade and quietness and being able to walk casually without really having to worry about getting run over.

i thought to myself, at first, yeah, you really appreciate all this nice stuff once you've lived in a place that's nasty...or that you hate...

but really, neither of those is a fair way to describe india. i don't hate it. not all of it, for sure, though there are things that make my blood boil. but there are things like that in the US too. and it's not totally nasty--actually, some things are delicious and beautiful and down right amazing.

i think it's seeing the different things, both good and bad, that makes me really appreciate what i have in both places. nothing's perfect, but appreciating the little things, like dumpsters that don't usually stink, can sure make me a lot thankful for how good i really have it.

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