I grew up in one of the biggest cities in the US. I was used to crowds at the mall, the movie theaters, and traffic on the highways. However, when I think back on growing up in Houston, I have realized that you can escape the noise – quite easily in fact. We lived in a typical house, and I had a typical car – and both of these places remained fairly…well, silent. You couldn’t really hear what your neighbors were doing and if your windows were up in your car, you felt pretty isolated there too.
And then we moved overseas. For the first 2 1/2 years, I noticed the noise, but it didn’t bother me too much. It wasn’t until Macy was born (and I was trying to get her to take a nap) that I really began to notice just how noisy this city is.
For example, we live in a concrete building (by the way, everyone here lives in a concrete building). So you don’t hear too much noise from your next-door neighbors because the walls are too thick. But if someone drops something upstairs – a marble, perhaps – you can really hear it. If they move furniture around, you can hear that too. And if anyone in the entire building decides to renovate – better find your earplugs.
Our living room faces the square in the middle of the complex. It actually makes for a pretty great view, but since one entire wall of our living room is a sliding glass door, you can hear everything going on down there. In the mornings, it’s the ladies dancing to their traditional music. Then, all the little kids come to play and you can hear them crying and laughing as they play together. And in the evenings, it’s a little bit of everything – more dancing, more playing, vendors out trying to make a sale, and every now and then – a program.
People here love to put up a stage and have a little program. Maybe it will feature singers, dancers, and another kind of act. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a whole game show type program, where people are competing for a prize. In that case, you might get to hear Super Mario Brother’s music over and over while the contestants try to outwit each other. (I have no idea why they have chosen Super Mario Brother’s music).
Last night was such a night. I had seen them putting up the stage in the square downstairs, but by the time it was Macy’s bedtime, I had completely forgotten about it. I placed her in her bed at exactly 7:52 and at exactly 7:53, the program began.
This picture doesn’t do it justice, because I’m taking it from my balcony – but hopefully you’ll get the idea.
The big red thing is the stage – and I know you can’t really tell, but there are probably a few hundred people standing around it watching the program.
Needless to say, Macy was not falling asleep. It was like I had turned on the Super Mario Brother’s music in her room (which also faces the square).
So Jeff pulled her back out of bed and we all snuggled on the couch. She was so tired that she just kind of laid there in her daddy’s arms. Finally, the noise quieted down some and he put her back in her bed. A few seconds later, she was out.
They continued to play some kind of game, but this time Macy managed to sleep through it. Like I said, eventually you just get used to the noise and don’t even notice it anymore.