7 o’clock came awful early. And I do mean awful. The alarm sounds-piercing the darkest part of my soul. I frantically scramble to find and stop the torturous beep of my watch which I had attached to the foot of my bed the night before so as not to just push the button and roll over in agitated rebellion. I know what you’re thinking: “7 am? Wow, Derek, you poor thing!” Yeah, yeah-I know for some of you 7 am is almost laughably late and might even be considered sleeping in. But when evening activities carry you consistently to 3 or 4 in the morning, 7 comes too quick.
When I finally remember where my watch is, I stop the alarm, curse the sky and roll out of bed. As usual, my questioning existence fades by the time I get to the shower, where I rinse off any residual irritation, then continue to get ready.
Outside it had showered as well, and the streets of Aires glistened under a blanket of moisture. The skies were grey, dripping with inconsistency, but my spirits were bright. Today would be a good day. Today would be the shoe drop.
I walked to the hotel and entered the lobby where a group of volunteers had arrived the night before from different parts of the world. I introduced myself and realized something very clearly, that is how different my life had become. I had wandered just down the street from my hostel, still soggy, I met a range of people from different places. Several were students, a couple young energetic entrepreneurs, a real estate agent living in Costa Rica, a young man who had once lived on the streets of skid row-now resolved to helping others—but all had roots, homes. They had steady lives, which afforded them several days absence before requiring their return. But each came with purpose, and I was honored to join this group of like-hearted people.
Pepe arrived, spirited as ever. He explained the day’s events including our first disappointment. One shoe drop was canceled due to the rain and in sufficient roads. The shoes, he assured, would be delivered at a later date, in the meantime, we would kill a couple hours with sightseeing before continuing to one of the poorer neighborhoods in Buenos Aires for the other shoe drop.
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