“Can I have your phone number? We could go for a walk sometime.”
“Where do you live? Oh, that’s right near me!”
“Do you ever feel lonely, at home all day?”
These are the actual pickup lines I have used lately. After a deep breath. After reminding myself that I have nothing to lose (except my pride and dignity, which are worth it, and can’t really be lost anyways because I keep them and they are not up to others… apparently). I am looking for other moms (Dads, too, if they are at home all day!) to start a relationship with me.
Living in Guatemala, as part of a community of mostly American teachers, with very little government programming and private programming with elusive information and high prices, I need others in my boat.
And putting myself out there has worked, sort of. It got easier after a while, after doing more on my own, getting a handle on the city, learning what was possible and getting comfortable in my own skin in this role. Isn’t that how romantic dating works, too?
This week I met three interesting families this way:
- A little girl on the swing set, a little older than Q, was being pushed on the swing. In her Grandma’s broken English and my broken French, we learned about each other. They are in town because the girl’s father works for Cirque du Soleil: a two-year round the world tour of the Spanish speaking world, stopping in each place for a month or so. Would I like to come back and swing again tomorrow? Sure I would 🙂
- At Gymboree baby gym. the most fun you can have with soft stairs and a parachute, I lingered after class as I usually do, hoping to make a connection. A woman from Venezuela took my bait, sharing about her time here. We made plans to walk in our neighbourhood.
- At my building, on the steps, another mom seemed even more interested than me in having someone to talk to. She spoke English like an American but I found out she’s from Honduras. We swapped kid-friendly city spots we liked.
Do you notice a theme? I haven’t yet decided if this is my own limit-setting or a truth, but it seems easier to meet non-Guatemalans. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised: outsiders can have more in common than insiders. Regardless of cultural similarity, we share the reality of families far away, few connections, shorter time frames, and, well, an otherness towards our surroundings that allows us to relate to each.
I also got invited to a birthday party. Just like first grade… it’s a start!
3/16 – #SOL18