Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One day

During my two weeks in Seattle/Bellevue, a lot of people asked me what my typical day would be like. I generally responded to this question by looking confused and a bit stupid: there's no such thing as a typical day here. But I can tell you about today, which was normal and undramatic and busy.

I got up at 6 (it's pretty hard to do anything else, with the sun up and the traffic going and the pigeons cooing), brewed a big pot of coffee and prayed (I have a small prayer table at my bedroom window; I look out onto trees and rooftops and sunshine). During breakfast, I read the paper, La Prensa Grafica - I'm trying to read at least an hour each day in Spanish, mostly reading aloud to work on pronunciation. But not when I'm eating toast.

I made plans to visit Hospital San Rafael tomorrow, in hopes of finally getting a tour of the surgery suite we'll be using. I made plans to visit Comasagua Thursday, taking with me the 24 pairs of prescription glasses, mostly for children, and some food and assistance for Nubia and her family. These arrangements involved a few phone calls, which are my personal bugaboo (imagine listening to a fast talker in the language you're learning when you can't see her face or body language - confusion!)

Then it was time to pay bills at the bank (you can pay utility bills at the company offices or at the bank, but not by mail) and deposit some money. The bank's close by, so I walked (one way to get a bit of exercise) only to discover that I'd brought the wrong account number for the deposit. I walked on to the Archdiocese of San Salvador offices to see Licenciada Vazquez, who is getting the permits for the medications we'll bring in for the eye surgery. She wasn't in, but I managed to find the Spanish to tell Lilian, who keeps that office running, what I needed, and she promised to have the Lda. call me.

I've been wanting to talk with the Caritas staff at the Archdiocese about possible places for next year's mission, so I walked up four flights of stairs to find that only the secretary was in. She took a note and gave me a cell phone number for Margarita, the woman I should talk to.

I walked home and it was time for lunch (and more Spanish reading, this time a novel). Made some additions to our surgery list and sent it out by e-mail. Called Leslie Schuld at CIS to ask for a doctor's name (to go through immigration for El Salvador, I have to have a Salvadoran doctor certify that I'm free of infectious diseases). She knows a great clinic by the Tres Torres - and where are the Tres Torres, said I? Really close to your house, said she. This will mean another of my many expeditions to find something in San Salvador.

Drove to our landlady's house to pay rent and voice a complaint about the portón, the big iron gate in back that is so hard to open. She will send someone to work on it. Maybe. Then I set off to find a police station, because the immigration is also going to require that the local police run a records check on me. But I turned off on the wrong street, and ended up somewhere quite different (this also happens all the time). By the time I relocated myself, I decided to just go to the bank, this time with the right account number, and make my deposit. But by now it was 4 PM, and everyone else was in line with me, so I said the rosary (in Spanish) and practiced the Salvadoran art of waiting patiently. Stopped in PriceSmart, the local version of Costco, to get some staples for Nubia's family (beans, rice, cornmeal, oil). Licenciada Vazquez called me on the cell phone in the middle of aisle 10 to tell me she needed the airline number and date and number of people in our surgery group to complete getting our franchise for the medications.

Rushed back home to e-mail Kathy Garcia for that information and to cook dinner (a Panamanian chicken stew, good recipe). And as the evening continued, I set up a meeting with our lawyer for Thursday afternoon, and promised to meet Carlos, who will be having laser eye surgery, at the doctor's office on Saturday. Got the information from Kathy and wrote up a memo. Gave the monthly money for our guard service to two neighborhood boys who called at the house with the receipt all made out. Somewhere in there I ate dinner and watched a little CNN. And now it's time for bed.

So that's as close to a typical day as I can get, for all those who asked, and for any who've had the patience to follow this long post to the end.

1 comment:

  1. Your day sounds like an entire week for retired me. Susan, you ARE immersed in your new life. Wonderfully so! MaryC