For our last day we decided to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific. We saw all sorts of crazy stuff: eels, a shark with a saw for a nose, jellyfish, and giant lobsters. Rebeka has now joined the ranks of those who have touched the back of a stingray, watched sharks being fed, and laughed at sea otters playing and penguins diving. She even had a couple Lorikeets perch on her as she offered them nectar.
We ask her how she’ll ever explain sharks or highways or rollers coasters to her sisters. She just shrugs. When running water and electricity are novel, the rest is just crazy. I imagine her, spinning these tall American tales around the fire back home. And the funny thing is, some of the things we’ve seen when we go to Rwanda seem like tall tales back here. Fifty kids in a first grade classroom and they’re all rapt with attention, eager to learn. Bundles of sticks larger than the woman carrying them, balanced on her head. A six-year-old girl with her infant sibling strapped to her back, tasked with caring for him while her parents work.
Oh I wish I could be there, to see the looks on their faces, when she tells them about riding around in a plastic clam to see the Little Mermaid.
Or how she took pictures with superheroes.
Or gazed at water that goes on as far as the eye can see.
This great big world is full of true tall tales, no matter what side of the ocean you live on. And I guess that makes it . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . a small world after all.