In April 2007 I moved out of a hostel and into my first apartment in Buenos Aires. I went to the supermarket, and found myself standing, for what seemed like hours, in a checkout line (I mentioned it here). How can they be so slow? I thought. I got agitated, tutted, hissed complaints under my breath in English (couldn’t do it in Spanish back then, you understand). I ended up abandoning the trolley and heading home minus the food I’d just spent an hour choosing; I stopped off at the instant service 24/7 kiosko for a couple of yoghurts instead. I announced to C. later, Well, I’m not bloody-well going to Supermarket-X again. Their service is soooo slow! He laughed at me. He knew what I didn’t, that there was nothing special and different about Supermarket-X. Oh no, nothing at all. Supermarket-X and Y and Z and every letter you can possibly think of, are the same. Fast-track and self-scan have not quite arrived in Argentina, you see. Not even three years on, in 2010. Add to that the facts that no-one ever has change or coins, people forget to weigh their fruit and veg and we all have to wait while they go back and do it, everyone wants their stuff delivered, credit cards need id… blah, blah, blah. Now, I never leave home for even the flashiest and priciest of Jumbos or Carrefours without a book in my bag and a healthy dose of patience, tolerance and acceptance in my attitude. And I must be changing because I can even manage to get home with a smile on my face — sometimes.
Last night while watching a fairly daft film about Noah’s Ark on cable (though I confess I found it terribly funny and sweet), I was reminded that when we ask God for something (or maybe when he knows we need the thing), he won’t give it to us directly, but he’ll give us a way to get the thing we ask for, and it’s up to us to take the opportunity. I don’t actually remember asking for patience… In 2010, my life has been a series of waits. I’m forced to conclude that God and his Universe know best.
I am delighted to report that one of my waits is over: I got the go ahead for printing my book. Pirotta Press Ltd (mine) is now a client of the fabulous Lightning Source with the capability to arrange for Happy Tango to be printed either in the USA or in the UK according to the order point’s location; I’m hoping that this will mean that my book can be listed on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and thus, be easily accessible to you guys all over the world; it still has to be set up of course, but I’m optimistic — other clever people have achieved it, and I am determined to follow in their footsteps! Now though, my book is in someone else’s capable hands, and I am waiting for a cover design before I can start the next phase, the marketing. I’ve got a bit of work to finish too: the 100ish words to go on the back cover. I’ve written them, but am still sweating on whether they truly convey the content and voice of the book. Aargh! It’s that horribly painful and pointless affliction, perfectionism, all over again.
Meanwhile, I’ve got a bit of time and so the question is how to use it wisely, and avoid any unnecessary fretting. Here’s five things I’m doing to make the most of my life situation, right now. If you feel like you’re waiting on something in your life today, perhaps they might help you too.
- Resting. I’ve worked hard on the book and I’m shattered. I’ve at last had the healing Chinese massage that I’ve been promising myself for months, and I’m plotting a trip into the Sierras of Córdoba. I’ve got space in my life for a short while and I feel like I want to expand it and luxuriate in it.
- Dancing. It’s why I came to Buenos Aires, and somehow, with Happy Tango in the bag (sort of) I feel the pressure is off on all things tango… I no longer have to think about what I’m going to say about it, I can just concentrate on enjoying it! I actually accepted a milonga tanda with a stranger at La Nacional on Saturday night, and it was the best milonga I have ever danced in my life: I think both our hearts were thumping afterwards. The music was electronic (and super-fun), my body was unbelievably relaxed (maybe it was the Chinese massage), and I think my friend TangoCherie might have been a bit concerned that I was going to explode with excitement. I confess I’m not the discreetest of people to share a table with at times — when it comes to celebrating great tandas, I do tend to bubble over like a cauldron of freshly-mixed magic.
- Exploring the city I’m in, all over again. The early autumn weather is crisp; Feria de Mataderos started up again after its summer break; the Rosedal park is full of roses in bloom… there is much to be re-discovered and discovered, and I have only two months before I will be in England for a while. Gotta make the most of it then, yeah?
- Doing at least one action from my ‘things I love list’, every day: coffee and yummy cake in Baraka, writing a blog post or writing anything at all, vacuuming the flat, riding on a colectivo, touching the plants on my balcony, buying a bargain dress or a flower to decorate a dress in the local markets… small is beautiful in every one of these special pleasures.
- Clarifying and growing my list of the things I want in my life (and I use the word things very loosely in this case). It’s over three years since I chose to live a path of the heart, and over a year since I chose to live. Bloody hell. Doesn’t time zoom when you are having fun? On my journey I’ve learned to dance, to speak a foreign tongue, to love two lands equally, to love. I’ve kept this blog going, met kindred creative spirits all over the world, written a book. I’ve found out that I can live in one room with another person and very few possessions and rarely have a cross word, sleep without a soft toy (sometimes), do absolutely anything. I’ve experienced much, but I want to adventure more. That’s why I have a dream list, an intention list, a ‘build the life I want’ list: ever changing, ever growing, full of passion, and these days, without limits.
This morning, feeling slightly impatient and wanting to find a way out of that, I started writing about ‘the wait state’, but I now realise, that it is not a wait state at all… just time. I can choose to endure it, or I can choose to enjoy it. A no-brainer I reckon. This afternoon then. The milonga of Alicia “La Turca” in La Ideal, my loyal milongueros who treat me like a princess, my friends, pizza after. Can waiting get any better? I reckon, no.
Then there’s the fact that I sometimes feel I waited 43 years for the moment that changed my life and gave me the chance to try this one. And in this life therefore, there can be no waiting, only living. I don’t think God is trying to teach me patience at all. I think he’s trying to show me how to enjoy the now.
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