The Shift to Ordinary

Buenos Dias from Xela this morning! The view from the rooftop of the school. I was up here scrambling to finish my homework before class started. (of course)
Dogs I see every morning. They watch all of us walking to work and school. An ordinary day for these dogs!

There is something wonderful about ordinary life, no matter where it is. Ordinary offers something familiar and beautiful in the midst of all the unplanned, unexpected and extraordinary events that weave themselves into our lives.  Some of those are welcome, others not so much.

“The shift to ordinary”, as I thought of it this morning, occurred for me on Monday this week and it has continued with an affirming culmination today.  I was walking to go study…completely lost in thoughts of what I’ve learned about “ordinary life” so far, when I heard my name called from a van driving down the street.  It was Adolfo!!  I’ve never been so glad to see a familiar face. After 8 days in Xela, I finally see someone I know! He pulled over and we chatted for about 10 minutes.  If that wasn’t a sure sign that things have “shifted” to ordinary life, I can’t imagine what is. It was like being at home…running into a friend at the grocery, on the street, at church, etc.  The people who make up what we call our community, our circles, our friends.

So that was just the strong affirmation of the shift. Here are all the others.   My “top ten” signs that tell me this experience is shifting into something called “ordinary” life. And right now, I praise God for “ordinary”!

Parque Central where I am every day on my way to somewhere. On Sunday this is where I met two boys (ages 8 and 10) and had the best conversation of my week!

1.  I can find the bank AND go in and get money without help. I also know how much money I’m getting and spending.  I’m slow but I can do it.

2.  I know how to get my laundry done. Clean clothes are really nice to have. I’m here for a month…I can’t stay dirty that long. Smelling clean is important for meeting new people!

La Cafetera.net is my "Good Cup" of Xela! Lovely spot for study, conversation and just breathing.

3.  I have a favorite spot for coffee and study that rivals The Good Cup, complete with music on occasion, local as well as international “regulars. ” The afternoon/evening waitress knows me by name, and I know her: Noelia. Isn’t that beautiful?

4.  I know where to go for oatmeal, organic peanut butter and eggs. I can shop, pay and sack my groceries…at least so far.  (I haven’t had to buy much…just a few test runs).

5.  I found a great running route with enough flat surface to be doable, hills for a little challenge and nice vistas of Xela’s mountains.

6.  Almost every day I run into someone who I know from school while I’m walking to wherever I’m going.  Many work at the school, some are fellow students and the others live in the house where I’m staying.  People walk a LOT here..it’s how you get around.

Footsteps on a street of Zunil yesterday afternoon (an after school outing to this special place)

7.  I have a hard choice to make about what I’m going to spend my time doing this weekend. Somebody won’t like my choice and somebody will…isn’t that so “ordinary” life?

Paula and Diego: making every day more fun than I deserve.
Oh the extra effort given just to have a good time!

8.  The los niños (children: Atudo, Diego & Paula) that live here and Scooby Doo (the Schnauzer) keep running into my room if the door is open to say “hello” and play.

This is my faithful companion as I study. I brought it from home where I had never had time to use it:) It has been awesome to use here! Thankfully I didn't lose it too!

9.  I lost my awesome moleskin notebook where I had written ALL my grammar rules so far from the short 5 days of school! I returned to every place I was yesterday and did show and tell about how important it is that I find it. No luck so far:) Yes, I prayed the II Kings 6 prayer so I’m expecting it to rise to the top anytime now.

10.  Walking down the street and hearing my name called from a van…looking up to see it is a friend I’ve known longer than 8 days!

"Ordinary life in Xela"

All kinds of things come with “ordinary”.  We complain of boredom, get frustrated with those we love most and generally think it might mean life is passing us by if something isn’t shaking up the norm. But in truth, it is the ordinary things of life that remind us how precious each moment is and how all those ordinary moments, hours and days actually create a beautiful life on earth. Let it be.

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