Things we should be more thankful for: WATER

First I want to thank ,my loyal followers and readers for taking the time to read my blog posts. Secondly, I would like to apologize for being away for so long. I owe you an explanation.

I was deeply touched and truthfully, devastated by the tragedy of Newtown. Those who are closest to me know that when a tragedy occurs, it affects me to the very core of my being and soul. When Katrina happened, I cried and hurt for weeks. I felt useless. I did what I could from the state I lived in but I wish I was right there in the devastated area where I could offer my help, my hand, a shoulder to cry on.

Newtown was no different. What the families of those poor children went and are still going through is unimaginable. For days, I felt hopeless and helpless. I also felt angry and frustrated  at what I was hearing on the news, reading on Twitter and Facebook or anywhere else. To me, there was no explanation for what happened. I honestly did not turn on the TV much during that time. There was no point for me. I did read stories on the internet but I could not bear to listen to newscasters turn on their sad voices. I understand things have to be reported but there is nothing that will ever make us feel better. There is nothing that will ever give us peace of mind. I do agree that now is an opportunity of review gun laws, mental health and most importantly ourselves as a society. We need to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror and start fixing what is wrong.

Now on to this new topic which I have been so eager to write. Water.

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On Thanksgiving, it is custom to go around and say what we are thankful for. Obviously we are all familiar with the generic things being said. We are all thankful for our health, our jobs, our family, the food sitting on the table but we rarely talk about every little thing we use on a daily basis that makes our lives so much easier than it is in other countries or it was decades or centuries ago.

For me, the thing I am thankful for everyday (aside from my loved ones) is water. My time for giving my thanks is usually when I shower. I feel extremely thankful and humbled every night. There are people in the world who never felt water go all over their body in a shower. For some people, water is so scarce or unclean that accessing water alone is a luxury. There are nights when I am so lazy, I feel like taking a shower is a burden. Then I end up showering anyways and want to smack myself for even thinking of such a privilege as a burden. The minute the water hits my shoulder, I feel better. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet and then I take a few minutes to think of all the ways I am gifted throughout the day. We use water countless of times. We wash ourselves in the morning and night and through the day every time we wash our hands and go to the bathroom. We brush our teeth. We wash our clothes. Water helps us get rid of impurities. We all know the feeling when we are parched and someone hands us a glass of water that feels like the best thing on Earth. Water is a miracle. Water is life. Without water, we could not have evolved and be who we are. Without water and most importantly access to water, we could not thrive the way we do. When I think of how water gets to us in California, it is pretty amazing. States like California and Nevada are extra lucky and blessed. We are not meant to have water. We had to use our intelligence and technology to get water to us. This is not to be taken for granted.

 

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Water is so common, we use it so much that it becomes a basic thing and as every basic thing, we take it for granted. Without water, we couldn’t have our tea or coffee that makes such a difference in the way we start our day. Without water, cooking could be really difficult. Imagine making pasta or rice without clean water. If I go 48 hours without a shower, I feel so disgusting and uncomfortable, I have a hard time thinking and doing things straight. When my water gets cut off and I cannot wash my hands, I get a little panic even though I know I can wash my hands with the water I saved especially for emergencies. I am spoiled. like everyone else. I waste, like most of us. I feel guilty about it all the time. I picture people in Africa who have to walk so many miles to get just a couple of gallons of water. They have to walk in what would be unbearable heat to us, just to do it again the next day. Some people die from drinking unsafe water. That’s how lucky we are: we never have to worry about dying from the water we drink. We never have to really weigh the pros and cons and take risk every time we take a sip.

The good thing is that there are a lot of things we can do. First thing is to be aware. If we can be thankful for what we have and be aware of how precious water is, we are moving forward. We can try to conserve water in any way possible, take shorter shower, turn off the water when we are brushing our teeth or cooking, not wash our cars so often (enough vanity, who cares if our car is not so shiny), monitor when we water our lawn, follow our community and government regulations, etc. We can also become more active and join or/and support non-profit organization who provide solution to conserve water and/or bring water where it is actually needed like third world countries.

Below is a list of some organizations you should take time to look at.

The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that seeks sustainable solutions to the world’s escalating water crisis. SIWI manages projects, synthesizes research and publishes findings and recommendations on current and future water, environment, governance and human development issues

http://www.siwi.org/

Just a Drop is an international water aid charity, which builds wells, hand pumps and boreholes in 31 countries in the developing world.

http://www.justadrop.org/

Water.org is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation.

http://water.org

Charitywater.org is bringing clean water to people in developing countries

http://www.charitywater.org/

Water Conserve is a Water Conservation Portal dedicated to protecting and conserving drinking water and ecosystems worldwide – with a genuine Internet water search engine, constant water news and link tracking, and biocentric commentary.

http://www.waterconserve.org/

Founded in 2000 by leading journalists and scientists, Circle of Blue provides relevant, reliable, and actionable on-the-ground information about the world’s resource crises.

http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/about/
ClearWater Initiative is a U.S.-based 501(c)3 nongovernmental organization that strives to provide clean, potable water solutions to populations in need and educate the public about the importance of clean water.

http://www.clearwaterinitiative.org/

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Do you feel forced to follow tradition? An epiphany on Epiphany!

After a few weeks of writer’s block, it finally hit me. Don’t you love that moment when something comes to you and all you want to do is grab a keyboard ( *smiles*) and write a blog post about it. Well here it comes. I had my epiphany, ironically enough on Epiphany!

One of my readers figured out some of my origins after reading my blog post about eating consciousness. No wonder, all that mention about eating rabbit and cow’s tongue and liver as a child gave it away. Yes I am partly French. My whole adult life, I have had issues with how to keep up with traditions. As I mentioned in previous posts, the first dilemma came when we had to figure out whether to celebrate Christmas or not. Well I figured that out. But there are so many other things. For me and my husband, a few issues come to mind. First, we’re not Catholic but both had at least one Catholic parent, then when it comes to me, I was raised in a home where food WAS a national TRADITION! I’m not joking. So, even after having figured out that we didn’t have to celebrate some religious holidays, food is always a reminder or even an excuse. Like today. Today is Epiphany. I grew up celebrating Epiphany. My mom was not really a practicing Catholic but in France, it was tradition to get the Galette with the fève inside. Whoever got the fève was crowned King or Queen. Also, every time you would visit someone during the whole month of January, you would have to bring a galette. Whoever got the fève was the next one to buy the galette. It went on until the end of the month. We also have until the end of the month to wish Happy New Year. Anytime afterwards was bad taste.

I continued all the traditions I grew up with (well most of them) because it is heart warming and I wanted share my culture with my family and kid.

After a few years, I now find those traditions more as chores and duties. I went to bed last night thinking, “oh shit, tomorrow is Epiphany, I have to go get a galette I guess” excuse my language but that is really what I thought. I started wondering where I would get it, where the best one is at, which store has the cheapest…. AND because of my new vegan diet, I honestly had no desire to even eat it. It was Christmas all over again. At Christmas, I bought a bûche de Noel but I wasn’t excited about eating it. I looked forward to my vegetables a lot more.  Traditions are legacies, I get it. But we change, people change, so why do I feel so guilty by just thinking about NOT getting a Bûche de Noel or a Galette? I think it is because all those things were fun for me as a child, but I am not a child anymore and I could care less if I eat a galette on a Holiday I don’t even believe in. I am a closeted double hypocrite. So here, I am out. I am not Catholic and I celebrate Catholic holidays just because I did when I was younger even though it was mostly because of the fun and for the food and now I force myself to do it for my kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like traditions but after a while, it is time to move on. For example, we used to celebrate Easter, but now we no longer go for the Easter egg hunt. We graduated from that tradition. I never baked beignet on Mardi Gras like my grandmother used to. That’s ok. I don’t make crepes that often either which probably explain why I am not rich since the tradition is that if you make crepe on a certain day, you’re supposed to be rich all year. I think I have to stop being so hard on myself. Another reason why I kept those traditions for so long even when they annoyed me was because my mother would make me feel guilty about not being in France anymore. I think she was afraid my kid would not have enough reminders of where we came from. That could not be further from the truth. We all know where we come from and we cherish it. What is more important though to us is who we are today as people. Who we are is not defined by traditions. I love my origins and I will always cherish them but I see myself more as a part of the human race than as a National of a specific country or a follower of a specific faith. We did a great job raising our child that way. This might anger some people, but I find it wrong to force kids to say the pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag every day in school. We love our country very very much in our house. 9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives. We love our American People but we do not need to assert it that way because we feel we alienate the rest of the world. Traditions are like history to me. They have to be remembered and people choose to remember history in their own ways. Some express their opinions loudly, some join parades, some make movies about it, some light a candle quietly in the privacy of their home. The way we choose to honor our traditions is up to us and we shall not feel pressured by anyone, not our parents, not capitalism (hello Valentine’s day around the corner) or our government. So I am officially over the guilt.

The other very important thing to remember is to forever create new traditions. It is actually the most fun. I have countless ideas every year which turn into beautiful new memories and traditions and it makes me happy to know that I am continuing to write our history.

 

Now for all those of you who wonder what I ended up doing: well, I did it. I went out and bought a Galette des Rois. When I came home I wrote this post…out of frustration. Now I think I will actually enjoy it more but I will no longer do anything just because I have to follow some tradition.

 

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