How does one know when God has been working on them? When their reactions are different. I only think of a little while ago when I flipped out about my situation, ready to go home, ready to blow up at someone. But my reaction recently has been much more calm, because now I see that God is taking care of me, and I’m trusting in faith that He will carry me through it.
What is this situation? One that is making me move from Nora and Jorge’s house in a very short timeframe, without being totally sure where I’ll move into.
Up until about 3 weeks ago I had possession of one of the 2 sets of keys to the house. One morning I had to leave before Nora came back, and she had to ask the landlady to let her in. Apparently this landlady is a pain in the pompis and when I returned Nora asked to borrow my keys, and never gave them back. Now whenever I have to get into the house I have to phone Nora, which costs me credit on my phone, and she throws me the key from the window.
One evening last week I got home, and they were out. I tried phoning, but Nora wouldn’t answer. I decided to go to Francia’s house, since I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks. She wasn’t home, but Cielo and Raul were, so we sat around having tea, chatting, and eventually Francia came home and joined us.
At about 10:30 my phone rang. Nora called to tell me that they were home and that I could come back.
“Finish your tea,” Cielo insisted, which I gladly did, and before I knew it, a half an hour had passed. I received another call. “Holá?” I answered.
“Ragazza, where are you?” Jorge said briskly.
“I’m still at Francia’s house, having some tea and chatting.”
“Nora already called you and told you we were back! We’ve been waiting for you at the window for the past half an hour and you still haven’t come. You need to decide if you’re going to stay there or come back here!”
I blinked for a moment. “Of course I’m going back there.”
“Then you need to come now, I don’t want you lying and saying you’ll be right here and stay over there.” His voice rose and his words came out faster.
“I’m not lying!” I said, growing a bit more defensive.
“Well neither am I! If you’re not back here right now, I’m closing the door and not coming back down to let you in!”
“Okay! I’m coming right now!” If I had known how to say “Don’t get your knickers in a twist” in Spanish, I was just upset enough to have said it. I hung up and turned to Francia. “I’m sorry, I have to go.”
“What was that?” she said, surprised.
“Jorge’s threatening that he’ll lock me out if I don’t come back right now.”
Francia just sat there staring. I took a deep breath and stopped myself before I could say anything truly destructive, and smiled at her. “Thank you so much. It’s been nice to see you.”
“Of course. Anytime,” she smiled back and walked me out.
Two blocks is not far, but far enough to let your mind take a few twists and turns. I decided that I was going to confront Jorge and tell him that his reaction had been out of line, that I was not his wife nor one of his daughters that he could treat me like that, that I was going to demand another set of keys and pay for them if I had to. But I think the Lord intervened before I got to the house and said “In your anger do not sin. Take a breath, we’ll work this out.”
Jorge was at the lower door waiting when I arrived. I said kurtly, “Buenas noches,” and kept walking.
“Buenas noches, ¿cómo te va?” was his response, in what was actually a very friendly manner. This burned me even more, because he had once again established himself as the dictator of the house, with all the women doing his bidding.
I spent much time in prayer that evening, asking God to help me to relax and to know how to talk to Jorge, and most of the morning thinking about who I could talk to about the situation, and finally realized that Andrea was used to solving problems like this. Andrea is the secretary who helps the international students with housing, among other things. It was because of her that I had the pleasure of staying in Francia’s house for the time that I did. I popped up in the foreign studies office and was relieved to find that Andrea was the only one there. She looked up at me. “Hi, long time. How are you?”
“I’m fine, all things considered. I need help.” I explained the whole situation, and worked to keep the tears from falling, not because I was sad, but because I was mad and offended. After hearing the whole thing, Andrea’s face softened. “What’s your financial situation right now?”
“I’m broke. I spent my last few cents to go to Quito for that conference. I’m teaching that workshop at the end of this month and a speech class next bimester, and then I’ll have money, but until then I’ve got maybe $20 to my name.”
“Well, I can tell you this much: You can’t stay there. That’s not a safe situation. I’m not saying the family is terrible, but you can’t be left in a situation where you’re treated like that just because someone is having a bad day. Plus, you’re not a young undergrad like the rest of these students, you need your independence, and if we can find you an apartment to share with someone it will be more suited to your living style. We’re here to help. If worse comes to worse, you can stay at my house for a few days until we find a better situation, or Monica lives nearby and she will help, but we’ll find something. I’ll look around with some of my contacts to see what kind of places they have to rent. Have you talked to the family yet?”
“I’m going to do it tonight.”
“Good, because right now the important thing is that you need to get out of there. Tell them that you’ll be out by the end of the month, that gives you two weeks for everyone to get used to the situation, and for us to look around.”
Andrea was my goddess at that moment. I rehearsed with her how I would talk to Nora and Jorge, and she told me to let her know soon how much I thought I could afford in rent, and she would know what to look for. I walked back to my office with my head held a bit higher.
Of course by that evening, that security had turned into concern over whether I was actually going to be able to go through with it. I swallowed back the tightness in my chest as doubt crept in, and an internal dialogue began forming. “They’re going to react bad. They’re going to be upset and blame the situation on you.”
“Nora won’t. Nora’s reasonable. She’ll listen.”
“Why are you risking this situation? I mean, you aren’t even paying rent! You won’t find any other situations like that.”
“Rent is a small price to pay for being in a situation where I’m comfortable and safe and not having to tread softly under someone else’s rules.”
“The situation really wasn’t that bad. You’re over-reacting.”
This is the one that made me stop. Was I? I frequently over-react. I get upset over little things, or too upset over problems that could easily be fixed. “Maybe I am over-reacting,” I thought.
But at that moment something happened. The scene started playing in my mind. I thought about what kind of an impression Francia might have got of Jorge, and how it potentially damaged his character. I thought about the fact that I had been threatened, whether or not he truly would have followed through with it. I thought about what kind of a situation I could have been placed in if he had followed through, where would I have slept, how I would have got back into the house the next day to get ready for work, and how the situation could have escalated. I thought about all the times when he had blown his top with his girls, and I shuddered the thought that he would treat me like that, and I wasn’t even his daughter. I thought about the previous week when he had scolded me about having to take me to the airport, and I realized that if nothing was done, if I allowed myself to be walked on, this could become a pattern.
“No,” I told my antagonistic side, “I am not over-reacting. The situation really is that bad.” And the other side finally shut up.
I spoke with Nora the first chance I got, and while of course she tried to defend Jorge she also understood where I was coming from, and I set my moving day for the last of the month.
I’m still not sure where I’ll be at this point, but Andrea and Monica have helped give me suggestions. There are a couple of options right here near the university, and there are other ones in the city center. Whatever happens, I know at least God will put me in a situation where I’m safe and comfortable, and that’s what’s important.