Monday, August 10, 2009

Geckos and Orange Juice

The other day, a bat flew by me and I barely flinched, and it made me realize how much I’ve unknowingly adapted to the differences in life here.
It’s like the geckos. They’re all over the walls in the houses, including the clinic. They make an almost clicking sound at night, which, with the sound of roosters, replaces for me the sound of dogs barking at the bears and cars passing by.
I’ve gotten used to the fresh orange juice every morning, too. It’s one of the highlights of my day, because it’s consistent and something I can count on. There may not be internet, power, or enough doctors to see all the patients in the clinic, but there’s always fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning. On Monday, there’s the plato típico for breakfast, which is beans, eggs, and tortillas. They also put out fruit and sometimes avocados or fried plantains. On Tuesday, there are pancakes, and Wednesday is my favorite because it’s the day for porridge. That’s another difference—I never would have eaten porridge before getting here, but now I really look forward to Wednesdays because of the breakfast. It’s nice and hot, and I add lots of cinnamon and sugar. Thursdays and Fridays change with food, but there’s always French toast and Saturday is usually cereal day. Also, for about half the people here, Saturday is a day off, so I usually sleep in an extra hour or two and make my own cereal.
I’ve gotten used to pilas. I love pilas. They’re these big outdoor sink type things. They fill them with water and then use a small container to pour water from the pila to another attached surface, where they wash dishes and sometimes clothes. This weekend I was in Camsasca, a neighboring town, staying with some friends, and they had a small outside space with a drain where they showered, pouring the water from the pila over themselves to bathe. It was freezing, but I actually preferred it to normal showers, which are cold anyway. Again, that used to be strange, but now I feel like it would be just weird to take a warm shower, much less a hot one, especially in this climate. Any temperature less than 90 feels pretty cool to me now.
Every Sunday, I wash my clothes by hand using the pila. There’s a washer and dryer here, but they’re always being used, and I like the hour or so it takes to wash it all myself, using powdered detergent that you can buy in some of the nearby pulperías, small stores that people set up from their homes. It’s 50 cents for enough detergent to last about two months. After my clothes are clean, I hang them outside of the apartment to dry, which just takes a few hours in this sun.
I’ve gotten used to hearing Spanish most of the day. It’s now almost a form of comfort to be surrounded by it, as I love its rhythm and consistency more and more, especially now that I speak and understand it better now than when I came.
So those have been my recent thoughts, as it’s just been striking me how things are seeming more and more normal. It’s pretty beautiful how that happens.

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