Sunday, August 9, 2009

Surprise Post!!

So I forgot the most important thing I had to do on the internet yesterday, so I'm back again today... which means I can give a quick general update.

In the past two weeks I've been to Mal Pais again, one of my favorite places in the world that prompted a change in attitude about life, which in turn got me up on a surf board the next weekend in Bocas del Toro. Thus I've already fulfilled a couple life's goals: learning to ride a motorcycle and surfing. But I feel as if each of those weekends deserves it's own post, so those'll come later.

But because life moves slower on the finca, I can do that more quickly.
When I got back from Mal Pais, we'd recieved a new volunteer, who will always be referred to as "el muchacho de francia." Come to think of it, I don't think I ever learned his real name.
MK says he reminds her of the clones from Clockwork Orange, only he doesn't talk. As for me, I just could never get the Talking Heads song "psycho killer" out of my head when he was around.
He's just "raro." The entire community was made uneasy about him. I mean this kid had grossly long fingernails and long gross hair and it quickly became apparent that he didn't shower. Or talk. He'd just stand there staring for hours, with a bucket hat and this crazy rain poncho, or ride around on his bike talking to himself. They sent him back before the week was out...

Just around the time that the french girl showed up. They didn't know each other, and she's way less wierd than he is... but a little too eager and intense. She has yet to grasp the pace of life here... that is, slow. There's just so much she wants to do she's trying to organize all this stuff and I just want to continue doing what I've been doing.
Which has set up quite a contrast between us. I actually feel like more a part of the community than she seems to be because I'm living there, as opposed to visiting there. I mean, I've been in this country for seven months, so I don't really feel like I've arrived at another culture in the farm that I'm working to save. But she's arrived here doing volunteer work and has that... distance that so many volunteer workers have. It's like she's not a part of the community, she's visiting it, helping it and so NEEDS to do AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. But I feel more like I'm working, you know? Like I've just moved to another town to work. It doesn't feel new and special and I don't feel that separation from the community. At least not anymore.

See, I have this theory, it takes me exactly half the amount of time I have in a place to overcome the full roller coaster of culture shock. Since I only have six weeks in this place, the culture shock has expired and I'm just... here.
And things feel normal.

Work on the farm hasn't really changed. We still mostly weed, but on rainy days, instead of sorting beans, we've been re-making picture maps of the functions of the farm. Which I like, because, well, I like drawing.
In the afternoon we've started teaching English to the 4th graders at the school. I could gush all day about that. About how bad of a teacher I am, completley unable to command attention, or explain things concisely, but how it doesn't really matter because they all love the class so much and because MK is a really good teacher and we have so much fun playing all the games that I learned in Spanish class. About the kid who likes to tell us how we should do things, but who is super cute because he loves the class so much. About the quiet kids who are really smart, and about the loud kids. About how we have teams and play games and how excited they get. About how awesome it is to have them all come up and give us hugs goodbye at the end of the day, and how I feel like a rockstar walking around town because their parents greet us with grateful smiles and they shout our names across the plaza.

It's one thing that I know I'm gonna miss when I leave.

That and the clouds.

See, yesterday was the perfect late summer Saturday. A day of break after a week of work and rain, the sun finally came out, glancing hot white off the glossy palm fronds and banana leaves and the clouds raced and danced across the piercing blue sky. While waiting for the bus, I watched a spider make it's web and the butterflies drunkenly refusing each perch they approached, stumbling onto the next one. And the youngest age gang of kids trooped around the plaza, deeply engrossed in their games, the same games and using the same code that we all used to use and that we've mostly forgotten to time. A band held together by nothing but age proximity, where girls aren't "GIRLS" but just another member of the band and where everything can be anything and there is nothing but the present, the moment and the game.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Maggie..I wanna hear about your surfing adventure! I'm going back to MP in January to surf with the women of Pura Vida..It is a cool place, such a surf community.. Hope the waves are small...