For Lack of Hope

On the 24th of December, a toddler that we know was kidnapped. I cannot think of a worst thing happening to a family. The situation was solved in less than 24 hours. The sting remains and somehow affects us. Even though the press doesn’t cover all the kidnapping cases, the news spread around.

She is no longer in Mozambique. Comprehensibly, her family cut their holidays short. She stayed right in the place where we like to salute the New Year. We were there twenty minutes before midnight and waited a little while. Except for the dark figures of two or three security guards, no one showed up. It used to be crowded one hour before. Paul and I lost hope and backed away from our initial plan.

On route to a poorer option, we were stopped by a route patrol. They didn’t ask for documents or what so ever. They saluted us with the usual Season Greetings (Boas Festas!). In local terminology such salutation means they are asking for money or some other favor such as a lift. And even though Paul and I believe the kidnappings to be an orchestrated urban guerrilla thing, if elements of the local police are involved they start precisely by unlawfully stopping cars and asking for money. We just saluted them back and drove away.

All in all, the worst New Year’s Eve ever! On our way back home we passed option one and saw a reasonable crowd a lot more joyful than us. We should have waited but who would blame us not to feel secure and hopeful parked in front of a house where a little girl had been kidnapped just a week before?

If I have a New Year resolution it’s all said in my previous post. Because I have very low blood pressure, I am naturally inclined to be calm. But I married a very temperamental character and over the years that changed my natural behavior. For you to understand differences and difficulties just picture this: for me cooking is a pleasant thing, only possible when I am relaxed. I take pleasure from food, while Paul is always stressed in terms of food and meals. I keep a strict 4 meals routine and he needs to visit the kitchen every hour. When a meal is being prepared, he gets so anxious that a sane chef can only end up wanting to kill him because of his interferences and nervousness. After all that, one would expect him to sit and enjoy the tastes so carefully prepared… Instead, he sprinkles all his food with dubious products, especially the powered kind. He only eats properly when we travel or visit a restaurant because he doesn’t have the poisonous paraphernalia he swears by. His attitude towards food has been a source of deep irritation to me. I love good products and clean tastes. He is quite the opposite. Understanding and accepting such kind of differences is going to be a good source of the calm and peace I am seeking.

There’s no way I write about food without touching the drinking aspect. I’ve been drinking more than I should. But as it happened with chocolate, I became wine selective. I suffer from the selectiveness syndrome. That is more than clear. I’ve been drinking steadily (but wisely) since 2 or 3 months. I started to drink because I have to understand the drinking appeal. Being someone who puts pleasure first, I don’t think I am at risk. A substitute pleasure is not for me. Masked pleasures… Wine doesn’t add to pleasure. Wine only covers the unpleasantness in our lives. I never feel like drinking when I am doing something that I like. I drink if I have to sort out a messy kitchen or if I am so tired that I cannot function properly. I had to understand the reasons why some members of my family have serious drinking problems. They are not happy. Somehow, somewhere, they couldn’t take it any longer. Wine helps them or helped them to cope. No doubt that I face the house routines with less pain after two glasses of wine. In the process I discovered a very addictive Merlot wine from the Cape region. I am stocking all I can because good things don’t last long. I’ll try to open a bottle monthly only, as if an exquisite medicine. Something that I learned along this drinking period is that wine is a two years wait, maximum. I also learned that I cannot mix my two favorite drinks: wine and champagne. I can take them separately but together they trigger one of the worst migraines you can imagine. This Christmas left me with a very painful souvenir and brought back memories of my father and mother in bed, with white towels on their foreheads, recovering from some bad champagne extravaganza. A daughter shouldn’t have such memories… Well, we cannot escape the clay we are made of. Definitively. I mean my parents’ champagne migraines.

Let me see what else I should be telling about the last days of 2013 and first of 2014? Probably lots of things or nothing at all. I’ll keep it simple: I feel pretty much alive.

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