January 23, 2009

To the Frozen North and back again

Vancouver, despite the cold and fog, was a welcome break. Just taking a shower in the hotel room, I admired the quality of the plumbing and tilework and marveled at how rapidly the water drained in the shower stall. How do plumbers come by such great skill? It's something that I've taken for granted for most of my life. I enjoyed trying on clothes and shopping in clothing stores for gringo-sized people; indulging in the crass commercialism of North America’s land of plenty including 15 varieties of toothpaste and laundry detergent as well as aisles bursting with foodstuffs; hedonistically savoring the tastes of Asian, middle eastern and gringo-styled cuisines; and speaking a language fluently without having to mentally translate what I was trying to say first. How happy I am to wallow in my culture!

It was a pleasure to get to watch the U.S. presidential inauguration in English, assuming it was even televised in its entirety in Santa Rosalia. The added bonus of watching it on American TV was to see the reports of reactions in other parts of the world. Although to be fair, we have had incidents of Mexicans in tourist shops asking if we were in favor of Obama, and then telling us how much it meant to them that he was the new president.

I had a discussion with Hermana in which she was trying to tell me how much this means to African American people in the U.S. while I tried to point out he was president for ALL of the people and they should be emphasizing that more. Shortly thereafter I saw a telling interview with an American in Paris who was black. She said that when she was a small kid in the grocery store with her grandmother she was always a brat and always asking for candy and sweets. Her grandmother would respond “you can have that the day a black man is elected President.” The woman said, “I just realized today is that day.” Touché, Hermana!

This morning it was warm and pleasant enough to have our coffee outside. While we were gone it rained and got warmer here. No longer are we huddling under blankets as we had been. I have been told that January is the coldest month—and January is almost over. Does this mean I won't need all those warmer clothes I purchased in Canada until next year?

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