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One Tooth less

September 1, 2011

As my departure date draws near, the last thing I want to be bothered with happened. My tooth cracked beyond repair and has to be extracted. (Ya! What a nightmare, right?) The last time I had a tooth extracted(a painful one) was 20 years ago, so you can imagine all the trauma that’s coming back to me.

Ok, I know some of you are probably saying it’s better for it to happen now than when I am in Italy. Fair enough, I agree. But, what caught me by surprise was that the first thought that crossed my mind was all the good food I won’t get to enjoy if I’m suffering from a toothache. I used to joke about there being 2 kinds of people: those who eat to live and those who live to eat. For the first time I realised, oh my goodness, I’m the type who lives to eat! Some of you may not find it a big deal to admit that, but to me, it comes with a connotation of being very greedy, and I don’t see myself as greedy.(Good grief! I don’t even like the word.)

This toothy(or should I say, toothless) episode started me reflecting. That’s why I’m adding a new category ‘Food for Thought’. It makes sense, food for thought, food for the soul, food for the stomach, we need all that.

Back to my reflections, I realised my trip was not just in search of good food, but soul searching as well, and it seems the process has already begun. (gosh, this is beginning to sound like Julia Robert’s Eat, Pray, Love…but I beg to differ) I don’t like to think of myself as greedy, but more a food lover(but don’t we all?). I knew a friend who literally eats to live. He probably can’t tell between chicken or pork or fish. As long as it’s edible, it’s fine with him. For me, I find it really sad because he’s not able to appreciate good food. That said, it doesn’t mean that I fine dine all the time, although I love fine dining. But, I can find satisfaction in a bowl of perfectly cooked instant noodles(when there’s nothing else to eat), as I would in a plate of good pasta. What I’m saying is good food can be street food, home cooked food or fine dining restaurant, as long as it is prepared with skill and love. If I need fine dining to keep me happy, then I will be miserable without it. It’s great, even desirable, to have a good palate, so we can appreciate good food, but we need to be flexible(and not snooty) to still enjoy food whether it is cheap or expensive. I find that such flexibility comes from character that is formed through some hardship due to living with lack. Like they say, character is not formed in the lap of luxury.

Food for thought: It’s important to find contentment in need and in plenty. Applying my food logic to life, we should find contentment in life whether we have little or we have much. Our joy is not contained in what we have or don’t have. Neither should we think that we will be happier once we have something more. If we can’t be happy where we are now, we are not going to be happy when we get what we think will make us happy. This is not to say we shouldn’t pursue our dreams or calling, but to recognize that we should not have the mindset that we will only be happy after we have achieved. PLEASE, enjoy the journey, don’t wait till you get to the destination. Remember, life is a journey.

Although, I’m one tooth less, I’ll be chewing on the above. I hope it will be the same for you too.

 

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