Saturday, April 18, 2015

#ThatPuebloLife

Throughout my lifetime, I've considered multiple places home. Washington, D.C. was home for the first 5 years of my life. Until high school graduation, West Liberty, Iowa held that title. During those glorious days at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa beame the place where I felt most comfortable. Oviedo, Spain was my home when I studied abroad during college. Seoul, South Korea became my home during my year of teaching English overseas. Boynton Beach, Florida attained that distinction during my two years of AmeriCorps service. Now, I can finally add Repelon, Colombia to that list as well. After a little over two months in my pueblo, it is now feeling like "home."

Below are some things that life in a pueblo signifies when it starts to feel like home:

  • #ThatPuebloLife means not having to worry about taking keys with you when you leave the house because everyone just leaves their front doors open.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means having a student participate and do his work in class while holding a live baby chicken in his lap. 
  • #ThatPuebloLife means having to move one of your classes outside because the classroom was damaged when a soccer ball came crashing through the roof, turning the room into a construction zone.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means upon finishing a community English class at 8 pm and leaving the school, you have to wait to cross the street because a passing herd of cows is occupying both lanes of the road.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means having to choose between taking a shower and using the toilet because there is only enough water in your 10-gallon trash can for one of those activities.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means having an impromptu Catholic Mass at school because it's Wednesday and why not.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means waiting around for 3 hours for your counterpart, only to find out the next day that they had a doctor's appointment and couldn't call because their phone conveniently died.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means enduring long periods to time without electricity, which normally occur during the hottest moments of the day, causing you to sweat like you've just run 10 miles, while everyone else around you is dry and comfortable.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means having to scrap together a meal of yogurt, granola, and peanut butter sandwiches at 10 pm because you come home late from your night class and are too lazy/tired to cook real food.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means being recognized as that crazy gringo that tried to walk back to town when the bus stopped because a truck had overturned in the middle of the road and didn't want to wait the 30 minutes it took to move the trucks.
  • #ThatPuebloLife means quickly realizing that rain showers do not bring reprieve and coolness; instead, they bring increased humidity, ravaging mosquitoes, and mud trenches where dirt roads used to 
  • #ThatPuebloLife means feeling safe and secure with your environment to walk around at night, stop by stranger's houses, and say hello to those sitting on their patios.
  • #ThatPubeloLife means waking up every morning, ready to embrace the day's challenges and quirks head on
  • Finally, #ThatPuebloLife means being able to look around at your surroundings and know that when the time comes for you to move on, you are going to miss this place.
It's amazing to me how quickly I have become comfortable with my new surroundings. The daily routine is finally in place. The faces around town are becoming more and more familiar. Shouts of "Profe" reverberate through the streets when I leave my house. It's been challenging, but rewarding two months so far. Who knows what the next 20 have in store...