We just had some, "Hmm, we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto" moments. I thought I'd share a few:
Owen had to go to the doctor the other day. His name is difficult for people here. None of his names seem like first names to anyone particularly. So the receptionist at the doctor's office had a lot of trouble with his name, even though he showed her on his driver's license. He told her many times which name was his first, middle and last in Spanish--as did the nurse from his school who went with him as his translator--but she did not seem confident.
When he got back to the exam room, the doctor had trouble pulling his name up. Owen looked at the computer as the doctor was looking under his last name and saw "Organ Donor" as first and middles. He said he was pretty sure that was him.
We were invited over for dinner today after church. Ice cream here is pretty much awful, so I offered to bring some I had made--I am loving the chocolate ice cream with coconut milk I found on an Oprah website--which I think is infinitely better (mostly because it doesn't contain all sorts of artificial colors and flavors and tastes "real"). So I thought I'd bring it to church with me and stick it in the freezer in the church kitchen. But when I got there this morning, the refrigerator was gone. It turned out someone in the church needed to borrow it because they didn't have one. So then the pastor's wife asked a neighbor who attends our church to keep my ice cream in her freezer during the service. It felt distinctly un-American, the whole thing.
Then on the way to the dinner party the host of the party asked for a ride to his house. We checked if he needed us to drive his kids (and wife?) too, mentally trying to figure out how to cram the our two oldest and one car seat into the back (where the boys could sit on pull-down jump seats) and counting seat belts. He said, never mind, his brother had room (maybe he heard that infinitesimal pause as our American minds thought, "How could he think we have room?"). We followed his brother's car to his house (they made one stop to let out someone who had needed a ride--Owen thinks they had a kid with them, but I cannot corraborate that) and when we got there, five adults and five children poured out of the car. I told him maybe the expression "has room," which in America involves the number of seat belts in the car, means something very different here. The meal was delicious!
(Hilariously, when it was time for all fifteen of us to eat, he told us to all sit at the moderate-sized round table with seven chairs. I asked if he meant just the seven kids, or all of us, and he said we'd all fit. I told him I think maybe he just has trouble with the concept of "fitting.") These are some of our best friends we have made here, I'm sure there will be many future chances for us to see from different perspectives.
On a personal note
I'm feeling an unusual sensation a lot lately of needing to call someone but not being able to think who it is. I think it comes from feeling the need to talk with someone who 1) knows me very well, and 2) understands the context of the story I want to tell from my day. And while I have wonderful friends in America who know me very well, and new friends here who understand the context of my story, I have no friends who both know me very well and understand the context of my story. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends in the states who walked so closely with me through my daily experiences how very much I miss them now in my new daily experiences.
I know I will always have those friends, and I know in time I will have close friends here who understand my daily life well, but it's a very wistful, indescribable feeling to not have that right now.
Two more weeks till we visit the states!