What a great day today was! I had another subject for a post on deck, but after today’s celebration of the woman, I thought I’d write about my experience on this special day, mostly because it turned out to be one of those instances of unexpected joy. As a single and childless woman, I often feel a little left out of the round-up of standard “appreciation” holidays such as anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. I’m sure all of the single and childless men feel this even more so. I’m not complaining about the situation, but it definitely makes me really appreciate the times when I do get a “Hey, you matter too” nod such as that with International Women’s Day. I mean what a relief it is to know that I could get a rose and all I had to do was have a vagina; I didn’t have to actually use it for anything!
Admittedly, I didn’t even know about International Women’s Day until earlier this week when I was informed by Stacey, my colleague at Pro Mujer, that it was today and Pro Mujer was sponsoring a walk on Sunday to celebrate the cause. Given that Pro Mujer is an organization dedicated to empowering women, it made sense that they would be drumming up awareness about the day. As such, when we were told about a meeting at 18:00 upstairs regarding Women’s Day, I expected a mission-centric pep talk about the importance and significance of the work Pro Mujer does in the community.
We got the pep talk as expected, but what surprised me was that first, all of the men in room stood up and shared a story about or simply their admiration for women and the meeting was specifically focused on celebrating us, the women who contribute to the efforts of Pro Mujer. I was sincerely overwhelmed as our male colleagues in the office scurried about the place serving us treats, wine and finally dinner. As we were finishing our dinner, Stacey looked over and noticed a bunch of Pro Mujer water bottles in the hall and said, “Oh there’s more!” When Joel asked us then to stand up and close our eyes. I thought that they were then going to present us with some fabulous water bottles, but when I opened my eyes, there was my colleague, Manuel, standing with a rose. All of the men in the office presented each woman with a rose and I was completely taken aback but such a thoughtful gesture.
I think I did very well once again in being in the right place at the right time. As I was perusing facebook throughout the day, I noticed that IWD wasn’t much recognized by my European counterparts and even less so on the American side. However, here in Perú, it seemed that everyone both knew and openly celebrated the day of the woman. It all started with my landlord greeting me at breakfast and giving me a big hug while saying, “Feliz Día de la Mujer!” and continued all throughout the day. Even as I was making my home and stopped for an empanada, I overheard the female owner of the shop asking her kids what day it was. She was delighted when I chimed in with, “Día de la Mujer!” and shook her head at her boys. It was lovely to know the spirit really was all around.
Here’s to the Men!
It was a wonderful day indeed and probably more so because of the unexpected nature of all of the simple acts of appreciation. I think the best part of it all was that I really felt this genuine sense of sincerity from all the men who either greeted me today with a “Feliz Día de la Mujer” or the touching speeches my male colleagues gave at tonight’s celebration. As such, I’d like to also note my appreciation for all of the kind gentlemen who organized this day of celebration for us at Pro Mujer and those kind-hearted men who don’t get their own day of appreciation. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who are kind human beings and up to great things as well, and who wouldn’t mind having an extra special day of appreciation. So accept this virtual hug from one grateful human being to another.
It’s Not Only About Appreciation
Of course, it’s nice that I was able to celebrate and enjoy today in such a positive way, but the reality is that in addition to celebrating the contributions of women to society, International Women’s Day is also meant to raise awareness about the struggles women around the world still face. It’s on days like today when I’m reminded to give thanks for all of the freedom and opportunities I’ve been afforded in my life, and to think about even the smallest ways I can help out my fellow sister who isn’t as fortunate.