While Croatia is far from third world, we did miss the ready availability of anything we want, like crackers that don’t resemble Ritz and really good ground coffee. We did not find beef in Omiš from the time we arrived just after Easter until Corpus Christi day eight weeks later when the stores were stocked for the incoming tourists. There had been some in the butcher shop, odd looking cuts of mostly fat. Nothing we recognized as a steak or roast, or even hamburger. Normally, we eat beef at least once a week; this was a long stretch without for us. I wrote earlier about trying to find some simple beach or camp chairs; all we ever found were great big ones or the stacking plastic sort. It is nice to be back in consumer heaven, much as I hate to admit it.Yesterday we took the girls to see the other extreme: Monte Carlo. The other side of the looking glass, where watches in the huge store displays cost more than a car, and tourists take their photos next to cars parked on the street that cost more than homes. Having planned a day at the beach, we were more under-dressed than we might have been, which would have been pathetic in comparison to many there, even so. All around the Adriatic, we had seen yachts and sailboats, some fairly large. Those seemed like toys compared to the giants floating in the Monaco harbor. Standing next to such brash displays of wealth made us all feel a little impoverished, and we had to remind ourselves that this was the not the real world, at least not for us.
It has been an interesting journey for our family, exploring our own consumerism. We began with the purging of so much of our accumulation of things in preparation of leaving. Many carloads of donations to Goodwill or the dump for those things nobody else would want; cleansing. Carrying what we chose to bring with us, then shipping home or leaving behind things we no longer felt were important. Visiting places in our travels where the people live either less or more encumbered by their possessions, we get a glimpse into their lives. We have yet to see real want or poverty, I suppose we will in Africa. I wonder what these experiences mean for us and for our children in the future. What roll will we choose for the “stuff” in our lives?