I love my job. I know, I am such a broken record about this, but each and every time I drive home from work I am just amazed at how much I have enjoyed my day. I've had some great jobs in my life; library, yarn store...hard to beat books and yarn, but this job, this job just sings to me.
I love that on my drive in I pass the Cadbury plant and some days can clear my sinuses with one good whiff of whatever batch of gum they are processing that day. I love that the drive takes me past the river and Sinnissppi park, and very soon all the holiday lights there. I love the diversity of religion that comes through the door and the way each and every one is embraced by all involved. (Makes me get all dreamy about the possibility of peace.) I love the concept of fair trade, the commitment to green practices and general earth kindness, but most of all, I LOVE the people.
Poor Ernesto from Guatemala who was searching for the Rescue Mission because he drinks too much beer and how we all struggled with our poor ability to speak Spanish in order to help him on his way. He made the sign of the cross and blessed each of us before he left, and honestly, I really felt that blessing. Arthur, who is at least 80 and walks down to our store from the senior high rise at least once a week. Yesterday he told us about the coat he was wearing that he purchased right there on 7th street in 1956. He bought 3 African canes to add to his stylish collection and wrote his check so carefully in large print while carefully checking his math. He jokes and flirts and I just want to hug him he is so adorable. All the volunteers who give of their time and hearts to help make the vision of fair trade real in Rockford. I wish they all knew what gifts they are to me.
On Friday one of our suppliers came in to the store and it was my first time to meet her. She and her ex husband (I could write an entire post about the complicated and fascinating relationship between those two) own a clothing and jewelry company in Nepal. Noga is originally from Israel and her accent is incredibly beautiful to hear. When she realized that I was an interested ear, she told me all about her early life and how she came to find herself in the US and then Nepal. She spends half her year in Nepal with her boyfriend, Shiva. Shiva is a guide in the Royal Chitwan National Park and they live just outside the park. The land the park sits on has been in Shiva's family for some astounding number of years. She had pictures and she was kind enough to give me this one.
Elephants! Elephants all decorated and ready to participate in an elephant race that is held every year. See the second one is still a baby? When I voiced my concern that perhaps the elephants didn't want to race, she laughed. They are wild and wander around the park and her yard and are apparently quite pleased to be the center of such attention. She explained how the Nepalese love their country, including all the animals that live there and I could tell she really meant it. So cool. So, so cool.
This job has showed me that I have lived a very cloistered life. While I want see the world as one place we all live and not a series of countries and borders, my experiences with other cultures has been limited. If this job does nothing else but help me to keep my mind and heart open I'll consider myself privileged.