Big storm last Sunday. Blew out — quite literally — several of my light fixtures. And also left me without WiFi.
It seemed like there had been a lightning strike very close to my house. And it appeared pretty clear that the router for my WIFi was shot. No blinky lights.
Monday morning, my landlady sent her son-in-law over to fix the lights. Since he is the busito driver, through whom I originally found this rental, I was able to hop a ride with him — router in my backpack — to the WiFi/cable company office in nearby Aguadulce. Limping Spanish and all, I explained my situation to the nice cable company lady who fixed me up with a new router. I headed homeward feeling pretty impressed with myself and prepared to write a blog post on the immense satisfaction of accomplishing mundane tasks when one is so totally “a stranger in a strange land.”
At this point, I can only imagine that the Almighty was giggling.
Because when I got home and set up my new router, still no WiFi. All the blinky lights were fine. Clearly, I needed a tech. I called Cable Onda. Fortunately, they have an English line. So we set up their earliest appointment for Thursday.
Thursday it was pouring rain again. So they rescheduled me for Friday afternoon. Mind you, just like at home, these companies give you an hours-long window for your tech to show up. Which means you are chained to your home because if you’re not there when they arrive . . . So, I had to miss my After School High School class. And . . . nobody ever showed. I called. They said my appointment, for no explicable reason, had never been confirmed in the system. Whatever that meant. They rescheduled me for Saturday morning.
Saturday morning. This time I had to miss a university class. Noon and still no tech. I call. They assure me he was just running late but was coming. 5:00 and I call again. Now they insist that during my earlier call I had been told that there were no more appointments until the 23rd!! There was no such communication, believe me! And, I remind you, this was all in English (so, language miscommunication was not the problem). But that’s what the customer service rep wrote down in his notes . . .
By now, I’m livid. So much for my cultivation of Panamanian patience. I demand to speak with a supervisor. The customer rep with, I dare say, a self-satisfied smug tone in his voice — informs me that the supervisors only speak Spanish.
Get that! The clerks are bi-lingual, but the higher-ups not. “Give me a supervisor,” I insist, thinking “I’m p.o.’d enough to do this in Spanish.”
And I was. With the dubious result that I may . . . or may not . . . have another appointment tomorrow morning. I’m waiting for a phone call that will let me know for sure. Maybe.
I’m also waiting on a busito to take me to a coffee shop with internet in Aguadulce. I desperately need to do some work on my computer. And to get some food, since I couldn’t get to the grocery store for waiting on the tech. And to download some more books for my Kindle which got pretty much read-out during all this waiting. But it’s Sunday when busitos are few and far between. So far, I’m not going anywhere. I may have to wait until tomorrow to use the WiFi at my school.
But . . . There is a small silver lining. I have two 17 year olds that I tutor privately on Sunday mornings. Coincidentally, both want to work for Copa, Panama’s excellent national airline which is also, apparently, a prized employer. But Copa has very high English requirements. Enter private tutor Maira.
Student Bryan was leaving near Noon, and my hungry stomach was wondering how it would be sated in my food-minimal quarters. Bryan’s Mom knocks on the door, and in her hands is a big, full container of arroz con pollo. So freshly-made that it’s still warm. Arroz con pollo is the most typical of Panamanian food. The rice is colored with some yellow seasoning. Strings of boiled chicken and vegetables and raisins bulk it up. It isn’t always my favorite food. But this particular day, it was delicious! And in the midst of an insanely frustrating week, this small bit of kindness had me practically in tears.
So. I’m about to give up on the busito. I may or may not get my WiFi back tomorrow. But I have enough arroz con pollo to last for at least a few more days. And, sometimes, that just has to be blessing enough.
May we all have a good week!