Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rocking in a rocking chair

Things are different every day. Thoughts are different every day. Things are the same every day. Thoughts are the same every day.

But I can say that last week was fruitful. Here, in León, where I am doing my Spanish course, things go really at a snail’s pace. This month except last week my days looked like:
8 -12 Spanish course

12-2 trying to survive the noon heat. Most of leoneses have a midday break, eating lunch and doing I don’t know what.

trying to do SOMETHING. Reading, writing (though I don’t have much to write about), hanging out, watching news, visiting nearby garbage dumps, museums, ruins of colonial churches, watching baseball games and trying not to panic.

About 6 P.M.
it’s getting dark and every day I am still deluding myself that it will be more chilly than during the day. Silly me! It’s frustrating how exhausting it can be. Anyway in the evening I am actually doing nothing more than during the day J. But the evenings are quite unique here. So what does it mean to “go native” among the residents of León? Well, it means sitting in front of the house or inside with the door open and let the time goes by… The most important furniture here in their houses is a rocking chair. Not one! They have thousands of them. Each house in my barrio owns at least 5 rocking chairs, because every member of the household has his own chair. And they are rocking and rocking and rocking… Sometimes speaking, sometimes laughing, waiting for … nothing! Yes, I am still surprised that they aren’t waiting for anything! They are just rocking. You can call me a townee and everybody who has lived in the country side has experienced the moments of the time laziness, but León is a city! City which does live! During the day it can be really busy. I don’t know why, but after dark everybody seems to transform their houses (and fronts of them and streets. I don’t know actually how to describe this really unique form of buildings here. After the revolution in 1979 all colonial residences were parcelled out and every room became a house for one family with a common patio for every room-house. That is why the houses here don’t have a “real” door, because they actually were back door from the colonial rooms. Every block – the whole city is based on blocks – has more “doorish” door on the corner, which means that it could have been a main gate to the house. I need to read how the process of parcelling out looked like. Grrrrrr, it’s difficult to explain with words how their houses look like. I’ll better put some pictures of the street and houses tomorrow) in a quiet haven, so different from the noisy life of the mornings.

And I have to admit that sometimes it cost me a lot of energy to hold out the silent rocking whole evening. Especially that my understanding of Nicaraguan language, although better than three weeks ago, still leaves a lot to be desired. So frustrating! But I try to rock as well as they do and keep small talking with the women from the barrio. And I feel that the boundary between kindness, curiosity and acting is really fuzzy and I have some issues with “the anthropologic patience” as I called it yesterday.

A garbage dump in Leon, where garabage is burning
every day... As one of the local told me: we have toburn it,
otherwise it will grow really high! Strange logic.

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