The rain here comes at random times, but it always comes. Torrents. Downpours. Soakers. And we all use umbrellas. I knew they were vital to comfort here and I brought a dependable one from home.
Wednesday night when Althea and I got home in the rain, I collapsed my umbrella, as usual. Then I decided to open it to let it dry and it would not open. The button was stuck. We tried various ways to loosen it, but the only one that worked was whacking it against the wooden table top, and that only opened the umbrella, not the button. I wasn’t sure I’d always have a wooden table to use to open it, so I decided to purchase another.
Fortunately, it wasn’t raining this morning when we walked to our reading place beside the market place and I had a few minutes to shop in anticipation of the ubiquitous rain. I passed the office of the market place administrator and said, “Hola,” which she returned.
Then I turned back to her door to ask her where I could buy an umbrella. She smiled as she came toward me. We soon figured out, however, that I did not speak Spanish and she did not speak English. But we did speak each other’s language in smiles and hand signs. I waved my arms above my head to show an umbrella, saying the word but assuming the Spanish word was different. (It is.) She stepped into her office and picked up her umbrella with a questioning look.
I smiled and nodded and she offered it to me. No, this wasn’t quite going as I wished. So I reached into my wallet and drew out some money, gesturing toward the street of stores. “Buy,” I said, uselessly. But she understood.
“Si!” she said, and pointed. “Mini-super. Buy.” She smiled triumphantly at her new English word.
I managed “Gracias,” and she smiled.
“Ciao,” she answered, and I said the same. The universal ¨good-by¨ works as well here as in Italy and Brazil.
Truly the “mini-super” is a miniature supermarket, and the seeming oxymoron is not one after all. I purchased my $5 umbrella and returned to my readers and the book of Luke.