Comeflor

If you wanted to translate that word it would be something like “flower-eater”. In my country, this is a word to describe a person who dreams of an ideal world. They live focusing on all of the beautiful things in their way and they are painfully kind.

They make a bunch of little efforts to seek beauty in moments that regular person wouldn’t even think about it. They stop to pet street dogs, make monkey faces to the babies in the bus/subway, play imaginary drums while walking or waiting in a line, extend a hand out of the window to feel the rain, pull over the car to take pictures of the sunset, and sing along the music while cleaning the house. They are the nerds of positivity.

Usually this word is used with the intention to insult someone that it’s been maybe a little too naive or so. But I think, they are pretty admirable. I mean, it’s not like if they are kids who never got hurt or betrayed, or were treated unfairly. They are adults that, even though have seen the madness in this world, they choose to keep believing in it.

I had a friend like this in college. Being around her was always so refreshing. It was like if I had never met someone genuinely happy before. Now she’s living her dream, she actually made it. It’s like whatching a disney movie in real life. We need to try to be more comeflores every day.

On a side note, I want to give you an update on my cookie business. I found cheap cocoa powder. It’s cheap because the person who sold it to me was the same person who planted the tree. Amazing! So, now I’m making this cocoa crinkle cookies, and people went absolutely crazy. Just to give you an idea, a man split an amount of money he had destined to buy cigarattes, to buy one cookie, but when he ate it he decided to take more money from his cigaratte budge to buy a couple more. Can you imagine how good they have to be to make a nicotine addict exchange cigarattes for them? Well, that good they are.

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Transition

I am sorry I disappeared again. I didn’t have connection to Internet in the last 6 weeks and the electricity cuts have been happening more often, in fact, one just ended. However, that is not the main reason for my absence.

This blog was supposed to be about my English learning and an attempt to start writing stories. When I started this project I had a plan in mind, a vision of a new phase in my life. And I thought this blog was a good idea to take advantage of such a great inspiration. This year was The year for me.

I spent the previous two years preparing, studying, working and saving for my plans this year. I was sure everything would be worthwhile by now. Unfortunately, my plan A didn’t work out, my plan B neither, and an improvised plan C went so wrong that I ended up with no job, no savings, and nothing to prepare for. I am just searching new opportunities and some light. But not everything has been drama and chaos.

The good thing about blackouts (if any Venezuelan reading this may forgive me for such sentence) is that, since the heat in the houses is suffocating and almost any activity gets impossible to perform, everybody grabs a chair and just seat in the front of their houses. It has become a tradition. During these sharing moments with the neighbors, I found out these people were craving for sweets.

You may understand this more if you read my last post, but long story short, people cannot afford snacks anymore, they hardly get to end of the month with food in the fridge. For this reason the few store owners that are left in the town do not invest on candy anymore. The bakeries make mostly bread, and the desserts they prepare have expensive toppings, fillings or ingredient that make the product so too. So I came up with the idea of a super cheap cookie that people could enjoy with their coffee, and more important giving the people the option to buy just one, so they can afford a little life-saver treat.

So, while I wait for my life to make sense again, I have been tuning my orange cookie recipe until they got so cheap that 26 cookies are worth only USD 1. Of course, I am not capitalizing it to make me rich, but it’s enough to re-buy the ingredients while competing with inflation. However, they meet my goal for them to be enjoyable and affordable at the same time.

My cookies.

 It turn out that people responded as I imagined, especially the kids. They come in groups of siblings and cousins with their parents, and they buy just one for each of them. I cannot imagine how excited it must be for them. It hits me big time when I remember how I grew up surrounded by all kinds of candies, chocolates, chips and so much abundance being my country was whole different story.

In conclusion, I stopped posting because I am in a transition period. I have been figuring ways to start from zero, and easing each failure in the shelter of my little, micro, petite cookie business.

Thank you so much to everyone who wondered about me and prayed, it means a lot for me. I will try to keep in touch.

Why are we thinner?

I have had the opportunity to talk with people from other countries that only see really impacting headlines about the situation here, for instance: we don’t have medicines, food, the inflation is ridiculous, etc., so they cannot see how life is even possible like this. I’m so used to it that I don’t think about the difficulty to understand it.

Some people has approached me with the wrong idea of that it’s hard to find a job over here. You’ll see, it’s true that there isn’t the same amount of job offers that there used to be, but, the people hiring overweight the people wanting to work for the minimum wage. Why? Because having those jobs doesn’t quite make sense now.

The true is more complex than what an article can describe, you cannot insolate one aspect and pretend to understand the situation of the population as a whole. Yes, there are common factors affecting all of us, no matter the position, but everyone has a different immediate problem and each one face it the best they can with the most convenient solution at the moment. In other words, living here doesn’t make me an expert on the subject, to really understand what’s going on, you’ll need a master class from a senior economist, a nutritionist with experience on treating people without a treatment, a person with a wide knowledge on international politics, and maybe a couple of professionals more that I might not have a clue of how essential they are. What I can give you is a picture, and I’m not a photographer, numbers are my thing.

I love numbers because they are solid, they tell facts, and if you are as crazy as me, they will give you a “feeling.”

For my picture, I’ll use the example of a man that I know, because I think he is pretty close to the average person here. He has a fulltime job as an English teacher in a public high school.

(I am going to use the letter “M” to represent our local currency since it has the same or less value of a monopoly bill)

  • He earns 40.000 M per month.
  • A bus ride to his work costs 500 M

If you do a little math: 2 rides a day (a round trip) is 2×500 M = 1000 M. Now, if you sum up 20 days in a month, it costs him 20.000 M only going to work.

To give his classes he needs markers, and the school is supposed to supply him with all of the things he needs, but guess what, they are always ran out of materials, so he has to buy his own markers.

  • One marker costs 10.000 M. I’m going to consider this amount of money for any expense he might have due to the same lack of materials at the school.

So far, we have 40.000 M – 20.000 M – 10.000 M = 10.000 M.

With 10.000 M (today, USD 1.5 approx.) you could buy:

  • Half chicken, OR,
  • Half kilogram (1 pound approx.) of coffee, OR,
  • 2 fish, OR,
  • 1 package of rice, OR

At this point you might think, well that’s impossible. How can he even eat during a month?

HERE IS HOW…

  1. He doesn’t take the bus. He wakes up early to walk 10 kilometers (6.25 miles) every day.
  2. He manages those markers as if they were jewelry.
  3. He gives private classes to a kid in another community on weekends for 10.000 M.
  4. His wife has a similar story.
  5. He has two kids, and even they manage to bring something home with their kid business.
  6. Some products are almost banned from the house because they are simply not indispensable. Like bacon, ketchup, or mayonnaise. And others become the most prestigious things in the house that, if they have it, they have to consume them as if they were a really expensive perfume or wine. Like toilet paper, shampoo, a razor, oil to fry, sugar, eggs, milk, pork, headache pills, etc.
  7. His family, as most family, used to have 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, but now they have barely 3 meals. I mean,

A Venezuelan breakfast used to be 2 arepas, a couple of eggs with bacon, cheese and jam, and a late. Now, it looks more like a little arepa with little cheese with a little cup of black coffee and wild fruits from the local vegetation. By the way, we are blessed with a lot of mango.

The story of this man is really common, you can hear it from a construction worker, secretaries, a salesman, a cashier, an engineer, and even managers. Everybody has got into this new life style at some level to make things work.

In conclusion, you may say the average citizen is thinner because he is eating less fats and manufactured food, in moderate quantities, and making a lot more exercise. It even sounds like something positive, in fact, isn’t it the kind of life the doctors always say that you should pursue?

So, what’s the problem? It is not a better life. If you do it for survival, it’s just a life.

Women’s struggle to pick.

Women are judge for their decision making process from the ones in high rank positions to the ones that are just reading a menu. We are called subjective, too emotional, irrational, unstable. Especially, when it takes too long for us to decide.

If you explore a bit into her mind, you will be amazed by the stories behind our selections. For instance, what usually happens at dinner is that we are managing a whole set of variables at stakes. What we want to eat, what can we eat, what is the budget for the dinner, what clothes are we wearing (if it’s tight or loose), what are we going to do later, what happened the last time we ate each of the options, if we feel like trying something new, if tomorrow is an important day out or we are going to stay home, etc. And those are only about us, it also matters the place. We can love Caesar Salad but if they put to much of anchovies in the dressing, then it’s a no no. On top of that, add all of the variables that can show up if she doesn’t know the restaurant.

There is nothing wrong with our ability to foresee problems. That’s our nature, we are preventive, selective, considered, caring and careful. The real problem is when we don’t adapt and advance, when we get stuck and cannot make up our minds.

You, woman, shouldn’t be ashamed of your complex being. Instead, learn that some experiences are worth to face the consecuences of, that a damaged fruit doesn’t make all of the kind bad for you. Realize that a posibility is just a posibility, so it might never happen. Understand that your instinct is your best friend, so you can enjoy more the present.

You, man, if see a woman that went out to look for an ice cream cone and came back with an cheese cake, you better don’t ask unless you are willing to really pay attention or get overwhelmed.

What is the worst thing that could happen?

I stole this question from a friend when we were talking about me moving alone for the first time without options to withdraw because I wasn’t living in my hometown.

This question was my last question about it. I have done it 2 times now, and I am planning a third. I answer this question when I’m afraid to start something new by myself. What I’ve learned is that in case of any problem, I’m never quite alone.

If you get lost,

Some people will deny they can help.
Some people will hide that they can help.
Some people will just watch you get lost. Because it is entertaining.
Some people will look the other way. Because it isn’t of their business.

A few will help you, but not as much as they could because they didn’t get that much help when they were in your position. So, they think it isn’t fair that you do.

Others will help you to just brag about their mercy to you later. Poor you if you accept a piece of bread from them.

On the other hand, you will find good people and, as call them, tools from God. These can be an stranger, the wind, or the rain (literally, one time I ran out of water and I got just the amount I needed from the rainfall)

You’ll find people that will offer help to you without you asking for it. People who see their earlier needs reflected on you as if you were a mirror to the past, and they know how much they’d appreciate the favor.

The last ones also know that being thankful is not just saying -Thank God.- They know that gratefulness through actions is contagious, and it returns in no time or in 7 years. They understood that gratitude is not a circle but a chain.

A day of laughter.

Today is a day of laughter and joy.

Nothing special happened, actually a few things went wrong. But today is one of those where your mind flies away, almost to outer space, and from there life on Earth looks pretty much the same, no matters the point where you are in the blue planet.

Even during wars, especially the longest ones, people have bad and good days. They never cease making babies, always have time to have a coffee, and the most sarcastic ones always find the space and perfect time to tell a joke.

Living here is like being in mourning, or completely in love with someone that doesn’t remember you with a song. In one moment you’re crying, in the next you’re sleeping, and two hour later you’re laughing alone because you remembered a mispronunciation that your little nephew did the last time you were playing with him.

You never really get over it. You just have to stop weeping to deal with other emotions. Then you cannot avoid feeling hungry, sleepy, the need to go the bathroom, etc. After that, you stop to focus on other things, things you need to do. And slowly these pauses become in the major part of the day, until you fit the time in them to feel joy and laugh again. Whilist the depression is reduced to the time that last the silence between a song and the next, or that last thought before falling asleep.

Everyone has a different period of time to repeat this cicle. Let’s say that not all of us are in the same roller coaster. And by “us” I don’t mean Venezuelans, I am talking about humans. Everybody is in their own ride in this world, which isn’t exactly like disney world. So, today I’m at the top of the wheal, no matter what happens, I’m going to rise my hands and laugh before it takes me to the ground again. Before the playlist ends.

Equilibrium.

I avoid black and white people, and I hate the red and the blue ones. I’m not talking about their skin, of course.

I have a weakness for balanced people in general: interracial treats (you know like dark skin with green eyes or thin lips with curly hair), the cool nerds, the ambiverts (those between introvert and extrovert). But this post is in honor to the people that I especially love. The ones with the secret to make the perfect mix of kindness and honesty.

Some people use “honesty” (which is a positive word) as a false white flag to be rude and even cruel to others. On the other hand, you can find the ones who only think of the politically correct and let you make a fool. But this is not the case of my beloved grays and purples.

Those people who can recognize a number of grays having a transparent soul. Complex people that in turn are easy going.

Some examples of the rare people that practice kind honesty are:
✅The greatest leaders, the good ones
✔The doctors that ask God for help to to give you bad news,
✅The teachers that inspire respect and not fear or shame from their students,
✔The hiring managers who explain to you exactly where you failed and how to improve,
✅And those beautiful friends who whisper that your zipper is open only to you.

A common factor that I see in these hidden gems is that they are happy. They have zero interest in discouraging or embarrassing you because they don’t have space for that in their hearts. But, people with holes in their lives, let’s say unoccupied people, love looking for flaws in others. I call them “errorvorous” because they seem to feed on them.

Happiness is evident, but the bitternes on your fake kindness is even more so. What I mean amigo is… if you truly enjoy it, there is beauty in the way you say “Happy to help.”