Reflections at the Pila

I was washing my underwear in the pila (giant water receptacle on one side, sink on the other, usually located outside), wondering if I was doing it right. I know it sounds ridiculous. It’s your basic lather, rinse, repeat type scenario, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some trick or important step that I could have been missing. It’s incredible how reliance on machines can make one feel so inept at something as basic as WASHING THEIR UNDERWEAR.

I’d be more embarrassed, but this is just another thing to add to the list of things I feel life in the states has not adequately prepared me for.

I’ve realized that I am woefully unprepared for shopping in mercados (markets). The wonderful world of supermarkets has conditioned me to expect everything to have a price tag. I like knowing that everyone is paying roughly the same price and miss leaving a transaction without suspecting I’ve been cheated. I already know that I’ve been had on multiple occasions. I’ve paid anywhere between 5 and 8 Quetzals for the same bottle of soda and been told wild prices for everything ranging from a bag of nuts (8Q when I’m pretty sure it should have been half that) to a large weekend bag (400Q when someone bought a similar one for 250Q). And rather than engaging in some healthy regatear (bargaining) I either hand over the Q or just walk away, telling myself I didn’t really want it anyway. Both scenarios leave me feeling pretty deflated.

Also, and this is going to sound particularly ridiculous considering the fact that I am BLOGGING it, I’m not exactly sure what I should be doing with all this extra time not spent looking at screens. Free time back in the states (whether on the bus, between classes, waiting for friends, during the evening hours, even while laying in bed before falling asleep) was always whiled away using technology. I can’t really describe the mild anxiety I feel when waiting in the park for the other people (I would have previously spent this time catching up on news on my iPhone) or the restlessness experienced in the early evening after dinner and before bed (during prime internet wandering time when I’d be simultaneously watching something on Netflix, checking facebook and chatting with friends). TV viewing is minimal (and will probably be nonexistent once I move into my permanent site), my cell phone (besides actually making calls and sending texts) is only good for sudoku, my computer has lost a great deal of appeal since wi-fi is almost impossible to find and there’s only so much time I’m willing to spend with Hugo in the internet cafe (and Qs I can spend on such a thing). I’m not complaining – I actually view this unplugging of myself from constant technology to be a great opportunity – I’m just admitting that it hasn’t been an easy change. I’m an addict who is just itching for a fix of commenting, liking, surfing, scrolling, clicking, searching, buffering, and updating.

I suppose I can find solace in the fact that my underwear is clean, regardless of insecurity experienced during my time at the pila, purchases of all kinds are going to be given far more consideration and I finally have no excuse for ignoring all those hobbies I claim to love but “don’t have time for” back home.

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2 Responses to Reflections at the Pila

  1. Ta-Na-Na-Na says:

    Maybe you should take up underwater basket weaving?

  2. Gracie Geremia says:

    Living in a technology-less (or less than the states) world, huh? I’ve always wanted to seperate myself from that and see what its like to live more naturally. I’m glad you’re doing well and I cannot believe that I’m just now creeping on your blog. I’m glad your underwear is clean, too, haha. AND you are missed! 🙂

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