My get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.
Bags packed, shoes on, heart empty on where I’ve been and filled up on where we were going and there’s a pause on the play. California will remain my temporary home for another two months.
Today, I had to challenge myself. I’ve been here. I’ve done it. Seen it. Isn’t that what we think? As I paced the floor, wearing in my misery so deep that I seem to walk in a slope now, I thought perhaps I needed to get out. Taking my camera, I climbed the same hill I’ve climbed a hundred times in the last 5 months, only this time I decided to do it with my eyes open.
How is it we can walk past something, something as familiar as our front door, but never really take it in? One of my friends lives in a neighboring canyon filled with steps hidden in bougainvillea draped tunnels that she daily climbs for exercise. I’ve lamented the emptiness of my canyon, seen it as a paltry hill compared with her lush mountaintop oasis. Imagine my surprise today, while climbing my beaten beast of dirt with my camera, to find not one, but 5 hidden stair channels weaving through the hillside like veins in a petal.
I’ve been here, but I haven’t really been here. I haven’t seen everything I can, even within feet of my door. So, I am looking at this time now as a gift. To memorize, blueprint, capture this one tiny hill in the world.
One of the things I love about being a mom is all the fun things you get to do. When was the last time you chased a butterfly? Pet a starfish? Mixed glue and borax to make goo? Underneath it all I am just a geek at heart, and nothing is more fun than spending a Friday morning at a science center showing your child all the wonders of the world and reminding yourself just how cool this crazy ride on this amazing planet is.
I love how Italians eat lunch. The middle of the day is not just a stop to refuel, to grab something on the go, to get to the next point, it is literally in the Italian language a “pause.” You must pause, stop completely, rest.
It was the same in Uganda. Day after day I would marvel at the locals around me, no matter what their job: government official, housekeeper, garbage man; when it was lunch time it was lunch time. Everything stopped. Meals were lingered over in restaurants with those who could afford, or laps with packed meals from home. Each bite tasted and savored and always, ALWAYS followed with tea. Here in Rome it’s coffee, but the lingering is the same. I’ve watched many foreigners become impatient at the end of the meal because the check was not dropped off at the table. In Rome, as well as in Uganda, the meal is not done when the food has been finished, even the tea or coffee consumed, for there is always more pause. To drop a check in either of these places so quickly after a meal is culturally rude. You would never rush someone like that.
I think of back home where even in line at a check-out counter I felt like I was in a race to the end, what end I do not know, but stumbling with my wallet and trying to get bags together, I could feel the breath of frustration on my neck hurrying me along because the person behind me had to hurry along. Now every day I get to sit for lunch with pieces of Uganda in my heart, Italy holding me up and I say to myself when I start to feel those old feelings of unnecessary motion, “Sabrina, just pause.”