Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Here we go again...

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Happy Pancake Tuesday!!
Today the fun begins-Lent!  I am not an overly religious person, but I do hold on to some fundamental traditions from childhood. One of these traditions is Lent.  I remember being a kiddo and getting a card from our church.  For each day that you successfully abstained from your chosen vice, you placed a quarter in a slot on the card.  At the end of Lent, you got to cash in!!  For some reason this act of self deprivation was fascinating to me then and still fascinates me now.  As cheesy as it sounds it helps me appreciate all the stuff that I take for granted in my life, and trust me there is a lot of cool shit in my life that I take for granted.

This year I have decided to celebrate the Lenten season by abstaining from shopping (and soda, and red meat, and...). For those of you just joining in on the fun, I usually give up my beloved friend alcohol. However, since I recently moved to a dry country I think that abstaining from alcohol is far too easy, not really a challenge. And for reasons still unbeknownst to me, I sure do love a challenge!!!

Since this is my second year giving up shopping I have upped the ante to keep things interesting.   Last year,  I took shopping to mean "the act of purchasing new items."  After Lent, I realized that I truly enjoy the act of shopping, not just buying.  I enjoy hearing the click of my heels on the tiled floors.  I enjoy the abundance of smells that bombard you when you enter each store.  I enjoy the act of touching each item; feeling the “new”.  I enjoy the barrage of sounds that pour out of each store.  I enjoy watching the masses as they mill around the mall. I enjoy it all!  Therefore, this year I have not only banned myself from purchasing items…I have banned myself from the mall!  In Kuwait, this is a REALLY big deal—trust me! Remember I love a challenge! 

40 Days at Bakala Qamar!
What does all this babble about challenges and Lent have to do with a Bakala you ask?  And just what in the hell is a Bakala?  Both valid questions! A Bakala is a local mini-mart.  Tiny, tiny, tiny, and small.  About the size of my mother's living room.  It has everything you could possibly need and then some.  To make this Lent even more challenging (remember I told you I love a challenge), I have limited myself to only shopping at the Bakalas behind our house. I can't take total credit for this former roommate Andrea and I came up a similar challenge while we were living in Guatemala.  

I had to look back at my rules from last year to refresh my memory...

The rules this season are as follows:
  • I can only purchase necessary items that I am planning to consume right away.
  • I can only buy Mimosa's dog food outside of the Bakala.
  • I can not eat out, unless I am on vacation.
  • I am limited to one magnet and one keepsake from each country I visit during Lent.

This year's updated rules:

  • I can only purchase necessary items that I am planning to consume right away (food and toiletries) at the local Bakala behind my house.
  • I can buy Mimosa's dog food outside of the Bakala.
  • I can only eat out when I am on vacation or when someone else treats me.
  • I can only enter a mall to see a movie or to eat out (when someone else is paying).  
  • I CANNOT buy anything on vacation--NADA!   

So, the purpose of this blog is to document the antics of my Lenten challenge and might just offer some cultural insights, but no guarantees on that last one. Stick around and see how this foolishness unfolds!

And We're Off!

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