Like the U.S. and Canada it is difficult to generalize countries culturally. People are different wherever you go. And as easy as would make it to say things like “all Missourians are skeptical” and “all southerners prefer ‘sweet tea’”, it’s just not possible to categorize most of us completely by region.
What, in my travels come closest to a cultural norm …. one that doesn’t deviate much … that is the concept of “Nica Time”. I live in a world that “4 o’clock” means anything from 4 to 5 to maybe even 5:30. This, of course, is unless you use the words “en punto”. Which can either mean on the dot or o’clock depending on context. So if it is an appointment for business or health care then most of us show up on time. But if it’s casual and relaxed….. nica time takes effect.
I tell you this not to complain because I am pretty used to it by now. It doesn’t bother me and I have even shown up late a couple of times myself. All this to say there are times when a whole class is late except for maybe one student. And it is in those times I get to know some of my students better. More one on one time.
One such event happened last week. It is a more advanced class, so the first student to arrive is one of my high schoolers. We were able to talk for about 20 minutes before anyone else arrived.
The first thing she said was, “I am glad you are feeling better”. She asked me which was worse …. the parasite or the wreck. I told her that was difficult to say because I physically felt worse for a long period of time. But I also said that the wreck took away my right hand for 6 weeks, so that was bad as well. She looked at me and nodded and said she understood. She also said that her family prays for me, especially when I was sick.
Then she looked at me and asked me the real question on her mind. She said, “when we had all the trouble, then you were sick, and then you had the wreck”. “Why didn’t you go home,” she asked. “My brother’s boss closed the restaurant and went home. My mother’s boss, where she cleaned house, went home. Many, many of the foreigners went home. Why didn’t you go home?”
I just looked and her and said, “because I am home.” She smiled and giggled and said that I was crazy. Just about then two more students showed up and then another and so we started class. I looked over at my student and just looked at me said, “thank you”.
So thanks to Nica Time, I got to know a student a little better and she got to know me. All I can say to you is thanks as well. Without your prayers and support, I could not have stayed in my adopted home. I could not minister to these precious young people. But because of you, I’m here. Thank you.
Dios los bendiga