Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One Day with Arturo

Yesterday was Monday. Just another start to a week of work: a week of cooking at 10 de Abril and conversations at Las Palomas. Sometimes the weeks blur together and it starts to get repetitive being in such a routine schedule, but when I take a step back from one individual day, I realize just how special and unique each day here in Mexico is for me. Every day has a wonderful story and memory attached to it, so let me walk you through yesterday afternoon :)

This weekend was my host sister's birthday party. She turned 9 years old (Feliz Cumpleaños Lilian!!!) and we had quite the party for her at our house this weekend. It included family and friends, cake, jello, a piñata (yeah, I got talked into taking a whack at the piñata a couple of times, it was an embarrassing display if you ask me, ha) egg shells filled with confetti that we threw at each other, and lots and lots of candy. There was a good amount of candy left over from the weekend, so my host mom and I were talking and she and I thought it would be great to give out some of the extra candy to the people in Las Palomas. We also thought it would be funny for me to hand out candy on October 31st, because, well, that is Halloween, even though it has no significance here. So, I took off on my bus yesterday to Las Palomas with my bag full of mostly chocolate covered marshmallows and tried to shade it from the intense sun beating down in the sauna of a bus in the afternoon, because the last thing I wanted was a bag full of melted chocolate making it an even more messy experience to eat the candy. I luckily made it to Las Palomas after 30 minutes of worrying about my chocolate melting with a bag full of well-intact chocolate, phew.

I walked down the pathway to the house of Las Palomas, walked through the front gate, and asked if it was okay to hand out the candy to the people there. My supervisor smiled, thought it was a cute idea that I had candy for Halloween, and told me to go ahead and do it. As I was handing out a small piece of candy to each person, they smiled and graciously accepted it (I mean, who would say no to free candy? :) I wouldn't either) A couple of people thought it was funny when I would say "Feliz Halloween" because they knew that in the United States we celebrate that holiday, even though they don't here in Mexico, and appreciated me sharing something small with them.

But, what I specifically enjoyed from yesterday was Arturo. I know I have mentioned him before, but just as a reminder, he is an 88 year old man who loves to sing songs, even if he doesn't remember all the words, and enjoys walking around the house all day from room to room (with short naps at each stop in a chair). Yesterday as I was handing out the candy, Arturo was on one of his walks, and was following me in my path. I handed him a marshmallow right away, he ate it, and followed me to the next room. When I gave the other people in the next room their candy, Arturo looked at me with this face and said, "y la dulce para mi?" [translate: and the candy for me?]. I told him that I already had given him one, but he didn't believe me, so I promptly handed him another small one. This went on for 2 more times, and being the softy that I am, he ended up getting 4 small pieces of candy, because I just couldn't say no to him when he truly didn't believe that I had already given him one. He is just a sweetheart that I felt bad depriving him of what he thought he was missing out on.

After our walk around the house and him consuming more candy than I am sure he is allowed to have, Arturo and I sat down outside. I was chatting with him and some other people outside a little bit (mostly about the weekend, my sister's birthday party, the weather..) and *BOOM* an orange fell down off a tree and nearly smacked Arturo in the head. I love sitting outside of Las Palomas for some nice fresh air under a shaded little area, but I also enjoy it because there are 3 fruit trees. They have limes, oranges, and mandarinas, and use them to make juice often for comida. But, after yesterday, I realized I should be careful of falling fruit, maybe even start wearing a helmet outside in fear of a orange pegging me in the head. So yeah, the orange falls down *BOOM* and Arturo nearly jumped out of his chair. Thankfully he did not get hit, but he did get a good scare, and a good laugh afterwards. I picked up the orange and was just looking at it in my hands, and I look up at Arturo and he gives me the "throw the orange to me and I will catch it" look. I softly toss the orange and Arturo to see what he would do, and he caught it like a pro. He throws it right back at me, and all of a sudden, we started a game of catch. I asked him if he played baseball ever (not quite sure if baseball is even popular here) and he went into this long story about how when he was young him and his friends would go to a big area of land (it sounded like a park) and they would play baseball and fútbol (soccer) all the time. It is amazing how one small thing can jump start memories of events that meant so much to you in the past. Arturo had never mentioned sports to me, and sometimes does forget things (lyrics to songs, that he had already been given candy...) but all it took was an orange to fall down from a tree and a simple game of toss the orange to remember how much he loved playing baseball with his friends in the past. We eventually had to stop our game of toss because the dinner bell rang, so I helped him to his chair at the table, and left for home.

Playing toss the orange with Arturo is yet another memory that will be kept close to my heart. And, what I have to remember, is that it happened just one day, a Monday, and that I will always remember that one day now. One day really is special here. I am so happy to have give or take 260 more left.

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