Friday, January 14, 2011

It's The Little Things

Since the heat is indefinitely out all over town due to some issue with the heating plant, I have come to realize how much the little things in life matter. Something as small as a power strip that doesn't spark and melt when you plug in a space heater or a knit hat will change your life. Although I suppose this noting of small things started earlier and peaked while on vacation in Germany and Switzerland. Walking into a grocery store stockpiled with all sorts of exotic items like Gruyere and avocado was earth shattering. Here was such wild abundance but if only one of the many luscious items that graced the shelves were to find its way to my town it would be cause for great celebration. And later when I returned from my jaunt abroad, on a rather beer saturated night with some friends, a guy I barely knew looked at me hard and told me he could tell I was upset about being back in Mongolia; he could see my mind was elsewhere. He smiled and told me that the next song was for me. He chose a sweet melody on his iTunes, turned and left the room. The song was by a group I hadn't listened to since my sister and I jammed out to it in our bathroom as teens. The familiar voice wrapped itself around me and buoyed me through the night, as my heart filled with gratefulness for such a small but caring act. Finally, my counterpart told me this morning about her son. Before I left for vacation, I visited her home where her 5-year-old boy was playing with an action figure on the floor. He only had one toy but loved it so much that he took care to show me every joint and bit on the little plastic man. In Switzerland, admittedly as more of an excuse to play with toys than anything, I bought him a new action figure- a really sweet Transformer. When I got to work this morning, my counterpart said that the boy had stayed up until the wee hours playing with the toy, fascinated that such a gadget was all his. My chest swelled to know that I could give such joy to a child and so cheaply. Here in Mongolia where there is so little, I already know too well that tiny gestures mean a lot. But occasionally life has a way of reminding me how amazing it is that such small and trivial things can change a person so much, and not always negatively. I suppose it's just nice to remember this in such cold times. So as I wait on heat I'll hunker down in my coat and find warmth in the memory of cheese, songs and a little boys happiness.

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