every day is a gift

I’ve rented a house, had a lifetime of discussions with my landlady, bought a vocho (vw bug), learned how to drive the car, learned the rules of the road, continually wonder where the 5th gear is, love my clutch, got out of ticket for an illegal turn, discovered you can own a car and leave it in someone else’s name, gotten the car reupholstered so the metal of the broken seat no longer burns my back, spent hours with the guys fixing details on the spot, gotten some mechanical work done and learning car part names, participated in heated discussions over a mass purchase of organic california soda with my crazy-fun california friends, know the people at the chedraui customer service hate me, participated in the Grito for independence day, discovered that the speedometer and the odometer don’t work, dealt with peeling paint dissolving into powder in my house and on my equipment, visited Teotihuacan, Chichén Itza, and Uxmal again, run my parents and myself into the ground on their week-long visit, made a great field trip with my students to 4 municipios near Uxmal, made some great contacts at INDEMAYA, seen how people who love their work can be so effective and cool, eaten the best poc chuc at the Principe Titul Xiu in Maní, learned about the lives of migrants to the US and their families here, been inspired and amazed at hardships and perseverance, seen a lack of economic prospects in the rural areas of Yucatán, seen people making amazing differences in spite of it all, witnessed the mountains of paperwork that keep people employed, eaten roasted chicken, rice & salad at the university where I teach all for $2, had discussions with the cable company who still after a month don’t want to give me an appointment even though I paid in advance, realize my landlord cut the phone line so I can’t make expensive international calls, love skype, disovered that “no smoking” signs are there to cover up a hole in the wall and mean nothing, sweated a few pounds off although my pants tell me othewise, realize that people always like to know your personal business that involves money and love, LOVE LOVE the downtown market, eaten the best sopa de lima in Santiago, made some great friends, feed the turtles the landlady left here for pets who crawl into the house looking for a change of pace, seen the Korean/Mexican youth exchange downtown where singing to the Village People’s YMCA is evidence of a successgul cultural exchange (do they know what the song is about?), realize everyone has many more names than I do, am continually surprised by soft porn on TV in a catholic country, sit in Santiago listening to 40s & 50s tropical band classics and think how much I love it here, celebrated my 40th birthday and am humbled by it all. These are just a few things that make me realize that everyday is indeed a gift.