Thursday, March 18, 2010

staying in touch

We're at the Hotel Plaza Londres, which I recommend, and it has excellent free wireless Internet. It feels a little weird to use it two or three times a day, but it's possible I won't have that kind of access at my placement. Plus we have chunks of free time, I like keeping in touch, and I'm an introvert and we are doing a lot of group stuff. Seriously, I'm making an effort here. Totally worthwhile. But sometimes it's time to go be off by myself.

I caught Anna on Skype last night and we talked for a long while, which was great. I also broke the second ring she gave me. They were made of red carnelian, and they don't survive being dropped on tile or concrete floors, which is pretty much inevitable given my habit of pulling rings off and fiddling with them. Unless she beats me to it, I'm going to find something made of metal and pretend she gave it to me. I miss her, but I'm also doing cool stuff here. And then I'll be back. And then probably gone again. It's a strange set of feelings.

My little Asus Eee PC has turned out to be an excellent choice, for its size and portability and the amount I use it. When I woke up at 3am on the plane, I wasn't going to sleep again, so I pulled it out, booted up Linux and fixed a code problem. (Nerdspeak: my shell startup scripts seemingly worked fine on a console but crashed when I tried to login via GUI. I don't know why it was running them at that point, or why it was being so picky. Another problem identified by printing stuff to a logfile.) I have to boot Windows to use Skype at the moment, but that's a pretty fast thing, and for everything else I can use Linux without worrying about inevitable virus infection.

Speaking of infection, my lip is not infected, which is fantastic. The inside scrapes are vastly better (and smaller and shallower) today than yesterday, but still sometimes hurt enough to take my breath away. (That first bite of unfortunately-dry roast chicken takeout for tonight's dinner? Ow.) I expect they'll be healed in a few days. I'm planning to take the stitches out on Saturday, which will be its own exciting project.

Once the stitches are out, I think I'll try to make it to an aikido dojo.

My Spanish is very slowly coming back. I don't really need it: we're living in a little bubble of volunteers, which is important as we bond and get to know each other so we can support each other through the year. The times my Spanish feels more alive are when I'm off by myself, for all the good it does me, since Chileans remain only vaguely comprehensible aurally, and a lot of folks here in the city are busy and don't have a ton of patience for a gringo trying to negotiate meaning.

I like the volunteer group. They're not from my tribe, but they're interesting and surprising, and like any group of open people we're all adjusting to each other, just like my sangha did when I joined (and presumably now that I'm gone as well). The Zen thing just came up today:

"You practice Zen meditation?"
"Can you show me how?"
"Oh, cool. Every other person I've asked has sort of said 'Uhhhh, not really.'"
"It's easy, you just learn and figure out a stable position to sit still for a while."
"'s sitting still? I can't sit still."
"Oh yeah. That's why we sit."

Which I think is the best answer to "I can't sit still, my mind is too busy". I wish it were original, but no.

We'll see how that goes.

1 comment:

  1. So, are you remembering to read comments yet? So far, it's just me commenting, but maybe other people will jump in later...

    I kind of assumed that it would take forever for me to mail you a new ring, but since you suggest it...I'll keep an eye out and see who beats whom to the shock-proof ring purchasing :-)

    Sounds like you're taking good care of yourself. Remembering your sunscreen? *hug* -A