It’s a Process

The pace of our life is starting to settle in. All but one of the appliances, furniture and computer parts has arrived from the various stores we purchased them from. Yesterday was a monumental day. Our Washer/Dryer showed up unannounced – glad we were home. Yes, we smell fresh and clean!

Spanish washer

The guys brought it late in the afternoon and installed it. In the US, usually they’ll bring it but they don’t install it for you, unless you pay and ask in advance. But these two wonder men brought it in, unwrapped it, installed it and explained how it worked via mime, Google translate and my growing understanding (not actually speaking well yet), and they made sure it ran. Genius.

After they left, I ran a load of laundry. It takes about two hours, but that includes drying. You just set it and it does it’s thing. We can not really understand the controls. But I just leave it on the one setting and it seems to work. I’ll never touch it again.

After I got the washer going, I headed out to my yoga class. I have been reaching out to other yoga studios to make sure I have found the right program, but I went back to the one I had gone to last week. They’re nice and the practice is so different from back in the US, that I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know I had. That’s a good thing.

Again, the sort of scary guy was at the lobby door and told me I was early so I had to wait on the bench out front. Another yoga person showed up and was instructed to wait on the bench too. We smiled and she started talking to me in Spanish. I explained that my Spanish ‘es muy pequino’ so we started speaking into Google translate using my phone, laughing until our Yogi showed up and took us in.

Somehow, it escaped me last week that I am about 20 years younger than everyone in the class, including the Yogi. But it didn’t escape my fellow enthusiast. I believe I can officially say I’m the new Mascot of the 6:30 Tuesday/Thursday class at Estudio Yoga.

Why? You might ask. Well, it’s because all those little old ladies are determined to have me learn Spanish. And they each come over and say a few words in English to me, while patting me on the back. Then they translate them into Spanish and encourage me to say it back. And when I get it right, they pet me on the head. Seriously, they pet me like a puppy. And then they smile at me, to encourage me like I’m a toddler. I’m 51. If they put cookies in my mouth I would know it was actually dog training. Truly, they are incredibly kind and I appreciate all their efforts. It’s hard to be the odd man out.

I’ve learned the words for ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’. And the words for ‘difficult’ and ‘easy’. I have learned that when I say ‘Hard’ it doesn’t mean ‘difficult’ and I have to be very explicit – avoiding slang. I also have to count my pace of breathing so I’m learning numbers now too, because everyone counts from one to twenty together.

Jeff and I were discussing it on our morning walk today to see the Fallas monuments around the city. He agrees we need to get some children’s books, like kindergarten level, and start simple. I’ll go out later to El Chino and pick some up.

Our morning coffee spot has become friendly. The ladies there were not that nice last week. But now they see us every day. We’ve become good customers, so when we enter one of them shouts our our ‘usual order’, I say ‘Si, por favor’ and it arrives at the table within 5 minutes – No Problema. At the end, I clear our cups to the counter and pay. Then wave a hearty ‘Hasta Manana’.  We seem to have struck a social contract that works for all of us.

Tomorrow night we will have been here two weeks, but it feels longer. Like most people, routines are comforting and we’re finding a rhythm. The wife of my Yogi handed me some literature for the European Yoga Conference in Switzerland in August. She wanted to give me more ‘take and give to you friends’ she encouraged. Before I knew it, I told her ‘I have no friends here to give them to.’ She smiled ‘Soon you will’ and she patted me on the back.

‘Si’ I told her. ‘Very soon.’ And I think its true. I’m out there meeting people, trying to interact and learn what to do. Soon, we’ll have good friends. I know it.