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Ousted before invited in

June 25, 2009

There is an interesting tng that happens in the parks here, the public parks, I mean. Public parks are obviously different from private parks within the walls of an aparment building since those at the parks are your neighbors. People are generally friendly and more willing to talk, even if it is to just say hello. Public parks on the other hand are just a random gathering of people, be it nannies, grandparents, fathers or mothers and the children they are “watching”. I say that with quotations because if any of you out there are parents or nannies or grandparents you know that many children are set loose into the park and allowed to do whatever they want, even if that means taking your children’s toys. Yes, this happens at the private parks as well, but we moms who are neighbors generally make our children use this moment as a time of sharing and encourage all the children to play with everyone’s toys. Plus, the moms who have good relationships with others scold their friend’s children when they see them being bad and the mother doesn’t. What are friends for, right?

Anyway, I took DD to a public park this morning in order for me to get a bit more exercise and for her to get to swing. We don’t have swings at our PP. As we enter I see the usual gathering of women who take up all of the shady area in the park (to be fair, it is only an eighth of the park that is shaded) by spreading all their kid’s toys out. I have seen them before and they are pretty much not friendly, a rarity in this country. Amongst the group are women of all kinds: those who interact with their kids and those who don’t, those who are the child’s mother and those who aren’t. Anyway, they have never said hi or allowed DD to play with them so I now ignore them. I have better things to do.

As we entered I was talking to Sofia and heard someone call out (translated), “Hey, you! Girl! Hey! Girl! MISS!”

Once I heard the “MISS”, which came from a different voice, I turned around. The woman told me to be careful because they had seen wasps near the swings. I said thank you and continued to the small patch of shade at the other side where I wanted to leave the stroller. I was irked by the way they tried to get my attention. It is strange that someone so young is a mom here, especially a mom who doesn’t work outside the home, so their calling me “girl” made me immediately think that they believe I am a nanny. I guess I shouldn’t be upset about that, and I’m not. But why couldn’t they be a bit more friendly and come over to tell me instead of yelling? Needless to say there were wasps at the far corner at the top of the swing set where it looked like someone had thrown orange juice. I placed DD in the far one and the wasps could have cared less. Unfortunately the city cleaning crew came and told me they were going to rope off the area and clean the swing set. So I had to take her out again, which was not a popular move. Since she didn’t want to do anything else but swing I finally got her back into the stroller and we walked farther to another park. I was soothing DD as we walked out, telling her we were going to find swing and had the selfish ability to also mention us finding nicer people out loud. I love that no one speaks English here.

And find nicer people we did. As I pushed DD on the swing I actually had an adult conversation with another mom she was also pushing her son on the swings. It was short lived but nice. And it saved my self-confidence a bit.

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