Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This Surreal Life

I have begun Spanish lessons every week with a fabulous tutor.  So fabulous that I have been waiting to begin lessons with her since I arrived in January, and I only got in by taking over a friend's slot while he is away on paternity leave.  She's a good tutor, funny, and I always leave feeling like I learned a lot.  I always come back feeling like I know shamefully little, but at least I learn a lot every Tuesday morning.

This morning, we spent part of our lesson watching the news in Spanish.  She teaches in the cafeteria of the embassy, and today I sat with my back to a large tv screen.  A headline on the news caught her attention, and I turned around.  I saw EEUU and militario in the headline and knew that something involving the United States (los Estados Unidos) had made the news.  She translated that according to the news, an American member of the military had been shot last night at a nightclub in Caracas.

Rumors spread quickly in a small town, and we had soon garnered the story which is now on the American news:  Two US Officials Injured in Venezuela Shooting.  We are neither of the officials, although they are friends of ours.  Word is that they're both going to be alright.

We are constantly reminded that we live in a dangerous place.  We are rarely out after bedtime, which is when most of the dangerous crime occurs in this city.  But its a dangerous place to live, and learning of a community members' shooting on the local news is surreal.

Sophia and I traveled to the states a few weeks ago for my grandfather's funeral.  She made a fabulous traveling companion, and we both enjoyed our time honoring Grandpa Bob and reconnecting with family.  Arriving back in the airport in Caracas still felt like travel.  We were searching for the bathrooms and sticking close together.  We were starting out the windows on the drive home, pulling in images of the homes piling themselves up the sides of el Avila.  Things felt foreign until we reached our neighborhood, and quite suddenly I felt at home - a reassuring feeling, when you've only lived somewhere for a few months.  We have settled in nicely here, and even the older girls no longer talk about Virginia as home.

Still, in the weeks since our return, I've begun noticing the bad things.  The humidity is getting on my nerves.  Our floors are constantly filthy.  The garbage piled along the sidewalks make it smelly to go for a walk.  The weather is beautiful, except when its raining in our windows or the air is thick with humidity.  Summer is coming at just the right time for me.  The girls and I will disappear to the states for 6 weeks over the summer, and come back ready to be at home.  The sidewalks will still be stinky and the air will still be thick with humidity, but our lives will begin afresh and we will all be eager to jump into them.  We expect many visitors next year, and are planning much travel.

I am ready for summer, and to escape the surreal life we live in Caracas.  I am blessed to have this escape, but also I am blessed with the good life we have here.

No comments: