Black and white? The sister who ate my sweets and the thief who returned my jacket.
There I stood on a Monday morning with my candy without a name in front of the basket in the comunidad. Friday morning the basket had been all empty when I arrived to put my daily candy-contribution in, but now it was filled with a lot of sweets… and all with a name on it! They didn´t tell me that! (Which is actually not very surprising: communication here is at least as hard as in Holland and everywhere else.) ¨Gladyyyys! Do you have to write a name on it if you put something in the basket?¨ Gladys looks at me a little confused. ¨Claro! Or else your amigo secreto (secret friend) doesn´t know what´s hers or his!¨ Oh no, I thought that all the sweets of the whole week would be collected and then shared on Friday at our little christmas party. ¨You didn´t tell me that… I don´t know anything about secret friends, I´m from Hollaaand!¨ I say with a blink of my eye. Poor Gladys, she´s been working like crazy and since last week she uses every opportunity to remind us that we should make and write a christmas card for our amigo secreto, so everybody will surely get something… but she just forgot the mention the name-thing to me. And poor Ruth, who´s name I picked: she hasn´t recieved anything now for two days! I also went to check if there was something with my name in de basket, but there wasn´t.
For five days there isn´t anything there for me, but I put in the sweets that Ruth deserved for five days, with her name on it. Wednesday is the last day we´re supposed to do that, and when I enter the comunidad there are a few volunteers and sisters there. The sister-director Ofelia starts laughing when the mystery of my sweets without a name becomes the topic of the conversation. ¨Ha! Oh, I ate those! I thought: hey, the basket is almost empty and there´s no name on these ones here, and so…¨ she admits. ¨Oh, but I did share it with Brendan!¨ And then I remember that Brendan came home that Friday stating: ¨I´m lucky with my amigo secreto: it´s Ofelia and she gives great sweets!¨ Right. Never trust a nun with your chocolate :).
In the end, the whole secret amigo thing was a big success: during the climax on Friday I recieved a very laborious handmade card from a teacher from the school, she said she´d like to read to me what she wrote (aaah), and she also brought me a whole bag of sweets because she hadn´t had time to put anything in the basket that week. (again: aaah!)
I wrote some christmas cards to, although I usually don´t, one of which was for hermana Ofelia. It may be true that she´s only been our new director for about a month now and we hadn´t spoken very much since she arrived, but she convinced me of her capability and wisdom by using as a central statement in the very first meeting that we should see the kids as our examples for their creativity and fantasy, their resilience, enthusiasm, the happiness they find in little things and their ability to truly forgive. That was well worth a Christmas card to me already. And she had bought me a bar of real chocolate and a scarf that she gave to me with a smile and a hug. We´re forgiven. :). Merry christmas.
On my way home it almost becomes a not so merry christmas: I walk unsuspectingly home when suddenly… RATSJ! Someone runs past me and on his way he grabs my jacket that (stupidly) hangs over my bag. Maybe it´s because I´ve been catching so many children lately at the point where they´re about the fall from a chair, hit eachother on the head or put a pencil in eachothers eyes, get hit by a bus, fall down the stairs or turn the toilet into a little lake, that in a réflex I start chasing him immediately, so his advantage doesn´t get very big. And I don´t know why I think that he´d be interested at all, but I shout while running: ¨Mis llaves! Mis llaves!¨ (¨My keys!¨) because they´re still in my pocket. I´m not sure what happened next, but the next momento I stand with my jacket in my hands and the keys still in it on the road. I still don´t know if he dropped it accidentally or if he did in on purpose… but I´m willing to believe that second version, especially because he replied to my shouting with ¨ya, ya!¨ (¨ok, ok!¨) before he left the jacket behind. Black and white? We´re forgiven. Merry Christmas.