Being in Peru for these last couple of weeks cements my burgeoning and deepening belief that material possessions don't make you happy - relationships do. Do I miss my nice flat-screen TV or my couches? Maybe a little, but they can be replaced. What do I miss (besides foundation in my color)? I miss my friends and family. These peope are irreplaceable. Memories are my treasures - not the iPod, sporty sedan (though I miss Blaze!), or fancy computer. Here, where in the "American" view, people have so little, they are happy- because they understand that relationships are most important on their time on this planet.
Behind our skin tone, eye shape, or hair color is an innate humanity - a desire to be connected, for community, and humanity.
My experiences thus far have been a lesson in humanity. Thankfully, my colleagues, both American and Peruvian, have been extremely helpful and accommodating as I get my feet wet here. Some want me to be more Peruvian that I know how to be yet, but most are helpful as I try to speak and pronounce Spanish. Yet, my inexperience in navigating daily life, coupled with my fear of speaking the language, has prevented me from doing certain things, like order a taxi, buying food, or asking for help. However, this is fading, I hope. People in general are friendly and helpful. I hate asking for help or assistance even in the states, or among friends, or colleagues, so I have to be humble and ask for help. How grateful I am that I got to meet two teachers from Piura before I left.
On Friday, the center hosted an all-teacher training. All the teachers and staff attended the meeting. The guest speaker was from the Instituto de Ciencias para la Familia, or the Institute of Family Sciences. I didn't get a lot of what the speaker said, but it was about the importance of family and relationships. Thanks Senor! I felt like I was at an FHE back in Utah. I come to another continent and country and hear the same thing. Hah.
Anyway, one point that I did like (or more like... one point that I think understood), was about the difference between YO (I or me) y TU (you) and NOSOTROS (WE).
How many of our relationships are based on the idea of you and me, instead of we? Selfishness plays a destructive role in relationships of all kinds -from colleagues, to friends, to significant others. I've seen selfishness take root even among my relationships. The professor showed the opening montage of "Up." No dialogue, yet, I wasn't the only one with a bit of a misty eye in the meeting - because beyond our differences lie our commonalities. As an aside, I hope that I may find a relationship as sweet as Carl and Ellie's was.
As I sat there in the air-conditioned auditorium, listening to the speaker talk, I looked around the room. I looked at all the men and women, who weren't so different than I was. Beyond being the same because we were all teachers, we all wanted to be happy. We all wanted to be loved and appreciated by the people in our lives.
On Sunday, I went to church again. I saw there on a bench for a few moments, feeling out-of-place. However, a member of the congregation, approached me and helped translate the service for me. His sister also assisted with translating and welcoming me. Other people again took me under their wing to help me feel comfortable and fit in, as an interloper in their world.
As classes have started, fellow teachers and colleagues have helped me get my feet wet with the system. The students have been helpful so far as I try to figure out how to be a teacher. Family and friends back home are rooting and praying for me. I am blessed by the people in my life here as I meet them in Piura and around the world that I've known before my journey here.
Oh humanity indeed. We need more of it, more decency, more understanding, and more compassion for each other. Aren't we all trying to figure this fight called life out? Do we need more trinkets or do we need more time with each other?