As those of you who know me best might have guessed, I don't really have much of a cruising altitude when it comes to emotions. When I'm at my lowest, you can pretty much assume that the next thing I will feel will not be a carefully measured step partway up, but will likely place me back on top of the world, at least for the time being. I feel pretty secure right now. Not so giddy that we need to worry about the cycle going around again too quickly, but just back in a secure place.
Now that I write that out, I'm questioning it. This week has been really great because I was sort of hazed out in a weird fog of apathy and wanting to go home-ness at the end of last weekend. So I have consistently noticed how much better the busy-ness as opposed to not. But then I guess I got unexpectedly overwhelmed with the content of the things I was doing. Anyway, today was just so super solid you don't even know. Cook breakfast with Linet, which was basically a riot. The key is obviously my glorious taste in music, which I think Linet doesn't quite appreciate yet. But we're working on it. Kind of. Slash I think she's stuck in her ways, but we can still be friends. Probably. ANYWAY, so it was a little painful to get out of bed, and she seemed sort of stressed before we got everything in place. But once we did everything went like clockwork, which is just the way I like things to go. We had things set up into stations, without even talking about it. It was great, it's like we both just have the same standards or needs for organization or something, so that made it easier. Add in my very special *Kelsey is a Babe playlist, and you have me dancing for Linet in the kitchen while she makes eggs. Slash we shared egg-making responsibility. Whatever, it just felt great to care for the house and the community, and connect with individuals and we greeted them and asked them if they would like queso with their huevos. We cleaned up with the height of efficiency, which left us spare time to make fun of Giovanni, one of our new favorite things to do. We also decided that we like doing breakfast, so we're going to see if we can switch things around to do it at least once a week.
THEN we set out on a long and hot and más o menos satisfying adventure to this particular market. I'm happy because I have food now, enough to actually make things with, and TOFU which I realize has become an important part of my life (thank you, Quaker House). Oh my goodness, I was so so tired when we got back though, and it took a little while for me to cook myself some lunch, so shewwww I did not reallllly want to go to Barrio by the time 3:30 rolled around. But here's the thing. This has also been a very music-filled day, another thing I realized is actually super important and good for me. Just listening to it and finding it and getting it - things I have a bad habit of never making time for ever. So Sasha told me about this thing which is currently in the process of changing my life (which apparently EVERYONE ELSE already knew about) where you can transform a youtube video into an mp3 file. I mean, whatever. That plus my Tiny Desk Concert podcasts, and my life just got better like whoa. The Avett Brothers and I officially have like a pretty serious relationship going on. At least for the 15 minutes they made music in the NPR offices. Like seriously, it's kind of a big deal. Anyway, so they took the bus with me to Barrio Activo. And I just felt so contenta once I got on that bus. It was my first time going by myself, and I just knew exactly what I was doing, and I changed my seat to sit next to a lady because I remembered that the left side of the bus is going to be super hot the whole ride because the sun comes in that side. And whatever, I knew exactly where I was going, and I wasn't scared about anything about the journey in the least, and the Avett Brothers put my soul into words so. Whatever it kicked ass.
Pati was waiting for me at the stop in la Pastora (the name of the neighborhood Barrio Activo is in), and she is just so darn motherly and caring it was great to see her. She calls me bonita, and we walked will our arms around each other for a little while, and she asked me all about my day yesterday since I had last seen her. And you know something? I told her in Spanish, it fue pretty bien. We got to their house, I greeted Edgar with a happy cheek-beso and a little hug (they do that here: the first time you meet, it's handshake + beso, the second time it's beso+ abrazito) and I made myself comfy on the comfiest chair. Then Pati, Edgar, and I each worked on our own stuff in different places in the room. Just like at home! It just felt familiar, and I felt the most comfortable I've ever felt. I journaled and said hi to kids as they trickled in.
So today I was there for Academia Barrial (adjective form of Barrio). Basically, Edgar does lesson slash team-building type stuff on values. Today was how to deal with conflict. It wasn't quite the same focus obviously as I've experienced before, but it was just so incredible, and obviously a lot better suited to where these kids are coming from. What is conflict about? How does it get resolved? What's at stake? Causes: interests (lo que se quiere), derechos (rights), values, and communication. Edgar said a lot of conflict happens because of mad communication. Ugh he is so great. And it was just incredible to listen to him talk to these kids, AND great to understand really most of what he said. And I understood the sentido of it, and I liked a LOT how it sounded in Spanish. I'm sort of floored by myself - just a week and a half ago I literally could not understand a word he said, and today I really got a lot of it. Plus, let me just say that what he said was way more nuanced, insightful, and INTERESTING than anything anyone else has said in a Spanish-language presentation, UGR classes absolutely included. And you know what? I absolutely adore being intellectually engaged in the content of something said in Spanish. Incredible.
So we did a few other activities which I might add more detail about later, but the point is that it was great being with the group. I felt pretty readily accepted, which is kind of amazing. Plus it was cool because at one point we were supposed to work on a big drawing addressing what we'd talked about, and the kids were kind of either standing around awkwardly or fucking around with each other, and so after much prodding from Edgar I kind of tried to make a few suggestions to get us started. I felt pretty good, because it worked! I took the first step, but then I backed off so that the project would really be theirs, which I felt like was important. Yay first teaching-ish experience :)
So after we wrapped up Academia, we talked about the event tomorrow. This is was fun for lots of reasons. A) I got to hear them talk about welcoming new volunteers who are coming today, and they're just so thoughtful about everything: the fact that we're coming from a different country, making them feel like part of the comunidad... these were things that Edgar said explicitly to the group. B) Edgar decided that I will be dancing in the Maratón de baile tomorrow, and the whole group decided that Erick would be my partner. Just to clarify, Erick is super married with his first baby on the way. But so he was super cool about it, he was like listen, we're going to be the best partners ever. And I was like listen, I feel really bad for you, because I super cannot dance. The group said, no no it's okay, what's you're lucky number? So now I have a little number 3 to pin to my dress tomorrow HA. Plus Erick and I totally practiced before I left, and of course he's a great dancer, so whatever. And Linet and Molly are coming, so I'm stoked.
It was just a purely great day there. It definitely helped that my Spanish already seems to have caught on a little bit more, that I know basically everyone who was there, and that I was only there for a few hours. But whatever, I just was sitting there the whole time like wow, this is the most fantastic place that has ever happened, and this is so where I should be. It's really, really special, and full of incredible people. Easy bus ride home, then upstairs to try and figure out the tabs to Laundry Room (dear lord, we'll just see about that one), then out with Linet for ice cream before we snuggled in to watch Hercules and then the Social Network (which, wow. just, wow). So yeah. Good good day everyone. High fives all around.