The only thing I ever really wanted to be when I was all "growed" up was a missionary. I remember vividly during one science lesson (whilst trying to ignore the throng of boys on the bench behind me who were trying to see how far they could spit - my back was "The Winner"), thinking that I didn't just want out of Bootle (according to Channel 4's Secret Millionaire, one of the most deprived areas in the UK), I wanted out of this Continent! I felt destined for a remote African village or an unknown Peruvian town way up in the mountains.
Alas, alack, health problems and circumstances pushed my dream away from me.
In 2007/8, however, I was fortunate enough to be able to "live like a missionary", even if only for a few short months, whilst living in Nicaragua. Ah, the happiest days of my life.
Often, and sometimes for days at time, there would be no running water or electricity, and whilst there were no food shortages, there certainly wasn't the choice of ingredients to which we are accustomed here in the Western world. (Finding a tub of peanut butter was a cause for great celebration and woe betide the villain who stole my precious stash of English tea!)
Living amidst poverty, I learned quickly that possessing just a few pretty things can go a long way in making a house, or living space, a home and makes life rather more bearable. A few brightly coloured scarfs draped on the wall, colourful scraps of fabric sewn together to make a table covering; a single hand picked flower or a cheery piece of crockery could make all the difference when deprived of the luxuries, or indeed, "essentials" of what I was used to back home. Even my mosquito net became a thing of romantic beauty.
Sometimes we learn lessons without realising. Memories of those precious months have come flooding back to me this week as I move out from my life long family home to my own humble flat. (That it's taken me 36 years to be able to do so is surely worthy of another post altogether!)
For the foreseeable future I'm not going to be able to afford some of the luxuries that we may all too often see as Essentials: a TV license, WIFI, a sofa and, for the first time ever, I'll become acquainted with the inside of a laundrette (laundromat for our American friends). But I'm Ticketyboo Su don't you know, and I know that all I ever really need are a few pretty things.
A Moodscope member.