when people ask me what it is like to live here... it throws me off. like i've been here so long, that i've forgotten how different life is.
taking cold showers during hours-long power outages doesn't faze me. we take our propane tank to the gas station on the back of a motorcycle to fill it up when it's empty. and every morning i shove myself into a 1980 toyota corolla with 7 other public transit riders.
i forget sometimes about real cold, and wrap myself in a sweatshirt because it's only 65 degrees and a little misty. sometimes i avoid leaving the house at noon because the sun is so hot and even, i'm sorry to admit, carry an umbrella to stay cool.
my kids play baseball with the caps of 5-gallon jugs and broom handles and dance to reggaeton. they collect "tazos" from the bags of potato chips and drink coca-cola from glass bottles. when it's time to hang the clothes on the line, they're the first out the door to help, and the firsts to laugh when it starts to rain.
my husband teaches in a dilapidated old factory building, with floors caving in and the occasional ceiling fan that loses its arm. his students have never used a white board, had a computer class or watched a class movie. they do with what they have and the occasional extra - a science fair with cardboard posters and arts and crafts made from recycled boxes.
i teach in a university that has no admission standards. those who can pay, study. despite the high cost, we use chalk boards. the students commute. there are no dorms. and once i had a mom come to complain about her kid's grade and was not at all surprised by it.
so is it different, living here? sure. but it's not something to dwell on.
it's not for comparing or contrasting, for better or for worse. this is life.