First of all, you will quickly notice that this blog post is written in a very different voice and tone, and that is because this post is written by Brandon!
It is unbelievable the amount of data and experience that our minds have been processing since we arrived just over a week ago (incredible that it has only been one week). At the end of everyday we fall asleep immediately, which I’m convinced is because of the amount of energy it takes to understand and adapt to completely new surroundings.
There have been a number of funny lifestyle differences here that we are quickly adapting to and learning to embrace! A lot of these things are small, but grow in significance when they are a part of everyday life. Also as a disclaimer, this is by no means a ‘negative’/’complaining’ post, because we are truly loving the lessons we learn everyday. We are growing daily and are SO excited to become pros at living in Caracas.
The interesting thing about these differences is that the natural human inclination is to dislike things that are different. If it’s less convenient and more work, we usually think that is a step backwards. However, it has been such a fun and challenging experience to grab onto these changes and make them enrich life rather than detract from it. A few of the most funny realizations and changes are below, I hope they give a small peak into the window of our new days:
1) Toilet paper goes in a trash can, not the toilet… So that’s hard to remember.
2) Food here is mostly made from scratch.
For example: If you want beans, you can’t go to the store and buy a can of beans. You buy raw beans, soak them overnight, then, let them stew for a few hours until they are perfect… If you want pesto, you buy garlic, basil, and olive oil, and then blend them together until it tastes like pesto , etc., etc., etc.
3) Water comes from one of those huge arrowhead jugs that you pick up once a week. You then pump the water out and put it in a bottle/pitcher to get cold in the fridge!
4) Trash gets dropped off at the bottom of your driveway. Normal, right? Except that “trash day” is not super consistent, and it doesn’t go in a large Waste Management trash can.
5) Anytime you buy something you have to give your passport number, name, and address so they can log your purchase in their system.
6) Everyone keeps fans on all the time to ward of hungry mosquitoes.
7) When you buy something in cash you can end up handing over 300 bills (due to inflation and high-bills being unavailable at the bank). The cashier then has to count these bills individually. Needless to say, this creates a long checkout line for disgruntled customers.
8) At busy intersections, motorcyclists will get off their bikes and direct traffic to undo gridlocked streets… Everyone gets stuck because of cars going too early or too late, so someone just volunteers to get off their bike and fix it!
9) We went to a clinic today to give blood, which was a hole-in-the-wall shop next to a panaderia. Not quite the same as a Kaiser : ).
“Tranquila” is something people say here which is most comparable to “No Worries” (or Hakuna Matata for you Lion King lovers out there). It is a great motto we have picked up for when things don’t go as expected, take longer then anticipated, or just are not what we had in our head.
So next time things are not going according to plan, or not meeting expectations, just think, “tranquila”. God has better things in store for us than what our human nature is inclined to desire.