After a not-so-great night’s sleep, I get up and try again. The sun is shining. Esteban and I went for a great walk in the gorgeous country side. I am having a nice, yummy lunch prepared by our housekeeper. I just made dinner reservations for Esteban and I to an amazing restaurant in Bogota (Leo Restaraunte y Cava) for Saturday night. My parents are coming to visit in a week. The school finally sent me the phone numbers of the kids in the class (two days before the party!). There is much to be grateful for.
I am also newly energized to make this party happen even if it’s more of a get-together. We don’t need a huge bash. We just need enough kids that Jade feels like she is a part of things and we start to get to know other families in the class. So here is what we are going to do: 1) Call everybody in the class to see whether they are coming; 2) Invite two girls from Jade’s previous class who she was friendly with; and 3) offer to drive the three girls in her class who live in Bogota home on Saturday on our way to our date at Leo’s (since having to drive into Chia from Bogota seems to be a pretty big hassle for the parents. Meanwhile, we are going shopping for party supplies this afternoon to put some positive, “this will happen” energy into this party.
I know this must seem like an awful lot to do for a kid’s party, for any party. And I must admit that I feel awkward and ridiculous calling people, offering to drive, etc. How desperate are we? Well, we are pretty desperate. We want Jade to make friends and be happy here. And it’s clear that to battle the inertia of the “not following through” culture, we have to be persistent. For instance, for important school events, the school not only sends invites and email reminders but also personally calls all of the parents. Just to get them to show up for their kids’ school events. That’s what it takes. And then only half show up.
I must say that being here is seriously strengthening my marriage and increasing my understanding of Esteban. For instance, it used to bother me that Esteban double/triple/quadruple checks everything. He doesn’t seem to trust anything and will ask me five times if I have done something. “Yes. I already told you I did! Now stop asking me!”, I might have snapped in the past. Now, I understand where it comes from. You have to be on top of people constantly if you want to get anything done. (Or of course you can just relax and not worry about getting anything done. But I am not there. Don’t think I ever will be.) “See why I am always double checking and worrying?” my husband says now when I complain.
For the record, Esteban did say that “things weren’t this bad in Argentina. People are very late for social engagements, but they mostly follow through on other things.” I have no opinion on any of this, but didn’t want to lump Esteban’s first eleven formative years in Argentina with my rantings about Colombian culture. Perhaps the eight years in Venezuela are to blame? (I am just joking for all those of you who can’t believe how I am stereotyping and slandering nationalities. Sometimes humor is the only way to deal with all of it.)