I finally translated my essay “Geduld” . I hope you guys enjoy it.
“Please God, give me patience-but RIGHT NOW!”
-probably,we all once in a while-
….sadly that’s not how patience works.
I am finally translating this article.
The topic of this post is patience.
In my first post I had a quote from Mr. Freiherr von Knigge and said that I would write about each of the mentioned topics.
So let’s get started.
Wherever you’re going and wherever you’re traveling around, you’ll need patience. I tried to remember a situation when I needed a lot of patience.
After a couple of minutes I remembered a whole lot of things, and even by the thought of it I got impatient.
But most of these situations had a good ending and also I realised that they weren’t too bad in the first place.
Honestly I think that I just got upset because I had the time for it. And in most cases it was good that I stayed patient.
Sometimes it feels like the whole world is only testing how long I can stay calm and patient. Of course no one is testing me, but life can be tough when yu have to wait in an endless qeue to get some food.
Well, that’s my temperament.
To be honest,often it’s also my own fault that I have to be patient. By messing up something else, not being prepared or too late…I see that this is my fault, but then in this very moment I blame anyone but myself.
The time I needed my patience the most was in Cuba (and by the way in Cuba it wasn’t my fault- I was super German: punctual, friendly,and surprisingly organised!)
The first story that I thought of when I started writing this article was when I was waiting for the bus in Scotland.
It all started when I left Aberdeen for Cruden Bay.
(Cruden Bay is a super small village near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire).
Well on my way to Cruden Bay I stopped in another village where I had booked a B&B. As this B&B turned out to be 20 minutes away from the actual town (20min. with the car). I left the place quite early in the morning as the bus stop was supposed tob e a couple of miles away and the lady who owned the place wasn’t sure where this bus stop was. Either 3 miles up the hill or down the hill.
So I packed all my stuff and grabbed the way to heavy bag, to continue my journey to Cruden Bay.
First of all, I wandered about 3 miles in the wrong direction. ( I can tell you, this was sooo frustrating.) Until I met this one lady who was chasing her dogs. She gave me the advice that every scotish person likes to give:
„Go down the road girl. Down the road“
This sentence, coming together with a vague gesture in a random direction scared me already after my first two days there.
But this time, the choice of ways that I could go was pretty small. The only possible way I could go was the opposite direction.
So I just turned around and walked all the way back.
Finally I saw an actual street AND a bus stop (!!).
Moreover there was even a bus, coming closer and closer tot he station, and finally stopping there.
During my long and painful walk through the wilderness I sort of forgot the reason why I was walking around.
I was so busy throwing my own pity party in the rain, that I totally forgot what I was looking for.
So when I first saw the bus all I thought was „oh a bus“.
And then, step by step, this information actually reached my brain and I started running. But it was too late. I was too far away and the bus only stopped for like two seconds.
When I actually started running, and screaming and crawling my armst he bus had already started to move again.
Well, I thought, what is wrong with having a seat and resting for 20 minutes and taking the next bus?
Nothing at all.
Tragically it turned out that this bus doesn’t come every 20 minutes but every two hours.
Plus, the bus stop had a roof but no bank to sit on.
The empty battery of my phone informed me that listening to music was not an option,neither was googling the direction tot he village ( so I could walk, if I wanted to- but I didn’t want anyway). The device died two minutes later.
It felt like the time was going backwards. It felt like waiting for hours, the time cringed like a tired and exhausted snail.
Then I saw a familiar person sitting in a car, driving towards the village.
It was the owner oft he B&B, she smiled at me happily and drove around the corner.
At this moment I was more than just tempted to completely wreck my stupid, old, idyllic bus station in the middle of nowhere. I was so frustrated, I could feel my blood bubbling in my veins.
The last couple of days I had some sort of bad luck and had to take some backstrokes and I began to be sick of it.
I didn’t have a bed for the night, nor a plan how to find one. And certainly I didn’t have an adapter either- which could have solved at least some of my problems. (It took me one more day until I found an adapter AND a place where I could plug- in my phone).
Luckily I am a super stubborn person sometimes and I refuse to take ebooks instead of real books with me. So my bag, was like a little library where someone had accidently also left some clothes.
Within minutes I was totally lost in the world of Mr. & Mrs Darcy, trying to figure out who the Murderer was ( I was reading „Death Comes To Pemberley“ by P.D. James). I was so absorbed from the book that I almost managed to miss the second bus too.
Thanks tot he Scotish kindness and the attentiveness of the driver I didn’t do so.
He actually drove back to the bus station and started tooting until he caught my attention.
I will never forget this. The wonderful person brought me ( more or less) to my destination and saved my day for sure!
But anyway, this wasn’t even the story that I actually wanted to tell you. It just popped up in my miund right now. My patience was actually needed at an ATM in Cuba. There aren’t many ATM’s in Cuba, but ATM’s that actually work are a real rarity.
Also when you happen to find one that works, it doesn’t mean anything at all. It isn’t a promise that you can come back. Maybe the next day the machine isn’t working anymore. ATM’s aren’t really a thing you can rely on.
Please appreciate any working ATM that you might find there!
Well, this particular day, I was lucky enough to find one of these exemplars.
With a huge smile and a lot of euphoria I lined up behind the already waiting people.
I was having a great day. The sun was shining, I was on my way to meet some friends at the beach and I was about to get some money from the ATM.
As it was Cuba, this small group of people waiting to use the ATM grew. Andi t turned out to be a real happening. Cousins walking by that you haven’t seen in forever, and amigos that you wanted to meet later anyways, and just strangers hanging around.
Some family disputes were settled and some new were started.
Tragedies happened, break ups in the middle of everything and big love revivals. Sometimes Cuba is a lot like these super cheesy but still exciting Spanish TV shows, where you think this is just impossible. But it turns out that it is actually super possible and also likely.
Cubans are just the most relaxed people on earth.They are as calm as a mountain in the raging storm-no matter what, nothing can move the mountain.
Usually I would have really enjoyed this, but I was a bit in a rush.
Thanks to the non-existent internet connection and absent telephone net I had received a message 2 hours too late so that at this very moment I was already supposed to be at the beach.
The weather was amazing ( even for Cuba outstanding) and I couldn’t wait to get there. But I needed the money to pay the taxi driver.
Havana doesn’t have a beach, it only has the Malécon so you have to take an Almendrón or a bike (I had no clue where one could get bikes from) to drive to the beach.
Finally it was almost my turn. Only one person left until I could get the money and leave. I was already planning with whom of the taxi drivers that I knew could go there for the best price.
And how the hell I was supposed to find David and Pablo on an endless beach with hundreds of people? Calling was obviously not an option.
Sometimes the bank employees would let some of their friends use the ATM first, so they wouldn’t have to wait- but hey, why getting mad on such a beautiful day? Nothing in the whole wide world could bother me now. I was in Cuba, feeling totally relaxed and soooo close to the beach, that I could almost smell the sea already. All about to spend the whole day with amazing people who truly inspire me.
Absolutely nothing to complain about.
…Still. It is not really okay to let people wait forever and others can just go and get their moeny right away. This would never happen in Germany. This is so rude, isn’t it?
But I tried to remind myself of the Cuban easygoingness, that I had soo in my blood now. I was so relaxed, Balu in the Junglebook would probably be jealous. I mean, I was so relaxed that you couldn’t tell the difference between me and Cubans!
Only this annoying non-sense of ignoring people that wait….hmmpfh.
Also this men was really taking his time. Some of the people behind me, had already given up hope and left.
He had been there for at least 15 minutes now, and I started to observe him. A couple of employees came and left, and others came to help him. They tried to explain him how to use an ATM. At one point I wasn’t sure if he spoke Spanish as he didn’t understand anything. But regarding his temper, he was obviously Cuban.
The German couple that was waiting right behind me, didn’t seem to care at all. They had a pretty obvious east German accent,enjoyed the old communistic flair and smiled at the overwhelming incompetence oft he man at the ATM. Also they were totally okay with the manager not caring at all. Just one or three ironic,arrogant and almost pitying comments on the Cuban education here and there. They seemed to be in total peace with themselves and the world, standing there in their old Birkenstocks.
I was getting more and more nervous. The bank employees in their tight skirts, high heels, see-thorugh blouses and obscene long nails were totally focussing on a discussion about a lipstick colour and let the man tap on the screen over and over again. The only problem with this: It wasn’t a touch screen.
Sometimes they glanced at us, either smiling or with an arrogant look in their eyes. A maximum of arbitrariness.
However, no one seemed to care and help the man at the ATM or at least inform him about the little detail, that this machine didn’t have a touch screen.
On the other hand, it’s not like they have touch-screens everywhere so he could have thought of this himself. Actually I still wonder how he got the idea that this old machine could have such a modern technology.
And then I saw it.
An incredible thing happened.
The man tried to put his credit card in the drawer-like thing were you take your money from. And then he kept on doing this and trying to get money. Again, and again and again- as my small nephew Charyan would say.
And that is when I lost it.
Screw this bloody serenity.
I stormed into the bank (which you aren’t supposed to enter when you are wearing a dress and flip flops). I didn’t care about this stupid dress code, these uniforms that the female employees were wearing were soo inapproriate, they could defenitely survive me and my „chancletas“.
I was so mad that I could barely breathe.
I marched towards the first desk that I saw, with a „get-ready-because-you-are-going-to-die“ sort of look in my eyes.
Then I just handed this guy my credit card and other papers without saying a word.( Usually that’s the way how you get money).
And man, this guy was brave. He didn’t even look up, but kept on rummaging around in his food drawer.
Finally he stopped and looked at me. His face said only one word „boredeom“.
After another eternity he told me, that they would only accept originals. So no copy of the passport but only the real one.
Breathe Tamara. Breathe.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
And also he was eating right now so he couldn’t help me, plus he didn’t know how this was working anyway.
More breathing. Deeper breathing.
Trying not to get an asthma attack or to hyperventilate.
I gave my best.
But it was too late, I couldn’t hold it back anymore.
The words just came out like I had held them back forever.
I gave him a whole speech about thieves and the delinquency rate in Cuba in general and in particular. Including examples from friends and stats.
Until I came to an end after explaining him in detail how this whole thing with entering and leaving a country with and without ID works or doesn’t work. This guy knows everything about entry and leaving requirements now.
Not missing out on telling him how kind and helpful and productive the people at the other bank,two streets away were.
Then I asked for the manager.
Honestly, I feel a little sorry for him now.
But being in Cuba for a long time, isn’t exactly what you would call „easy“.
I got 20 CUC that day. That’s all they could give me.
Also I dodn’t make it tot he beach anymore.
But I defenitley trained my patience, plus I have a funny story to tell.
Which wouldn’t be the case if everything would have worked out, just the way I planned it.