Boy am I wiped out. After getting the smelly, stinky laundry started (got to love rainy season in Costa Rica – NOT! It makes my laundry REEK!) . . . and “quickly” sweeping and mopping the floor, because you know, it only takes a minute (wink, wink), we dashed out the door to run a few errands.
We are headed out of town for a “Parents and Littles” trip to the beach, complete with overnight stay at a hotel with a swimming pool and free breakfast in the morning. The kids are SUPER excited because first – we are all sharing one room and that is something they haven’t done in a VERY long time. Second – this is the first trip they have ever been on without their 2 oldest siblings. And third – we agreed to watch the new “Lego Batman Movie” with them tonight in the hotel. I don’t blame them, this is a pretty exciting trip for them, but first things first . . . the errands.
First I needed to run and get propane so we can wash and dry our clothes when we get back from the beach. Due to high electricity prices, Paul installed a conversion kit to our dryer, so we don’t use electricity to dry our clothes but propane. I will be honest, as I always am, it FREAKS ME OUT to turn on the propane. I still remember a house in Utah blowing up because of a gas leak. Paul just giggles at me but I need to learn more about propane so I don’t let it freak me out so easily.
But to make things even freakier, I have to drive about 30 minutes away to get our propane tanks filled about every 2-3 months. We have 2 tanks, so I can make the gas stretch awhile, but driving to the facility, waiting in an a line for an hour and a half, and then driving back with FULL TANKS, simply put, exhausts me. Well, that is what we need to do today.
(Remember this place kids? I hope you always will. What adventures we had coming here. Remember stopping to get a steak lunch because the propane company was closed for lunch? Who has a steak for lunch? We did!)
Tender mercies were in my pocket because not only did we arrive at the facility and NO ONE was in line, my tanks were filled and back to me before I could even scrape up the cash to pay for them. I actually didn’t have enough money to pay for the already FILLED tanks. THANKFULLY I found enough coins laying in my purse and throughout the car to pay 7,155 colones out of the 7,380 colones that was due. The male attendant, hidden behind black-out glass, was kind and thoughtful and let me get away with not paying the extra 225 colones. I did offer him a lone quarter I had floating in my wallet, but he couldn’t accept it. He simply said “It’s okay.”
I know, that may seem like A LOT of cash to have the man wave, but 225 colones roughly comes to 40 cents. When he handed back the quarter, I laughed and said it was all I had, but it could have helped. He then asked if he could keep it for a souvenir. THAT made my day!
I promised to bring 500 colones the next time I came, to make due on what I owed, but he simply said to have a nice day. Oh bless those kind men. They sure make a FREAKY experience a blessing for me in the end. They are so kind and helpful. They have been gentlemen every time I come and even carry my propane and place it in my car for me. Oh how dear those men are to me. May Heavenly Father bless them for their kindness and service to me today.
I think the BIGGEST reason I am so grateful to these men is that I am not a very attractive woman, at least in comparison to how they may see “American White Women” in movies or on television, and yet, they treat me with respect and courtesy. It makes my day when people treat me like a smart, kind, valued woman, instead of a frumpy, out of shape, overweight “mother.”
I hope they feel I treat them with the very same respect. I don’t look down on them for what they do and I talk with them, not at them. But why oh why do I worry what I look like and think people treat me differently because of how I may look to them? If we were honest, I don’t know that I am the only one who worries about this?
In looking over the other errands I ran today, I really do see that I have a “little judge” in my head, constantly evaluating me and all those who are also a part of my day. For instance, I stopped and got gas and asked the attendant to check the tire pressure, as well as fill up the tank (we don’t GET to pump our own gas here – they have employees to do that for us). He asked what pressure I wanted for my tires but I couldn’t find the answer online. He asked if I would open my door? I did and was surprised to see that right there, on the inside of my door, it shows EXACTLY what pressure is needed for my tires.
I literally shouted for joy and told the man “GRACIAS!!!” He smiled so big and the look in his eyes registered that he had helped me learn something that was helpful and true. He felt great and so did I . . . but then I looked in the mirror and wondered why he was being nice to me? Isn’t that sad. He was nice because HE WANTED to be nice. Not because I earned his niceness with how I look.
Next errand. . . After our trip to the propane facility, we drove over to PriceSmart (our local Costco/Sam’s) for a few groceries. Our cart was filled and the lines were long but we were doing fine on time, so I wasn’t in a hurry. An older man, “grandpa age,” got in line behind me with only 2 items in his hands. I turned and asked him if he only had 2 items. He said yes, so I motioned for him to go ahead of me.
The look on his face was of profound gratitude and thoughtfulness on my part. His grandson then joined him with one more item. I wondered if they would just ignore that fact or if they would say something to me. The grandfather actually did. I was delighted. He turned to me and said, “Oh, we have one more item?” To which I smiled and said, “That is no problem.” He turned around and patiently waited for his turn, as if with a feeling of peace and comfort that he was given a gift to be next in line.
I wondered what he was really thinking. Was he shocked that a “white woman” would let him in line ahead of her? Was he pondering the “old days” when people took the time to help and be courteous to one another (I know that I do)? Was he not thinking anything at all? Or was he thinking he got his way because he had thought he deserved to go ahead of the lady with the FULL cart? Or was he thinking, “Oh, plump white women are always so friendly?”
And there it is . . . the image thought. It always seems to make its way into my mind.
Last case in point . . . the dry cleaner. I had dropped off my dress a week and a half ago and felt an urge to go and get it immediately. So, even though the traffic was crazy and I was tired, I drove out of my way to retrieve my dress, only to find that the dress was missing its most important feature . . . the beautiful, decorative buttons on the sleeves.
Sadly, I felt someone stole them. I was upset and disappointed and felt taken advantage of . . . again, because I am a “white woman” so she can always buy herself new buttons? What does a Christian woman do in these moments?
Well, I already felt the price of dry cleaning the dress was RIDICULOUS ($20), so I wasn’t worried about not coming back to that store again but I did feel it was my responsibility to confront them on the matter.
Thankfully they seemed genuine and said that the buttons were left at the plant and would be returned and reapplied to the dress . . . but that means I must make the trip once again to retrieve the dress. I’m not happy about it but if they fix it, then we shall see what happens. But I’ll be honest, in this moment I didn’t CARE what I looked like, nor how “rich” I may seem to them, nor that I am from the USA. I trusted a company to take care of my belongings and they didn’t do what they said they would. So, they better fix the problem or I won’t be returning again.
The experience did ruffle my feathers, until I had a chance to relax and decided to check out the latest video of one of the only Vlogs I watch called “Knorrp and South.” I love the adventure this family is on and I secretly wish I could do it with my family too . . . but our adventure is pretty awesome, so I won’t compare nor complain. It was a blessing to hear what the mother had to say today and I urge those who are struggling with their body identity vs. how they feel inside of their body, to check this video out.
I REALLY enjoyed her take on being real and accepting the battle we face each day to be authentic. I know I strive to be authentic on this blog, as well as with my closest family and friends, but I suppose I need to also be authentic when I leave my home and enter “the public.” Lessons learned today for me . . . look for the good – it is all around you, trust in what you know to be right, and take a chill pill when others don’t live your truth but stand up for your truth anyway.
Thanks for listening,