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Merci Jiliane! June 18, 2008

Posted by solangek in Gracias! Merci! Thank you!.
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It was my sister’s birthday the other day, and she turned 21. As is usual on birthdays, I remember her past, compare it to her present and think about her future.

First of all, due to a significant age difference, I have never been very close to my sister. We have very different personalities, tastes, gifts and burdens. We are in different stages in our lives; she is just experimenting with living away from home with her boyfriend and I now have an established family with two children. We have had very different lives in general: I enjoyed the best of our parents’ relationship and she was about 10 when they broke up, while I was away from home, and 18 years old. I often looked after her (and our little brother) when I was a kid, even though I didn’t like to. I’ve never really known what to do with little kids, anyway.

All of this is very nice, but what would I say if I knew I could never see her again?

Well, she’s lively and quick, a right jolly young elf. It is easy to have a good time with her, and she used to write poetry. I’m not sure if she still does, but I hope so. She dances and likes to wear sexy clothes, which is a good indication that she feels sexy. But she also wears make-up, which indicates that she doesn’t feel as pretty as she should. She has the beauty of youth, as well as her own Jiliane beauty which will never fade. She reminds me a lot of our father, in that this physical world, what you wear, what you have and who pays attention to you seem to be important. She and our grandmother used to be quite close; they both have strong personalities and my sister loves Grandma’s soup. I think Jiliane enjoys being with Grandma because she takes care of her appearance, she enjoys shocking strangers once in a while, and they enjoy each other’s conversation.

Jiliane decided not to go to university after graduating from high school, as tends to happen in families which have more. The parents make sure their children have all that they need, and in turn the children grow up thinking that they don’t need to try, or work hard in order to fulfill their dreams. Children who grow up with everything don’t have any idea of how hard their parents work to make every day possible, so they think it is easy. When they have the opportunity to go to university… the kids think it isn’t necessary. Well, it isn’t necessary, and while it certainly doesn’t guarantee a good job or a bright future, it is certainly harder to “get there” if you don’t take the first step and get the tools, the skills, or the framed paper.

So basically, Jiliane is now in the limbo stage of life, a diamond in the rough… after moving out of her mom’s house, moving in with her boyfriend, tasting “freedom” and responsibility, and not trying to move up in the world. Everything still has the shine of novelty; everything is possible, so why make a choice now? Perhaps she is afraid that if she makes a choice of what to do with her life, she closes doors. Perhaps she isn’t sure of what she really wants to do yet. Perhaps she’s too in love… and is just enjoying coupledom. Whatever it is…

Sometimes I would like to ask her, “What are you waiting for?” I would like to tell her, “The world is so big; you are still so free, you can do anything… go for it! Take courses! Join an interest group! Learn to paint, to make stained glass windows, build a house – anything!” But I don’t think she would listen to me, because nobody pays attention to other people’s experience. It has to happen to you before you start moving. I know, because I’m the same way.

My husband told her once that she is a caterpillar waiting to turn into a butterfly. Now, at twenty-one and on her own two feet, she has the chance to turn herself into a butterfly. I hope she doesn’t wait too long, because she will probably be a gorgeous butterfly, one of the most beautiful. I love her, and I want her to be the best that she can be.

Happy birthday, Jiliane – Many Happy Returns!

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¡Gracias Ximena! June 16, 2008

Posted by solangek in Gracias! Merci! Thank you!.
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Tomé mucho tiempo antes de escribir sobre Ximena, y qué pena porque si estoy haciendo este sitio, en parcialmente gracias a ella. Es mi hermosa cuñada, hermana de mi esposo. Parece gitana y podría llamarse Esmeralda… pero Ximena es un nombre muy apropiado también, en muchos aspectos.

Ximena es como una fuerza de la naturaleza. Es, a la vez, fuerte y débil: ataca con fuerza, pero también es vulnerable, tomando todo como si fuera un insulto directo a su persona. A veces creo que le gusta enojarse porque le da más energía.

Pero otra faceta es que es inspiradora: no sé si es el bat o la beisbolista; si es la pelota de fútbol o el pie que la patea, pero Ximena tiene una magia que mueve el mundo. Su encanto, su sonrisa y su emoción, empujan a los demás (ya sabemos quienes somos) a hacer lo que siempre hemos querido hacer. Hasta descubrimos nuevos gustos en la vida gracias a ella. Por ejemplo, si no fuera por ella, no estaría haciendo todo este ejercicio. Antes de conocerla, no me gustaba hacer ejercicio por gusto, aunque me gustaban las actividades físicas. Ella me enseñó a pasar tiempo con mi cuerpo, conmigo, para disfrutar moverme con fuerza y gracia (como Ximena).

Regresando a la idea de fuerza de la naturaleza, ella no esta atada a nada, creo. Más bien es como un cometa con un trayecto cerrado y repetitivo que la lleva seguido al hogar de su infancia, a veces a los brazos de de Julio, y por ratos a lugares totalmente diferentes. Muchas veces me da la impresión de sentirse atrapada por sus hijos, porque tiene muchos intereses a parte de ser mamá. Es bailarina, profesora de español y de educación física, ha dado clases particulares de aeróbics, ha tenido una fábrica de yogurt y otros negocios también. A parte de eso, creo que tiene una vida social activa, tiempo para leer… ¡parece hacer todo! Nosotras las mamás sabemos que ser mamá es trabajo de 24 horas al día y de 7 días a la semana, todas las semanas del año, y eso no nos deja mucho tiempo para otros intereses. Pero Ximena no se deja. Sigue su corazón, y supongo que eso es parte de su magia también.

Hay una canción de Billy Joel que me gusta mucho, y que me hace pensar siempre en Ximena. Aquí están las letras, pero la pueden escuchar siguiendo el vínculo en el título:

She’s Always A Woman

She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies
And she only reveals what she wants you to see
She hides like a child,
But she’s always a woman to me

She can lead you to love
She can take you or leave you
She can ask for the truth
But she’ll never believe
And she’ll take what you give her, as long as it’s free
Yeah, she steals like a thief
But she’s always a woman to me

CHORUS:
Oh–she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time
Oh–and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

And she’ll promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she’ll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you’re bleedin’
But she’ll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she’s always a woman to me
–Mhmm–

CHORUS:
Oh–she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time
Oh–and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind

She is frequently kind
And she’s suddenly cruel
She can do as she pleases
She’s nobody’s fool
And she can’t be convicted
She’s earned her degree
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you
But she’s always a woman to me
–Mhmm–

Eso es Ximena… Supongo que es por todo eso que la adoro, y que es tan fácil quererla. ¡Qué bueno que existen poetas como Billy Joel para expresar nuestros pensamientos! Entonces a ella dedico esta canción, y estoy emocionada para verla pronto – a ella y a mis sobrinitos. He pasado mucho tiempo divertido con ella, y nunca es suficiente.

Ximena

¡Salud, Ximena!

Thank you Aunt Linda & Oncle Michel! June 11, 2008

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I can’t write about them separately. They are always together – at least when I see them, and even though I have spent a lot of time with them over the years, it never seems like enough. I always feel like I don’t quite know them.

They are creative, artistic people who enjoy eating good food as much as preparing it. Aunt Linda even sells pies at the farmer’s market, and they are definitely worth buying! She is so proud of her pie crusts… and rightfully so. But you know, they are so smart and curious, as they entertain interests in aviation, medicine, computers, web site design, mechanics, animal rights and protection, volunteering, leather working, wood turning and carpentry, cooking, baking, painting and drawing, helping their neighbours, crafts… you name it. Aunt Linda has worked with Saint John’s Ambulance, the SPCA and the local food bank. Oncle Michel is always being creative at his wood turning shop, and he is so talented (http://www.toymakersite.com/).

What I can’t quite put my finger on is why these wonderful people, who are so productive and spend their time doing so many positive things, always look tired and slightly bitter. I love them like crazy, and I know that they have many health and money problems… but as a couple they exude a feeling that the world is against them, which contradicts their acts. Their home has the same sad vibe, a direct reflexion, or perhaps expression, of this feeling about their place in the world. They might say that they simply have too many things (due to the scope of their interests) and too little space; nevertheless, I must insist that there must be way to organize and store their things. And after so many years, surely they might have been able to beautify their living space if they had had the interest to do so. This must be, if my interpretation is correct, a lack of self-love. It is simply what I feel when I visit and not based on any intellectual conclusions.

Who knows why this is so? They have never opened up about it to me, and I haven’t tried very hard to probe. It seems that our niece-aunt-uncle relationship doesn’t lend itself very well to confiding, and which is a shame. I would like so much to change that, and be able to take our relationship to a more adult level, which of course will be up to me, the niece. I’ll have to call them…

In the meantime, I just love them very, very much and hope that they know how much they mean to me, and how highly I think of them: they are definitely good examples of decent humans who walk their talk. They make the world a better place every day.

Thank you Miriam! May 29, 2008

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Miriam is my mother’s cousin. I’ve never known her very well but my mother and grandmother often talk about her, saying wonderful things. She inspires a kind of awe in me, I think because I don’t know her very well. She has recently returned from working against AIDS in Africa for the past … few years. She has been doing her master’s degree (or doctorate?) at university too, at the same time. She has just had a beautiful baby, and an operation on her foot, which seems (fingers crossed) to have been successful. She sure has a lot going on. Oh, and she is also a yoga teacher. And she’s pretty. Radiant!

I’m writing about her because last September she asked me to help her polish her French in time for Christmas, and I accepted but… I did not check my email enough; I didn’t get back to her quickly enough and we lost touch. Now I’m worried that she didn’t get her paper because of me, and I disappointed her and perhaps messed things up for her. Hopefully, she followed through with some classes that she was taking at the Alliance Française and got her French in order.

I just wish her the best in her recovery, the best with her baby, and the best in life. I know she is a great mother and will take life by the horns to do graceful acrobatics, just like the Ancient Minoans did with bulls. Miriam is calm, caring, and has a positive attitude like few other people I’ve met. She is a role model for all the stressed out people around them.

Thank you Miriam! You inspire more people that you are aware of…

Gracias Tita! May 29, 2008

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La Tita de mi Paris es una mujer maravillosa. Es bella, generosa, cálida y cariñosa.

Ella ha cuidado a muchos niños, y la ironía es que ninguno era su propio hijo. Qué gran corazón tiene! No conozco a nadie mas que cuida tanto a los niños como Tita. Yo creo que tal vez algo le pasó, a ella o a alguien que conocía, cuando era chiquita, porque se preocupa mucho mas que los demas por los niños. Si supiera qué fue, le daría un gran abrazo, muy apretado, para que supiera cuanto lo siento y cuando la amo.

Ha trabajado mucho toda su vida, en buenos puestos y en buenas oficinas. Ha conocido personas importantes, famosas y mas. Ha guiado y cuidado a sus hermanos y a su hermana. Tambien se ha cuidado mucho a si misma, manteniendo una cara y una actitud juveniles y frescas, siempre pareciendo mucho mas joven de lo que es. Es coqueta, energetica y bien arreglada. Le encantan las reuniones, el cafecito con cigarro en las mañanas, y nunca se pierde su horóscopo. Nunca sé si toma la vida en serio o a la ligera, pero como sea, es muy sabía.

Lo malo es que como ya no vivimos con ella. Yo no le puedo dar abrazos como quisiera, ni platicar despues de la comida. Antes de mudarnos a Canadá, viviamos con ella, y ella hasta nos mantenía a mí y a mi pequeña familia, aunque trabajaba yo como maestra, y ella ya se había jubilado. Todos la extrañamos muchísimo; a su alrededor, nuestra pequeña familia en la Colonia 20 de Noviembre se reunía : tíos, suegros, y nosotros.

Ah, y ademas… NADIE puede planchar mejor una camisa, ni preparar calabacitas a la mexicana tan bien como ella, ni comer pastel de chocolate con tanto gusto. Tampoco se me olvida que ella vendió su hermosa casa en la Ciudad de México, mudándose a un pueblito cerrado de Chiapas, para pagar el trasplante de mi querido esposo. Como la extraño, y tengo muchas ganas de ir a visitarla lo mas pronto posible.Tita

Gracias por todo Tita! Mi vida es infinitivamente mejor gracias a ti.

Thank you Angela! May 27, 2008

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Angela: a person in my life who reminds me of rosemary, pickles, butter and Metallica. She is a wonderful girl and a wonderful woman. She has a strange softness about her like an aura… or is it a haze of smoke? She definitely smokes too much (but then in my humble opinion, any smoking at all is too much). Actually, she is the sweetest girl, but full of sharp corners like elbows, knees and occasional loudness. She doesn’t hide emotions, but she sure hides thoughts. It is so hard to write about her, because thoughts, emotions and memories tumble all over my mind, like Angela’s beautiful golden hair on a windy day.

I will organize my thoughts. When she was young, we often played together, especially roughly. Then when we were teenagers I admired her slim athletic shape as she took diving lessons. Her parents had a pool and she lived in her bathing suit. She tans beautifully, too. And her mother always measured how tall we were… a race I lost a long time ago (I even came in behind my younger sister). Then her parents broke up… and I guess she did too. She had a hard time as any as a teenager, but for some reason, I feel like she hasn’t completely overcome her teenage disappointments and mistakes yet. Now, she is a mother of two wonderful, smiley sticky babes: a big blond boy and a little sprite of a girl with blond wispy hair. Lately, Angela has lost all her baby weight, looking great again – cheers to you for that!

Very carefully now: I personally feel that her man doesn’t treat her as well as she deserves, but then again, I don’t know him very well. I just know Angela, and I haven’t seen her properly in a few years, only once or twice. But watching them together and spending time with Angela on her own, I sense something has changed… her spark. I suspect she may be slightly oppressed, if I may use the term. She reminds me a little bit of my mother, who has grown bitter from oppression and depression, but Angela isn’t bitter yet. I’m just afraid she may be wilting before she fully blooms. Maybe she isn’t the type of flower that survives a long time in a vase, like chicory, or Johnny-jump-ups. The problem is that they are so fresh and colourful that you can’t help yourself from trying to pick them and bring them home.

I wish I could see her more often, but our respective economies don’t really allow us, especially with the rising cost of gas. I know that seems a little bit pathetic, but she also works strange hours and lives at least 2 hours away by highway. I just hope she knows that I often think of her and wish he well all the time. I wish her the best; I send her imaginary hugs and hope she is happy in spite of the day-to-day stones in her path.

Thank you for everything Angela! The world is a better place because of you.

Gracias Tere May 26, 2008

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La primera persona en mi lista es mi querida suegra, tal vez porque quiero que lea mi blog. La verdad fue una elección impulsiva porque anoche estaba pensando « Quien será la primera persona en mi lista? »

Es una persona muy artística, creativa y bella. Cuida mucho a su tía, aunque se pelean mucho, lo que es una gran pena porque las dos se quieren mucho y deberían de tener una relación mas allá de los detalles. Pero bueno, mejor ya no digo mas al respecto.

Tere es una suegra ideal que es fácil de abrazar y de querer. Cuando se arregla, llena el cuarto de luz, y cuando está triste y fachuda… todos nos apachurramos. Ha tenido muchas pérdidas recientemente y necesita mucho amor – muchisimo amor y paciencia. Ay! La quiero tanto! Es mas fuerte de lo que piense (as are thy days, so shall thy strength be), pero se pierde tan fácilmente como los demás en el quotidiano.

Tambien es una de las personas mas estudiosas, curiosas e inteligentes que conozco. Tiene mucho que compartir, es buena maestra tambien. Tiene muchos conocimientos; lee como si fuera un camello sediente y los libros fueran agua!

Cuando pienso en ella, me la imagino de dos maneras : primero, caminando en el terreno bajo el sol con nosotros y con Oscar, con sus zapatitos blancos. Tambien en las reuniones, riéndose atras de su tragito, o agregando su opinión a la conversación ruidosa del comedor. Hace la mejor sopita de verduras picadas que he comido en mi vida, y tambien plátanos cuadrados en el micro, con crema y queso. Mmmm!

En fin – Tere te quiero mucho mucho mucho y te mando una bola de abrazos!

Tere & Mumfi