I Make Friends By Hitting Their Cars

And in many other bizarre ways…

including offering someone waiting for the bus at the Berkeley Marina a ride home a few weeks ago, which turned into them taking me to dinner. I was muy cansada by the time we left the cafe, and scraped up against the car parallel-parked in front of me. Ugh. The Magic Mobile looks a bit beaten up, and their bumper needed a paint job. Trusting my financial fears to Source, I left a note with my contact info.

The sweet owners were so touched by my note and email correspondence that they decided to pay half of the repair! When I asked to treat them to dinner they invited me to eat at the Salvadoran restaurant they own…

Tonight it was time to meet these beautiful souls. I took a break from cleaning in preparation for Passover to walk around the block in my new neighborhood, and met some of my neighbors. After a little more cleaning, I headed over to Platano for dinner.

I walked in and saw the neighbors I had just met, with more of my neighbors! They invited me to eat with them and sang me songs about the drought. I think I shook them up a bit during a conversation about IUD’s when I said that I love and care about my natural moon cycle. All of a sudden, it got awkward. I didn’t bring even bring up my Diva cup or offering blood to the earth! I forget that other people don’t necessarily talk about bodies and queerness and ecofeminism all the time…

After dinner I savored a plantain dessert at the bar and talked with a young Salvadoran man who began working at Platano as soon as he moved here last June. Jose looked off into the distance with wide eyes as he reflected on the challenges of coming to a new place. Everything is different, even though he is blessed to live with his family here. Using another language is especially challenging; I can empathize…though I was able to get around with my limited Hebrew and English while I lived in Israel, I remember the embarrassing misunderstandings and the frustrating inability to express myself and connect with people. Jose’s English is much better than my Hebrew! We were able to have a nice conversation until Nicolas arrived. I wrote him a check and he gave me his friend’s card for auto body work in case I decide to repair The Magic Mobile. Mostly we just smiled at each other and thanked each other for being wonderful.

I’m grateful to have been raised by an ELL teacher who taught me that immigrants are resilient, courageous, and kind. Grateful for new friends of all shapes and colors and abilities and perspectives and traditions and interests…Grateful for whole interactions and sweet community…Grateful.


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