my adrenaline is going back to its normal level.
my tear ducts have been thoroughly rinsed and cleansed with a profusion of tears. after all, anyone who knows me knows that tears are my first reaction to any type of emotion.
my heart has resumed its normal beat.
my soul is heavy but also thankful.
i’m safe. alive. and have all my body parts.
close to an hour ago i was robbed at the bus stop. i was waiting for the #16 to take me to Otorongo Plaza for my biweekly Spanish class. usually several people are waiting with me but today i was alone. i pulled out my phone and, as i was looking at my calendar, i suddenly felt something press up against the side of my head. a young man, with a very unfriendly face, motioned to me to give him my phone. i resisted and he pressed the object harder into my skull. i released the phone and then he grabbed my backpack.
i remember thinking i’m going to get killed. i’m dead. i’m gone. but dammit, he can’t have my backpack!
i wrestled with him a bit, tugging backpack back and forth, then i let go remembering (whether correctly or not) that he still had a gun.
he started running away and i followed him, shouting at him in english. all i could think about was that he had my spanish books and papers. i chased him around the corner, shouting, “Espanol, espanol!” He looked at me like i was crazy. i was crazy. crazy scared and crazy mad.
he tossed the backpack to his partner who took off down the street as i started pulling on his arm. he looked at me for a few seconds, as if he were weighing whether or not to give the phone back, then he took off.
i tried to follow, but couldn’t.
i freaked out. screaming, sobbing and getting more upset as i realized what was in the backpack. a credit card. more than $300 cash (i was to meet someone after the class to pay for something). keys to the house. all my homemade spanish flash cards.
two young women passed me on a motorcycle and stopped when they saw (or heard!) my distress. they asked if i had been robbed. i nodded and pointed to the men. they immediately turned their moto around and took after them. they chased them into feria libre (the huge market) and lost them.
they returned to check on me. a group of about thirty to forty other Ecuadorians surrounded me on the corner, all talking to me in Spanish and looking with such concern. several said, “policia” and nellie and rosie (the two women on the moto) said they would take me to the station.
we walked several blocks to the nearest precinct but didn’t get much accomplished because i spoke such poor spanish and they spoke very little english. after 10 minutes or so, we left and returned to the house. here we could communicate with the use of Susana, David and my landlady, who speaks very good English.
my two young heroines stayed at the house for about twenty minutes, refused any cash that Susanah offered them and, before leaving, invited me to meet them in the park tomorrow morning for dance therapy. i agreed, as i have been thinking of taking the class. [twice a day, the city offers free dance classes for exercise in all the city parks. tomorrow i join.]
david is currently canceling the credit card. my phone is lost but fortunately no important information was on it that can result in lost money. all my contacts are gone (i hadn’t figured out the cloud thing). we are out of a large sum of money but it is just money. i hate that i’ve lost all my spanish material…but that can be replaced. and i have my head on my shoulders and my life continues.
i do not like feria libre. i will not go there again. i will find another bus stop to take or i will go by taxi. i will carry little money and what i carry will be in my shoe. no more iphones. they are totally silly in this environment…IMHO. i will be more alert when i walk around, especially when i’m by myself. and, i will pray for those two young men.
i really will. the one who approached me had such emptiness in his eyes and hardness in his face. he couldn’t have been more than 21 or 22…and to be so angry, violent and aggressive at such a young age is such a waste.
i’m thankful for safety. for two unknown young women who were my heroines. truly. they took off on their motorcycle to track down my assailants without hesitating. they showed true compassion and kindness. i will meet them in dance class and i will get healthier. i have made two new friends. i experienced a crowd of strangers encircle me and surround me with concern and sympathy.
i have a landlady who made communication easier. a safe home to find comfort in and a husband who got to work immediately helping make things right.
just this morning i was reading about wisdom. and contemplation. and praying. and letting go of things that interfere with my focus on God.
this is a great opportunity to put what i’m learning into practice.
deeper than the adrenaline and fear, more profound than the shock and violation of the robbery is the assurance that i am not alone. that what occurs is not all that it seems. beneath my tears and my anger i experience thankfulness for safety, awareness that I was protected, and surprise at the goodness and kindness of strangers.
i have been robbed.
i’ve also had my eyes and heart opened with new awareness of all that is important.
i am so very thankful.
i just wish i had all my spanish flashcards.