If there are few things that I have learned upon living castaway-ingly for almost a month, it’s not how to catch fish using my bare hands nor how to climb a coconut tree. What I learned so far (and I’m still learning) are these two virtues that are very difficult to learn, let alone practice in real life.
Patience and contentment.
Prior to flying to Maldives, I was told by my previous boss, never to take my negative attitude (of screaming or arguing or talking sarcastically to idiots) with me to the island as it won’t help me. I understood what he meant and so far I haven’t breached my patience contract yet, although, I almost did a few days ago, but I did not. I really tried not to because if I did, I would suffer for the rest of the months or years that I’ll be working here and seeing this person’s face in the canteen, in the laundry, by the pathways, in the office and well, everywhere in the island to be exact.
The staff here lives in dormitory like rooms, and we all have room mates, unless those on the higher ranks. I have a room mate. She is very quiet and I like her that way, though it feels so awkward sometimes. Not talking to each other that much means less chances of arguing over small things like who did not turn off the lights or who did not lock the door. There’s just some silent type of understanding between us and I just like it that way. What I was able to do in Dubai, (like cursing at previous flatmates who stole my hotdogs or fruit juice in the fridge or just moving to another apartment whenever I want to if I can’t stand my flatmates anymore) is something I can’t do here so I need to be extra patient even though my roommate still have not shown any signs or symptoms that might set off my patience alarm.
On my first few weeks here, I wasn’t eating dinner. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the dinner served daily are mostly local food that is meant for those who have been fasting the whole day since it is Ramadan – though this will change once Ramadan is over. And since I am very picky with food, I’d rather not eat than regret having eaten something I don’t like.
I also mentioned that I have been craving for a lot of food that is not available here (and will never be), and that I have brought with me just a carton of my preferred brand of 3 in 1 coffee which is about to completely disappear from my life within the next week or so.
At one point, I felt very deprived of the “simple” things that I want in life. But lately, maybe because I have adjusted to the lifestyle, I realized that what’s here, what’s been provided to us is really more than enough. That these cravings for food and for preferred brand of coffee are merely human desires, that we can control if we want.
Maybe, mind over matter? Is this just easier said than done? Or is this just easy for me because I don’t have a choice?
You might say it is easy for me to speak about patience and contentment because at the moment I don’t have a choice. But I think I’d like to continue living this lifestyle even after my island life is over and I hope I can really do so. And I hope I could practice this contentment not only on food matters, but also, in my life as a whole.
Reading this, I’m asking myself now if I’m slowly turning into a monk.