Perspective story 1. When we moved in to our new flat a few months ago, we had some help from our friends. One American friend was unpacking in our new kitchen. She opened the window and exclaimed, "Wow! You have a view from your window!!" I took a picture of this lovely "view" for you to enjoy. It doesn't overlook the river or the pyramids, just the side of the building next door. But the one who was looking out wasn't making fun of us. She was serious. The window in their kitchen opens toward the center of their building, so all they see is the ventilation shaft. In other words, they look out and see a dirty concrete wall about 2 feet from their window.
Perspective story 2. When Beth was pregnant with Lee Anna the ladies from our church threw us a shower. Lee Anna got more clothes than she could wear. It took two cars and Renee's Hummer to carry everything home. Beth's only clothing issue was finding a way for Lee Anna to wear each of the pretty outfits on a Sunday so the people who gave them to her would see her wearing what they gave her!
In contrast, a friend of ours named Amira recently had a baby here. She was having a little girl, so Beth went through the things Sawyer had outgrown to pick out some things that would work for a baby girl. Amira knew we had some things to give her, and she called once or twice to say that she really needed to see what we were giving her so she wouldn't buy any duplicates when she went shopping for the baby. Well, Beth put together a plastic sack (the size of a Wal-Mart sack) of baby clothes--probably 6 or 8 outfits plus some pajamas and socks. She gave the sack to Amira's sister, so she wasn't there when she saw the clothes, but later that day she got a phone call from Amira, who was just gushing with excitement. "Thank you, thank you so much!" she said. "Now I won't have to buy anything at all!" Because she had ONE Wal-Mart sack of baby gear, she wouldn't have to buy anything at all!
Perspective Story 3. When I lived in the States, I spent a fair amount of time fishing. Rivers, ponds, lakes, bays, oceans--any body of water that held fish (or that we thought might possibly support marine life) would answer just fine. As a young boy in Crestview, my friends and I would even use white bread as bait to catch small bream. Daddy would tease us about catching "a Coke-bottle full." Some of them were almost small enough to get through the spout of a Coke bottle, but not really. We often used "shiners" for bait to catch bigger bass. A shiner is a type of minnow, usually 3 to 6 inches long. You can buy them in bait shops all over the South. They have shiny scales on their sides that draw attention from bigger fish.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to a little park on the River here. There were some people there with cane fishing poles to rent. I think we paid about 20 cents for an hour, including some sickly little worms for bait. The first little "fish" I caught, I immediately threw back into the river. He was considerably smaller than the aforementioned shiners. If you laid him on a quarter, you'd see silver above him and below him. Our friends promptly yelled at me: "What are you doing?!?" They found a little plastic cup and started collecting these little guys to take home. When we got done, they had 12 or 15 "keepers" in a 16 oz. cup. And they had room to swim around a little. I asked what they were planning to do, and she said she would cook and eat them. "Fry them?" "No, cook them with rice." Seems to me like a bad thing to do to a perfectly good pot of rice.