Today I took a hot shower and shaved my legs for the first time in a month. I was finally able to accomplish this, well, because I finally bought new razors, but also because I moved into a hostel today. Last night was my last with my Guatemalan family. Even though their bathroom situation was not a prime shaving environment, I’m really going to miss them.
Last night Corina handed me a cup of mystery. Everyone drinks a cup of “coffee” here for breakfast and dinner, but it’s not really coffee. It’s a big pot of hot water with a sprinkle of instant coffee, only enough to make sure it still tastes like water, and then about 8 cups of sugar. I guess we were out of “coffee.” This liquid was clear and Corina said it was tortilla water. I laughed, thinking it was a joke. She’s really good at those. Jokes. I tried it and it tasted like tortillas. I asked how she made it and what she said was exactly how one would guess tortilla water is made – boil tortillas in water. …I kinda liked it.
Andy tried to creep me out by eating her entire dinner without breaking her stare off me. It worked. She was very creepy. And I made a show of it, which is probably why she thought it was so funny and kept at it. Andy is a little different from her sisters and this is how we connect.
After dinner I went into our bedroom and, standing there, smiling and pointing to her feet, Melany showed me her new shoes. I told her they were very pretty and then recognized them as a pair she usually wears, except they were black instead of white.
A couple days earlier, I saw her wearing her new college uniform. A tan, button-down shirt with the name of the college embroidered above the left front pocket, tucked into a knee-length muted blue, green, and tan plaid skirt, and black shoes. Her school shoes were sexy, shiny black high-wedge heals. I got the idea that either she had to borrow them from someone, or somebody gave them to her, because she didn’t like them. I could tell by the way she looked down, smiled bashfully, and shook her head (while saying she didn’t like them – Yes, I am a master at reading people.) that they were not something she would have picked out for herself.
They made her feel uncomfortable. Used to wearing skinny jeans, hoodies, and sneakers, now she was forced into a tight skirt, walking to and from school on uneven ground through other villages, with these hot high-healed shoes. She said people stared at her.
So she fixed it. She used her dad’s boot polish and painted her little white flats with the flower on the toe completely black. And she was really excited to show me. I told her I couldn’t tell they used to be white. What I couldn’t say with my limited Spanish is how deeply I admire her joyful, sweet, and generous spirit. How thankful I am that she makes breakfast for her family (and I) after her mom leaves for work every morning, that she takes Gabi to school early each day, and that she so warmly welcomed me, always extending to me a language I could understand – humor.
Every time I came back from spending a night at Allie and Katie’s house, I would say I stayed with my amigas. She would smile, raise one eyebrow, and ask with a smirk, “AmigOs?” And I would have to raise my eyebrows and shake my head and try not to smile and say, “No! AmigAs! AmigAAAAAAs!”
Having finished my 14-day posting spree with the goal of trying to break away from my perfectionist tendencies, I’m taking a week break to party with my Mom.
Thank you for taking the time to hang out with me and be a witness to this experiment. Keeping myself to a schedule and hitting the Publish button once a day, whether or not I felt my writing was worthy of attention, was really good for me. And I’m really lucky you were paying attention. Thank you.