15 April 2008


I sat this morning in a little block of time before work to write the stories in the computer lab at the Law Library. I didn't get much done at all, but it was due to a very fun experience.

A weathered man with much beard and long curly greying hair walked in confidently, saying 'Good Morning' to all in sight. I loved it, and immediately was reminded of the DR, and wished I could just be like that still even though the culture here is quite contrary.

It didn't stop there: he began a great conversation with me. He asked of my origin, commenting on my turquoise and braids. After I mentioned the Guatemala origin, he told me of the many Guatemalans he worked with in Texas and briefed a bit of his Human Rights work history. He said he got to a point in life where he wanted to know what lawyers know and had spent time in law libraries (before telling me how long, he paused, asked my age--23) since 12 years before I was born... He asked, "Y'know why God made Guatemalans? . Because He darn-well felt like it!" He used this same joke later in referral to Mormons, after declaring himself a member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Southern Baptists" or something similar. I got a kick out of it. And so did he.

I was mostly just glad to have the encounter, because it reminded me of the advice I loved from my Mission President before I left: to not allow myself to become 'closed'. Walking in somewhere and saying good morning--or some kind of salutation to everyone in the DR (or any latin culture for that matter) is totally normal, if not seriously expected. I have allowed myself to lose the habit. But I felt much more fulfilled having that small conversation with the stranger-even if it was sort of one-sided (him expounding on the science of gasoline and their relation to cars, and how really the car mostly runs on water vapor; how it really is mostly hydrogen and oxygen that work to run our cars.) and even if I didn't get to write my ring stories.

Thanks, Judson.


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