Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9th - 6:57pm

Were without internet at home so Meg, Alice and I walked down to the gas station to connect for a bit. Kinda a bummer but on the upside, no rain last night so got a little riding in today! Just walking around the ring but its better than nothing! Everyone was good and the ring looked like it might be good enough to really ride in tomorrow. Fingers crossed. A quiet day leaves a lot of time for thinking though. And thinking back/typing up the whole story of Sunday's adventure makes all the little issues we ran into seem quite trivial but at the time each set back or complication was incredibly nervewracking. There was no way of knowing if we were on the right bus, headed the right way or waiting in the right spot. If the buses quit running after a certain time or if they didnt stop where we needed to get off. Meg and I definitely learned a lot and will certainly be doing things a bit differently next time. And there will be a next time. Just as soon as possible I want to try the trip again to smooth out all the kinks and excess worry. I love the riding and work on the farm but this is the other side of the job that I love. The chance to see the sights of another country, learn another language and test my ability to figure things out on my own. Love it.
Stuff I picked up on again Sunday was how difficult a language barrier makes things. My spanish is so much better than it was and still I struggle asking questions and recieving answers. Our whole confusion about the buses and cards could have been answered by anyone standing at the stop with us. But we lacked the words to ask a question or the ability to understand an answer. So there we were, incredibly confused, for hours by something that isnt very difficult.
And right with that, the importance of respecting other people. Plenty of strangers stare at the two weird looking teenagers. Im use to it at this point but it doesnt make it any more exciting to be stared at. And every so often people try to go beyond staring to talking. Which is usually fine and I am totally game to try to answer questions. Twice today though while we were waiting people tried to either strike up a conversation or ask us questions. Both times we tried to answer the questions but I guess we werent making sense because they wouldnt accept what we said. And when we tried to say sorry I dont understand they actually got kind of pissed off. Just talking at us louder and more forcefully like if they just yelled it at us we'd magically understand. The more we said we dont understand or tried to cobble together an answer, the louder they got. Which is something I see somewhat often at home. People try to speak english to a hispanic person and become more and more irate as the person is unable to reply to their basic question in english. I have always felt that behavior is counter productive but after today, its not only counter productive, its somewhat terrifying to be on the recieving end of. I, and I assume most people learning a language, understand the most when the language is spoken slowly, calmly and clearly. If I dont understand it when spoken like that, there is no way I will understand it being screamed at me. Ever. And its not because I am stupid, disrespectful or dont want to answer. I would happily answer whatever questions people had if I understood. I just dont. And Im sure the spanish speaking people being yelled at in english at home feel the same. Not understanding isnt a choice. Its the reality of another language. To those two guys who lost it because we didnt understand, you suck.
As I say that, however, not everyone is like those two. The vast majority of people are fantastic to try to communicate with. They repeat themselves slowly, throw in english where they can and really try to be understood. And like the man and woman on the bus who figured out to loan us a card or the ladies who spoke english at the store, many times people go out of their way to help the gringas that just dont get it. To those people, we're learning and thank you for understanding. This whole trip is an adventure. Sometimes a fun one, sometimes an agravating one and almost always a challenging one. People that are willing to help me out make it worth continuing to push the comfort zone and keep meeting new challenges that expand my horizons. I  say it in person plenty and will say it again now, thank you.

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