I found a rooftop.
I've been having problems. Mostly between my ears, although my belly was a little screwy for a bit there. I've been having issues with sharing one house and two bathrooms with ten people. I've been having a problem with not having any space I can really call my own since I share a rooom now with a girl who frequently becomes combative with no warning or real reason. I've been bummed that I chose to come to such a macho, conservative, chauvenistic country when I could have gone back to Spain.
When life gets me down and there's nothing I can do about it, I cope through a few different things. When life is really beyond screwed, I chop off all my hair, because for some reason when things are headed toward that place I stop cutting it and it builds up. But it's pretty short currently and things aren't really bad enough to warrant a drastic cut. Another thing I do is think about things in the past that have happened that were also totally screwed up, and how no matter how bad they were (and they're usually worse than what I'm dealing with at the time), they led directly to where I am today, or I gathered from them some knowledge or experience or contact that helped me later. Sometimes I like to get new ink, but I have a rule against doing that ouside of the country ever since my experience in Scotland.
What helps best, though, better than anything else, is to just clear my mind out altogether.
I've never been good at meditating. I tried, believe me. I went to weekly classes for over a year. I tried self-teaching through books. I listened to guided meditation CDs. I had a spiritual teacher for a couple of years who would periodically try and guide the group through meditations. I just have trouble quieting my own mind of my own accord. I don't want to say I can't, because that's a defeatist attitude, but I haven't had any luck with it yet.
What I need are things that help me do that. Two things especially have been great helps through the years - being in water and being up high on rooftops.
Water's the best. Anyone who has been swimming with me in Lake Ouachita knows how happy I get there. Just blissed out on life, and I'm completely incapable of thinking a single negative thought. There are no problems there, no stresses, no negative nothings. But I've been working like crazy to get the necessary paperwork and nonsense done in order to be able to swim at the pool in the campus gym - had to get a blood test to have proof of my type, had to get ID photos taken, had to get 100 pesos, and I still have to get to the office between 9 and 12 (nevermind that I have clases) for some application and medical exam process. That is to say, I haven't gotten it all together yet and so I'm not allowed to get in the water yet. Hopefully that will be happening soon.
So I've been on the lookout for a good roof. I found a good lead, one building we have classes up on the fourth floor and I noticed that the stairs keep going even though that's the top floor. I kept going one day just to see what was there, and there was a tiny door that looked like it would lead to the roof. When I opened it, I was hit with a wave of heat and sunlight and humidity - it was midday in Mexico after all. I closed it but remembered it for later.
Today I was stressed about all sorts of nonsense and I knew I'd be staying on campus late anyway - class gets out at three, and I wanted to practice piano for a couple hours before going home, and was interested in seeing if I could catch a futbol game of the uni students as opposed to the pro team. So I practiced for a while, then went and got a sandwich, and then clouds started to gather and the temperature started to drop.
I headed over. It started to sprinkle - this is the "tiempo de las lluvias" here, the "time of the rains." I didn't care; I have an umbrella. I climbed up there, went through the little door so squat it looked like it should lead into John Malcovich's brain and there I was.
And it was perfect. It was cool but not cold, and breezy so my hair and my skirt got all whipped around and it wasn't so high that I got scared but it was really nice and high up so I had a great view of the city off two sides since it's on the edge of campus. I walked to the edge and tried to think about something that was bothering me... and I got nothing. Nothing! My brain was completely vacant, silent, just reverant of all the beauty and the feeling of openness and freedom. I must have stayed up there forty minutes, just standing, getting sprinkled on now and then, staring out at the city below, watching lights turn on across different streets, occasional cars, watching the storm roll in...
...oh SHIT. That's a big storm. And it was time for the game so I figured I'd get down off that roof with the big damn lightning rod and go looking for the game. If I found it, I'd try and find shelter from the rain to watch and if not, I'd go for the bus. I didn't find it. I went for the bus. The rain started dumping in buckets. My fun flowy skirt that I had been enjoying all day suddently got really damp and difficult to walk in. I made my way over to the bus stand which has a tiny roof, but that only helps when the rain is coming from above. This wind had it coming from the side. So I'd hold my umbrella behind me and that sheltered my head and the top of my back, but my entire backside from the waist down got completely soaked. Then the couple of drunkards decided they needed to start talking to me. They started asking where I was from. The old one says, in English, NOO YAK? IS NOO YAK? WHERE NOO YAK? NORS? SOUS? WESS? EES? IN NOO YAK? I say, no, on the east side of Texas. He says YOU WET! WET WET! Starts patting my back. Starts patting lower than my back.
¡AY SEÑOR! I exclaimed, giving him a very unkind face and running to the other side of the bus stand. He got the hint. His friend figured he was still okay to talk to me. He spoke to me in Spanish, and the first thing he asked was whether I had a boyfriend. I just looked at him. He asked again. He asked if I knew what boyfriend meant. Yes, I said, I know what it means, but I don't have to answer that. Why? says he. Because that's personal information, I say, and I don't know you. He says, but I want to get to know you! I say, when I get off that bus, I'm never going to see you again. I don't want to get to know you. He says, but I can walk you to your house, to know where you live. I say no. Sir. I can say no one time or twenty times, however you want. He says twenty. I say twenty one. He says but you want to go to a movie sometime? You like movies? I just look at him. The bus comes. I flag it. It keeps going. Traffic is getting sick and the rain's getting ridiculous. When the next bus comes twenty minutes later, I go running up the road to catch it and tap on the door until he lets me in. I have to step in a river of muddy street water to get on. I don't care. I don't care about harassy boy, about grabby grandpa, or the booze on their breath. I don't care that I'm completely soaked from the waist down. I don't care that the first bus passed me or that traffic absolutely refuses to move and that a fifteen minute bus ride takes an hour and a half. I don't care. I'm still on that roof, completely zenned out. I get home, and the first words out of Guille's mouth are WHY DIDN'T YOU LET ME KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO BE LATE?
I just look at her and walk in the house. It's nice to see you too, I say. Yes, I am completely soaked and would love a hot shower, thank you for asking. By the way, I have no phone and no way to know the bus trip would take over two hours (when you count waiting time). On the table was a care package from my dad.
It was a belated birthday care package with gifts for the whole house. Lots of stickers, little animal figures, cookies and... He got me a pony.
That rooftop is my new best friend.