This anecdote starts with a bus and ends with a bus.
Two weeks ago, I stood waiting at the bus stop down the street from the museum where my internship is located. The bold colored patterns a girl’s shirt caught my artsy eye. A packed bus came chugging down the road moments later. We all boarded and I ended up standing right next to her
Awkwardly eating my last strawberry, I tapped her on the shoulder and complimented the shirt. We talked and strained against the force of the overwhelming, undulating bodies around us. Then she told me about a place called Turrialba, asking if I had ever been. The more she described it, deeming it “tranquilo” which is the tico way of saying “chill,” I knew I had to go.
Yesterday, I jumped on a city bus to the bus terminal, and from there I climbed aboard a cramped coach bus. A lady with a small toddler sat down next to me. I watched her feed her son with such tenderness. She had the facial expression that often reminds me of the phrase: ‘everyone has pain.’
The day was waning. Bleak light and shadows cast by the passing surroundings danced over us. I looked at her and I looked outside the window. When I looked back over her son was off her lap. She sat still. Her eyes were heavy and I felt myself grow tired too. My eyes eventually did fall a few times during the trip, each time opening to a slightly darker set of moving silhouettes and mountains.
I awoke and arose to follow the distant sound of worship music this morning. I got dressed and ready, and then made my way to the reception desk. The owner told me the building was just around the corner.
I have a habit of crying during church services. Even on days when I am on top of the world, something about being around G0d-minded people makes me feel really transparent and vulnerable. The curtains blew in waves that emulated a graceful dance-like moves of bodies. I reminded myself to keep breathing. I focused on my art journal and the present moment, the place where I wanted to be, the place where I was on that cramped bus several weeks ago, ultimately knowing that it all would soon pass and be a memory.
Tú, Dios mío, eres mi pastor;
contigo nada me falta.
2 Me haces descansar en verdes pastos,
y para calmar mi sed
me llevas a tranquilas aguas.
3 Me das nuevas fuerzas
y me guías por el mejor camino,
porque así eres tú.
4 Puedo cruzar lugares peligrosos
y no tener miedo de nada,
porque tú eres mi pastor
y siempre estás a mi lado;
me guías por el buen camino
y me llenas de confianza.
5 Aunque se enojen mis enemigos,
tú me ofreces un banquete
y me llenas de felicidad;
¡me das un trato especial!
6 Estoy completamente seguro
de que tu bondad y tu amor
me acompañarán mientras yo viva,
y de que para siempre
viviré donde tú vives.
Salmos 23 (Pslams 23)
I sat in the vacant lounge of the hostel like it was my home on the night I arrived and read several Psalms in the Spanish translation of the bible. Admiring the surroundings, holding chamomile tea, I knew I was in the right place and I knew it was worth the venture although I had a completely different idea for the way it would pan out:
A friend or two would accompany me. We would share a modest room. We would look out for one another. We would take pictures and buy fresh, local food from vendors.
When I left Turrialba, it was similar to the state I was in when I first arrived: alone and pensive. The day was waning once more. The woman next to me, though childless this time, was deep in thought and just as drowsy as I was. We embarked back up the steep hill like the bus was weightless. We wound around the corners that we had trekked down in utter darkness just the night before. The only difference was the fact that there was just a bit more breathing room between my knees and the seat in front of me.