Legends say that hummingbirds
float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Like a
hummingbird, we aspire to hover and savor each moment as it passes, embrace all
that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s
delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every
personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest
creation. –Poem on a greeting card
that a friend sent to me.
“Ciao!” Felipe greeted me, the Italian fellow recommended to help me
search for a new place to stay.
began day two of apartment searching without phone or vehicle. I borrowed a
bike which helped accelerate the process (the word accelerate being used loosely in a country that unanimously agrees
there is always tomorrow.)
Felipe, also on bicycle, weaved our conversation from books to travel
to science to family values to language like one of the bright meshed
Guatemalan hats I had seen earlier at the market. He told me that Italian is
the most beautiful language—a sweet dialect because every word ends in a bowl (“vowels” is what he was saying,
but with the thick accent I kept wondering, a
bowl of what?)
He explained how he had always wanted to be a writer, but his parents
made him study science until he was spitting up science words like a
regurgitated lunch. Similar to getting sick after eating an avocado and even
though it wasn’t the avocado that made you sick you still never want to see or
taste one again because the memory has already been associated. He never wanted to read or write again. However,
Felipe was certain that because I am a writer and he wanted to be a writer at
one time in his life then we must have similar taste. Could this have been his
way to rent me a place for a week or two?
Upon learning my story and what I write
about, Felipe’s shoulder’s dropped, but his spirit remained light, “The Karma
is giving back to you…probably you lost something great. So the Karma wants you
to have something good.”
I smiled, keeping an eye out for potholes that line the dirt road. I could use a little good, I thought.
“Belize is not a perfect place,” he said. “I have to remind some tourists that this is not Cancún. Last week a married couple badgered me for
a piece of hair in the shower. Our cleaning girl is pregnant. She can’t see
what’s in the bottom of the shower! If you want Cancún,
don’t come here!”
I shook my head nervous to disagree as his arms were flying and vowels
were dancing at the end of all his words, including the English ones.
“You can’t please people who don’t want to be pleased,” he said while
marching me up to a little bungalow on the beach. There was a rusty refrigerator
in the corner, a Bunsen burner on the counter and a double bed in the center of
the octagonal shaped studio. I reminded him I needed a place for four and we
Our excursion concluded after visiting at least eight rental units. I told my guide that I’d need to
consult my mom before making a final decision. Felipe checked his spiral
pocket-notepad, flipping back and forth between the same eight pages, “Blah,
blah, blah…I have a night here…two at the other place, blah, blah, blah…and a
few nights there,” he said as if my earlier Italian lesson about bowls and
vowels was enough to translate the language of property rental.
The idea of packing and repacking a half a dozen times before going
home dissuaded me more than any hair in a shower. However, somehow I knew that
Felipe’s version of Italian would have a poetic way to answer my objections. “Whenever
I go on a vacation,” he said, “I love to stay in many places. It seems to make
my vacation longer. Just think a
few days here, a few days there…blah, blah, blah…you’re going to have a years
worth of time for your stay!”
We exchanged laughter and said “Buona Notte!”
Sometimes the problem with too many choices is too many choices. I
passed the bakery on my way back and could smell the freshly baked banana
muffins tracing the air as if spelling out yet another fanci-filled language.
And I wondered if sometimes we are presented queries that have more than one
answer. There are many ways and multiple places to savor life.