Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Coffee Shops

A few days before I left for El Alto, I sat in the original Dutch Brothers Coffee House with my journal and Bible, striking up a conversation with an amazing missionary woman who gave me advice for my journey ahead.

Now, I'm back at Dutch Brothers, this time with my laptop, Bolivia purse, cell phone, and white chocolate/macadamia nut Dutch Freeze. An older gentleman sits across from me with his over-sized laptop and a magazine used as a mouse pad. The tables were full so invited him to sit at mine.

He asked me if I was "in school or something", to which I ever-so nonchalantly responded that I graduated a year ago from college and just got back from Bolivia. He asked me a few questions about my experience and as I shared briefly about my thoughts on excess and poverty, I quickly understood he wasn't really that interested. I stopped talking and he began sharing with me. Using a few colorful words, he shared some strong opinions about people in 3rd world countries and their lack of "drive." He said that as long as you're content with what you have then it doesn't really matter, but people could have more if they just had more drive. I kept my mouth shut and smiled to myself, feeing sad that this man doesn't know that it's not about drive or wealth or material things. It's not about keeping or having or saving.

He sits across from me sipping his iced coffee and making small talk - but he interrupts me with "huh? what?" and I have to repeat myself and speak louder. In Bolivia, quietness is a virtue... the noise of this coffee shop would be overwhelming.

And so my processing begins.


parker said...

great post, elizabeth.

ryanmortinson said...

all i can say is... wow.

you have great patience.