I once read an interview in a surf magazine, where a young kid, living with his parents, was asked about dividing his time between California and Hawaii. His answer was, when I’m on the Island, I’m on the Island and when I’m on the Mainland, I’m on the Mainland. I had no idea how those words were going to replay in my mind, and be a guiding mantra to help me keep it together throught the last ten years.
I’m not sure what mental health is really. The dictionary says that, sound mental health, is ” the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner,”. Well who says what is normal.
When in Rome do as the Romans do.
When I came here, I wanted to assimilate into the culture. After being here a while, I found out how hard that can be. I went through a stages of trying to figure out what a “gringo” really is. There’s numerous definitions for that too.
Many things in life here have, drove me crazy, which I soon learned does not translate in Spanish. Neither does raining cats and dogs.
Year in, year out, I’ve seen many families come and go. They want it to be like it is at home. So they go home, eventually.
I fit in here, on my corner anyway, pretty darn good.
Here is an example:
This is my beloved stove. It’s practical for living here in the tropics. I make wonderful coffee on this stove. When I cook, I make a lot of one pot meals. And as you see I have a blender in the background; another must, for batidos (smoothies). There’s so much fresh fruit here and there’s a vendor right down the road. For years, I’ve not wanted anything more than this.
Today, I went to town and purchased this stove top, with an oven. Is this what qualifies me as part of the human race? I don’t know. I once had an empty space, in my kitchen, where my stove had been. a When my sister saw it, she was horrified. Her comment was, “You can’t have a house without a stove.” I went out and bought a stove. I couldn’t shake the pressure of her comment. I didn’t want anyone to think I was crazy.
That was a long time ago.
The stove is really for Mary. Mary, Nestor and her two children live here with us and she is a good cook! Now I’d be crazy to not buy her a stove. Wouldn’t I?