We had a pretty strong rainstorm here last week, which was needed because it’s been very dry lately. But as you’ll see in the video below, when it rains hard outside, it ends up raining inside as well. It’s ironic that we had brought all the wood that Isaiah is using to build a solar food dryer into the house to protect it from the elements. You’ll see it scattered about the house as we attempt to keep it away from the pooling and dripping water.
Pre-Peace Corps me would be astonished at how anyone could put up with that. I don’t post the video to make our situation here in Paraguay look more hardcore than it is. We have a pretty nice set up with most of the same luxuries we enjoyed back home, perhaps with slight modifications. What intrigues me is how much one can adjust, get used to, and accept.
When it rains, we know the spots that will start to leak first (in front of the bathroom and beside the refrigerator) so we put the bowls there first and go on with whatever we were doing. Everything is tile so water can be mopped up or squeegeed around and it dries. What this video didn’t capture is a dense line of black ants that were filing their way under our sink, trying to escape the rains. So Isaiah boiled some water to douse them with. Worked like a charm and we went back to watching 30 Rock.
When I think of how much patience I’ve gotten with disturbances like these rains, or those ants, or the 2 big tarantulas Isaiah killed in 2 days (one which must have shot his defense mechanism of little hairs into the air because Isaiah and I are still itchy – it’s a real thing, Google it.) I’m proud of myself. I’m impressed that I can deal with situations (albeit not without the occasional freak out or scream or desire to return to the safety of the States) that I never would have put up with before.
Adjusting and getting used to things can be very good. I hope my service here leaves me less sensitive and more tolerant. I’m amazed at how mind and body can be molded into whatever is necessary to survive. But it also has me reflecting on when simply getting used to how things are could be a bad thing. Getting used to feeling only halfway satisfied with a career, getting used to feeling only partly supported in a relationship, getting used to being out of shape or eating unhealthfully, taking it as a given that life is too jam-packed with activities and appointments and obligations.
In those situations saying así es, that’s the way it is, is ignoring the fact that things could be different. That the choice is often our own. We can clear out the junk from our schedules and refrigerators and make small changes to live the life we used to dream of having instead of staying stuck in the current rhythm of life just because we got used to it.
And even though I’m so proud I’m no longer brought to tears when my eyes land on a gigantic spider in our house, I can still make sure food is put away and cleaned up and knock down the webs that seem to form overnight. I accept the challenges necessary to grow my tolerance, but I acknowledge the part I play as well. When life keeps throwing lemons, sometimes we just need to open our eyes and step out of the line of fire. Because you can only enjoy so much lemonade.
There are some things I hope to never accept as my lot in life. I want to remember that it’s often within my control to make changes that lead to a happier me. And that a happier me is worth a little effort. But I also hope not to forget that a little rain, even inside the house, isn’t going to ruin my day.