Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who Needs Privacy!?

My parents came to visit us in December and commented on how un-private our lives are here. True. The way our house is built (and many Peruvian houses I've seen) everything is very open-you can easily hear everything from one end of the house to the other. In the very middle of our house, we have two rooms that are open air rooms, that have no ceiling or roof above them. One we use as a laundry room and the other for hanging laundry. The purpose of them is to bring air to the back of the house because we only have windows on the front of our house (three of them to be exact), the other  sides are just walls. These open areas allow sound to travel quite well---into our house from our neighbors, and out of our house to our neighbors.  Besides that, our neighbors' houses are close. Walk out the front door, take four steps, run into a house. There's another house about one foot to the side of our house. Remember I said we had three windows in our house?

Here is the view from our living room window.

And our dining room window.

And our kitchen window, where I look out while I wash dishes every day!

Ive been wanting to show you pictures of our window "views" anyway, because I think its funny. But the point is, the neighbors are close!!! Houses are not insulated or at all closed in, so sound travels very, very well.

The things I hear from the inside of my house...dogs barking, roosters crowing, music, music, and more music, kids playing, kids fighting, birds chirping, the fruit man on his loudspeaker selling mangos and pineapple, the bread boy honking his bike horn, the neighbor boy howling because his shower is cold, the trash truck honking and ringing its bell, people arguing, people laughing, the neighbor watching novelas (soap operas), the welder across the street, constant building sounds as construction here is never complete, babies crying, toddlers throwing fits, mothers calling their children home. More dogs barking.


Thats my brother Casey with the girls. He and his wife and daughter came to visit in September.

I don't mind the noise.  I kind of like it really. I like hearing life being lived around me. (Except for the late night parties and on Christmas Eve when Gangnam Style was blasted into our house no less than twenty five times.) 

When we first moved here, it was a little awkward because sometimes we heard things we were not accustomed to hearing in our very quiet, private life in America. Like fights between spouses. Unkind and angry words from parents to children. Frustration being taken out on others. It made (makes) me wince and my heart hurt, but it did something else for me too.

 It made me realize that if I can hear them, they can hear me. Yikes, that was eye opening!   I became hyper-aware of how I talked to my kids and my husband, when I thought no one was listening. (And I didn't like what I was hearing.) At first it was frustrating, you know, like, geez, can't I even have a "spat" with Dan without the whole world knowing?! (Nope!) I know that they can't understand us anyway, but really, I can't understand the words they are saying either. I still know. And so do they when they hear it from me.

It doesn't matter what language is spoken--be it Spanish, English, facial, or body--love or the lack of is easily understood.

Privacy is not what I needed. Changing how I related and spoke to my family is what I needed. Learning to love them in all my words, tones, facial expressions, motivations, intentions and actions is what I needed.

Thank you, Lord, that you give us what we really need! Thank you, Lord, for being faithful to show me my sin and gently (begin to) lead me out of it.


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