Category: talking to people

Patience.

Hey there!
I finally translated my essay “Geduld” . I hope you guys enjoy it.

 

 

“Please God, give me patience-but RIGHT NOW!”
-probably,we all once in a while-

….sadly that’s not how patience works.

Hello there!
I am finally translating this article.
The topic of this post is patience.
In my first post I had a quote from Mr. Freiherr von Knigge and said that I would write about each of the mentioned topics.

So let’s get started.

Wherever you’re going and wherever you’re traveling around, you’ll need patience. I tried to remember a situation when  I needed a lot of patience.
After a couple of minutes I remembered a whole lot of things, and even by the thought of it I got impatient.
But most of these situations had a good ending and also I realised that they weren’t too bad in the first place.
Honestly I think that I just got upset because I had the time for it. And in most cases it was good that I stayed patient.

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is only testing how long I can stay calm and patient. Of course no one is testing me, but life can be tough when yu have to wait in an endless qeue to get some food.
Well, that’s my temperament.

To be honest,often it’s also my own fault that I have to be patient. By messing up something else, not being prepared or too late…I see that this is my fault, but then in this very moment I blame anyone but myself.
The time I needed my patience the most was in Cuba (and by the way in Cuba it wasn’t my fault- I was super German: punctual, friendly,and surprisingly  organised!)

The first story that I thought of when I started writing this article was when I was waiting for the bus in Scotland.
It all started when I left Aberdeen for Cruden Bay.
(Cruden Bay is a super small village near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire).

Well on my way to Cruden Bay I stopped in another village where I had booked a B&B. As this B&B turned out to be 20 minutes away from the actual town (20min. with the car). I left the place quite early in the morning as the bus stop was supposed tob e a couple of miles away and the lady who owned the place wasn’t sure where this bus stop was. Either 3 miles up the hill or down the hill.
So I packed all my stuff and grabbed the way to heavy bag, to continue my journey to Cruden Bay.
First of all, I wandered about 3 miles in the wrong direction. ( I can tell you, this was sooo frustrating.) Until I met this one lady who was chasing her dogs. She gave me the advice that every scotish person likes to give:
„Go down the road girl. Down the road“
This sentence, coming together with a vague gesture in a random direction scared me already after my first two days there.
But this time, the choice of ways that I could go was pretty small. The only possible way I could go was the opposite direction.
So I just turned around and walked all the way back.

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Looked like some people also died on their way to the bus station.But I would have seen this if I didn’t had to walk and I find it has a wild and very typically Scottish charm .

Finally I saw an actual street AND a bus stop (!!).
Moreover there was even a bus, coming closer and closer tot he station, and finally stopping there.
During my long and painful walk through the wilderness I sort of forgot the reason why I was walking around.
I was so busy throwing my own pity party in the rain, that I totally forgot what I was looking for.
So when I first saw the bus all I thought was „oh a bus“.
And then, step by step, this information actually reached my brain and I started running. But it was too late. I was too far away and the bus only stopped for like two seconds.

When I actually started running, and screaming and crawling my armst he bus had already started to move again.

Well, I thought, what is wrong with having a seat and resting for 20 minutes and taking the next bus?
Nothing at all.
Tragically it turned out that this bus doesn’t come every 20 minutes but every two hours.
Plus, the bus stop had a roof but no bank to sit on.
The empty battery of my phone informed me that listening to music was not an option,neither was googling the direction tot he village ( so I could walk, if I wanted to- but I didn’t want anyway). The device died two minutes later.
It felt like the time was going backwards. It felt like waiting for hours, the time cringed like a tired and exhausted snail.
Then I saw a familiar person sitting in a car, driving towards the village.
It was the owner oft he B&B, she smiled at me happily and drove around the corner.
At this moment I was more than just tempted to completely wreck my stupid, old, idyllic bus station in the middle of nowhere. I was so frustrated, I could feel my blood bubbling in my veins.
The last couple of days I had some sort of bad luck and had to take some backstrokes and I began to be sick of it.
I didn’t have a bed for the night, nor a plan how to find one. And certainly I didn’t have an adapter either- which could have solved at least some of my problems. (It took me one more day until I found an adapter AND a place where I could plug- in my phone).

Luckily I am a super stubborn person sometimes and I refuse to take ebooks instead of real books with me. So my bag, was like a little library where someone had accidently also left some clothes.
Within minutes I was totally lost in the world of Mr. & Mrs Darcy, trying to figure out who the Murderer was ( I was reading „Death Comes To Pemberley“ by P.D. James). I was so absorbed from the book that I almost managed to miss the second bus too.
Thanks tot he Scotish kindness and the attentiveness of the driver I didn’t do so.
He actually drove back to the bus station and started tooting until he caught my attention.
I will never forget this. The wonderful person brought me ( more or less) to my destination and saved my day for sure!

————————

But anyway, this wasn’t even the story that I actually wanted to tell you. It just popped up in my miund right now. My patience was actually needed at an ATM in Cuba. There aren’t many ATM’s in Cuba, but ATM’s that actually work are a real rarity.
Also when you happen to find one that works, it doesn’t mean anything at all. It isn’t a promise that you can come back. Maybe the next day the machine isn’t working anymore. ATM’s aren’t really a thing you can rely on.

Please appreciate any working ATM that you might find there!

Well, this particular day, I was lucky enough to find one of these exemplars.
With a huge smile and a lot of euphoria I lined up behind the already waiting people.
I was having a great day. The sun was shining, I was on my way to meet some friends at the beach and I was about to get some money from the ATM.
As it was Cuba, this small group of people waiting to use the ATM grew. Andi t turned out to be a real happening. Cousins walking by that you haven’t seen in forever, and amigos that you wanted to meet later anyways, and just strangers hanging around.
Some family disputes were settled and some new were started.
Tragedies happened, break ups in the middle of everything and big love revivals. Sometimes Cuba is a lot like these super cheesy but still exciting Spanish TV shows, where you think this is just impossible. But it turns out that it is actually super possible and also likely.

IMG_6896Cubans are just the most relaxed people on earth.They are as calm as a mountain in the raging storm-no matter what, nothing can move the mountain.

Usually I would have really enjoyed this, but I was a bit in a rush.
Thanks to the non-existent internet connection and absent telephone net I had received a message 2 hours too late so that at this very moment I was already supposed to be at the beach.
The weather was amazing ( even for Cuba outstanding) and I couldn’t wait to get there. But I needed the money to pay the taxi driver.
Havana doesn’t have a beach, it only has the Malécon so you have to take an Almendrón or a bike (I had no clue where one could get bikes from) to drive to the beach.

Finally it was almost my turn. Only one person left until I could get the money and leave. I was already planning with whom of the taxi drivers that I knew could go there for the best price.
And how the hell I was supposed to find David and Pablo on an endless beach with hundreds of people? Calling was obviously not an option.
Sometimes the bank employees would let some of their friends use the ATM first, so they wouldn’t have to wait- but hey, why getting mad on such a beautiful day? Nothing in the whole wide world could bother me now. I was in Cuba, feeling totally relaxed and soooo close to the beach, that I could almost smell the sea already. All about to spend the whole day with amazing people who truly inspire me.
Absolutely nothing to complain about.

…Still. It is not really okay to let people wait forever and others can just go and get their moeny right away. This would never happen in Germany. This is so rude, isn’t it?
But I tried to remind myself of the Cuban easygoingness, that I had soo in my blood now. I was so relaxed, Balu in the Junglebook would probably be jealous. I mean, I was so relaxed that you couldn’t tell the difference between me and Cubans!
Only this annoying non-sense of ignoring people that wait….hmmpfh.

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Also this men was really taking his time. Some of the people behind me, had already given up hope and left.
He had been there for at least 15 minutes now, and I started to observe him. A couple of employees came and left, and others came to help him. They tried to explain him how to use an ATM. At one point I wasn’t sure if he spoke Spanish as he didn’t understand anything. But regarding his temper, he was obviously Cuban.

The German couple that was waiting right behind me, didn’t seem to care at all. They had a pretty obvious east German accent,enjoyed the old communistic flair and smiled at the overwhelming incompetence oft he man at the ATM. Also they were totally okay with the manager not caring at all. Just one or three ironic,arrogant and almost pitying comments on the Cuban education here and there. They seemed to be in total peace with themselves and the world, standing there in their old Birkenstocks.
I was getting more and more nervous. The bank employees in their tight skirts, high heels, see-thorugh blouses and obscene long nails were totally focussing on a discussion about a lipstick colour and let the man tap on the screen over and over again. The only problem with this: It wasn’t a touch screen.

Sometimes they glanced at us, either smiling or with an arrogant look in their eyes. A maximum of arbitrariness.
However, no one seemed to care and help the man at the ATM or at least inform him about the little detail, that this machine didn’t have a touch screen.
On the other hand, it’s not like they have touch-screens everywhere so he could have thought of this himself. Actually I still wonder how he got the idea that this old machine could have such a modern technology.

And then I saw it.
An incredible thing happened.
The man tried to put his credit card in the drawer-like thing were you take your money from. And then he kept on doing this and trying to get money. Again, and again and again- as my small nephew Charyan would say.
And that is when I lost it.
Screw this bloody serenity.
I stormed into the bank (which you aren’t supposed to enter when you are wearing a dress and flip flops). I didn’t care about this stupid dress code, these uniforms that the female employees were wearing were soo inapproriate, they could defenitely survive me and my „chancletas“.

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I was so mad that I could barely breathe.
I marched towards the first desk that I saw, with a „get-ready-because-you-are-going-to-die“ sort of look in my eyes.
Then I just handed this guy my credit card and other papers without saying a word.( Usually that’s the way how you get money).
And man, this guy was brave. He didn’t even look up, but kept on rummaging around in his food drawer.
Finally he stopped and looked at me. His face said only one word „boredeom“.
After another eternity he told me, that they would only accept originals. So no copy of the passport but only the real one.

Breathe Tamara. Breathe.
Breathe in. Breathe out.

And also he was eating right now so he couldn’t help me, plus he didn’t know how this was working anyway.
More breathing. Deeper breathing.
Trying not to get an asthma attack or to hyperventilate.
I gave my best.

But it was too late, I couldn’t hold it back anymore.
The words just came out like I had held them back forever.
I gave him a whole speech about thieves and the delinquency rate in Cuba in general and in particular. Including examples from friends and stats.
Until I came to an end after explaining him in detail how this whole thing with entering and leaving a country with and without ID works or doesn’t work. This guy knows everything about entry and leaving requirements now.
Not missing out on telling him how kind and helpful and productive the people at the other bank,two streets away were.
Then I asked for the manager.

Honestly, I feel a little sorry for him now.
But being in Cuba for a long time, isn’t exactly what you would call „easy“.

I got 20 CUC that day. That’s all they could give me.
Also I dodn’t make it tot he beach anymore.
But I defenitley trained my patience, plus I have a funny story to tell.
Which wouldn’t be the case if everything would have worked out, just the way I planned it.

Tamy talks to…Ernesto

New York ist natürlich eine glamouröse Stadt. Das Zentrum der Welt.
Hier trifft sich jeder der etwas von sich hält oder hofft mal etwas Großes zu werden.
Aber wie alles, hat auch New York seine Licht-und Schattenseiten.

Ich wusste vorher schon, dass in den USA extrem viele Menschen unter der Armutsgrenze leben und wirklich jeden Tag kämpfen, aber dass es eben auch eine sehr große Elite gibt.
Richtig schön gezeigt wurde mir das, als ich zum ersten mal über die 5th Avenue spazierte. Die Dämmerung hatte gerade eingesetzt und ein Freund und ich hatten den Tag im Central Park verbracht und wollten nun etwas essen.
Ich war beeindruckt und fast eingeschüchtert von dem was um mich rum geschah. Die großen Werbeplakate und vielen Lichter, Schaufenster die aussahen als wären es Kunstgalerien und Diamanten die versuchten sich gegenseitig in den Schatten zu stellen. Die Menschen eilig am hin und herlaufen. Als gäbe es irgendein Event von dem ich nur noch nichts wusste.
Das Geld konnte man praktisch riechen. Überall Designerklamotten, große Klunker und so viele Shoppingtüten, dass es wohl schwer war sie selber zu tragen. Und dann zwischen all dem bunten Treiben und dem Glitzer saß auf dem Boden, angelehnt an einer Mülltonne ein alter Mann. Bettelnd und offensichtlich frierend.
Nun sind Bettler ja nichts außergewöhnliches, aber von dem Anblick wurde mir auf einmal schlecht. Es war, als würden die Schönen und Reichen ihn gar nicht sehen. Als würden sie so etwas im Allgemeinen einfach ausblenden.
Da wurde auch nicht ausgewichen, sondern einfach über seine Sachen gestolpert.
Das wars dann auch mit dem beeindruckt sein. Ich war enttäuscht. Keiner der zahlreichen Menschen, die vor wenigen Minuten vermutlich noch Tausende Dollar für Handtaschen ausgegeben hatten, hatte ein bisschen Kleingeld für den Mann.
Und das Schlimmste:
Sie hatten nicht mal ein Lächeln oder einen kurzen Blick für den Mann.
Als hätten sie Angst davor, dass man sich an Armut anstecken kann.

Oder neulich zum Beispiel, da habe ich den einen Freund meines Mitbewohners kennengelernt. Ernesto.
Ernesto ist Anfang 20 und hat schon auf der Straße gelebt.
Er hatte sein Auto auf einem Parkplatz bei Burger King abgestellt, da es irgendwie kaputt war. Dann ist er auf einen  langen Spaziergang gegangen und hat bei Freunden in Brooklyn übernachtet. Das Auto hatte er bei Burger King stehen lassen.
Am nächsten Tag war sein Auto weg. Und mit dem Auto absolut alles was er hatte.
Die Polizei hatte es abgeschleppt. Das wären dann allein dafür schonmal ca. 200$ und 120$/Tag an dem das Auto bei der Polizei ist. Und woher nimmt man bitte einfach mal so 320$ wenn alles was man verkaufen könnte ( wie z.B. Computer und TV) im Auto liegen? Das geht schlecht.
Direkt am zweiten Tag in dieser Stadt also völlig am Ende. Damals war er 17.
Die Jugendarmut Unterstützungsorganisationen kennt er alle.
Er ist nicht verbittert, aber antriebslos und irgendwie hilflos. Und trotzdem ist er ein unglaublich friedliebender positiver Mensch geblieben.
Obwohl er mittlerweile eine eigene Wohnung und einen Job hat und immer noch durch verschiedene Organisationen subventioniert wird, ist er für jede Mahlzeit so dankbar, wie ich es bei noch keinem Menschen gesehen habe.
Zumindest bei keinem Menschen in der westlichen Welt.

Er ist aus Florida hergezogen um von seiner alkoholsüchtigen und cholerischen Mutter zu fliehen. Die große Stadt und den Traum leben. Im Gepäck war alles was er hatte.
Aber nicht nur das Leben auf der Straße musste er erleben, sondern auch die Diskriminierung.  Ernesto ist schwul und war damals Obdachlos. Keine gute Kombination. Wenn er Leute bat ob sie ihm ihr Handy ausleihen könnten damit er seine Mama oder Freunde anrufen könnte, hörte er kein einziges mal ein “ja”.
Und das nur, wie er sagt, weil er einen schwarzen Plastikbeutel über der Schulter hatte. Von anderen benachteiligten Jugendlichen wurde er verprügelt und bestohlen, immerhin war er ja ein “Fagott”, -eine Schwuchtel.
Woher sie das wussten, weiß er selber nicht, er hatte sich damals noch vor niemandem geoutet. Als Puerto Ricaner geht es Zuhause noch ziemlich konservativ zu.

Und Ernesto ist ganz sicher nicht der einzige mit so einer Geschichte.
New York kann ganz schön hart sein.
Und das Schlimme ist, dass ich ständig von Leuten höre, dass man hier mit Höflichkeit und Rücksicht nicht weiterkommt und sie so alle ein unmögliches Verhalten entschuldigen. Wenn alle mal einen Gang zurückschalten würden und ein bisschen mitfühlender und freundlicher miteinander umgehen würden, dann wäre der Tag für sehr viele Menschen leichter.
Höflichkeit hat nichts mit Wettbewerb zu tun. Dass es den hier gibt ist klar. Heißt aber nicht, dass ich nicht mal Grüßen oder Lächeln oder jemandem etwas Nachsehen kann-im Gegenteil, das ist deutlich stilvoller.

   

So, das wars schon wieder für heute!Bis bald!

Tamy talks to…Alejandro

 

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

-Bob Marley-

 

Hey there!
I have decided that my blog should be available in both, German and English, so right now I am still working on the translation of my first articles.

Today I want to tell the story of Alejandro.
I met him in Havanna.
Or actually it wasn’t meeting someone, like you meet people in Europe. He just appeared from somewhere.
David, Pablo and I were strolling around the streets looking for something to do. We had just finished Dinner and didn’t have any plans for the evening yet.
As always in the streets of Havanna we met some Amigos.
I don’t really know how it always comes down to this, but we ended up being quite a big group, singing together -Cuba.

Someone with a guitar joined us and soon we also had some rappers and salsa dancers.
Then I saw someone walking towards to our group. He wore a shirt with a jamaican flag and had dread locks.
He actually caught my attention, because he had a funny way to move.
The man walked like Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp as a pirate). Also the way he looked at us, was so much like Jack Sparrow, that I couldn’t believe it. His facial expressions were so strong that I first thought he made fun of himself.
It turned out he didn’t.
He just moved different than all the other Cubans that I’ve seen.
Then he started to sing. But he didn’t join the song that we sang at that moment, he started to sing “Get Up, Stand Up”.

And honestly I have never heard a better Bob Marley imitation.
To me it sounded even better than Marley himself.
Maybe it was the warm Cuban night and all of us together making music that made it so special.
At some point he grabbed the shirt he had around his hip and explained proudly that this was the uniform he had to wear for work.
Alejandro works for some company that provides Cuba with electricity, and he believes that he has been given a great power being able to provide the people with light.
He passed his shirt around and everyone had to touch the old grey material.
I have never seen a person that was so happy about the own job.
When he talked about it, it sounded like he was having the perfect job.
That he didn’t get paid very well (which he admitted), didn’t really bother him.
I don’t know if that was because he drank already a whole lot of “El material ” (Rum, that is in small cans, called “planchidos” and stronger than Tequila) or if he was just a happy soul.
I like to believe that he is happy.

  

The whole time he kept on explaining how much he admired Bob Marley and proud he was that the T-Shirt he was wearing showed the Jamaican flag.
Then he told us about his biggest dream.

Alejandro, 40 years old, dreams about writing Bob Marleys mother an email.

He wanted to thank her for raising a man such as Bob Marley and he wanted to wish her all the best and tell her that he was praying for her. That she had given the world so much no one could even come close. He wanted to explain her how much his music and his talent had saved his life and made it so much better.
He had already planned the last sentence: God bless you.
That was the cutest thing that I have ever heard.
And suddenly I felt a bit weird. I think it was shame. I was ashamed of being so ignorant and wanting too much, instead of being very thankful for the small things.

When we dream, we dream very big.
We dream of being the best at something, of earning good money and maybe also the perfect family life. We dream of spending a luxurious holiday in a 5-star- resort in Hawaii, but for none of us an email is a dream.

Surprisingly I never saw Alejandro again.
Which I thought was impossible in Havana.
But I will never forget him and I hope I can manage to dream more the way he does.
I know for him the email is a big deal, as he doesn’t have anything like a laptop- but still I think it’s dreaming in small steps and we could all learn from that sort of thinking.
Being happier would be easier, I believe.
Moreover his dream isn’t about him becoming anything more, but thanking someone else. Giving someone else a good feeling, making someone smile.
The sparkle in his eyes when he thought about his dream really touched my heart, and not only me but also my european friends still think about him a lot. Not because of his outstanding way of moving and acting, or his talent. But because of his way of thinking.

That was it for today.
I will translate this article into German very soon.
You will hear from me!