... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Thankful in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

By the time the flight had taken off from Hurghada headed towards Cairo, my fellow passenger Henry and I were deep in conversation.

Henry and I had previously met at the airport gate waiting area. I’d noticed him asking one of the security men if there was some place nearby where he could get some water explaining that he was extremely thirsty. Well, there was no place in the vicinity and there wasn’t a drinking fountain in sight and even if there was one you wouldn’t drink from it anyway because tap water is highly chlorinated and if you’re not used to this, you could develop stomach problems.You don’t even use it to rinse your mouth while brushing your teeth. This fact makes me wonder about the teeth of the many street vendors, young and old who I encountered who appeared to be in urgent need of dental care. Imagine having to live in such a way that you are literally forced by economics to not have access to safe tap water. In the desert.

I am reminded again that I am thankful.

I offered Henry my unopened bottle. Surprised at my offer, he expressed his deep thanks, and I told him it was a pleasure. It just feels so good to make someone happy. It’s always a win-win situation that never fails.

It just so happens that Henry’s colleague is from Seattle Washington, my hometown, (the world is so very big, yet so small), which opened up the door for Henry to ask me, as many people do, what was the reason for my coming to Germany so many years ago. We gradually fell into conversation about my book, Incompatible with Nature–a Mother’s Story and Henry shared with me the disheartening information that one of his family members suffers with physical disabilities issues, that he is in fact confined to a wheelchair. The first thought that came to my mind was the thought that he will never be able to walk the streets that I walked here in this fascinating country and a wave of thankfulness swept over me once again. Because of my son’s health issues, I am especially aware of the universal truth that having your health is the greatest gift of all.

Henry asked me how long it took me to write my book and I told him several years. He thought about that for a time and then told me that if he were ever to have the wherewithal to write a book, he would write about the very real differences between the haves and the have-nots; a thought that simply does not escape you when you see the abject poverty that exists in this country.

Walking down a street past the storefront shops that are littered and in need of repair, a young man by the name of “Oscar” aka Hassan to his parents and family and friends, rushed me as all the vendors did calling out: “No hassle! Just come look! Please! Don’t refuse my offer! You look like Egyptian woman! Please! Come in my store! I have tea!”

Many of these men spoke both English and German. Learning The language of the tourists, i.e. potential customers, is their investment in themselves for their business: the business of selling perfume, kitsch, imitation designer bags, clothing, massages, leather, table decorations, spices, facials–you name it.

Hassan stole my attention. Maybe it was because he was the same build like my son. Maybe it was the fact too, that he was probably the same age as, if not younger than my son–out there in the heat, sweaty and hustling. I looked at him not with the eyes of a tourist, but with those of a mother and I said a silent prayer that he is healthy and for all those in this country who are not and cannot afford health care. He spoke perfect English and explained to me that because tourism has so greatly diminished, that it is normal for the vendors to rush the tourists they see walking down the street, rush them in anticipation of hoping to sell something–anything of what they have to offer. They don’t want to annoy, they just want to feed themselves. I get it. Hassan, is somebody’s child. If not for the winds of fate, I could have been his mother–at home in the desert heat trying to get clean water and eek out a living in an area where it’s not certain if a building is being built or torn down. Maybe their religion helps them carry their plight. I understand. Prayer has always helped me with mine.

And so I am so very thankful for all the good in my life great and small; all the things I don’t even think about, like clean tap water for instance. I hope I’ve reminded you to be thankful too. And because we just sometimes need to be reminded, Thankfulness is shining especially today in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight. Let it radiate inside, outside, all over you.

Here’s to life!