I had one of those magical travel moments today. It was late afternoon, warm and sunny. Jade and I were on our weekly “date”, sitting in an outdoor cafe in the 400 year old Chia town square. She was eating ice cream. I was drinking a cappucchino. We were playing Chinese Checkers. It might not sound like much but hanging out in beautiful locations and playing games was always a favorite past time of mine. Esteban and I did that alot when we back packed in South East Asia a lifetime ago. And to do that with my 9 year old daughter felt like a dream, a very good dream!
The hour or so we spent at the square was probably even sweeter because the rest of the day was so frustrating. Nothing seemed to work. Everything took forever and with lots of hassle. It was definitely a “Does anything work here? Does anybody follow through on anything they say?” day. It’s hard to be a gringa in the Latin world sometimes. I want things to be quick and efficient. I want people to do what they say they will do. Yes, I know I am expecting a lot and my expectations lead to my suffering. But it’s really hard to chill sometimes!
If you will just indulge me in my bitching for a moment: It took almost an hour of back and forth phone calls to buy theater tickets to Alicia en el Pais de Maravillosas (Alice in Wonderland). Ditto to reconfirm hotel reservations for our upcoming trip to Cartagena. Ditto to make hotel reservations in Medellin. Then I spent about 45 minutes and a multitude of back and forth emails to prove to the vegetable delivery guy that he overcharged me for the vegetables he delivered yesterday. Yes, these are all minutae but they took up most of my childcare time today and I was annoyed.
And don’t even get me started on trying to get a party together for Saturday. Despite asking more times than I can count, the school still hasn’t given me the phone numbers for the new girls in the class (the teacher was too busy, the office person promised but didn’t deliver, then she didn’t show up to work today) and I finally got the numbers for the kids in Jade’s class this afternoon. Three days before the scheduled party! And when I called the parents of the girls in Jade’s class, nobody could actually commit to coming – “We will try to make it,” “I will let you know tomorrow”, etc.
Normally, I would just think that nobody wants to come to this party but seriously, this is how things are done here. Nobody commits. Everything is flexible and up-in-the air until the last minute. And I don’t actually expect anybody to RSVP or let me know before the party. They may or may not show up. We might have two kids there or seventeen. It’s driving me crazy and really stressing me out. Mostly because Jade’s feelings are involved. Esteban is trying to “manage her expectations” by telling her that there might not be too many kids at the party. That she should think of this more as a get-together. I am not sure what to do. I am frustrated. Aaargh!