sleep on it

So we're still a little dazed and confused here in Kona, but we're slowly learning the ropes. I feel a little more settled each day as I become accustomed to the slower pace of life--at Lava Java today they actually gave me a pager to hold while they made my mango smoothie. I mean, how long could it take to make a smoothie? As it turns out, it can take a really, really long time, especially when you have to saunter out to the mango tree, pick the mangoes, wash them, peel them, discard the peels, take the garbage out, kneed some bread, feed the dog* and talk some story all the while...

As much as I enjoy the slower pace of life here, part of me sometimes feels like I'm watching a scratched DVD and the movie keeps freezing up on me. This makes me a little anxious while waiting for a smoothie or a latte. Each day is full of so many pauses, really, and nobody is rushing. I mean, why rush when you're on an island? I mean where exactly does one rush to?

And I find that my Chicago intensity does not match the spirit of those around me. The other day Anna made some friends here at the complex--I love how sweetly and quickly little girls can befriend each other! They met just a few days ago, and now they're always around--even today when I brought Anna back from school they were out back. They came running to Anna saying, "We were waiting for you . . ."

So anyway, the girls wanted to come over to play. I found the mother of one of the girls to ask her permission. She was perfectly fine with her daughter playing here, although she did not know my last name or cell phone number, and she never did run a criminal background check on me. The other little girl said that her dad was sleeping. So in a lapse of judgment I let her come along to our apartment, and the girls played for about fifteen minutes before I began to panic about the father, sensing how worried he must be.

So we rushed out, and sure enough, he was out looking for his daughter. I thought, "Oh man, I'm going to get it. How irresponsible it was for me to harbor his daughter without permission." But when I saw his face it was not tense and stern as I'd expected. His expression was all loose and smiley. He extended his hand to me and welcomed me to the complex. I asked if he was worried about Reese. "Well I knew she was around here somewhere," he said.

So now Reese's parents have been filling me in on life in Kona, and I listen with fascination to their stories. Reese's father tells me that one of their daily irritations is that Reese keeps bringing gecko eggs home (they look like white jelly beans and can be found in the small spike holes at the base of palm trees) and letting the babies hatch inside their apartment. This is really no problem for the baby geckos, which don't require any special neonatal care, but Reese's parents do try to explain to Reese that "The mama geckos leave their eggs in certain spots on purpose."

I also asked Reese's parents about places where I could pick fruit off the trees. Reese's dad told me that the best place to look for that is the classified section of the paper. He said that people actually run ads that read something like, "Mango overload, please help!" followed by their address.

So all this to say, I'm not in Chicago anymore, and the learning curve is steep but the climb is thrilling. And the regular daily tasks do help me feel more oriented. I'm oddly comforted by making the beds, loading the dishwasher, ignoring the crinkled laundry in the dryer for as long as possible.

And I was happy, the other day, to have an idea for our bedroom. It's been a little stuffy at night because our bed is tucked into a cozy but windowless corner. So I pushed the bed flush against the windows, and now all night long the ocean breeze washes over us. So I'm sleeping on it, and sleeping in it, and slowly making sense of this place which is so unfamiliar and yet comforting just the same.

*In the interest of not defaming my new favorite coffee shop, please be aware that there was no dog at Lava Java. I was just trying to imagine all the steps that might be involved with said smoothie.


Bethany Torode said...

Jenny, this is the best post ever! Your writing is already flowing beautifully from the Hawaian influence! (no joke.)

And I'm so happy to hear there is a whole culture of people like Sam and I, who always feel guilty about our lack of freaking out over wandering children, etc. etc. Seriously, it relieved guilt for me to read your post.

Bethany Torode said...

P.S. I just moved our bed under the window too! After 11 months here! You & me are in sync.

Katya said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, and how comforting it is for me to read, especially now that you too are in a strange place. Many times I feel very much alone - from Westchester County (Metro North down the road) to the farm (cows across the street)! But I also know God has other plans for us. I'm glad the Kona Mission has someone like you and Father John.

We're actually the most east in the Diocese and you are the most west, and yet I feel closer to you than I do to the neighbor down the road.

Jenny said...

Katya and Bethany,

Thanks for your comments--first, Bethany isn't it lovely to sleep under the window? Kona is a really dark town (this is actually on purpose because of the observatory on the mountain above) anyway, even the street lamps are yellow so that stars can be seen. The starry nights totally amaze me, and with my new bed placement I can actually gaze at them from my bed!

And Katya, thank you for your sweet, sweet post. It makes me feel less lonely to know I have a friend out there in Westchester County. Did we meet when I was back in NY?