Man’s Best Friend

As the dust has just begun to settle on the 2014-2105 school year – I realize only in bits that the year was such a jam -packed one full of exciting achievements, but that came at a cost, a cost of seeing this past school whip by so fast while I found myself in the throes of so many projects, seeing them through did take so incredibly much time.  Often, when things slow down you realize what a sensational year it has been, but then I find myself, now in my third week of Cub Camp ( Reading and Writing summer camp for 4-6 year olds) rewarding but also yearning for the first few weeks where I can see the days becoming empty and allowing my paths to take me where I want to go, no necessary plans for designation required.  In the middle of all these reflections, you as everyone knows, there is always room for mishap.  Such is the tale that I must tell.  I think it might have begun the day I finally (a good outcome)  fixed the side mirrors on my truck thanks to the recommendation of David Kitchin, and yet, I did forget about the hole in my right pocket which I realized was the way the 200 pesos that used to be there disappeared!  This truly seemed to be the precursor for a spiral of bad chain events that are known to occur off and on.

My cats fight, and especially the kitten that fell four stories and has adapted and healed well from that injury and yet, there is a reacquainting process of the two females to get used to each other all over again, until that truce happens, truly they are at war.  In once such epic battle, I separated the two and of course, Dewey’s claw became lodged in my left back hand, undoing it and shaking it off among the other war wounds from pas cat epics in our household.

The next morning, the epic battle was a little different, and over the course of the next 3-4 days, my hand resembled a helium balloon, something that you would see over the skies of New York during the Macy’s parade, not even human really.

In the middle of this twits of events, I went out, walking the dogs, hand definitely swelled and unable to really hold a grip, and after a long pass of walking and as we neared home, of course the inevitable.  My keys – no where on me.  Of course you get that sweaty nervous prickly feeling along your back when you know you just might be in big trouble.  I was, I walked the route I had just been on no less than 6 times and no sign of my Pirates lanyard, keys within the last hour – gone without a sign.  I also realized, kind of non-related to my keys, this was a vote in the direction of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  No less than three years ago I sent my Kendall Pirates Jersey to be dry cleaned, (a great gift from my friend Umar) – only to have the cleaners be unaware of where it went when I received my clothes back, that was a mistake to let it go into the general dry cleaning round up – so if anyone one of you happen to know how I can reobtain a Kendall Pirates Jersey, please send that my way?) – and now my Pittsburgh Pirates lanyard – gone – hmmmmm I still have my Pittsburgh Pirates wind jersey and plan on not letting that out of the house as you hear people say, third time is the charm.

As you might have guessed, no keys to enter the apartment building, my dog walker did have a set but the actual person walking my dog lived 3 1/2 hours away, that would not work on a 11:00 PM night now, and on top of that, how would I get into my apartment to get what I needed for summer camp tomorrow? (A Wednesday).  Finally, with the light being able to be seen in my apartment but no way in, and three dogs in tow, and talking to my dog walker, (while my hand felt like a 3 million pound part of the Statue of Liberty) – I was offered to stay at my dog walkers, with my dogs, until morning when the dog walker assigned to my apartment came at 7:15 AM and I could get copies, get in, etc..  This would mean a day off just to try and take care also of my hand, my keys, and getting copies made.  However, who else would let me crash at their place in a time of emergency with three dogs?  Really?  – Walking Dog and Andres has truly saved me in so many tight spots and done  things way beyond the call of duty, often not related to walking dogs or dog care, that simply lets me enjoy and be optimistic in the darkest of moments.  There are few organization, few friends, and few individuals willing to keep the power of optimism up when you are in the full octane mode of negativity, and yet, those friends that do so rub off on you just as if a scene of friends that bring negativity begin to rub off on you after a time.

Add onto that Andres from Walking Dog taking me to a great puesto, Annie Veggie,  on Saturday and tasting perhaps one of the best vegetarian yet taste-like meat meals ever at Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 11.00.51 PMAnnie Veggie, and I have to give it to him.  His ability to go the extra mile to help someone, as well as his care and love of the dogs under his care, of course make his service the best in Mexico City, but also a great friend to have to provide the pickup when you feel things pile on and in the best of moments you have no solutions amid the anger you feel.

It all ends well, I obtained two sets of keys, for myself, for the neighbors who looks after the apartment building, and finally a doctor came and thanks to four HUGE shots and still meds coming in to fight off any lingering signs of the cellulitis I had in my hand – things have gone back to normal as far as size, strength and feeling, as as I walked home tonight saying goodbye to a good friend leaving Mexico for the states at the end of his career here in Mexico, I realize, how incredibly lucky I am and I wish I would realize that in the middle of events of crisis to be able to de-scalate from the apprehension and stress I feel the moment it is occurring.  There is a calmness when you are so tired – and finally, from being so tired from simply what could be stress, weariness, or frustration, that takes over and just lets you go about working things out until solved.  For me, I wish it did not take me to get to the point of exhaustion to calmly eliminate problems one at a time instead of hurtling at them full steam ahead.

It is a pretty large learning curve, for example when I cam to Mexico, I needed to break away from the disappointments and stress I have been internalizing for several years.  When I did become a little lower high strung with worry, I still found some aspects of anxiety would remain, but not nearly as they had been a whole package.  For that feeling, there is no single word that can express the relief of not having to expect bad outcomes when you just convince yourself to work through them.

I realize in small moments still, even after becoming a much calmer person in the face of opposition and conflicts, that life is just that way.  I have a long way yet to fulfill my goal to be very calm and unaffected by the worry that might sway back and forth in random moments, but the key is to be thankful for the basics comforts that push you past the current trials you  might go through.

In coming across this inspiring video of a father/son GoPro trip, you realize how much ability we each have to make life just simply better all around.  I still am so thankful for the amazing students, colleagues, family, and friends that make my life even better every day.  Even in the throes of frustration, there are so many moments of joy, the strength to find those very moments allows you to laugh at those frustrations and make you even stronger.  I am finding out every day how much better my life becomes due to how I can help others- and finding opportunities to do so.  I can think of no better place for this to occur than in Mexico!

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
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