There is so much to learn about how daily life operates here. I know so little right now. Navigating myself through the city is a process. I could use a map when I am walking, but then it even more obvious that I am an outsider. I still need to learn the bus routes, but that task itself would be so much easier if the streets, stores, and plazas were familiar to me. My world is a blur. I am still in the midst of trying to get my cellphone activated –its been a much longer process than one would think.
I am floored with the amount of patience given to me by those with whom I am trying to communicate. Spanish is different here- they don’t even call it Spanish, its called Castellano instead. There are different verb tenses, new words for things I thought I already knew how to say.
Thankfully, even though I am incredibly vulnerable and clueless, I am not alone. I have not felt lonely. I’ve been welcomed into a loving faith community, been invited into homes and given instant access to sacred family time, taught how to cook homemade pizzas and empanadas, taken grocery shopping, and shown what cuts of meat are the most economical and tasty.
The other college women I live with are such a blessing too. We have eaten meals together, gone on errands, and hung out around a shared mate or tereré. We’ve shown each other youtube videos of our favorite music, discussed US foreign policy regarding Syria, and other less serious things such as the advantages of being single.
Yesterday, I got a small taste of what will be a third community for me. I was invited by my work supervisor to go to an Encuentro de las Ferias Francas (big farmer’s market). It was my first time meeting her. Everyone with INCUPO was out of town this last week for a conference so my official start date with them is this Tuesday. It was lovely to meet the farmers and vendors. I was given some fresh squeezed organic orange juice, bread de parilla (grill), sips of mate and tereré made from sprite. For the first time since I’ve been here my castellano poured out of me with crazy ease. I talked for quite awhile with some women from the eastern part of the province. It felt so good to really communicate.
After we left the farmer’s market I went with my coordinator and her two young sons and their friend to a temporary dinosaur exhibit near the costañera. The boys showed off their English skills to me, and asked me how to say new words. I was so happy to get some kid time!
I am not alone. I am never alone. I thank God for this opportunity to grow and learn more about myself and the world around me, and to lean ever more strongly on my faith in Him/Her. (The Lutheran church here, the IELU, uses gender inclusive terminology when referring to God, which is pretty cool)
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NRSV)
15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.