Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The not-so-routine

March 12, 2012
I felt like writing all evening, but housework and family kept me pretty busy. I've also been wanting to write about the idea of “life together” for awhile now. I will try to tie that idea into what I'm sharing.  
Circumstances today left me with no vehicle to pick up the kids from school. I got a call from my Hubby saying that his meeting plans had taken a different turn and he wouldn't be home until later today. That is just how things go sometimes in Latin America (and probably all around the world!). Mondays, for us, are a bit trickier because there are some time restraints built into our schedule. One child stays after school for one activity, the other for sports, and the first then has a music lesson soon afterward. This “doable” schedule becomes complicated when one has to rely on public transportation, however.  
But, I had done the routine before: catching the combi, walking 10 minutes from where it let me off to the kids' school, hanging out until their activities were over, catching the bus with my kids, then walking the 4 blocks back to the house with them (in the hot, hot sun).
When I am forced out of my comfortable (air conditioned!) SUV, I see and experience more of life here. I waited for the combi. I hung on for dear life once I got inside the combi and sat so close to the strangers with me that it would be considered unacceptable on a park bench and a sin if we were in a church pew.

While hanging out at school, there is often time for conversation. Today I found out that a family is here because of the Dad being “let go,” choosing to use their savings and this time off to engage in learning another culture and language.

On the way home from school, taking the bus, I was able to think and not have to concentrate on the traffic or other drivers. Although, the large Guns'n'Roses sticker and the Jesus-hanging-on-the-cross fixture at the front of the bus were a bit odd and distracting.

As we walked the few blocks from the bus stop, we saw an old friend and found out that my other friend gets her hair cut 2 blocks from my house.

Later, as I walked my son to his music lesson, I realized I had no meat for dinner, nothing prepared or even planned except a pot of black beans. On the way back to the house I noticed the menu at the tienda between the music school and my house. Would they have anything left? It was past the usual time of comida. 
I grabbed an eco bag, a few plastic containers, and some money from the house and headed back to our little local convenience store. They had pollo asado left – that would be perfect. While I was waiting for the owner to grill the 2 legs and thighs, I met another neighbor who lives around the corner from us, talked with the owners about the Mayan language and learned a few words (ni – nose, hich – to tie tightly, ich – eyes OR two people that always hang out together). No wonder people say that the English and Mayan languages have common sounds (ni-knee, hich-hitch, ich-itch). Very interesting stuff. The one owner wrote down both their names and the number of their tienda and told me I could call “sin compromiso” to find out the daily menu. I had been there several times before, for this-and-that, but never bought a meal. I thanked them and left with my 42 peso chicken, 12 peso notebook (which I remembered my daughter needed for math), and 2 lemons (for a peso a piece) thinking, not bad for a last minute plan!

I wish I could say that I have experiences like this all the time – lots of various human contact and conversation. But, the truth is, it only happens when I break out of my routine and put my own culture aside. I like the interacting, the walking, the unknown, even. But it all takes lots more time. Sometimes I have it. Sometimes I don't. I have also been ingrained with lot of independent thoughts – how to get stuff done on my own. I'm capable, right? And yet, I feel that I'm lacking that aspect of “life together” - sharing in life with community – depending on others and allowing them to depend on me. I haven't figured out how exactly to go about this, yet, but I think it begins by incorporating it more and more into my routine.
Lord, help me put away some of my own “traditions” for more of a community mindset. And may it build Your kingdom.
Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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