Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chh-Chh, Psst!

"In the United States," I sternly warned my students, "we use those noises to shoo away pesky animals." A student had, in an attempt to get my attention, made the same noise men in the street make at me. Now was my chance. A cultural awareness opportunity had presented itself. "If you want to get a woman's attention," I pointed at my male students, "try speaking to her. Excuse me, Miss? Do you have the time? And start a conversation." They laughed. "Well," I shrugged, "just trying to help you woo North American women."
On my way home, I was propositioned with all the customary noises and calls, "Rubia!", "Bella!", "Americana!", and my favorite, "I love you!" Finally, after a particularly hot and dusty walk, I turned onto our quiet street.
"Hola, mi corazon. Hello, my heart," an older man with a heavy load called to me. I walked past him (as I've trained myself to do when I'm offered that kind of attention), without a word.
"You should greet the poor," he scolded me once I had passed him. Humbled, I turned, smiled and lowered my head in apology.
Perhaps my head is thicker than the average bear. Baha'u'llah is constantly reminding me--in mostly subtle ways--that I will never be able to pay back all that I've been offered in this world. And what do I know about anything anyway?

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