I have made no secret of the fact that I am on a journey of change.  I have gone in search of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional growth and transformation… and it hasn’t always been easy.  Some days over this last year I’ve felt like my head was about to explode. I’ve felt like, if I had to cram one more new word, new idea, new way of doing things into my brain, I’d have a melt down.  I’ve felt like I couldn’t hold all the pieces together long enough to figure out what this puzzle was supposed to look like.  It has been tiring, but so incredibly worth it.

I loved the students I taught, but I was miserable and unhealthy teaching.  I wanted something more, something less forced and more organic for myself, a lifestyle that reflected who I am, not who the world said I should be.  So I made some radical changes, and took some admittedly large risks.  Some days I wonder where I’m going, but other days I see that it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I’ve arrived where I am.  I found myself, today, realizing just how much I have accomplished, regardless of the future of my writing.  Today, I made my mechanic laugh.

He isn't as bad off as Sherman was, but Red's an old boy with a few issues.

That might not sound like a big deal to you, but for me it was quietly huge.  The first time I showed up at Rogelío’s shop I was terrified.  It was near dark and pouring rain.  I was surrounded by strange men who’d stopped to help me after my truck broke down in the middle of the road, and I couldn’t understand 90% of the words they were saying.  I couldn’t explain to the mechanic what had happened, except to say “It stopped.  I don’t know why.”  All I could do was trust that those strangers were, in fact, towing me to a good mechanic and hope I managed to make it home that night.

In the end, it all worked out.  I dropped the truck off, got a ride home, thanked my rescuers profusely, and in a day or so went back to pick up the truck once it was fixed.  To this day I still have no idea what was wrong with it.  I couldn’t understand any of Rogelío’s explanation.  I didn’t speak Spanish.

Today, however, I pulled up to his garage with a smile and a wave.  “Hola!”

“Hola, como estas?” he called out to me.

“Bien, y usted?” I replied.

“Bueno, bueno,” he assured me.  “Que necesitas?”

And in Spanish I explained, “There’s a hole somewhere in my gas tank.  I can smell gas really strongly, and when the tank is full it drips.”

He made a face that clearly said, ‘Ouch, that’s not good,’ and I shrugged.

“It’s not the end of the world, but I probably need to fix it,” I admitted.

He laughed at that and nodded.  “It might be safer if you do.  Let me look.”

As he looked under my truck we discussed where the hole might be (probably near the top, since it only leaks when it’s full) and what he’d have to do to fix it (pull the tank, weld the hole, put it back together), and how long it might take.  We discussed payment, and I set an appointment to take my truck back to him Wednesday morning and drop it off.  It will probably take him half the day and he wants to get an early start.  He tries, he says, not to keep people’s cars longer than he has to.  We chatted a moment longer and then said our goodbyes.

I drove off to do my Monday grocery shopping, content that I’d tackled a problem head on.  I didn’t let my nervousness about my limited Spanish skills or my life-long fear of talking to strangers keep me from dealing with the issue.  I simply did what I needed to do, boldly and with self-confidence.  And I made my mechanic laugh…in Spanish.

Granted, I had to practice what I needed to tell him before I went, and even looked up the word for “drip” in my Sp-Eng dictionary, but that’s not the point.  The point is, I did it.  And I won’t forget that gotear means drip… a goatee looks like hair dripping off a guy’s chin.  I can remember that.  I might have the vocabulary of a 5-year-old in Spanish, but I’m learning… and I’m a 5-year-old dictionary using expert!