Tuesday, March 10, 2009

day 21: being in community

One of the biggest distinctions between our old and new lives is being immersed in community. In the States, I had work friends and blog friends and family but I mostly stayed home, evenings with friends were a rare treat amidst the race to work and school and store and home. People stayed indoors where I lived, coming out only when there was something to do. Here everything revolves around community, there are always people calling and coming round, you actually have to make an effort to have time alone.

This weekend was just like that, Friday we were invited to a friend's home, a place where she also hosts travelers in little cabanas on her property. She is responsible for cooking for her guests and even though Friday was a full house she still wanted us there. I noticed she wasn't feeling well so I insisted on coming back early the next day to get breakfast going so she could sleep in. So early the next morning I find myself bouncing up a terrible dirt road too early in the morning to make eggs and toast for travelers headed out to different adventures, whether caving or tubing or ruins or waterfalls. Later that day we helped volunteer at a village fundraiser, they are trying to improve education for the kids so we helped with t-shirt painting for awhile. Later we had dinner at a new friend's house, her land is perched high on a hill and we ate dinner under a palapa with cold beer and delicious food, a night I never wanted to see end. The next day I had 4 or so kids underfoot before we walked over to a neighbors where all of them played in the water and the adults sat around talking. I got to meet some folks from one of the Cayes and now I know where I'm taking Neen when she comes later this month. We fall into bed exhausted nearly every single night.

I keep thinking it's going to end but I don't think it does, I simply think that's how things work here, whether expat or local, native or foreign community is what drives us and it's how things get done. Folks look after each other, check in on each other and do small and thoughtful things and it's amazing to be a part of it and also a bit daunting, I can't easily whip up a batch of enchiladas like the women here can, I am often feeling lame for not having something more meaningful to share in return.

I've been invited to a Full Moon Party tomorrow, women only and I hear there is dancing around a fire. I'm supposed to make an arrow that has something I'd like to let go of written on it and toss it into the flames and I can't wait to go, I've wanted to go to one of these for a long time and never had the chance and here of all places I do.

PS. I've got the list from the preschool teacher but I left it at home. My next post will be about that, I promise. Thank you for continuing to check in.

PPS. Random funny story: M picked out postcards for her grandparents, one of which was a picture of two frogs mating. J bought it because she wanted it not thinking she knew what the frogs were doing. We figured we'd send it to the grandma with the best sense of humor and all would be fine. So last night I asked her to write her note on the cards and she picked up the one with the frogs and said i think grandma and grandpa need to get this one so they can see two frogs doing it and I said what does doing it mean? and she says making babies and just like that I thought holy shit I am not entirely sure I am happy about this newfound reptile knowledge and am also not quite sure how to stop it once the gates are open.




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21 comments:

Bob said...

regarding PPS - don't stop M's discoveries. Knowing the facts of life should be basic knowledge. Before the industrial revolution, people grew up on farms, mostly, and the facts of life - reproduction, birth, death, etc. - were just that - daily facts of life. We Americans get WAY to hung up with being ashamed of our bodies, of these facts of life (puritan church influences?). Don't worry about M's growing knowledge of these things. Answer questions as she asks them with age-appropriate vocabulary. Don't duck them. By the time she hits puberty, you won't have to worry about "the talk" - she'll know, and what's better as she grows through her teens she'll know the consequences of sex and be prepared - and she'll have the best chance at reaching adulthood with a positive body image - not having been taught to be ashamed of it - and a much more well-adjusted adult.

just my 2 cents.

Bob said...

my own PS - your new life sounds wonderful. And if I'm any judge, you were meant for this kind of life - the community you are describing is much what you've written in the past about, expressing your wishes for american society. Don't worry about not being able to contribute equally yet - you will. Give yourself time to pick up the skill set your neighbors were either born with or have had time to acquire.

I'm so happy for you.

TZT said...

That sounds so wonderful and beautiful and positive! Three weeks in, and here's an apprehension-free post. Awesome.

My son's preschool just sent a notice that the last parent education class of the school year will be about dealing with/talking about sex and death. They almost always have something helpful to say. Will pass you any good info I get.

Take care.

deezee said...

You sound as if you've landed in your soul home, if that makes any sense. :)

And two frogs 'doing it'? I am laughing!

Amber said...

That sense of community sounds fabulous. I think we all need more of it, I wish I could make it happen here, too.

And the frogs? Yeah, not sure how I would react either.

meno said...

I think this community is one big reason why you wanted to move there, no?

Z said...

It must be exciting, enthralling and exhausting and I hope you're loving every minute.

'Making babies' is a nice way of putting it, at any rate. Nothing vulgar there - well, 'doing it' is on the edge, but she didn't mean it that way!

mommyknows said...

Frog postcard made me laugh. It sounds like things are going really well. I'm happy for you.

flutter said...

you sound so happy, jen.

flowerpower said...

Community...what happened here in the states? We used to have it back when my grandparents were kids. I guess since it can't be bought it was deemed unecessary. Peace

Pgoodness said...

I am so loving these stories of your new life. For some reason, it brings peace to mine.

mamatulip said...

I LOVE M - two frogs doing it? Oh god, I love her.

hele said...

oh how i wish i could trow that arrow with you*

motherbumper said...

*sigh* Full Moon Party? Wish I was there with you.

crazymumma said...

oh cool community girl. Let it embrace you as you are fresh meat....


and at least M did not say the beast with two backs. That would have been gnarly.

Amanda said...

Shoot it, honey.

bgirl said...

the frogs and M, hilarious.
the full moon party, divine. can't wait to hear about it.

Ally said...

I love the community-feel that you're describing. And how good it is for all of the kids running underfoot, feeling safe at eachother's houses, making discoveries... even ones like mating frogs!

painted maypole said...

the community sounds wonderful. I have such longing for that.

and i don't think my 6 year old knows about making babies yet (I keep thinking that I should probably get around to explaining it soon before it gets REALLY awkward)

jaded said...

Looks like you have found your people. Isn't it awesome?

krista said...

i think the absolute best part is that she thinks it's important for her grandparents to see two frogs doing it.
so awesome.