Sunday, November 25, 2012

Then and Now 51 - Christmas Shopping

Then and Now 51 - Christmas Shopping
Time: Late 2007, dating my wife.

For the sake of this Then and Now, I'm going to refer to my wife as my girlfriend.

So here's something absolutely new to me: not only was this the first time that I ever had to go Christmas shopping on my own, it was the very first time that I actually enjoyed myself at it.

I headed to the underground mall near the train station for my big shopping trip, and I wasn't feeling very up to it going in. I'm a typical guy: when I want something, I find the place with the lowest price, go directly there to get it, then get home as fast as possible. So the thought of getting presents for all of my family and friends that night seemed like a night ruined to me.

But when I got there, I began to feel happier to do it. This was Christmas of 2007, and in my entire life, I had never been richer. I think my net worth at that time was around $5000 from work and light living, and I hadn't taken my Christmas trip back to America yet, so I was living high off the hog. It felt good to live a life of plenty, and to be able to share that success with the people around me. I was in the underground market with a couple hundred dollars to spend, and began my search, store by store, for the best presents for everyone.

I came across my younger younger sister's present first at a little custom accessory shop: it was a little bracelet with her name written on the side. The shop had a front area with bins of accessories and a few machines (sewing and the like), and the boss was working in the back. She came out when she saw me, a nice lady in her 40s who spoke English rather well, and I chatted her up. We mixed our languages talking about my fun time in her country, my life back home, and the fact that she wanted to try living in America at some time in the future. She kept trying to introduce her daughter, who had come back from school, to me, but the daughter was too shy to say much.

After that, I found another store where I bought my girlfriend a cute little rabbit doll that was holding a carrot in its paws, because I liked to call her "Bunny" sometimes. Later, she removed one of the threads on the carrot so only one side was attached to the doll, and she used it as a "carrot gun" to playfully shoot me at my apartment when I stepped out of line. She loved it back then, but I don't know where it is now; it might be at her mom's house.

Next, I went to a cards and collectibles shop to get something for my stepdad, and found a huge box of Magic cards written in the local language. I never really liked the game because every time I played with him, it would take an hour for me to set my creatures up and one card for him to kill everything, but I thought it was a fun gift to give him. The store had a couple of cases of figurines and games, but the place smelled like funk, so I left as soon as I could.

For my mom, I went to the very end of the underground mall where there was a very literal tiled wall that stopped any further progress, and it had very little foot traffic. I felt sorry for the stores back there: one was an ice cream place, another was empty, and the last was a store that sold ceramic pottery. I bought a miniature smiling rabbit for my mom at the last one. The lady who ran the shop didn't speak any English, and she was pretty old, so I only complimented her on the beauty of her art pieces before I left.

I later went to a music shop to get some local rock music for my older younger sister, who is a huge music fan, and who loved the Ella Fitzgerald CD I bought for her a few years before.

For my grandma, I bought an angel doll that could be plugged in to light up, because I knew she liked collecting Christian-themed goodies.

At another game shop, I got a plush 1-UP from Super Mario Bros for my brother, seeing as how he rode a motorcycle and was going to Iraq back then. He loved it so much that he made it an ornament on his rear view mirror in his truck, and his friends asked me to get them some shrooms, too.

At the same store, I got a plush Donkey Kong for my best friend, because he and I were huge Kong fans back when we played Super Smash Bros on his N64.

Finally, I got a miniature Vash the Stampede figure for my other friend Oscar, but nothing for my bud, because I wanted to give him my collection of Resident Evil novels back home, as I knew he loved the series.

With everything bought, I went up and out of the underground mall and back onto the streets. The night was somewhat cold and the road was dark, but in front of me was a huge department store, towering in the darkness. I turned around and fished out the 1-UP, then took a picture of myself holding it, smiling happily as I headed home with my swag.

As for today...

I woke up at 6:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the game.
I played cars with my son.
I watched TV.
I went out to tutor students.
I came home.
I started a load of laundry.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I played video games with my son.
I hung up wet laundry.
I slept.

No comments:

Post a Comment