Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From poopy diapers to Haiti Relief

I have been keeping up with my New Things. In addition to the aforementioned fish, here is what I've accomplished up to today:

Saturday-changing a poopy diaper. I'm not sure if this is something I've ever done before; if it is, I certainly can't remember it. Not that it's the sort of thing one wants to remember. I won't get into the dirty details, but I will say this--I am happy that most Chinese babies are potty trained early.

Sunday-cheering for the Cowboys. It was a tough call, the Minnesota Vikings versus the Dallas Cowboys, but I just could bring myself to cheer for the team our once beloved Brett Favre defected to.

Monday-taking a mouse out of a mouse trap. Since my husband's greatest fear is of small rodents, it is essential that I am at least somewhat willing to deal with them. Handling a dead mouse was disgusting, but doable. I'm not sure if I could cope with exterminating a rat though.

Tuesday-driving the speed limit. I am told by my family that I drive like a grandma. In my defense, I would like it to be known that I usually go 7mph over the limit on the freeway, which I don't think is particularly slow especially in the state of Wisconsin (Illionois is another matter). I think it should also be noted that I have never been pulled over by the police or the cause of an accident. But since I am guilty of speeding, as most of us are, I thought I would try going the speed limit (or below) and truly driving like a senior citizen.

Coincidentally, I drove from my Grandmother's home to my parent's home. The distance: 51 miles. The speed limit on the highway: 65mph. Sixty-five miles per hour is pretty fast, if you think about it, but it still doesn't feel fast enough. I think we are trained to always want to go faster and get places quicker, no matter how high the speed limit is set or how much time we actually have. Going the speed limit does not feel natural to me and I really had to pay close attention to keep the speedometer under 65. I was passed by my fair share of traffic, but I didn't have to deal with switching lanes or looking out for clocking cops. Overall, it was an enjoyable ride, but I still think I'm going to stick to going 7mph over the limit. I don't want to be called a grandma anymore than I already am.

Wednesday-donating to the Red Cross (Haiti Relief and Development). Having traveled in several under-developed countries and living in a developing country myself, I have had to face poverty in ways many Americans do not. On one extreme, I have seen severely disabled and disfigured burn victims begging for money in Cambodia. On the other, I have seen young Laotian children skipping school to sell homemade bracelets to backpackers on the streets of Luang Prabang. In both instances, it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is.

While I do believe it's a personal choice, I feel uncomfortable giving money to beggars or supporting child labor. In the end, I think it often does more damage than good. But there is always a part of me that wants to do something, so I make a vow to support a charity that provides support for people in developing countries. I make this promise to myself, yet I never follow through because I'm overwhelmed by the number of such organizations. With all that has happened in Haiti during the last week, I decided to stop the procrastination and excuses. I donated to the Red Cross today. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, I'd recommend going to their website http://www.redcross.org and chosing a relief fund.

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