February 10, 2012


Calvin is the gardener here at the small building we're staying at - or that's his official title but it seems to us he does near everything.  He speaks English with the same fluency that we speak Spanish, which is not at all.   It turns out though, that some things don't need words. 

Hank had heard from another Canadian family (this place is filthy with Canadians) that there was a turtle living near here.  We searched for a few days, having only the clues from someone else that it was a turtle, and it was in some sort of box, somewhere off the path.  Mum looked, I looked, Erin looked - and we couldn't find a thing.  Naturally, it was Hank who had the tenacity to keep looking, and he eventually found the box, which was more of an open concrete square.  (This is one of the troubles with us trying a few Spanish words, and them trying a few English - things can get slightly shifted in the translation.  Last night at dinner the cook told us that the dessert had "scratched" coconut.  Turned out that he meant "grated" which makes sense, sort of, and is exactly the sort of mistake we would make in the other direction.)  Hank was pretty sure that he'd seen the turtle go under the water there, but after we'd all squatted by this pool for a bit, we were seriously beginning to doubt him.  We were asking all those insulting questions that grownups ask kids.  "Are you sure it was a turtle?" "Are you sure it wasn't something else? Maybe a plant?" (When I think about it now, I'm not surprised that kids sometime lose their patience with us.)

We went back to the pool nearby, and only Erin hung in there with Hank, and after a little while, Calvin happened by and saw them lurking there in the bushes.  Maybe he remembered being a kid, or maybe he just knew there was only one possible reason why a kid would be squatting by a fetid pool of water, or maybe it's the way that no matter where you go in the world, it seems like kids are just better understood and more welcome than they are in North America, but Calvin walked right over and reached down into the water...

and came up with the turtle. 

Hank was thrilled and vindicated.  Today's Spanish word? 


Posted by Stephanie at February 10, 2012 9:28 AM