Is it really the end of February? Time must be kidding me. It is officially decided when I will be coming home. June 9. Once March 9 rolls around in just over one week, I will have exactly three months left here. Craziness. This month has been pretty chaotic, so the title of this post is fitting. I have all kinds of random stories to tell. Some are longer, and some are short. I will cover the lengthier stories in this post and then follow up in a second post with the short quickies. I find many of them to be quite amusing, so enjoy. I am sure I will love reading this post years down the road and laughing affectionately.
First item on the list is my schedule. Every morning at 8:15 I go to aerobics with my Aunt Elena. She is an absolute riot, and the class is very enjoyable. The teacher was a total jerk my first week because I have gotten so darned fat that I couldn't do anything. I am kicking some tushy now and he at least acknowledges my presence. The class is full of middle-aged to older women mostly, with a couple girls and guys mixed in. Elena just talks up a storm withall the other ladies, which infuriates the teacher even though he secretly adores them. So aerobics is great, and I think some ab action might actually be visual now. Miracles! From aerobics, I walk to do volunteerism with physically and mentally handicapped children until noon every day.
This form of volunteerism is like nothing I have ever done in my life. It is hard to see sometimes, but then there are moments that just make me so happy. One of the kids I work with is named Heyde, and her name sounds much like mine when everyone says it. She is my favorite. She is probably 3 years old and in a wheelchair for reasons I am not sure of. She can't talk and has limited and spastic control over her body. She is by far the most intelligent child there, even though she can't speak or do normal things like many of the other children. She understands every single word and can respond with nods. The girly knows what she wants. She likes this plastic toy that is basically a tapered cylinder that sits upright. Eight different-colored rings of varying diameters all rest in their perfect sport around the cylinder. Not one of the other kids with normal brain function and coordination ever stacks the rings properly. Heyde, however, gets it spot on. I take all the rings off the cylinder for her and place them around her. She points at the biggest one since she is unable to reach them. Purposely, I grab one of the smaller ones. She gets angry every time I do that. So I hand her the one she wanted in the first place and help her lift it up to the top of the cylinder. From there it falls off her hand and fits perfectly where it belongs. We do that until we get all 8 rings on, and she does it perfectly. She absolutely lights up when a ring falls back into place. The other day she reminded me of when Courtney Sorensen and I are together and laughing for no reason. Heyde laughs at everything. Her smile just makes me want to melt with affection. She is so intelligent and amazing and happy. With volunteerism and aerobics, my mornings are busy.
In the afternoons I still have zampoña lessons, and that is going great. I sit on the front steps of Jorge's office downtown every afternoon at 5:45 to practice. Then at 6:30 every night I simply walk down the block a few doors and go to paint lessons. I am just getting started on an oil painting of one of the photos I took down in the valley. It is fun, and I already met a nice guy named Jaime. He is just one year older than me and going to the university here. We have fun chatting and learning random things from eachother. Though I am not attending school here, my days are busy. I enjoy it, but this month has been very chaotic and I can't wait to get back on schedule for this week. Life should be pretty tame for the month of March.
I recently started utilizing public transportation here. I always preferred to call taxis before, but they do get quite expensive for a girly on a budget. Now I just walk five minutes from the house to catch a bus. As I am new to the bus system, I have had some ups and downs figuring it all out. I have been sick the last couple weeks and generally feeling exhausted and down. This affects a persons common sense, and the other evening I had zero common sense whatsoever. So I walk to the bus stop near my home, and I hopped on Bus F. I had never taked Bus F previously, but I knew it would have to pass the market at the city's center at some point, so I hopped on anyway. I had only taken Bus 1 before that evening, and it takes a straight route for the market. Well, Bus F doesn't do that. It curves all over the city before it gets to the market. I was already running late for my paint lesson and was not too thrilled about having taken Bus F. So we finally make it to the market, and instead of getting off and walking six blocks, I chose to continue going a little ways. I figured it would just make a big loop around the city center, and if it went in the opposite direction I could always jump off before it was too late. So I kept going and the bus started looping just like I expected. We got to the other side of the center and I was just two short blocks away from my destination. What did I do? Well, I kept going of course! Again, I figured it would take a turn and just go to the other side of my location and be only one block away, and if it didn't do just that then I could jump off. So we kept going, but we turned the opposite direction. For some reason, I just didn't get off. I kept going and going and going. We kept climbing up this steep hill and it was getting dark. The people just kept piling off and no one got on. This worried me when we got clear to the top of the hill and the last person got off. After trying to explain my situation to the bus driver, he just got all grouchy and cantankerous and told me to get off. So here is a blonde foreigner in a not-so-safe neighborhood in the dark and stranded. At first I started sobbing, but I stopped literally 2 seconds later. I just chuckled. I knew exactly where I was. I simply covered my goldie lockes with my scarf and walked the straight path down to the city center. Everything was fine, and I made it to my paint lesson...one hour late. I didn't even stay for painting and rather walked to the supermarket to buy milk and cereal. From there I called a cab home. Summation: I sat on a smelly, crowded bus for 45-50 minutes. Then I walked for 25 minutes. Then I talked to my paint teacher and left without even doing what I came to town for in the first place. Then I bought food. Then I sat in a stupid, expensive cab for 15 minutes thinking about a bowl of cereal. That was a ridiculous evening. And the blame rests with me because I was too dumb to just get off the bus and walk. I was sick, tired, and not in the right frame of mind. Bummer. It was pretty funny though. I shall remain an advocate of smelly public transportation, but I wil never take Bus F again.
This next story is priceless. I just want to die laughing right now. As a prelude to the story, you must know what locotos are. A locoto is a very very very very very hot pepper, and we have a big bowl of them sitting in our fridge. So anyway, yesterday afternoon Vivi and Jorge were next door at a party. I was working at the computer while Jorgito watched television in his room. He kept crying and randomly hollering, so I went and asked him what was wrong. "My eyes burn!" He kept saying that while sobbing and kicking and hollering and rubbing his eyes. After asking him if he wanted me to get Vivi, he just said no and assured me he would be fine. Okay, so I went back to work. Five seconds later he was hollering even harder. I went next door for Vivi and she talked to him for a bit. I comforted Jorgito while Vivi went downstairs to get warm tea-water for him. At that point, he calmed down a lot and even opened his eyes to watch television. He noticed how I was looking at him, so he started kicking again an dpretended like his eyes were shut while he watched television. He was being a kid at this point, and I knew it. Vivi came back up and, of course, he started panicking and crying again as she rubbed his eyes with water and put in eye drops. Throughout that process, Vivi kept asking Jorgito if he had rubbed the locotos in his eyes. Side Note: I once watched Jorgito rub salsa in his eyes to be macho when he had a bunch of friends over. It wasn't strong and didn't hurt though. Jorgito had a friend over that morning, and I was certain he had done that same thing with the locotos. He denied it every time Vivi asked, but not whole-heartedly. When he calmed down, Vivi smelled his hands. She knew Jorgito had touched the locotos. Jorgito knew that Vivi knew so. At that point Jorgito just got really quiet. He no longer refused, but he didn't own up to it either. He just shrugged everything off. I had to leave the room at this point because I was going to laugh. And I did just that. Jorgito had rubbed the locotos in his eyes, and I knew it. How hysterical is that?! Everything about this story screams 'child.' Every little detail has something adorably childish about it. The great thing for me though is that I understand all of Jorgito's childish quirks. He is exactly like me. This is probably the funniest thing that has happened to me all year. I will never forget this. I will be sure to remind Jorgito of it ten years down the road when he learns to handle some good old-fashioned joking around. Geez, I love that kid to death.
I think that covers all the lengthy stories for this month. Priceless. Check out February Randomness 2 for the quickies.