domingo, mayo 07, 2006

This country makes me a better person.

I swear it’s true.

I sat in a coffee place for hours this afternoon editing teacher’s books. It was remarkably dull. When I noticed my butt was going numb, I knew it was time to pack up. I was nearly finished anyway. I really wasn’t in the best of moods. Before I stepped out, I decided to use the bathroom. I went to wash my hands. The faucet was damn near impossible to use. I had to push all my weight on it to get the thing going. Just then, I see a little girl walk out of one of the stalls and I think, there is no way she’s gonna be able to get that sink to work.

I should admit here that if this had been the US, I would have walked away before she could ask for my help. If this were Singapore, I would’ve chuckled to myself watching her shyly struggle knowing she'd probably never pluck up the courage to ask some foreigner to give her a hand. Yes, I’m that mean.

But not in Chile! This was no American/Singaporean brat! It was a cute little Chilean girl, probably around 8 years-old. Before she could even ask for my help I smile and say to her “¿Es dificil, no?” I reach over and push the tap. “Asi,” I say. I even got her a paper towel because they were placed in an inconveniently high spot for small children. I walked out of that bathroom feeling puzzled. I haven’t felt the urge to be this nice to people in my entire life. Not consistently, at least. And never to children! The atmosphere here – it changes me!