Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ripples

I think I'm a kind person. I'm definitely not Mother Teresa but I'm a big fan of acts of kindness (even if they are very small acts) and friendliness. I give a helping hand when I see someone in need; if the person behind me at the checkout counter in the supermarket has a few items, I'll let him/her take my spot; I'll hold a door or an elevator; I'll start a casual conversation when in a waiting room, etc. I sometimes receive kindness and smiles in return... I also receive strange looks and discomfort.





                          
A few weeks ago, I went to give a deposit to one of our wedding vendors. This vendor's office was only a few steps away from his niece's store where she sells lovely clothes and accessories for women. We walked the few steps to the store where he introduced me to her, thanked me for the deposit then went about his day. After chatting with the shop owner for about 15 minutes, I told her that I would come back another day to shop.

As we were saying our goodbyes, she told me to pick something from the store as a gift from her uncle/the vendor. With a smile on my face and confusion in my eyes, I couldn't help but ask her Why!? She let out a small laugh and started showing me different items. My mind started racing and I started asking myself many different things: Is this a prank? Did the vendor look legitimate? Would he take off with my deposit? What's the catch? Why would she just give me something? Am I being swindled? 

After rationalizing the situation in my head, I realized that I had thought too hard. The answer was clear... I was dealing with nice people who were simply being kind and friendly!

As I left the store with my freebie-goodie (a beautiful Beeswax candle in a floral teacup), I could not pinpoint what I was feeling. On one hand, at the sight their generosity, I had a soothing feeling of comfort and reassurance. On the other hand, somewhat ashamed, I asked myself "isn't it sad?". Isn't it sad that our reaction to generosity is apprehension; we mistake politeness for flirtation and we question kindness' intention?

I bet the vendor I dealt with and his niece thought that all they did was give a little gift. They did much more than that- they created ripples of kindness. Every little thing we do goes out into the world like a ripple and affects another action and another person.



Cast a good stone...

Be kind to your body as well. Here is an extremely healthy, vitamin-packed Gazpacho recipe that is perfect for the hot summer days to come!

Gazpacho
yield: 4 servings
recipe adapted from realsimple.com

Ingredients

  • - 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • - 3 small cloves garlic, peeled
  • - 1/2 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • - 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • - 1 pound English cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
  • - 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • - salt and black pepper
  • Garnish
  • - 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • - 1 cup fresh corn kernels 
  • - 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • - 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • - crusty bread (optional)

Directions


1- Working in batches, place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, bell peppers, and cucumbers in a food processor and pulse until almost pureed.

2- Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and dash of pepper.

3- Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with the goat cheese, corn, and cilantro.

4- Drizzle with the olive oil and serve with the crusty bread (if using).

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