I am running out of ways to start my blogs to I am going to start writing them in different languages.
I hope everyone has been having a nice and calm week, because mine was not. Unfortunately, the High Holidays are not one of the calmest times of the year for Jews, but I am learning how to spend them abroad and it has been fascinating. This week, I wanted to focus on a topic that truly touched my heart this week – generosity.
Generosity is something that really cannot be measured. Both someone willing to share a sip of their water and someone that decides to contribute $5,000 towards your education can be seen as ‘generous’. One thing I have noticed in the past year is that generosity is not very common among college students: we are all a community of people that are trying hard to save money and have fun at the same time, while living in a different country. College is as much a financial hurdle as it is an academic one, and that is a fact. The story I am about to tell broke me out of that way of thinking.
A nice lady I met in the last couple of weeks offered to take me on a mini trip to Costco. I was extremely excited: Japanese Costco! Oh, the Places I will Go! The fusion of American and Japanese culture! I could not wait.
We entered the store, and it was exactly as I imagined it would be (honestly, I have only been once to Costco before so I had high expectations). It was a spacious warehouse that had all the foods I missed so dearly in bulks: cheese, chocolate, BAGELS, nuts… anything that’s hard to find in Japan, and also everything that is easy to find in Japan- but for a good deal (there were HUGE packs of fresh sushi and sashimi… yum). I decided to get anything I wanted, as I knew I would be living in Japan for a while.
One investment I decided to make was a beanbag. I have never owned one, and I decided as an adult 23-year-old, I would make my childhood ‘dream’ come true. The lady I came with kept on asking for more things I needed, which was odd for me because I did not need too much – but she kept on adding to the cart and I started to get a little worried for my wallet.
When we got to the cashier, she asked if I would go get some drinks for us. I did, and when I came back – she already paid for the whole cart.
I thanked her and asked why she did that (I knew that she had another two sons to support and a life of her own). She told me that someone did exactly that for her in the past, and she is passing on that gratitude through me.
I could not have learned a better lesson before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Generosity can be paid back by becoming generous yourself. When I got back, I couldn’t wait to eat everything with my dormmates, and I did. I could not have been happier to spread her generosity towards everyone. But WAIT – there’s more.
I broke the Yom Kippur fast eating Einstein’s bagels with Philadelphia cream cheese, tomatoes, and thinly sliced raw onions – in Japan (and all the ingredients were from, you guessed it, Costco).
I can’t ask for more than that.