Spent the morning at Shopping City. The dog upstairs barks a lot right on queue early in the morning, and our furniture hasn’t arrived from the US, so it’s a bit of an echo chamber in El Compartimiento. Time to fill it up a bit and check some things off the list.
Our Barbie appliances have all arrived. I call them that because they’re all half the size of any you would find in a home in the US – more like my Barbie Playhouse I had as a kid. The oven is more Easy-Bake than a regular oven you can cook a Thanksgiving turkey in. But they’re all so well designed that it hardly matters. People live in smaller quarters here, so things have to be designed to solve actual problems. Bigger isn’t better. It’s just bigger. Why use a sledgehammer when you can use a scalpel?
Our dishwasher utensil holder is flat and pulls out from the top – like it’s own drawer. It separates each item and it cleans them so much better. The racks for glasses and dishes are also well designed and practical. It’s so small there is no room for anything superfluous. I’m kind of loving it.
My beloved couch will arrive on a ship sometime before mid summer, but in the mean time we will need something other than our bed to sit on, watch TV on, and generally lounge about. I’m so tired of this bed and looking at the four walls of our bedroom containing our only real furniture, I could scream. And Emile is coming soon, so we need to get furniture for her room.
Both got solved today. We bought a chaise lounger for the living room. And a rug so it no longer has the echo of a yoga studio. Then I bought a small couch that folds into a double bed. It’s not really a fold out couch but it does fold and will go in Emilie’s room when she arrives. And it comes in sections so no need to crane it in. She can keep it unfolded or turn it into a couch if she likes. But until she and our couch get here from the US, it will reside in the living room.
We also bought light fixtures – apartments here don’t come with them. And more odds and ends to make things more homey. The outdoor chairs I’ve been using in the kitchen will go on the balcony, replaced by actual kitchen chairs. A few other sundry items and we’ll be ready to go. We arranged delivery for tomorrow.
Sitting waiting for the taxi back home, we were both smiling. I think it’s the first moment one of us hasn’t felt over stressed or out of sorts in this process. It’s all going to be OK. We weren’t crazy moving here and things are starting to feel more normal. Both of us are using the Spanish we know – making a lot of mistakes, but that’s to be expected.
Last night, Jeff surprised me.
‘They have all these English language schools here. There’s got to be some that go the other way.’
I had no idea what he was talking about.
‘Unlearning English?’ I asked.
I got ‘The Look’.
‘No. Spanish for non-native speakers. Let’s see if we can take a class nearby, an hour a day in the mornings. I’m ready to learn to communicate with people here. It will make things a lot easier. For us and for them.’
I didn’t say it. ‘Rosetta Stone sat untouched at home. +Babbel has been waiting to be downloaded to your phone. Las Chicas del Cable was totally watchable on Netflix.’ No, I said none of those things.
‘I’ll check into it and see what I can find. I think you’re right. My vocabulary is getting bigger but I’m struggling to string sentences together. I sound like a caveman or a giant toddler most of the time.’
He readily agreed that my fumbling is a little embarrassing, which didn’t make me that happy. I am trying, after all. We were in the taxi coming back from Shopping City and I asked the driver ‘Aquarium es aqui?’, in butchered Spanish. Jeff told me it’s wasn’t the aquarium but the driver answered ‘Si, el Aquarium esta aqui’.
I smiled. ‘See. And Si. The aquarium is right here.’
When Emilie gets here, we will explore all the local museums and sites. It will be fun. I think it will take the pressure off Jeff, as those aren’t his favorite things to do. He got the notice yesterday that his motorcycle will arrive on April 20th. I feel sure after that, he’ll be out on the open road, exploring parts, heretofore unknown.
Jeff is an introvert by nature and all this togetherness has to be grating on his nerves. Perhaps, if his Spanish gets good enough, he can join a motorcycle touring club and go off on his own adventures with new friends. Then, for him, this will start to feel like home.