My fairy tale nightmare (Part 1. The nightmare) #SOL Tuesday

Inspired by writer, teacher and blogger, Fran Hailey, this piece is written by four legged guest blogger, Buck. Since I am again on a Tuesday #Sol at an airport, I am grateful that Buck stepped in. He got a little carried away, and his tale has to continue next week, otherwise it won’t make it on Tuesday and I won’t make my plane to Chile 😉

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Dear readers,

I am so happy to share my experiences of a globetrotter with the audience of my dear owner, even though, a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t think of her as she was too dear to me. Let you explain things as they should be. From the beginning.

I was happily ever after on the lush sunny days of my Andalusian life when all of the sudden my life turned upside down. I was put in jail or that’s what I thought. My owner started to lured me with bits of food and a comfy red padded mat on what I learned later, it was my kennel. Looks like a jail to me anyway, despite the fact that it was taped colorfully and has my name on it. My owner had read a blog post about Luke, a famous wiener dog, that travels all over the world and how his owners prepare his own jail so he isn’t left behind.All those prearrangements didn’t make any sense to me until we arrived to the Barajas airport in Madrid. I produced more paper work than a human, even though, sadly, I learned later, I am easier to enter in the US than a human. Me and Pia held the check in line for like an hour. They peeked at me, shuffled the papers where it says I was in good health, checked the size of my kennel, making sure I can turn and roll and do all sort of tricks that I couldn’t even think of doing. It was hot, noisy and scary. After that, Pia has to carry me by hand with no wheels or a cart for almost a kilometer. We have to pass security twice. I really like that part because I was taken out and held by Pia and all the security people lost their mean look and started admiring my big smile. But my happiness lasted only for two seconds. After security checks I was returned rudely into my container and a huge guy carried me and put me on a truck. I peeked from the bars as Pia waved goodbye and filmed my departure to hell. I was the only living object on that truck. As a matter of fact, I was alone. The ride was not so bad. I got to see a little bit of the airport since the driver drove first to the wrong airplane or maybe he needed to go to the bathroom. The breeze felt good also. The smell and noise not that much. As we approached the airplane, the big guy tied my kennel with those sturdy plastic strips that you cannot open again. I was in dismay. What was happening? Where I was going? What was going to happen to me? Pia was not in sight, and I was at the mercy of these strong people who were accommodating me next to a bicycle, a couple of golf clubs and something that looked like a big instrument and a black trunk. They closed the door and I heard some motors starting. The rest felt like if I were a piece of dirt inside a vacuum cleaner. What an horrific sound, and all that movement. I was grateful that the plastic strips were securely attached to the bars. I tried to buried myself on my blanket to avoid reality. But it was a mixture of waves of heat and cold air that didn’t let me settle. The thirst was killing me. After two hours of pure hell, they opened the vacuum cleaner and I felt relief and joy. An unknown woman yelled something in a language I couldn’t understand. They gave me a little bit of water through the bars.

That’s it! I was under the spell of the witch of Hansel and Gretel. That’s the language they were speaking, after all. What didn’t make sense is that they didn’t give me anything to eat. Wasn’t the idea that the witch wanted to fatten Hansel and Gretel? Well, not me. I was doommed to live with two droplets of water for 24 hours.

They transferred me to a cart were they buried me with suitcases and boxes of all sizes and shapes. Mostly odd shapes and somehow heavier than me. I tried to smile but my face was confronted as if a door was slammed in front of it. Again I was put in a vacuum cleaner. This time a wider one and for more than 10 hours! At the end, I didn’t even remember that my name was Buck. They took my blanket and tied it to the outside handle. Probably they thought I could hang myself with it. They were not too far from reality . I lost the thrive, my life was miserable and my tummy was starting to grumble. (To be continued).When things were still somehow ok.Me, being placed among odd and non-living things

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Toy stories 7 to the last #SOL Tuesday

While on the plane to Frankfurt I am tweaking my last Instagram toy stories. Hopefully I can publish this slice during SOL Tuesday before I board my plane to Oregon. This is it. Today I am starting a new chapter of my life. Excited to see how it will evolve.

#Toystory7

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Even though technically this is not a toy but a wedding present given to us almost 26 years ago by our dear family friend, Omar , this fish mobile is the winner of the wedding present—toy combo survivor category.

While I was cleaning all the big and little fish, I remembered all the stories behind the hanging, unhanging, packings and unpackings of this mobile. When we got it my husband looked at it and said: “I love these fish. There are so colorful. I can picture them in our future home. This mobile will follow us wherever we go.” Little he knew that literally these fish have crossed two big oceans and a sea a couple of times. Little Omar knew his present was going to be part of the fabric of our family. At each house we had the ceremony of unpacking the mobile, untangle and balance the pieces together. Then it was followed by a brief discussion lead by Steve with his hammer on hand of where we were going to hang it. Finally the place was sealed until the next move.
Our kids as babies enjoyed the movement of the mobile. When they were unsettled we walked next to the mobile and observed it together for a while. When the fish touched each other, the wood made a crisp sound. Almost always it did the trick of distracting the baby in our hands and switched their pain on an awe. Later, the discussion of where to hang the fish were made together as a family. Here in Spain, it took us a while to decide the perfect place, since the house was a little bit darker and with no open spaces like in the other houses. But the mobile found its place in a corner of the living room. It gathered for ten years a bunch of dust and spider webs for being up high and never touched but by the morning wind. Eventually I took it down this week, cleaned it real good, and placed carefully all its pieces wrapped on paper inside box number 78.
I wonder if this mobile made an impact on my children as it did, does on me. I wonder what part of it they remember or if they even know what I’m talking about.

#Toystory8

There are some things that you have to let go but take a photo of them to remind you of some moments of your children’s life. When Matilde was probably 14 or 15 she asked us to get her a mirror for her room. We told her she didn’t need one. She had the mirror of the bathroom next door. She insisted and we fought back. It was out of the question. One day Matilde arrived home with a beaten up mirror she found who knows where. She cleaned it and painted it, and asked her dad to secure it on one wall in her room. And Steve did. There, our daughter got her mirror.

The other day we were showing one of our handlebar bike basket that we used in the Camino de Santiago to one of Vincent’s friend. He said “look, there is something inside” I said “I bet this was Vincent’s basket.” When we saw what was inside I said: “THIS was Vincent’s basket for sure” while holding in my hands the almost fossilized piece of cow’s set of teeth.

#Toystory9

It seems that handarbeiten are not my forte. I started this embroidery when Matilde was born more than 23 years ago. I think I got into dinosaur one and left it probably because I couldn’t stay still. I continued with Vincent, 21 one years ago and got into dinosaur number two. Probably I didn’t finish the design because I was packing.
Anyway, another survivor. I feel very proud of it. It maintains its colors and the white hasn’t turned yellow. Needless to say that it was shipped to Oregon.

#Toystory10

This is it. Today I left behind the biggest toys of all, our home in la Matilla. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours cleaning its walls, doors, closets and floors. I enjoyed it. It was as if I was cleansing all the mistakes I committed here. It was also soothing. I could say goodbye to every single corner of it while I was caressing them with water, detergent and chlorine. While listening to the Beatles and the sound of the cloth splashing, I remember moments of happiness, of sadness, of amazement and sometimes of despair and frustration. We had a great time in this house with its ups and downs as life itself. We owned every moment and that’s what’s I call happiness.
This drawing was made by my dear cousin Maria Isidora who came with her husband Keno a couple of years ago and enjoyed the charm of our home and the great cooking of Steve. I don’t know what has the house but every person that stopped by got trapped by its enchantments. To me, my kids, the doggies, the cats, and Steve were the pillars of this charm. Without them, this house is just a dilapidated place.
Time to start finding the enchantments of another home. I’m getting ready my broom for the long ride.

#Lasttoystory

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I found this little figure of St. James in Vincent’s room. It made sense. Vincent’s middle name is James, in honor and memory of grandpa McCann. I didn’t have the fortune of meeting Jim but I have known him vicariously through the stories of his children, especially Steve and Laura, one of my sisters-in-law. Jim was a great man and I’m glad my son has his name.
Today Buck and I are embarking in our plane to Oregon. Last Thursday we sent all our belongings on a truck. Steve will join me later with Clyde and hopefully the cats, Lola and Ralph. We will definitely need the protection of St. James who protected us in El Camino de Santiago. Now he will be taking care of us in our new Camino. And the spirit of grandpa Jim will prevail in our home.

 

Toy stories 1 to 6 #SOL Tuesday

I am moving back to the US after spending ten years of my life in Spain. Moving is good and painful, and the process of packing is exhausting but very healing.

Getting rid of things is a powerful tool. I kept reminding myself that I should let things go. We are ending up with almost 90 boxes of books, clothes and memorabilia I collect for the sake of collecting. I am a trained historian and the fact that information we will need in the future will be intangible makes me hard to let go easily maps, stubs of museums, movies,  plays, drama, metro, buses, or a pamphlet handed out on the street. Everything reminded me of something.

While packing, and putting things for a garage sale, I started a series of stories about the toys I found of my already in college children. These toys were the survivors. I posted the stories in Instagram but now that I am almost done packing, and the truck is coming on Thursday, I decided to gather them all in one long blog post, taking advantage of the quietness before the storm, and that today is SOL Tuesday.

#toystory1

Before starting our yard sale, I made sure to send photos to my kids with all the stuff that we were selling that were theirs. My daughter basically told us she was a hoarder and we could get rid of everything since she didn’t remember most of the stuff.

In any case, when I discovered Slinky and the marionette, I couldn’t put them in the pile of 1, 2 or 3 euros. They remind me so much of her. I can’t get rid of them. I will put them in a room in our home in Oregon to show every person who visit us who Matilde Is: the juggler, the globetrotter the doglovermati. Cómo te quiero, guati ❤️🐕🌎🤹‍♀️ #dollstory1

#toystory2

Demon Doll (Small)

This is another item that didn’t make it to the yard sale.  This is a REAL survivor.
Matilde received this doll as a present from her aunt Alejandra and uncle Matias when she was around two. It was hate at the first sight. Never care , never played with her. I remember my mom trying to teach her how to pretend that the doll was her baby and Matilde looking at her terrified waving her little right hand saying firmly, no,no,no,. and walking away. I remember my dad saying: “Toda la razón. ¡Esto es mucha responsabilidad!”. (She is completely right. Having a baby it’s too much responsibility!).

Nevertheless, for some mysterious reasons the baby made all the cuts of our moves: from Chile to Montana, to Maryland, to Virginia, to Oregon, to Spain. When Matilde was around 11, the baby starts having appearance in her life again by making it as primer figure in her videos (” Me the model” being the launching of her career as the mistreated baby of a model by all the rough housing of Vincent). Soon she became the star of every single performance created by Matilde. The doll has been into Sevilla’s street inside a suitcase dragged on a bike, throw through stairs, and who knows what else.

In this photo, the demon baby— as Mati and Vincent call her affectionately— is posing happily with Matilde’s recently washed original baptism outfit, tights and jumper. She is ready to cross again the Atlantic ocean, through the Panama Canal to her place in Oregon until Matilde rescues her.
Sorry Vincent, I can’t follow your WhatsApp’s commands: “Throw that evil baby away, ive always hated that possessed doll“. Matilde thinks that after all she might be her child. #dollstory2

PS: This story was so popular with my selected group of followers that my friend and leader of my Spanish Writing Workshop got inspired and wrote a short story in Spanish called “La muñeca” (The doll) using my daughter´s dislike for dolls  and my dad´s observation as starting and ending points respectively.

Mati y doll.jpeg

#toystory3 

Bolones (Small)

These marbles went into the garage sale. Nobody got them. I thought that if I were a kid I would love to have them. In any case, not too many kids came. I decided to rescue them and pack them away. Last week while packing and cleaning Vincent’s room, I found two piles of marbles inside a pair of soccer socks. In one sock were bolitas and in the other bolones. A little boy got the little marbles probably because they were more. But the one that were really “valuable” were the big bolones. They reflect a little bit of my son.

Vincent didn’t keep too many things in his room. His childhood’s toys were marked by waves of obsessions. At one, he only cared about one movie, the soporific “The Incredible Journey “, water in all places and forms, and all sort of balls. At two he was obsessed with little cars. I used to buy a set of four of them in Toys R Us, and bribed him every time he went to the bathroom. Soon enough I realized I would have tons of little cars spread all over the house, so I decided to recycle them. Since he lived in his own world, he never noticed that I was using the same cars over and over again.

At three he discovered trucks and tractors in Montana. He looked with big eyes the huge trucks toys that his cousins Ben and Simon had, but actually his biggest obsession was jumping on a real truck with his uncle Curt. Whenever he couldn’t take him, he run to me crying in a desolation that I couldn’t appease until Curt was back, and the hope of getting on the truck flourished again.

Then came rocks, knives and swords, the Rubik cube, the card tricks, rotten bones of animals kept in his pockets, rock music, and the marbles. The fact that he didn’t give them away made me think that probably he cared for them. He never answered my whatsapps asking what to do with them. By heart, he is a hoarder, like all of us. Maybe he didn’t have the guts to tell me to pack something so mundane.To me the bolones are part of my son, valuable to the core, with a brain full of thoughts and a heart full of feelings. The marbles need to be kept in socks, otherwise they get disperse. You treasure them. You can’t play meaningless with them.

#toysory4

Do not disturb (Small)

Packing a home of ten years to move back overseas (yes, we are going over seas) is not an ordinary matter. When I learned how much a moving company charged to pack all our stuff, I cried. I just have broken my pinky toe and was particularly sensitive. I looked at the amount of things that overflowed our home, and the two dogs and two cats that were watching me unsettled. A considerable amount of advise from family and friends begun to arrive via whatsapp, emails and social media. “Be simple,” “be happy”, “don´t take anything”, “follow Marie Kondo´s advise”. “With the money of the container buy everything new when you come back.”

With Steve we tried to assess the situation. We were going to pack the stuff ourselves and try to reduce what we bring back to the “simple life.” And then, then is when a new Pia, willing to deal with the mountains accumulated over the years, diligent like a faithful soldier and empowered by all the Kondo´s style advise, touched the knob of the door to open Vincent´s room, and saw the “Do not Disturb Sign”. We were in some store in the US, and I have told firmly to the children that they can choose ONE item. Vincent picked out this stuffed lion cub. I was surprise by his choice, and even told Steve about it. Vincent was probably 10 or 11. He was a strong boy. At two he could pack 2 kilos of avocados while helping at the parcela my parents had near Santiago. At ten he could knocked down kids, if he wanted but he never did. He has to be very mad, to use his strength. And he wanted this stuffed animal. I can see his eyes shining when he showed me his item, caressing it with his chubby cheeks and smiling. “He is so cute”. The sign was always with the “Come in” side on. Only when Matilde got him on his nerves he turned it to the do not disturb side.

How can I throw that little creature away? How can I think that leaving him in a garbage can will make me happier? I didn´t want to buy new stuff. I didn´t want to leave my mattress on a dump. I put the little cub in the washer, and now is inside a cardboard box anxiously waiting to be put on a door knob with the “Come in” side again. I’m removing dust and memories. It makes me happy.

Come in (Small)

#toystory5

Raggedy Ann (Small)

This doll was rescued from a box left by Matilde filled with stuffed animals and moths. Raggedy Ann didn’t get eaten, thankfully. She was made with love by Gramma Minnie and will make it back to the West coast of the US. When I took her clothes off to wash them, in her body was an embroidered heart that says “I love you”.
In honor of all grandmas and children inspired by Johnny Gruelle‘ s character.

#toystory6

Chilean Doll (Small)

This is another survivor of my daughter´s indifference, even though it made it to the box where the moths where happy. This doll was also given by my brother Matías and sister-in-law, Alejandra (Probably more by the latter than my brother 😜).
She is a genuine Chilean doll, dressed as a school girl with the uniform I wore 10 years of my life. When I undressed her to wash her clothes, I was amazed by the details. She has a perfect white blouse, and a dark blue sleeveless dress called “jumper”. To keep the uniform clean we wore a blue and white checkered apron. And in winter, a blue cardigan.
In the late 1960s during the presidency of Eduardo Frei Montalva, the mandatory universal uniform was established for private & public schools in Chile. It meant to save money to families and lessen the distinction between the have and have-not. I know it was a great help to my mom’s budget. She bought us very long jumpers and aprons, that while we were growing they got shorter and shorter. During my senior year, my apron only covered me up to my bellybutton. 🤣 (I did it a little bit to annoy the school administration but also because I thought it was pointless my parents bought me a new apron during my senior year.)
Even though I didn’t like the uniform, I enjoyed the fact that I could get it messy and I didn’t have to think what to wear during the school days. The mandatory rule ended in 1995, but many schools still use the uniform with some variations. Probably now they are more expensive than regular clothes but during my childhood, “street clothes” as we called the regular clothes, were expensive.
I will use this doll in my new school, to tell stories to children about Chile ❤️ (until Matilde reclaims her).

 

—To be continued. I have a couple of stories left before the container goes—

#SOL Tuesday

Good news Tuesday…Yes! part 2 #sol Tuesday

On March 5th, I wrote a slice of life story about my son’s writing homework when he was in 1st grade. I don’t want to repeat myself but just add facts I didn’t  have when I wrote the story by memory in Spain. Also I want to bring justice to Vincent’s teacher. It’s so true that to raise a child it takes a village.

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I am in Oregon right now. Sitting on a terrace chair in front of my computer writing in the only house we can called ours. The view from the dining room is amazing and brings me back so many and intense stories. I grew up surrounded by mountains. I miss them when they are not close to me. I love this house, I love this area. We left it almost ten years ago and now we want to conquer it back. If only I can get a job…

When we left to Spain, we had two containers full of boxes and books. One contained boxes labeled To storage in the USA, the other To Spain. The former with all the things  we couldn’t bring across the ocean in the other container.

Last weekend, my son visited me from Montana. He was as in awe as I was. He was 11 when we left. Looking at the place and the area with adult eyes got him.  We decided to enter in the To storage in the USA container that sits in one corner of our property. Entering in it was like entering in a time capsule. By the way we stored things it looked like we had left in a hurry and started putting together in the same box whatever we had at hand. One of the things that we found was my son’s school planner of 2004, when he was in 1st grade. It was a really neat idea of having kids practice their handwriting at the same time of a way of communicating with parents. On the left side of the planner Vincent wrote everyday a sentence that summarized or highlighted something that the class did that day. We needed to initial it every time. My husband and I remember starting great conversations with our son thanks to just that sentence. It was such a handy way of knowing what happen in school instead of receiving a dull “good” as an answer when we asked how was school today?

On the right side of the planner, Vincent had to write the words of the week, and it was space for us to write a message to the teacher and communicate with her.

When we started looking at the planner, Vincent was first of all amazed of all the writing and communication that was on it. When he flipped the pages, and read messages that either me or his dad wrote

Vincent will ride the bus today… Vincent will leave early today because he has a doctor’s appointment…, Vincent will stay in the after school program today…Vincent misplaced his reading log and is very worried…

he asked me: Did the teacher has to do this, check and write back in all children’s planners every day?

Yes! I know. It’s a lot of work — I answered. But so worth it. At least in our case.

And here it was. The explanation of the Tuesday News writing assignment and how we solved with Vincent the fact he needed to write every Tuesday and Thursday.  I knew Ms. Coleman’s words were sacred for Vincent. Not so much mine.

Written in pencil:

9/27/04

Dear Ms. Coleman, We received the homework packet. What’s not clear to Vincent or myself is what does he has to do when says as an assignment “Good news writing…(Tue & Thurs). I would really appreciate it if you could clarify that to Vincent (and maybe myself?) 🙂 Thanks, Pia (Vincent’s mom)

And then in green marker

Sure. I told the kids on Monday that we would practice it on Tuesday. It should be clear to him now. It is basically a journal (about anything he wants to write about…soccer, his family, etc.. He could also write a story, or poems, or a play. On Friday he will choose one of his journal entries to share with the class. Hope this helps!

I knew that it was something that I needed to keep. I couldn’t throw away all the stories that Vincent’s first grade planner contained, and all the good and hard work that all of us did.

Ms. Coleman, wherever you are, thank you for your time, sense of humor, patience, and help in raising such an amazing human being as Vincent.

 

Airports’ conversations #sol Tuesday

Richmond airport 9:30 am

—Hey Molly make sure they send me the right one.

—…

—You will see it on the email they sent this morning. I just forwarded it.

—…

—I sent my comments. Go to Concatenate America first dot com. Other than that, I think we’re in really good shape.

—…

—When do you think you will have the first draft to reveal?

—…

—If it’s not a big lift, Wednesday would be great.

—…

—Thank you all for your hard work. I’m going to drop off.

Business phone conversations at the airport are boring. Nothing juicy that I can hang from. Maybe the fact that Molly’s life is so messed up at this time that having the draft being”revealed” on Wednesday is a big lift.

Philly’s airport 11:35 am

I’m leaning forward to listening to conversations. It’s hard. Everybody is so quiet. I should change sits to get a better story. Too many lonely travelers glued to their silence phones. No spoken words besides the one from the airport speakers announcing flights departures, and mandatory reminders. Will I have time to post this on Tuesday? I’m one of those lonely travelers glued to the phone.

Oh no! One of the announcements  is that my flight is running late. I hope it doesn’t mess up my connection in L.A. Or is it groundhog day?

In front of me is a couple in their early seventies. She has short curly black gray hair. She is doing Sudokus while her husband is reading the newspaper. She wears glasses, so does he. Both are wearing grey jerseys and black pants. His hair is whiter. She is wearing black boots that go almost passed her knees. Her earrings are big round silver hula hoops and her neck is wrapped on a greyish white, black calypso scarf. In one of their unzipped bags I see two bananas floating among some paperwork. The woman started to talk to the neighboring couple. They are sharing horror stories about delayed airplanes. Very uplifting.

The waiting area is getting packed. Some excited faces are turning unhappy. It’s 12:01 and our airplane hasn’t showed up yet. Our scheduled  flight is at 12:35. Two old women are looking at their wrist watches while young people are frantically texting.

12:10 My plane arrived. It’s a question of unloading the passengers from Charlottesville and I will be on my way in an already worn out warm seat. I hope it’s not in the very middle. I hate to feel trapped unable to look through the window or go to the bathroom as I wish on my will.

I better “drop off.” I might have to run to my next flight and won’t arrive before midnight EST to my final destination to get this unconscious flow of thoughts published. (Excuse my 27 words last sentence. Everything looks tighter on a phone.)

Day 31. Saying goodbye is like dying a little #sol19

slice-of-life_individualMarch 31st

Partir, c’est mourir un peu,
Partir es morir un poco
Parting is dying a little

Edmond Haraucourt

Goodbye Virginia, welcome Oregon

Goodbye daughter, welcome son

Goodbye Winter, welcome Spring

Goodbye March, welcome April

Goodbye English, welcome Spanish

Goodbye parties, welcome solitude

Goodbye Richmond, welcome Redmond

Goodbye James river, welcome Deschutes

Goodbye weekend, welcome new working week

Goodbye full house, welcome empty home

Goodbye cold days, welcome warm and flowers

Goodbye warm days, welcome still cold and snow

Goodbye refrigerator full of food of different people’s taste, welcome abandoned refrigerator with nothing

Goodbye Mati’s thrifty red car, welcome gas eater white  pickup

Goodbye writer’s block, welcome inspiration

Goodbye faithful commentators, welcome random visitors

Goodbye welcome wagon volunteers, welcome me to the cart

Goodbye Slice of Life story challenge, welcome Classroom SOLSC

Goodbye Slice of Life story challenge, it has been a pleasure, welcome in search for a job challenge, it will be exciting

Parting is dying a little, arriving insufflates life.

I did it! Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Day 30. Tiredness is a good feeling #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 30th

Only 2 days…the Slice of Story challenge is winding down, many people are on Spring break trying to squeeze the last minutes of relaxation to the max, slices are shorter and comments on my own blog are skimpier. It seems that everybody is tired. Some teachers are also preparing for April’s classroom Slice of Story challenge. Wow. That’s really commendable.

I am not the exception. I am tired but in a good way. It’s like when I go for a long bike ride and all my muscles ache and I am worn out to the point that I can’t rest. Suddenly, the whole body gives up and collapsescollapses . But feels good.

Now it´s almost 1 am of March 30th. I will have a busy day. My daughter of 23 years old decided to celebrate her birthday as she was 5. We went biking together to the supermarket, bought candies for the piñata, hot-dogs, ice-cream, and some goodies. I am making a hand made piñata remembering the ones I made when she and her brother were little. I just made a cake that tomorrow I have to put layers of strawberry jam and dulce de leche that I still need to find somewhere. And the frosting, and finishing the piñata. Oh, and we are going to raft the James river in the morning. And is almost 1 am. And I am tired, but it´s a good tiredness, the kind that leaves you feeling good..

Day 29. Spanglish brain #sol19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 29th

I can’t believe there are only three days left for the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I might have a postpartum depression. In April I will continue the challenge in Spanish. I feel I have abandoned my native language during this month. I have written very sloppy stories for my writing workshop. It seems as my neurons can’t switch so fast. Sometimes it’ s hard in both languages. Random sloppiness, sloppy randomness, Spanglish brain. There are some Chilean words in Spanish that I can’t express in English and viceversa


 

Regalona. I will never find a word like this in any other  Spanish country or in the English language. It’s being spoiled, mimada, but in a positive way. It’s a person who loves to cuddle, to give and receive kisses, it’s being spoiled, and loved all at the same time.

Upset. The brevity  of this word compared with the intense feelings that express has always amazed me.

Gorgeous. I heard this word for the first time when I arrived in the US. I find it so cacophonous. I have mix-feeling when I use it. In fact, I don’t think I can use it. Only in writing.

Awesome. This word has been overused but I think is just because combines so many things at the same time that other words can’t convey.

Guatona. Literally this is having a big belly but in my family is an expression of deep affection that I can’t express in other ways. It’s a family secret code.

Chanchada. When you eat something really good but you know you are sinning. This happen a lot in my family.

Pan con palta. Wait. Bread with avocado, avocado toast. Nope. Nothing compares to a pan con palta. It evokes my childhood, my children’s childhood, the very essence of health, simplicity, and feeling lucky for being able to afford it.

Hot-dog. An American hot-dog is expensive, aseptic, dry and boring. A Chilean hot-dog or Completo is juicy, full of colors and very cheap. Maybe Cotsco hot–dogs are the exemption to the rule.

McCannudos. Our chat, our family last name can be awesome in Spanish.

Excruciating. It has some onomatopoeic sounds. It’s like the sound of being crucified.

Quinn or Queen? I never knew the difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 28. The kitchen table #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 28th:

I sit down on one of the two wooden hard chairs probably that have been picked up at the lawn of somebody´s house. I find a corner where I can place my computer on the kitchen table. The table is filled with things that might tell you a little bit of the inhabitants of this house.

There is a hard plastic Halloween bowl with one orange, three bananas (that I bought), a belt, some garlic cloves and a cell phone cord. On top is a book of Villalobos Solo Guitar music. Behind the bowl, in one of the corners, is a huge plastic container with cheese balls. Next to it is an open box of Honey Graham crackers with one package inside. Then there are two plastic packages of chopped dates, and two of dry cherries and blueberries respectively.

A sort of Cuisinart blender lies next. In between is an iron dark blue basket with the remaining parts of the blender and its instructions. It looks that hasn´t been used too much. Five cans of Kroger´s kidney beans are balancing on one of the other corners like if they were part of a fair stand. A black nail polish is hidden between the blender and the bean cans. I paint my thumb nail with it.

An unopened package of 7 rolls of dog poop bags rests next to my computer. My daughter´s very dirty fanny bag with a roll of quarters is in front of the blender. Besides it´s a Cotsco Kirkland container with one fifth of whole fancy cashews. I grab a couple with some concern that they might not be my daughter´s but from one of her roommates. There is an almost gone toilet paper, a wrapped set of earplugs,  and a plugin for USB cables that looks dangerous. It´s been repaired with scotch tape.

An also almost gone roll of paper towels is stuck on a wooden stick holder. An unopened Tortuga Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee rum cake is inside a fancy box. I wonder when it´s the expiration date. I couldn´t find it. A bottle of prescribed antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections dated March 19th, 2019 rests casually next to the cashews. A blue long rectangular box with Japanese letters is under the cheese balls. I open it. A very nice and fancy Japanese knife is waiting to be used.

A set of computer speaker, six birthday glitter candles, a Delta napkin-spoon set (my contribution), a plastic round container half filled with change, and an unknown man´s ID card make up the rest of the table.

I am impressed of how many things can fit on a table.

Tell me what do you have on your kitchen table and I’ll tell you who you are.

kitchen1.jpg

Day 27. The traveling queen #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individual

March 27th

I smile to the woman who was at the counter. She looks at me cheerfully.

—May I help you?

I give her my passport.

—Any suitcase?

—Yes, one.

—Do you want it all the way to your final destination?

—Yes, I don’t want to see it again!…Well, what I meant to say is that I don’t want to see it in between. Only when I arrive in DC.

I cross my fingers that it didn’t weight more than 23 kilos. The scale shows 24.5. As I usually do when I am nervous, I start to talk non-stop just if my words could distract the flight attendant from looking at the scale.

—Celeste, that’s a pretty name. I am visiting my daughter in the US. I am very excited. Tomorrow is her birthday.

My husband, sensing this was going to be a long chat, decides to step aside and checks his emails on his phone.

— Here are your boarding cards, and the ticket for your luggage.

I glance my suitcase while she sticks the tag around the handle.

—Wait. It doesn’t say DCA on the tag. That’s my final destination, and I don’t see it on my suitcase.

—Oh. Ok. I will check again.

I watch painfully as the attendant punches the computer, and prints a new tag.

—Now. Here is your tag.

—But it’s only to Detroit.

—The thing is that the system is not letting me check your suitcase all the way to DCA. You might have to collect it in Detroit and check it in again.

—No, no, no. I am not. You should try to check it in all the way to DCA, please.

—I am new. This is my first day.

She whispers the last sentence as she is confiding me a great secret, and waves to her supervisor.

—Wow. Congratulation!

I smile genuinely happy that she has a new job but damning my bad luck. A sixty something man shows up on the counter and starts swearing in front of the computer, in a way that only Spaniards can swear that makes you smile.

Este vuelo de los cojones me tiene harto. Qué mañanita llevamos. Excuse my language, but we are having a hard time this morning.

—Don´t worry. Take your time. Breathe in, breathe out. As long as you can send my suitcase to my final destination, I am OK.

I give my best cheerful encouragement. The new girl observes from behind her boss´shoulders with a beatific smile.

—I am very lucky to have such an understanding supervisor— she confides me while understanding supervisor was having a personal war with the system. Pretty soon there are four people staring at the computer. Login out, login in, shaking it, unplugging it, whisper on the screen, throw some magic powder, special spell, praying hard, sweating, jumping…

No sé que coños pasa. Excuse me again. I will have to do it manually.

—Ok. Thanks…

I even surprised myself on how good I handle the stress. I wave to my husband giving him the thumbs up.

I rush into security after giving solid hug and kiss to my husband who waits for me to pass the gate. I am surprised. He is the type of guy that as soon as the good byes are given turns his back and return to his car.

I unload all my gadgets in three different trays. Only two of them made it. Where is my carry-on?

They opened it. Two of the heaviest Harry Potter books show up. They were the only books my daughter wanted me to bring her from all the things she has left behind in Spain. Then the security guard pulls out something that looks like a long blue snake.

—What is this?

—Oh, no! My bicycle lock!

—Señora, you can´t travel with this on the plane.

—Oh shit! I thought about it, but it was so heavy, I didn´t want to check it in my already heavy bag…

—Was anybody with you at the airport? We can give it to him. Otherwise, what you can do is go outside, tie the lock on a pole, and then when you come back, you can retrieve it.

—Really? Do you think I can do that? But where do I lock it? Maybe, juts let me call my husband and see if he is still here…
Steve? Are you still at the airport? Can you keep my lock?

I watch the guard giving my husband the chain. I move my lips to say thank you and blow him a kiss.

—Well, I really appreciate your understanding and the fact you gave me some options. Have a great day!

I enter in the waiting room at my gate searching for a sit. Not even five minutes later, I hear on the speaker that the weather in Amsterdam is really bad, and we won´t be able to take off until 2:20 pm. I looked at my watch. It´s 10:30 am. I check at my Amsterdam connection. I approach the counter.

—Excuse me, sir. I have a connection at 3:30 pm in Amsterdam. I will miss it!

—Yes, you will!

No more help whatsoever. I won´t arrive on time to my daughter´s birthday. I start crying and all my politeness is gone.

—————

Two days later…

—Thank you for calling Delta Airlines Baggage Claim Service. We are sorry you didn´t receive your luggage. Please say your claim code…

I hate this taped help. The machine doesn´t understand my accent. I need to get a real person.

—Hello. My name is Wilbur. What can I do for you today?

—Yes, could you please check if it´s any news about my suitcase? It never make it to the final destination last Monday.

—May I have your claim number?

—Yes, T as an David, C as in California, T as an dog, B as an Vincent, eight, four, three, one.

I am almost sure that these is how it sounds. I hate to spell in English.

—Good news, mam. Your suitcase is in Detroit, and tomorrow it will be drop off at the address you provided when you submitted the claim.

—Thank you!!!

I was a little tired to wear my daughter´s underwear.

socks (Small)
When your luggage doesn’t make it, you develop a new style. The only thing I don´t like about my daughter clothes are her underwear. Too small for my taste. I like old granny undies.