The other morning at breakfast my host-mom asked me a question that I did not understand (gee, there’s a surprise!). But she seemed very intent and made me go get my dictionary. She looked up the word ‘content’ and showed it to me. She really wanted to know if I was content in her home….WOW!
Now to provide a little background, I’m sort of like a 5 year old over here. This woman does my laundry, irons my clothes, cooks my meals and serves them, cleans up after me, and (when I can’t chase her out) even cleans my room for me. She worries if I’m too hot or cold, cheerfully tolerates visits from my Peace Corps friends, tries to teach me how things are ‘done’ here so that I’ll have the skills to live on my own 6 weeks from now–and all in a different language.
We also have a lot in common. We are 1 year apart in age and both raised a daughter and a son (2 yr age difference). She’s been a widow for 12 years, I’ve been divorced for 15. She works full time, manages her household and is going through the ’empty nesting’ time except on weekends when/if her 2 college students come home. (I remember that time with some considerable pain.) I look forward to the time when I can talk to her about these things.
And she’s worried about ME???? OK, it’s true that I probably supply her a bit of distraction, but I find it incredibly touching that she is so very concerned that I am happy and content in her home. She’s the one who gave up her bedroom and sleeps on the couch in order to comply with the PC guideline that I have my own room. (I think she used to share it with her daughter who’s now in college.) She’s given me a sweater-vest that was hand-knit by her mother because she wanted me to be warm. She takes me to her friends’ homes, includes me in her weekend activities, compliments me on any little progress, cheerfully refers to me as ‘Emily Bronte’ when I withdraw into writing mode, and generally tries to make MY life as easy as possible.
I go to language school from 8-12:00, usually have more ‘Peace Corps school’ or practical assignments in the afternoons, and a couple hours of homework. But there’s usually time to sit in the cafe and drink tea or wine in the afternoon and it almost feels stress-free if it weren’t for the mental gymnastics of living in another culture and learning another alphabet and language.
It actually feels a bit weird to be so coddled, looked after, and fretted over, but, I’m working at relaxing and enjoying it. I feel very blessed and grateful.
On another note, I have been without internet access for several days and am using another Volunteer’s computer to post this (therefore, no pictures–sorry!) However PLEASE do not stop sending me e-mail or posting on my blog–it helps so much to know you’re out there! Hugs to all!