In the morning I listened to an interview with Missy Higgins for Clare Bowditch’s Winter Happiness Summit. Missy said, not verbatim quotes:
‘Happiness is the ongoing listening to yourself; what you think feels right in the moment—people make the mistake of pushing against it, thinking life should be a struggle. I saw this woman speak, she said “Nothing you want is upstream”… a constant state of struggle instead of letting the river take you where it takes you‘.
There is a beautiful song by Clare Bowditch in the middle of the interview called One Little River, with the lyrics ‘One little river buried down deep / Moving in highways and everybody feels the same…just keep the river flowing/ get in and swim / don’t be standing back begin / begin, begin, begin’.
I was also emailing my Dad because my Grandma is having a heart operation today, which is the morning in Australia.
This afternoon I planned to go downtown (el centro) on the bus. This is like my ‘week’s challenge’ because the buses all have about ten different destinations written on the front, but I’ve never seen one that says el centro, there is no timetable and I’ve never been able to find any route maps, also I still get confused by pesos and sometimes the buses look really crowded.
I put on the cream traveling coat my Grandma lent me when I came overseas and also a little red leather purse she gave me when I was a child. The buses are squat and rickety, and luckily one-after-another because it took me a while to get courage to ask the driver ‘el centro, por favor’. A nice one (or one who was actually going there) said ‘ah, downtown?’ and I said ‘si, si, muchas gracias’.
I don’t know why I haven’t done it sooner. After my hike last week, I had a map of downtown, and this time I wasn’t exhausted already. The streets are close, the footpaths narrow and made of stones and all the space is behind walls, like a door opening to a tiled courtyard with a fountain. At last, I was a real tourist exploring. The road was wet with rainwater and I wandered into a museum to look at a dried flower arrangement, took a photo on my camera phone of a cafe called Maco that reminded me of hipster Melbourne, and read a poster about an upcoming sustainability festival. ‘Nothing you want is upstream’, everything seemed ahead.
I got some information at a Spanish school and sat in a cathedral for a while, although I couldn’t see any candles to light. By the time it was dark I had a tortas with cheese at a counter, and managed a bus home (’Soriana, por favor’).
My Mum emailed to say the operation had not been successful, but they may try again in a few months. My Grandma backpacked around Europe in her sixties and had an art studio built on her house two years ago. She had a great deal of hope in this operation and so did we, so it’s disappointing. The bones of the table are evident, it seems like it is the ‘one little river, buried down deep’ that matters, and just life.