Hasta mañana

Hasta mañana

Author


Gloria Zhang

09th of March, 2020

Travel Journal


“Hasta mañana” probably isn’t the most exciting sentence for me to say to my Spanish teacher every school day, but I’ve been grateful to be able to say it to the kids in Bastimentos community center the past four days. I enjoyed and loved spending time with the them. They give us unconditional trust and love, have the most adorable and healing smiles, hug us and hold our hands…… I’ve learned so much from them, maybe even more than I’ve taught them.
Sofia was a girl I just met today. She simply came to me, held my hand, and asked me to follow her. She got on a bike and told me she likes “riding bicycles”. I told her “me too” without thinking too much. Sofia looked at me in the eye in such a sincere way and smiled:”So we are the same. You are like my sister.” I was very touched and felt so connected to her. It was such a special and new experience to me since I don’t have any siblings. She also told me she had “plenty” sisters and introduced me to her uncle and aunt, her mom and her friends.
Sofia and I raced, she rode the bike and I ran, from one end of the island to the other like seven times. She would laugh and shout “Gloria gana…but not everyday!” when she went past me; and she would encourage me by saying ”you are doing good, Gloria!” Fortunately, Sofia finally stopped in front of her house before I was completely out of breath, and told me to wait, and then her little face disappeared behind the door. I stood in the middle of the road and wondered what she was doing as I watched her grandpa sitting on the porch on second floor playing guitar. She came out with her own bike, which was pink and white and brand new, just exactly the kind of bike a girl at her age would always want to ride. I was shocked when she gave it to me and said “You ride this one”, and struggled to get on the seat, which is as high as her shoulders, of the old bike, which doesn’t even have brakes and a stand. She completely trusted me to hold her bike and let her down whenever she says “stop”. And she would say both “thank you” and “gracias” to me every time I help her turn around or get down. Sofia speaks a little English, and I speak a little Spanish, but we always find ways to understand each other and share our happiness.
Another kid I got really close to was a boy called Victor. His eyes were chocolate brown, bright, and clear. Even though he only knew me for two days, he hugged me and held my hand when he saw me, and gave me roses and hearts made of play-doh. I remember when we were talking, he just climbed on the chair and turned his back to me. The next second he fell backwards towards me, trusting that I would catch him.
Victor asked when are we leaving, and when I said tomorrow is our last day, I can see the disappointment on his face for a second then hope coming back again: “Are you ever coming back?” It was heart-breaking for me to say:”I’m sorry, I don’t know.” He hugged me and said:”I will miss you.” I was very sad not only because I probably won’t never see him again, but also because how used to he is to people coming and leaving that he just simply accepted it instead of asking us to stay like most kids at his age would do.
It’s hard to believe that we are leaving after tomorrow, but I will keep today in my memory. I will remember the tropical fruits and pancakes we had in the morning and the freshly-made melon smoothie and fish taco I had for dinner; I will remember the riptides on the Wizard Beach and the muddy hike it took us to get there; and most importantly, I will remember being so deeply trusted by the kids and having such a strong bond with them.

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