little sarah Big World

Happy 7/11 Day!

I’m sure people must think that I’m this world-travelling, America-hating, wanna-be Ex-pat. One of those fiercely independent types who will never have children. Actually, that part’s probably true…

But I do love America. In fact, the more I travel, the more I appreciate the little luxuries we enjoy here at home, like a quick trip to the grocery store in pajamas–no big deal–or being able to have a pleasant sit-down meal of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and coffee, any time of the day or night. You can’t have that just anywhere! That’s something really special.

What about apple pie? Haven’t you read On the Road? Didn’t you crave apple pie afterwards? Didn’t you love America? And fireworks, guys! FIREWORKS! In Utah, we have the 4th of July, sure, but then we have Pioneer Day–July 24th–which means more fireworks, and parades, and barbecues, and this is the West, guys, so we have mountains, and camping, and hiking, and wide streets.

Also: delicious micro-breweries. So American. Chocolate-chip cookies. Rootbeer floats.

And I love that I can go out in public, fresh from the gym, sweaty hair plastered to my forehead, and get a free Slurpee. Because it is July 11th. Because nobody cares if I am wearing running shorts. Because it is perfectly acceptable to treat my self to sugar slush after a work-out.

Because this is America, damnit. And I like it.

 

Taking Guilt-Free Photos of Food

“Taking good photos of food is hard,” said Richie last night at dinner. True.

And Whitney friend said a while back that “the next pressing topic of social commentary” was “let’s be honest, the photographic documentation of one’s lunch.” Also true, in many ways.

Yesterday, I posted to Facebook, “It is not a bad morning when your toughest decision is whether to use the French press or the Italian moka pot,” to which Rachel friend responded “First World Problems.”

ALSO also true, but I’m not going to feel bad about it. Do you know that I used to feel so guilty? About so many things, about all of the privileges I enjoyed. How selfish, to waste hours agonizing over my college Major, when there are so many people who would kill to be able to study anything at the university level. Especially when I was choosing between self-serving subjects like English or Music. Shouldn’t I have majored in Environmental Studies? Or Social Work?

How selfish, to want to see the world and learn new languages, just because it pleases me. Where is your dedication to Family, Sarah? Why can’t you just bloom where you’re planted?

Or what about the part where I was raised upper-middle class, where even though we were a family of six, we could fly out to California and spend weeks on the beach in Summer? The part where I always, always hated to bring new friends home; I didn’t want them to see how big the house, how nice the neighborhood.

But I’m done with all that. Like Whitney pointed out, feeling guilty for what I have doesn’t improve anyone else’s circumstances. And how ridiculous is it to not enjoy what I have been so fortunately given, just because I know that somebody else less fortunate would kill for such luck, such bounty? That doesn’t make much sense.

I do not think it’s gluttonous to take picture’s of one’s lunch, or dinner, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. Instead, I see it as a form of appreciation–I am not guilty, I am grateful. Grateful for the simplicity and elegance of a summer salad in a wooden bowl.

…grateful for a full plate, the joint effort of old and new friends, something beautiful and delicious and healthy…

…grateful for mild summer nights, eating outdoors, lots of wine and wildlife, the wind rustling through the trees.

It may be a First-World preoccupation, but I enjoy the aesthetic of a beautifully arranged meal. I do not take it for granted.