Epilogue (Beans, Brownies, and Loving thy Neighbor-hood)

An epilogue to the Come Apart over the Bean Embargo.

It took me nearly 5 years to come back to writing a blog.  I spent a lot of time worrying about what people thought about what I was writing.  I was concerned with other’s perceptions and impressions to such a degree that I realized I wasn’t using my authentic voice (even in my own head) when I was trying to compose an essay.  It took going cold turkey off Facebook to force myself back inside to find my voice.  Truth be told, I’m frequently caught off guard when people come up and talk to me about my blog.  But 99% of the feedback I’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive…and I’m so happy that people actually read what I write!

People read my rants!  And either commiserate or laugh (at??) along with me.  It’s almost overwhelming to realize that it’s not just my 5 closest friends and my immediate family taking the time to read whatever daily brain soup I’ve regurgitated onto the blog.  It leaves me feeling a little bit guilty and indulgent sometimes.

Yet he most incredible thing happened this week.

Within an hour of my admittedly ridiculous bean-motivated come apart admission, I received a call from a friend that had seen some beans at a store downtown and picked them up for me.  I had this surge of gratitude that left me speechless (no small thing).   She’d actually purchased them BEFORE I’d posted my little rant.

About 2 hours later my doorbell rang.  Another incredibly thoughtful (and let’s be honest here, generous) friend had taken a detour on her nightly walk with her dog to bring me a to-go container full of home-made black beans.  She knows they’re not readily available, obviously.  She made the batch herself.  But she not only was willing to share them with me-she delivered them to my door.  There aren’t really words to describe the feeling of gratitude that comes when someone has done something so completely unexpected and kind.  I’m sure I was goofy and awkward in my thanks because I was, honestly, trying not to cry.

At school yesterday, at least a half-dozen people made some kind of reference or mention to me of the bean issue and either commiserated or offered me some kind of offering from their own personal stash.  I don’t even know how to accept that kind of kindness.  I can’t take their beans!  That’s madness.

At least three different people offered to mail me cans of beans from the USA.  It’s truly incredible to me-how these small kindnesses just take my breath away.  I’d love to say yes to the offer of bean shipments.  More than anybody can possibly know.  But as anybody who has dealt with customs and duty officers in places like Thailand knows…it’s never worth it.  IF the item makes it (which often, they do not), there is always a duty fee that completely negates the value of the shipment.  I once received a package that had been overnighted to arrive in time for Bookworm’s birthday.  It was mostly small things-all treasures to an 8-year-old but nothing valuable or precious.  It had a declared value of $50, but the shipping cost had been $100.  I was levied a duty cost of 60% of the value of the item as well as 60% of the value of the shipping.  That’s right.  I paid $90 to get the package from the customs office.  It’s madness.  And while my frustration with the lack of beans is pretty high-it’s just not that high.  I admit to my dose of crazy, but it’s not that extreme.  Yet.

Genius friend has a stockpile of black beans in their natural dried form.  She has kindly provided me with enough (cooked!) for one batch of black bean brownies during the long bean drought.  But I really don’t want to take advantage of her kindness.  Yesterday she found bags of dried beans at another grocery and picked me up a half-dozen.  Yes-you read that right, I am now officially one of those awful hoarders that I complain about.  That said, I will share if another Nichadonian wants some.  I’m just fed up and want my beans.

Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required

Later in the afternoon my doorbell rang and The Husband went outside to speak with whomever was at the gate.  He came inside with a big package (incidentally from my favorite perfume designer, so I was really intrigued) and a puzzled look on his face.  I asked him who had delivered the package and he said it was someone’s driver walking their big black dog.  They simply asked if Khun Andrea lived here and gave him the package.  He watched silently as I opened the box, unwrapped the ribbon and instead of pulling out bottles of perfume, I extracted 2 cans of beans.  One of my treasured Organic black beans and the other Amy’s organic refried beans (in a BPA-free can).  Speechless.  Truly.  I dug out the card, tore it open and read the inscription: “found these downtown and thought of you”.  Signed only “C”.  I have no idea who C is.  S/he (I’m guessing she because the handwriting was lovely) didn’t send me an advance warning and no follow-up.

Kindness Abounds

Kindness Abounds

I’m all aquiver.

I now am in possession of 3 cans of refried beans, 6 bags of dried black beans, one can of black beans and one (not entirely full because I had to eat some) container of homemade black beans.

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit...

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit…

my very favorite black beans...courtesy of the mystery "C"

my very favorite black beans…courtesy of the mystery “C”

Simply because of the kindness of my neighbors.

Hillary Clinton was right.  It does take a village.  In this particular case…not to raise a child, but to keep this mama from imploding over the lack of bean availability.

While the Bean Embargo and the Big Tease from the grocery store might have come dangerously close to becoming my undoing, it has been the unexpected kindness and generosity and completely overwhelming words of support and camaraderie that have made me love this community.

I just did a quick dictionary.com search of “Come Apart” to see if I could find a clever antonym.  It seems that everything that threatened to be my undoing (split, breach, crack, isolate, gape, burst) was countered by those amazing people who did what they could to remedy (mend, fix, reattach, unite, combine, anchor, moor, appropriate, fasten….CONNECT).

Connect.  Yep.  It’s what I’ve wanted from his blog.  I’m buoyed by all of the kindness, offers of gifts and really remarkable people who are in my universe.

Thank you for reminding me to be grateful.  And even without MY active Facebook participation, I’m feeling connected.

There are black bean brownies in my oven as I type this.  Again, do not scoff.  Follow the link and thank me later.  Only please do not hoard the black beans if you live in Nichada.  I will haunt you.

If you are one of those aforementioned kind people, please come over for either a cup of coffee and a brownie or a glass of wine and a brownie (yes-they are equally delicious together).   And since I wasn’t very funny today-take a moment to read this very funny post about why moms need Coffee and Wine.

And have a marvelous day.  I know I will.