Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ~Mac McCleary
You’ve heard me talk about it before, so it’s not the first and probably won’t be the last time I mention traffic. It’s a monster. It’s a being all of its own. I’ve tried describing the cars like marching ants, but most times they’re like the snakes on Medusa’s head. Everybody is going in every imaginable direction, including the wrong one. It really is a form of anarchy.
Although the horns blare, mostly as a form of warning from approaching motorcycles, people here really just go with the flow. There isn’t road rage like you’d expect. Tempers flare, mine included and I don’t even drive here, but drivers have learned not to take things personally and they let whatever has offended them pass. This is a lesson I need to apply to my life.
There is never a great time to run errands here. Pretty much every hour is rush hour. I normally have to mentally prepare myself if I know we’ll be in the car all day. It took us 1/2 an hour to get through 3 traffic lights on Monday. Are you starting to understand my pain?
Today Juan and I went to try to look for a car to buy. It’s a next to impossible feat. Buying a used car is very expensive, almost 3 times the price of what you’d pay in Canada. There is no rhyme or reason. Can you imagine paying $14 000 for a 15 year old Chevy? I think not. Crazy, isn’t it? There are two main reasons for this: the price of gas is practically free (we pay about $0.26 for a tank) and there is a mafia that controls the market. People list cars, the mafia buys it, repairs it (they have their own mechanics) and then they inflate the price. It’s frustrating as hell.
I know what you’re thinking, just go to a dealership and buy a new or used one there. Here’s the thing: if you can find a dealership that actually has cars in it (hard to picture isn’t it, but we went by 5 or 6 today and not one had a car in it), you order a car (which takes up to a year to arrive), only to find out that what they have for you isn’t at all what you’ve ordered. In this most common scenario you have one of two choices to make: buy the car or walk away and wait another year. 10 times out of 10, people buy a car they don’t even want. It’s a serious problem on many, many levels.
Although it felt like it, we didn’t spend our entire day in the car. We stopped by a fruit and veggie market to pick up some fresh herbs (which cost pennies) for tomorrow night’s pasta and then we went to a fruit stand to have some juice. There I tried a fruit I have never heard of; it’s called nispero. Nispero has the same skin color as a kiwi, without the fuzz. The favor was sweet; almost like a pear and the texture was a bit grainy. I liked it. Juan tells me that people here make ice cream with it, now that I’d like to try.
I’m pretty big on giving myself rewards if I’ve had a great day (meaning my swearing wasn’t at full capacity). Today’s reward was a plant. We stopped by a florist and picked up the cutest little fern (not entirely sure that’s what it is) and some flowers for Juan’s mom. Plants make me happy. Once we move to the island, our place will look like a jungle!
My other reward for being patient today? A Campari! Salud
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. ~ William Shakespeare
Yesterday my mom was released from the hospital. It was extra special for her because it was her birthday, but it was an absolute joyous occasion for my family because three weeks ago we didn’t know if she’d live to see this day.
She came home with quiet fanfare. No one greeted her at the house except my parents’ dog Chelsea. She started barking, whining, and running around in circles at first sight through the curtains. Once inside, she continued and used the furniture as an obstacle course, running around for the next 5 minutes. After all of the hoopla, the dog pretty much ignored her for the rest of the day. Maybe it was her way of telling my mom that she felt abandoned. I thought it was strange. But isn’t it funny how people say cats are moody? Huh.
My mom opened gifts and answered phone calls, ate some lunch and eventually had a nap. I really enjoyed watching her live this day. She was happy to be in her own surroundings and took pleasure in wearing her clothes (as opposed to the baby blue open back hospital gown), eating food she likes to eat, being able to open the fridge and drink whatever she wanted, and sit in her favorite chair to channel surf. She was genuinely content.
On the drive home she said, “It’s funny the simple things we miss when we don’t see them” and my dad asked what kind of thing was she referring to and her reply was “traffic”. It sounded funny, but she was right. Something as simple as the regular route home, the familiarity of it all, is something we can miss.
I can’t even imagine what this birthday would have been like if she hadn’t had such a great team of doctors, nurses and staff. My mind can’t even fathom what we would miss if she were gone. I am so grateful and so happy that she’s alive and at home.
I think this will go down as one of the best birthdays ever!