Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 8, 2011

I can't really say that day started as any other, because it didn't. I was on a delegation at the time- which, is BorderLinks lingo for saying that I was leading a group of people on an organized, educational experience through the border area. We had just returned from Nogales and Altar, Sonora, Mexico, to Tucson, Arizona the night before. That morning, the group was going with Humane Borders to go on a Water Run in the desert. It was an early morning- the water trucks pull out at 7:00 am, and my plan was to crawl right back into bed after dropping them off. Which I did for a while, then got up and hung out with some of the roommates. Around 11:00 or so, I headed back out to pick up the participants from their water run.
I really enjoy when I'm driving by myself, because I get to pick the radio station- always country, of course. After singing along to Garth, the DJ interrupted to talk about shots that were fired at a grocery store. At this point, that's all that I knew. I continued on to pick up my group. As the day continued, I learned more and more about what had happened at that Safeway. I never really took a moment to let it sink in; my main concern at the time was delegating the 8 participants' experience in the Border Area. Throughout the day, I got texts and phone calls from friends and family back home, asking about it, asking if we were okay, etc. I'm not entirely sure if I'll ever fully understand the why or what happened.
One of my roommates, Ali graduated from Virgina Tech last May, and it completely slipped my mind when I texted her about what was happening in Tucson. Since she was in Mexico for the day leading a delegation, I wanted her to have some information about it to be prepared for the questions when she got back. That evening, she returned with her group to the dorms at BorderLinks. It would have been a long and stressful day on its own. She had asked another roommate Meredith to meet her at BorderLinks. Once the groups were doing their own thing elsewhere, I walked in the office where Ali and Meredith were hugging, and just after me entered Polita.
Polita saw us embracing and asked, in Spanish, what happened. And Ali, in Spanish, began explaining, about the shooting at Tech, the shooting in Tucson, the stress of the trip. Polita was wonderful, she hugged Ali, and said really kind words in Spanish to calm her down and try to make Ali smile.
Meanwhile, Meredith and I were both standing there next to Ali and Polita while the conversation was going on. I didn't translate the conversation to Meredith, who speaks enough to follow the basics. But- you never would have known based on Meredith's reactions that there was a language barrier.
And meredith stood there laughing when we laughed, crying when we cried together, and just stood there with us, as we tried to comfort ourselves- regardless that the whole conversation was in Spanish
so- i guess love can really be in any language.

"Let this tragedy serve as a catalyst for change."