Moving Experiences

December 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

Seesaw House 300x300Greeting my fellow interweb peeps.

Sorry for the lack of consistent blog updates for over a week, but as you may recall from my previous post, I was in the process of a move.  Not just any move, but moving in a third world culture four blocks away from my previous house where I lived for the last year.  It was just as much work as if I was coming from another district.

Having made the move exactly one year after coming to Chorrillos has gotten me thinking retrospectively and introspectively about what I’m doing, where I’m at in life and ministry.

This post will not be about that, however.

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed sometimes in the last few weeks I’ve come across as quite gripy.  For that I apologize.  I have not had a good night sleep in nearly two months because of my landlord’s big dog that she decided to dump off at this property she owned.  I constantly tried telling her that I couldn’t sleep as a result of his barking all throughout the night–and apparently none of the other two families could either.  I also recorded a podcast, for someone that’s paying me, and the moments when I spoke, you could vaguely hear the dog in the background barking at a few moments. Suffice it to say, this was no longer the best place to try recording anything.

Or to try sleeping, for that matter.

You’re Not Right, and They’re Not Wrong–You’re Just Different

I almost entitled this post ‘third world mentalities’, even though that term is very broad and could cover a wide range of things.  I love Peru and I love the Peruvian people –I’m marrying one next May, after all!  But as a foreigner, living abroad in another culture, I realize that I’m a guest in another culture. I am different, and so are members of my host culture.

When I first came back for a visit to Canada in 2009, my Peruvian friend Ludwing, who lives in Canada, said something to me I’ll never forget: that I’m not right and they are wrong, nor are they right and I’m wrong–we’re just different.  Different cultures have different mentalities and values.

I encounter this on a regular basis.

I also find it highly inappropriate when I’ve seen some people bash the cultures they’re living in as a guest on their social media or their blogs, and as such, I try to walk a fine line when attempting to write humorously about life abroad.  When I do, I try making myself the ‘butt of the joke’ for some mistake I made.  After all, Jesus died for the very people I’m here to minister to.  Same as if I were any where else in the world.  They’re not wrong, nor am I right when it comes to negotiables.

That being said, as stated a few times on my blog, I cope with stuff that makes no sense to me by writing about it.  Or making fun of it, sometimes.  This is an attempt at a post like that.

Lack of Forward Thinking

Even though I told my landlord I’d move if she didn’t get rid of the dog–since, after all, she didn’t decide on dumping him off there until I had been there ten months already–she decided her dog staying at this house was more important than the income she was bringing in every month from renting out three floors of her building to two families, and one gringo (myself).

The fact that she would now have people moving out, and need to find new tenants all because of her own stubbornness didn’t phase her or register any notion that she should, I don’t know, resolve the problem that was making everybody want to move out.

THAT is the mentality I’m talking about–a total lack of forward thinking that makes you shake your head and bang it against a wall wondering why the obvious isn’t so obvious to someone.

At any rate, she had randomly written me an email about a week before I moved out, explaining that the family on the third floor, who up-to-date had been in charge of making sure her dog “Chavo” was only on the third floor landing and never came down, and certainly not ever allowed on the street.  You need to understand, reader, that In Lima, Peru, you frequently see dogs wandering the streets.  Lots of them.   These are not stray dogs, but many owners let them roam the streets during the day and these dogs sleep in their owner’s house or yard at night.  It’s basically like people who have outdoor cats, but only, dogs.  It’s not considered a big deal here.

Chavo, notably is way more quiet and at peace when he’s on the street outside, and makes MUCH less noise.  However, the owner–my landlord refused to allow this, and so Chavo would sit on the third floor landing, and constantly bark and whine and want to be let out.  The third-floor family, whose husband is the landlord’s cousin, had a fight with her about this because, well, he’s much noisier when he’s locked in our property.  My landlord, in her stubbornness, refused to find a solution for this, and all of us on the three floors of her property had to tolerate this and have our complaints ignored.

Too Little Too Late

About a week before moving out, my landlord finally wrote me an email out of the blue.  It basically indirectly addressed my behaviour I mentioned in the previous post, where I told other potential renters who were being shown the place (while I still was living there) exactly why I was moving out.

In her email, she said it’s no longer permitted to have pets of any kind in any of these apartments. This is obviously revenge on the family on the third floor, who have 3 cats, and who were supposed to take care of her dog that she dumped here while I was in Canada, but they also got sick of dealing with him.  She cited complains from the neighbours who didn’t like the dog making all that noise.  So, now she was instating a rule that no pets were allowed, apparently oblivious to the fact it was her pet that was the problem, not us!

At any rate, she is supposedly getting rid of the dog, and didn’t seem to have the foresight that this would have been the best course of action in the first place.  A lack of foresight on her part.  She also put the ‘real estate agent’ lady, who I mentioned previously, in charge fo renting the apartments out for her and paying a commission.  Apparently this is what sealed the deal for the other two families to move out.  I don’t blame them.  This real estate lady went over to my girlfriend Lili’s house, which is walking distance from me, to try convincing her to convince me to stay in the house so they’d have less work to do in finding new tenants, and because apparently I was a great tenant who paid on time.

I almost freaked out when I found out that she went to my girlfriend–who didn’t live in the building or have anything to do with this mess.

And that is the end of that story.  I say all that (and am leaving out many details) to say that I don’t understand why these people–my landlord and her agent–couldn’t have the foresight to see that getting rid of the dog in the first place would have been the best course of action.  I don’t understand why I constantly encounter such a lack of forward thinking in this type of matter, but at any rate, I’ve moved out, and have been having wonderful sleeps at night.

And I feel completely refreshed.

Steve Bremner

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Steve Bremner is a Canadian missionary to Peru, who is called to raise up disciples who flow in the power of the Holy Spirit within a missional community named Oikos. He is passionate about blogging and podcasting, and is general editor of Fire Press, and also produces & co-hosts its podcast called Fire On Your Head. If you like Steve's blog, you'll also like his Kindle books. Note: this post may have contained affiliate links of which I receive a small commission if you purchase something I recommended.