I feel the roots starting to grow between my toes.
It seems each time I return to Melaque, I become more a part of this little beach community. My three tasks on my walk into town Tuesday morning were perfect examples.
My first stop was my doctor. She is treating me for an eye infection (I will write about that in a later post). We talked about our work on the Indian school, her upcoming trip to Canada, her husband's visit to Salem, and updated each other on some common acquaintances. The type of conversation I would have in any small town where I was part of the community.
I then stopped at the post office. As you know, I use a mail service in Manzanillo. I started using it over two years ago when I moved down in the belief I would get my magazines delivered to me in a timely fashion.
That was not to be. My magazines take at least two to three weeks to end up in my box. You can imagine my recent horror when I belatedly discovered Archduke Ferdinand had been assassinated.
Having the box in Manzanillo means driving two hours each week simply to get my mail. Plus it costs me – well, a lot.
I decided it was time to get a post office box in Melaque. All I needed was a copy of my visa and a utility bill showing my address plus 200 pesos for the 2011 rental and 25 pesos for my key.
I stopped by Monday morning to drop off the paperwork. Because the postmaster was not in, the clerk asked me to return on Tuesday. When I did, my paperwork was fully prepared for signature. All I needed to do was pay my fees.
Not only did it make me feel like a part of the community (After all, what can be more a part of the community than stopping by the local post office?), but I successfully conducted the transaction in Spanish (with a little bit of help from a customer who got a good laugh out of my mistaken use of a private body part when I meant to say "year").
With my key in hand, I addressed an envelope and mailed my first letter from my new post office. It gave me a sense of place.
I was then off to my favorite grilled chicken spot: pollo kaliman. There may be better grilled chicken in town, but I like talking with the young couple who run the little stand. Neither of them can speak English, so my conversation with them is very limited.
Until Tuesday. The wife was there on her own, but she was pleased to see me. Wanted to know where I had been. Asked questions about my cruise. Exchanged pleasantries about the oppressive weather.
In the past, I would have allowed my fear of not being able to communicate to get in my way of trying. For whatever reason, I found the words I needed, and I could understand most of what she told me.
As I walked home with my chicken and rice trophies, I thought back over each of my encounters. I talked with people on a personal level in a language we could both understand. But it also underscored my need to get back to studying my Spanish lessons.
What felt best of all was the sense of belonging. Of being in a place where I should be at this point of my journey. That the tale I am living is one that may be worth telling.