Friday, January 16, 2009

Trying to Relate

Tonight I spoke with my parents and was gently scolded in regards to my entry about Sunday's frustrating experience with my girls. My mom and dad tell me that apparently I have a bad memory, because I did exactly the same thing at their age! They say there was many a time that they wished for the floor to swallow them up out of embarrassment for how I did or didn't respond to someone during our early days in Chile. Hmm ... some perspective is always helpful! :)

Actually, I do have certain memories of that time in my life. I arrived in Chile at six years old, exactly Eva's age (we even share the same birth month.) I remember one church in particular where I felt so uncomfortable around the other children wanting to touch and talk to the little gringa girl. I remember curling up in the back of the car and trying to pretend I was sleeping even as I heard them talking about me in Spanish outside the window.

I also remember one time when I was allowed to attend a birthday party for a neighbor girl. The memories are fuzzy, but what is clear to me is that at some point we were in a house or apartment that was unfamiliar to me and the hosts announced that the group of us would be going to the teatro together. I didn't know enough Spanish to realize that they were talking about a theatrical production rather than a movie theater; all I knew was that I was by no means allowed to go to the movies! I think I was more afraid of my dad than of being left alone with a roomful of Spanish-speaking strangers, which is exactly what happened. The other children went without me and to this day I don't recall how the situation was resolved but I still remember that feeling of being alone and scared.

I think the turning point for me was when a young Chilean woman took a special interest in me and began spending time with me one on one. I can picture visiting her apartment and taking walks together, and I especially remember when I became very ill during a week of camp and she took care of me during those days. I wish that Eva had someone like that in her life right now. Tonight I casually mentioned something about the United States and she quickly informed me once again about how she can't wait to go back and that all of her friends are there. Of course this was in the same conversation where she told me she wanted to be home-schooled and that she definitely does not want to go to Chilean school!

This evening, Eva asked if she could bring her stuffed dog to church for prayer meeting. I told her she could if she promised to be on her best beavior and greet people kindly there. Later she asked me if I had ever had a stuffed dog like hers and taken it to church. Sensing an opportunity to relate with her during this time of transition, I told her about my "pound puppy" that I taken with me into several churches because I felt new and alone and uncomfortable there. "Is that how you feel, Eva? Is that why you wanted to bring your dog?" I asked.

"Um, no ... I just like my cute little doggy!" she responded sincerely. I had to laugh! So much for trying to relate! :)

1 comment:

Terri Fisher said...

Thanks for finally posting, Steph! I was wondering what was all the photos. I was thinking last night before reading this post that I could totally relate to your kiddos, too. We do forget sometimes, but we had to navigate those transitional waters as well. I have been and will continue to pray for them, and you and Pedro, as you go through this time of transition. I will also pray that Eva might encounter a Chilean friend who might help her during this time. Love you all!