Monday, February 23, 2009

day six

Reading your comments makes me feel really good. Really, really good. Some of you asked for our address, truth is I don't know it yet, there are no house numbers and it doesn't make sense. I think I can use a neighbors box but have to clear it with her first. It's on my list for the next day or so and I'll get back to you by email then. My reader is probably also impossibly full and I don't intend this to be a one way thing. I just can't manage coming your way till I can get online at home. Oh, and thank you. I mean that so much. Thank you.

I sit in an internet station with a tin roof. The rain is falling, falling, falling. I sit here and wonder if the connection will hold out till I hit publish. I sit here because internet at home will take awhile no worries mon it'll be soon and I try and sum up all the ways I feel right now. Maybe a list will suffice:

1. It's unbearably beautiful
2. It's not humid, not yet
3. Our neighbors are lovely and open and generous and kind.
4. In my new home the doors are wide open all day long and there are always different children underfoot.
5. 2 dogs have already adopted us. M has named one of them Sasha. I don't know who they belong to but they rarely leave our porch.
6. Shopping takes hours. One place to see the nail guy, one place for the chicken lady. Beer over here. Milk at the corner. Eggs from the guy on the bike. Don't even get me started on the tortillas or you will hate me simply because they are that good. I can imagine it wearing on me but right now I like it a lot.
7. Thankfully their one brand of beer is pretty damn good.

1. Cooking takes three times as long and nothing feels really clean. Bottled water for everything.
2. Bugs. I can't help it. They bug me.
3. I don't know my way around outside of the village without J and that is so unlike me I can't stand it.
4. Here's the big one. This place is so patriarchal. The women serve the men. The men, the local ones, they talk to J. They are nice to me, but for decisions, they look to him. It makes me want to kick them. And makes me think about how to raise a girl here.
5. M's having some trouble, a bit anxious and fearful. But every day I notice her getting better. Yesterday she ran out and picked oranges from a grove next door with a friend, she scampered up a tree and looked like a million dollars. But she misses some things. Goldfish crackers are at the top of the list.

So how am I, you ask? I wake up happy and am busy all day. After dinner my bravado falters, I sit in the jungle noise and quiet and wonder what we've done. J sees this all as a wide open book. But I don't know how to read it. I stumble a bit in the dark so I crack a beer most nights and sit on the porch. There are so many fireflies I lose count. I cry a bit and feel better. I wake up happy and am busy all day. As I finish typing the rain has stopped. It's like that here, the rain. The sky open up and weeps and then forget she ever cried.

I relate to the sky here, I think.

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mommyknows said...

Wow! I am happy that you are settling in.

I spent several months in Honduras working with campasinos in remote mountain villages. I found the machismo attitude of the men difficult. It did dissipate towards me after a time, but nothing in that shot time changed towards their own women.

I our small village there was drinking and shooting and abandonment and beatings and adultery and more. The women were stoic. It is difficult to watch. You'll be able to set a great example.

Keep safe!

Her Bad Mother said...

oh, it is to weep. so beautiful and hard and epic and all at once.


Anonymous said...

good thing you have that stool to sit on for the beer.

painted maypole said...

sounds like it is more good than bad, and i hope it stays that way

Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that I'm here and reading and lapping up your every word. And I'm a little jealous about the tortillas.

alejna said...

The tortillas sound wonderful. The partriarchy much less so.

I'm really fascinated to read these snippets of your new life. I'm so glad you're sharing them with us.

Denguy said...

Wow. Unbelievable!
Are we going to get to see some pictures?

By the way, have you ever read any Theroux?

bgirl said...

1. YOU
2. the dogs, i love that about mexico too.
3. the shopping oh how i love that too.
4. tortillas, nothing more needs to be said.
5. YOU and your partner and miss M.

all those you list resonate. man i hate bugs and i hate admitting that i hate bugs. worse than bugs i cannot stand not having my bearings. and worse than that, i crumble inside when i sense the feeling of angst in my little dude.

so sweet mama, hang tough. breathe. the 3 of you are in good hands with each other.

Bon said...

it's hard, hard to leave all that is familiar behind. hard to take all the new in and find places for it, especially the parts that make you feel unmoored.

i've never done what you did - chosen a place and planned around it. i think it took great courage. i always end up coming back b/c i'm most comfortable with my own culture's shit and crap...i feel more entitled to critique it. but i miss out, by never really trying to find my place elsewhere.

as ever, wishing you discovery and joy.

QT said...

I am glad that you wrote down that you don't know your way around because in a few months you can look back on that with a smile and say "What a newb I was."

I think it will be like that with the bugs, too. ;)

Can't wait for my first Beliken beer!

Krysten said...

I am so grateful that I get to read your story. It's absolutely amazing and beautiful, you capture it so wonderfully, even when I think that words aren't enough. I spent a month in Guatemala this past summer, fell head over heels in love, and hope to one day move back with my two little guys. Reading your story gives me hope and fills me with joy, even through the cons....

Gina said...

You can add me to the list of those who would love to have your address when it's all figured out. I'd be glad to send along little things you miss from home.

The patriarchal thing would irritate me too, but eventually they will see that you don't stand for it. I truly love reading about your new experiences.

Magpie said...

Oh Jen, I'm weeping a little with you and the sky.

Tabba said...

it's weird...but i can hear your "voice" so much clearer now. when i think back on some of your posts that were so you...i thought your "voice" was so clear. it's nothing compared to now.
i hope this makes some kind of sense :)

(i am still cracking up about "the chicken lady")

mamatulip said...

I love that you are sharing this with us. Your trip, your adventure...your soul.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your writing so much - I always see it, just so, through your eyes. I am glad you can keep this connection.

Time doesn't move at a steady pace - what seems like such slow passage now will soon be a distant past as you acclimate and create a routine for yourselves. And yet there is always that standstill moment - mine, too, is just at dusk - when the fear is palpable and claustrophobic

One thing - you sure are going to learn how to cook.

I read that Neen is coming to see you - I'm so jealous.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your writing now more than ever. You've always had that ability to awaken your readers, and now we get to experience a sort of awakening right along with you in this new and beautiful place. Just think how interesting (and illuminating) it will be for you to read these posts weeks, months, years from now. xoxo

Mad said...

Surely someone, say me, could mail a girl a bag or two of goldfish crackers. Email me an address if'n you'd like that done.

hele said...

oh i never send your mosquito stuff, it still sitting on my desk. i'm real sorry. please, please send me an address as soon as you have one.

i love you and i pray that your heart find what its longing for, what it has traveled across the world for. maybe it already has so i pray that you find the joy of knowing that you followed your heart.

i cracking open a alcohol free beer and toasting you*

Anonymous said...

You are living your dream, there are so few people that manage that. You inspire me to live outside of my box, thank you for that. And congratulations.

jaded said...

It takes time to settle. Men and women have different instincts about changes, which helps keep life in balance.

Be said...

Hi M's Mom

You are a writer. To do what I have to do which you'll understand in a bit, I have been contacting many, many bloggers. You are a writer! I have not read much of other's blogs but your's took me too long to go through and I haven't read them all.

FYI About 15 years ago I had the same kind of experience with the "Mounties" as you did.

Two women, the youngest of us was in her mid fifties (that wasn't me) and they just could not understand why we were there for just overnight. We had come from a NSS (cavers) meeting in Chicago. Yeah, I know it sounds incongruous but I was born at the wrong time! Anyhow we "goodie two shoes" were stopped, searched through like spies. The twenty somethings with beards and bongs etc. went flying through zip/zap.


My name is Bev and I am a Grandmother hoping to become a GG (great grandmother) in the not too distant future. I wrote and illustrated a book entitled Wool E. Woola. You can see the first 16 pages of this charming children’s book when you visit . This is a very small publisher, only my friend and I.

If you wish to purchase Wool E. follow the directions in the site. However, since so many Moms need to earn extra money today, I would be happy to help you sell Wool E. Woola from your home. If you do wish to sell it, contact me at and I will email you information about how to go about doing so and how much money you can earn.

Even if you do not want to either buy or sell Wool E. Woola, I would appreciate if you would give this information to your friends.

Thanks and wishes for lots of wonderful days in your new environ. Think about writing a book about your experiences using your blogs - they're great!


Wayfarer Scientista said...

Your making the road woman. Hugs from the arctic.

Omaha Mama said...

Picturing it makes me want to be there. Bugs and all. Tortillas are one of my favorite foods, so it's mostly that. :0)
I thought you were brave when I read about your career. I felt a kindred spirit in a fellow social worker. You'll find your footing there too, I have no doubt.
I'm so glad to be along for the ride, if only in a purely vicarious, voyeuristic way. Also in heart, so that counts for something.

kgirl said...

Wow, Jen, this is amazing. I am literally hanging off of your every word, your every experience.
I am anxious, excited, sad and elated for you.

Anonymous said...


my worrying soul

is concerned about c4 too

have u talked to j about it?

u must, and at great length

for M's sake and ur sanity

IMHO- his role is critical

he must look to your opinion

when others looks to his,

not for approval but advice out of respect for his partner

and he must proactively pursue this path

with his new community straight away

or he'll easily fall into or for their stereotypes

not realizin he's doin it


Kyla said...

You're doing it, sister. You are.