Below The Line – Day 5 But what if today…

Our family Below The Line experience has come to an end. We survived for 5 days with a $37.50 budget for food, for 5 people. But I almost feel it does not count; it is easy to “sacrifice” a week of your lifestyle if you can see the finish line approaching from day one. Yes indeed knowing that this experience was going to have a very short and minimal impact in our lives helped us stay on track during this very odd week. We had a little over $6 left yesterday morning for our final grocery. We managed to buy garlic, fresh basil, a small head of broccoli for the kids, and a partially wilted head of lettuce (which the Korean lady did not allow me to negotiate for). We cooked a fantastic Pappa al Pomodoro, we used all the stale bread we managed to save during the week; I still had to make my soffritto with vegetable oil and resisted stoically to the temptation of just reaching into my cabinet for just a little drizzle of olive oil.

All went well. The week is over, my 10 years old has finished her State Tests at school, my 7 years old only cheated once accepting an ice cream cone off a truck in front of her school… one of her friends’ fathers paid for it.

We are a bit tired but extremely proud. Our stomachs shrunk a bit. It is now Saturday morning, we are officially out of the “Below The Line Zone“, but nobody had breakfast yet… the dull headache I had for the past 3 days already kicked in. It is very strange, I know that it is a symptom of hunger, but my stomach it is not recognizing it as such. My guts are making all kinds of funny noises, I know that I need to eat, but I am borderline noxious. The only way I can describe the overall feeling is a mild hangover: you know, when you feel your body needs energy but you are afraid of testing your stomach because of what you did the night before… so you wait, you suffer a bit, and eventually you know that it will pass.

But all I can think of is: what if today was going to be like yesterday? What if tomorrow I still had to count quarters to figure out what I was going to feed my family with? What if I was a single father (or mother)? What if this was just the way, the Below The Line way that my life unfolded on a daily basis? It would really SUCK!

My heart and prayers are today for any single soul that struggles for food, anywhere in this World. I did a week. I think I have learned much and understood a bit. But today I am planning in grilling some pork ribs and finally share a beer with friends. And FUCK I feel guilty!!! I feel more guilt about exiting the tunnel and falling back into my “privileged” way, than happiness because I am going to see my friends and their kids.

Next week is the official “Below The Line” campaign. Debi, I and many other personalities from our industry have committed to participate a week before so we could share in advance our experience, raise awareness and hopefully bring in fans, family and friends to participate and help us in this incredible effort.

I am proud of my family, especially my daughters that never complained and managed to stick with the program for the whole 5 days run.

I am thankful for all the emails and messages of encouragement we have received in the past few days, I am happy to think that in a small way… a very small way, we have contributed a to the cause.

But still, today I will eat whatever I want. And just being able to say “What I want” gives me the chills!