Jan 19 2012

Poco a Poco

Published by at 1:35 pm under Travel

Wide aisles of organic food. Slick ribbons of nighttime freeway streaked with lights of fast, silent vehicles. Tooth-brushing right from the faucet. Cold erased by the flip of a switch. Toilets that welcome paper.

Re-entry is jarring. It ties my sharpened awareness of the hard life I don’t have, to a reminder of the things I take for granted.

At SFO, I nearly greeted the buzz-topped blonde dude at migración [Customs] with a buenas noches but, like a lion freed from its cage, I leapt into entire sentences, flawless in their construction and crystalline in meaning.

Turn back the clock 16 hours. This morning I walked to the taller cerámica at the end of my street. On two small, wobbly tables are rows of clay angels and animals and crèches (nacimientos) and purple-robed penitents (cucuruchos). Let me know if there’s something you want, the proprietor said yesterday. I was compelled to point out his deficiency of pigs. A millisecond later, he was crafting a tiny snout. Come back tomorrow morning at 8:00. So I was back. I beheld a dozen new pairs of pig earrings in as many colors. (They’re ten quetzales—$1.20—per pair.) He’d worked on them until 1:00 a.m., and was still finishing up a pig drummer and a dog bassist (20 quetzales each). Come back in half an hour and they’ll be ready.

I hosted a small gathering to say farewell to Maria and the doñas, serving pan especiale I got at the bakery yesterday: banana bread and chocolate-orange bread.

Ginna, Justa, Cindy, Rosa

I departed Guate with enough loot to stock a small tienda. They shouldn’t give passports to people like me.

I also left with $300 in quetzales, insurance that I’ll return someday. There’s still much to be seen. Next time, I want to get at least a level more competent in Spanish. Poco a poco, they all say: learn it little by little. I’m well beyond my prime language-learning years, and who knows how many years I have left to put any new knowledge to use. That’s okay. I’m sure they speak Spanish in Heaven.

Thus closes this chapter.


7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Poco a Poco”

  1. small says:

    I’m responding! I can’t WAIT for you to be home again–although I’ll miss the blogs. Is that all Rosa, in pink–or is she hold cradling a small piggie? WUV, Me

  2. Ginna says:

    I’m SO PROUD of you. It makes me want to reconsider maintaining this blog. But I dunno.

    I’m home (as of a few hours ago) and (as of a few minutes ago) am dancing with my granddaughter! Will call you tomorrow, or of course you can call!!

  3. Eleni says:

    I’m thrilled that you’re home (and that we’re here with you), except for the fact that it means no more bloggy. I suppose I’ll just say “nighty-night ol’ sausage” because I hate goodbyes. Thanks (for the memories…or…? I dunno. Something less saccharine.) I’ve enjoyed myself here.

  4. Eleni says:

    Good picture of you, by the way.

  5. Molly says:

    I like the hairs on the small ceramic pigs. They are very characterful.

    I also think that’s a great picture of you. You look lovely nearly anytime you’re wearing blue-green.

    I LOVE your loot-display. Obviously you should run a tienda, with an aesthetic eyeball like that.

  6. Oleg K. says:

    So, you’re starting another blog or what?

  7. wormlips says:

    Oleg K: I just don’t know. I own a lot of domain names. Maybe I should activate one? I’ll miss having a blog, but I’m tired of its being unilateral, you see.

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