Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I miss this experience. I miss riding triple on an old moto without helmets on rocky roads winding the mountains of northern Nicaragua, skidding around and thinking that we were certainly going to crash. The guy on the back of the moto in this photo, Leonardo, would always drive really fast just to scare me, treating potholes like ramps and getting some "air," while I screamed at him to slow down.

Their intent was always to freak out the foreign girl. There was a strip of our daily travel that was deep in the mountain forest, and we could always hear the howler monkeys as we passed. My coworkers were determined to convince me that the shrieks actually belonged to gorillas and there were incidents of them emerging from the forest to attack passing vehicles.

I miss being squeezed between two of my male Nicaraguan colleagues in our beat up truck, as they competed for the other earbud to my Ipod and over who could give the best compliments. I miss afternoons spent trying to get our truck up muddy hillside roads, which requires a lot of initial speed and two hours of up . . . and slow slide back down. I miss having to submit to the circumstance around me, forced to accept that I had no control over the situation and may as well find a comfortable tree stump to sit on and wait.

I'm so bad at letting go of my false sense of control when I am living in the U.S. I have this mentality that it's my country, my territory, and so I should have greater control over my circumstance here. I am surrounded by all of this technology that ensures I get what I want, when I need it, and exactly how I like it. If I have a problem, there is a number I can call, a service I can solicit, a quick solution. If I am lonely, I can just pick up my phone, text someone, and create a sense of human interaction.

We have successfully made human existence less vulnerable to the whims of the universe, but I can't help but think we've lost a lot in the process.