I’ve been adjusting to my new surroundings in Montevideo, Uruguay, South America. My lifestyle hasn’t really changed, just the setting. It’s marvelous to make change even if one makes small changes. I must admit that my changes aren’t completely unworthy. There is new language that completely surrounds me and although I have been fluent in Spanish, the “de la Plata” accent is something unfamiliar. It’s fun to stretch my brain to take it in. An added benefit has been that I hear two languages most of the time. I get to hear both Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese so I get to practice both.
Food choices are a bit different but it’s amazing to see how other countries value their food production. My body feels a bit more alive as there are many healthy choices and much local food evidenced by the many, weekly farmer’s markets in the various neighborhoods.
In addition, I walk a lot more. There is an extensive public transportation system and less reliance on cars. It has been interesting to walk on stone reminding me each day of the history of place. This causes me to look both up and down. I watch my steps and then look up to take in the beautiful architecture of a lost epoch.
Learning where to get other needs met when there is no acquaintance to point the way is a lesson in resiliency. It has taken nearly a month to find the places one wants to wash linens or get one’s haircut not only because there are so many choices but also because one must intuit the place that makes one feel that it’s “right”. That comes from feeling the surroundings, getting into the rhythm of being, the cadence of life as it is in the new place, not just making a place be suitable, but understanding it as well.
All this reminds me of this month’s alignment principle to have clarity of purpose. My purpose is to fit into my new surroundings and not have them fit me. I am happy that many people have mistaken me for a local–that is until I open my mouth to speak! It is then that they realize that I am a foreigner. Although they ask me where I am from, some are surprised to find that my country of origin is the USA. It’s because I don’t have a USA accent when I speak Spanish, I have the accent of my Mexican heritage. Because of it, these beautiful Southern people have embraced me more as one of their own and for this I am deeply grateful.