Friday, March 06, 2009

day 17: universal languages

We took a taxi to the border yesterday and walked into Guatemala. Ever since my Canadian trip I've had a bit of trouble at borders. I guess I must look suspicious in every country lately because the Guatemalan border could not understand why I wanted to come and visit but patience generally wins out and across we go.

I'm travelling with a local friend from our village and her soon to be daughter in law, a young girl who's having a baby and in need of maternity dresses which are expensive and hard to find here. The girl speaks mostly Spanish and I speak mostly English so communication so far hasn't been easy but it's easy going enough and our mutual friend doesn't mind doing a bit of translating. So I'm quieter than usual, perusing the stalls in search of a hammock when we see the store with the dresses. I turn to her and her eyes light up and all of a sudden communication is not an issue, we are both picking up dresses and holding them up. She's laughing now and we together find a few she likes and she goes behind the makeshift curtain to try them on.

She comes out and she's beautiful in sundresses that will work till she has her baby and words don't matter now, we are finally speaking the same language, the one where women want to feel beautiful no matter the situation and no matter how hard life is or how different we are, in those moments we are just two girls on a shopping trip. Her shyness recedes in these moments and I love watching her, the simple joy of knowing you are able to get something you want in a way you can afford.

She makes her purchases and I find my hammock and we stop to eat papusas and two of us enjoy a cold beer. We are getting ready to go back home and as the quietness settles back in this time it's lovely, filled with satisfaction for a job well done. I'm still a bit nervous, you are reminded how little you belong somewhere when you realize that neither country is interested in your welfare and you have no rights in either and home is a place very far from here. But some of it is the stuff I make up in my head and from watching Midnight Express one to many times in my youth.

PS. Today I have the best internet connection I've had in weeks so am going to attempt to come visiting so don't be surprised if you see me pop up.


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17 comments:

Magpie said...

You are a child of the world.

Tracy H said...

I just discovered your blog right before your move and I am hooked! I can't wait to hear more about your jungle adventures. I think what your doing is amazing and I can only dream about doing something just as exciting one day.

Minnie said...

I may have missed it, but have posted an address to ship school supplies?

mommyknows said...

Borders scare the crap out of me! I once lied about cigarettes and I am convinced the screen flashes LIAR LIAR LIAR every time my passport is scanned.

What sort of hamaca did you buy ... fancy with fringes or just plain?

thailandchani said...

Just so you know, I'm reading all of these. Eventually, this is going to be a book. :)



~*

Kim said...

I have missed you. The way you write just draws me in.....

Sundress shopping has never sounded so fun.

Krysten said...

Mmmmm, Guatemala.
I'm loving reading about M and her adventures. I'm a bit worried/excited about how my two little guys will fare whenever we finally make it south of the US border. It sounds like she's doing fairly wonderful, eh? :)

crazymumma said...

midnight express scared the bejeezus out of me way back when.

you just visit when you can.

xo

painted maypole said...

glad M's day at school went well, and that you are making new friends and breaking down barriers and crossing borders of all kinds. rock on, girl.

Hetha said...

Loving these stories SO MUCH! Would love to send Miss. M a few things, let me know if there is anything that you would like for her. Can we send food? I was thinking about goldfish among other things.

Bon said...

laughing about Midnight Express. i watched it before i went to Turkey, apparently b/c i have The Dumb. turns out i've never had a more pleasant customs experience.

i loved this. what are papusas?

hele said...

i love hearing your heart talking. it makes me want to be more human*

Kyla said...

I love reading your stories.

mamatulip said...

What a beautiful moment.

Jessica said...

Gorgeous post. Just discovered you recently (through Redneck Mommy I believe, but then I'm reading far too many wonderful things, so that could be pulled from my whatsits). Love the border crossing. I too have troubles at crossings. Am planning a trip to BZE in 7 weeks and planning on going to Gautemala for an afternoon. I hope that it goes as smoothly!

Cold Spaghetti said...

Papusas. Charlitas. Hammocks. Quiet. Learning. Watching. Loving.

I'm drooling all over drool street these days.

bgirl said...

yum papusas. spanish. lucky jen. hugs.