It’s late Friday night here – almost Saturday morning. And I’m yet again rejoicing that this city experiences an abundance of rain. Though the rainy season is almost over, there is usually still a good 50/50 chance of rain at night.
It’s usually a calming and cleansing sound, but especially so when the sky has been yellow the past few days because of smoke blown in from the country side, where farmers are burning their fields after harvest. It took me two days to figure out why the faint but persistent burning smell was lingering, and also why people who have no allergies were suddenly suffering from allergy symptoms.
Unlike last time, I’m not walking through clouds of smoke, but it’s still a noticeable difference from city smog. I’m hoping for a clear blue sky in the morning after all the rain has captured and drowned the smoke.
My second week of university classes are done (and I’ve had four* classes total). However, to balance out that uneven load, I was able to meet with some friends of a friend who are students, and I am really excited about getting to know them better.
I may have finally figured out the real advantage of continually looking the age of a teenager and/or a college student! It’s much easier to blend in with young single women if you appear to be a peer. Also, since they have little to no interactions with married women outside their own community, they’re much more comfortable with young singles like themselves.**
I’ve now attended several parties (baby shower, wedding shower and birthday parties) and each time heard at least four languages being spoken. Tonight might have been my record – I believe there were six languages. What a small world we live in.
I’ve also met and been charmed by the young women who came to this city for school. They invited me to the cultural dance event they have on a weekly basis, and I went – and danced! Not well, admittedly, but Swing Dance taught me to not be as afraid of looking awkward, clumsy, silly or of trying new things. It was pretty amazing to watch a crowd of young men and women dancing to their traditional music without any prompting from older generations. They value the musical part of their culture and carry it as part of their identity. I think American young people could learn a lot from the way they confidently go out and dance – even if they have no grace or rhythm. It’s okay to be yourself, with all that entails.
And though my trip through their homeland came during a time of high tension, it was impossible to miss the joy and excitement they were expressing through their dancing in my city. I have been encouraged by getting the opportunity to talk and connect with them.
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*Four incomplete classes! One day cancelled and the other was a university orientation during my usual class time.
**This is a reassuring point of my being here, since during our trip out west, I felt the distinct disadvantage of being a single woman in that context and community.