Took the kids swimming this afternoon. It was followed by a change in attitude.
After a thorough pruning in one of our local swimming pools, the kids talked me into going to Uwajimaya, an Asian grocery store. As children often are, they were quite persuasive.
Turned out to be fun! We had a good time trying to figure out what was in the bags and boxes. English translations were not always helpful. We found cool stuff like dragon fruit, squid, a weird spiky fruit from Thailand, and peanut flavored tea. We bought lychee and tasted them. Sweet and yummy.
It was also a good and humbling reminder that when you’re in a foreign country, it can be a bit difficult to get around.
Perhaps because I was in an open frame of mind I also had a change in attitude. I stopped and looked at the little cash register donation box. You know that little clear box that sits on the stand where you write a check? I always ignore them, figuring that the money never gets to the intended recipient, is stolen, or some other lame excuse.
The box in front of me at Uwajimaya was for Japanese earthquake relief. I took the time to read the sign. Surprisingly, the customers and employees have contributed over $8000 dollars towards earthquake relief. I was rather impressed.
At that point, I remembered a comment by my friend Linda Cohen, of 1000 Mitzvahs. She told me once that a local charity here in the Portland area received a large part of their operating budget from those boxes. Over $6000, if I remember correctly.
Shoving my hand in my pocket I was happy to discover three dollars amongst the lint. I put the bills in the box and stared for a moment, hoping that somehow they would grow and find their way to Japan.
I’ll never know for sure, but I hope those little cash register donation boxes will work after all.
Update: Linda tells me that the Loaves And Fishes Center here raises over $20,000 from those little donation boxes. Here’s a link to her post