Sometimes we struggle through the stressful periods in life just sunken in our corner of the world, and we're just glad to surface again and breath the free air once the stress dissipates. But sometimes, the universe, or the universal God, depending on how you see it, gives us a little window into life beyond ourselves.
Yesterday I was slogging through reviewing for a midterm, feeling as I always do during this time, like life might end were I to fail, when I met a Peruvian woman who lives in New York City but is currently here helping a Peruvian congresswoman named Hilaria Supa Huaman.
It's a little hard to explain in a sentence or two why Hilaria is a big deal in Peruvian politics. I don't understand it fully myself. Let's just say that her Andean background (as seen in the picture above) and native language of Quechua have subjected her to a lot of challenge, disrespect, and ridicule in a system dominated by the coastal, Western-influenced Limenos.
And as the woman I met in Starbucks, who teaches as an adjunct at NYU, spoke of the politician, her voice filled with such love and admiration, such awe and respect for the intelligence and perseverance of Hilaria and her fight for her people. "She is so strong," she said. "Stronger than me; stronger than anyone else I know."
Wow. Doing well on my exam tomorrow would be nice, I still have to admit. But if I can someday work for something with so much heart and determination, and earn the respect of intelligent, compassionate people, then that perhaps will be some measure of real success.