My morning, afternoon, and evening walks bring very different views. In the morning, I can catch a glimpse of the sun rising over the Chuchumantes and clearly see the smog laying over the city as I pass the hospital. I continue down the hill saying, “Buenos dias,” to passersby. I try to make myself look tough while I grip my tiny key knife in my hand convincing myself that I’ll be able to make a swipe at the next person that tries to rob me. Then, turn left, hopping between sidewalk and pavement passing other pedestrians and avoiding cars on the narrow road. I dart across the street and weave in and out of the now heavy foot and motor traffic walking quickly and carefully. Occasionally, I’ll catch up with a fellow teacher, but usually I’m either too early or too late.
The afternoon walk is hot and pensive. The sun is intense, and everyday I tell myself I’ll buy a hat and sunglasses that afternoon. I haven’t yet. I walk slower and contemplated how to best spend my 40 minute break before I head out again. Usually, it just involves scarfing down a bowl of black beans or veggie soup.
After teaching at the University and riding the chicken bus home, I jump off and walk as fast as I can without running to get up the hill to the student house all the time planning how to spend the last hour awake before I wake up and do it all over again. My eye dart to every slight movement on the street ready to run if I need to.
At the top, I sometimes sneak to get a cheap beer and a ice cream cone from the tienda on the corner, but usually I just duck through the gate, take a breath, and take a slow walk the rest of the way to the house. Stopping to enjoy whatever stars might be out that night, and I am thankful.