Day 22. Random thoughts of a new Sunday #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 22nd, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

My day was good but long, and despite the fact I was outside, there were very few minutes in which I was not aware we are in a new reality. The highway was empty, the trails were empty, and passing through towns that were filled with tourists two weeks ago, hit me hard.

Reading guru Donalyn Miller wrote a post to launch the social distancing #bookaday challenge. In the following paragraph she eloquently expresses what’s going on with me.

I have never had so much free time to read. Too bad I don’t have the requisite attention span or emotional energy to read much right now {…} Right now, sitting still long enough to read more than a few pages makes me jumpy. I can tell that I haven’t been reading enough lately because I feel splintered a bit—a sure sign that I am too much in my head.
I’m struggling to allow myself the joy of reading.

After a long drive and a hike, I arrived home at 8:30 pm. I had supper and learned through the local news on T.V. that all state parks are closing tomorrow. My boundaries are shrinking, still, they are wide.

My daughter is on a quest of cheering up people via Instagram. She told her friends that if they answer to her story with fire she would choose “the most beautiful photo” in their feed, and publish it in her story. She ended up putting around 40 photos of people that replied, among them me.  When I replied, I wondered which photo she was going to pick from my feed since I have 954 posts. She surprised me. And made me laugh not just with the one she put of me, but with the photos she chose and the witty and funny things she wrote about her friends’ photos. Too bad you can’t see them. She surely fulfilled her quest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 21. Miss Pigeon, the doctor #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 21st, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

My dad, who had a great  imagination and a gift for storytelling created for each of his 5 children some imaginary character that he put in a magical world with our real traits and flaws. He could make up stories in a blink. When we were sick, when we were bored, when we were in the car, when we got hurt. When we were all together, like in the car, the stories were always about all of us. But if we were alone, he crafted a personalized story with our own character.

When I was a kid, I got tonsillitis frequently, and to get the penicillin fast in my system I needed to get a shot in my buttock. My mom was the one that gave us the shots, but she hated doing it, She always started to whine and complain of how horrible was to give a shot, while  holding the syringe and its needle up in front of our faces. And those needle were something.

I remember the first time I needed to get one of those shots, I freaked out. I  was crying, terrified; the more terrified, the tenser I  became; and the tenser I got, the harder my buttock became. Probably my mom and dad were very frustrated with the whole situation. I was lying sick in the bottom of a bunk bed. After several minutes of not getting anywhere and zero compromising from my part, my dad,  following a sign of desperation from my mom, climbed into the bunk bed, wiggled around to adjust his tall body on the side of the wall. He started to caress my hand, and ask me to breath like a little dog, and while I was breathing, he started to tell me a story about the little pigeon who loves to cuddle. His soft voice, his enticing story filled the room. Then, little by little, the heavy liquid entered in my system through a somehow calmed mother’s hand.

I don’t know if it was from that moment or it was already developed in my mind, but I wanted to be a doctor. Who doesn’t when you are six year old! My parents took my dream very serious, and eventually the little Pigeon character, had a profession. She was a doctor. The stories developed rapidly. Miss Pigeon committed lots of mishaps and funny mistakes as a doctor and we listen to her misadventures with delight. My character became to be la Doctora Pichona, -Miss Pigeon, the doctor.

The Christmas when I was six, I received as a present an entire doctor set. But it was not the cheap cookie cutter set that every kid probably was receiving that Christmas. It was the most complete doctor set I could imagine of. It was in a huge and personalized flowery box. Inside was a real doctor’s uniform that my mom adjusted from a white school apron that little kids wore in public schools. There were all sort of pills made of candies, placed in perfect little glass containers. It was real gauze, band aids, thermometer, tape, even a stethoscope, and a doctor mask.

Everybody was admiring my set. Aunts were congratulating my mom for her ingenuity and all the time and dedication she put into it, and she was explaining that my dad walked for hours downtown trying to find every single item. While chatting, little by little they helped me put on all my attire. The only thing missing was the mask and I would look almost like a real surgeon. I was starting to believe it, until I grabbed the mask and my aunts and uncles gathered around me cheering and saying. Yes, yes, the mask, she has to wear the mask!  I felt my mom’s hands tying the laces in the back of my head, and then dragging me to a mirror so I can see Miss Pigeon, the doctor for real.  As soon as I saw the white mask perfectly made by my mother, wrapped on my mouth, my body tensed, I gasped. An uncontrollable cry started to come out of my throat. The vision of me as a real doctor was frightening. I couldn’t breath, I didn’t like anything of it. And I could see the disappointment in my parents’s eyes. Miss Pigeon, the doctor didn’t want to be a doctor, didn’t like her best and only Christmas present.

Until now, I remember that terrifying feeling of my look. However,  I don’t know if I was crying more for the look, or for letting my parents down by not enjoying my present.


The last time I saw my father was two months before he died. I knew in all likelihood I was not going to see him alive again. I grabbed his hand, and told him for umpteenth time. Dad, I want you to know that I love you. I love you with all my heart. He looked at me with his big fragile eyes, and said with a sweet smile before falling asleep again. Lo sé mi pichona, lo sé. Yo también te quiero mucho. I know my Miss Pigeon, I know. I love you so much too.

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Pigeon by Cifruktus from Pixabay

 

Day 19. Festival of Fire #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 19th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

Spaniards love festivals and celebrations. Due to the coronavirus crisis many of these very important events have to be postponed or cancel. One of them is Las Fallas festival (or the Festival of Fire) in Valencia. The event is celebrated during the first three weeks of  March with public events all over this autonomous community. In 2016, the festival was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

We never went to Valencia much less to watch las Fallas (it´s in my bucket list) but we always were impressed to see on TV those big pieces of art on a float. People devote more than 6 months to build them and spend thousand of dollars with the hope to win one of the prizes of the best Ninots (the name of these big caricatures), and finally burn them on the day of La Cremà, March 19th.

According to the official tourism website of Valencia, the origin of las Fallas comes from the old carpenter’s tradition who, when celebrating the arrival of spring on 19th March, used to burn pieces of wood (parota) that were used to prop up their lights during the winter.
To this initial fire, people started to add old clothes and belongings to the point that the wooden structure took the shape and aspect of a human. Eventually those structures evolved to become the ninots that we know today. Soon enough the Spanish humor and irony was shown in the ninots. Many of the floats are a satire of real life, politics, religions, pop culture and many other aspects of Spanish life.

Today was the day of la Crema, that many Valencians were preparing with so much hope and care. A rite that didn’t happen. My brother sent me on Instagram a post from Alejandro Martìnez Notte (@martineznotte) telling the story of a five year old girl who was dreaming of this day the entire year. Her parents managed to celebrate la Cremá in confinement. They made a Ninot with what they found at home. They called it Coronavirus, and they burnt it today through the symbolic ritual of finishing with the obsolete, the injustice, of what is worthless, to reborn year after year from ashes. March 19th, 2020 Valencia doesn’t have Fallas. Silence. No Cremà. No music. No laughter. Just hope.

You can see the entire post with some photos and a video here.

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Here are some photos of previous Fallas by David MarkAlejandro Vidal and  chusa8 from Pixabay

 

Day 18. My brain is a white screen #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 18th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

I remember when I was a girl I taught myself to think of a white screen when I have trouble to fall asleep. For me counting sheep was very distracting. They were always rebellious sheep that didn’t jump in an orderly manner. The white screen worked for me many times if I concentrated really hard and stick with the concept of a white screen. But often, a bubble gum appeared in one corner or in the middle of the screen; sometimes was a spot of ink, or a red dot, that started to grow and grow and change shapes and become something else. I stayed awake for hours wrestling in my sleep.

Today my brain is something else, filled with images that I can’t shake it out. They have frozen my creativity,  making me feel mono-thematic, or guilty or superfluous or both if I write light fiction or about the wonderful bike ride I did today. I feel that my brain is filled with dark images and ideas, that as soon as I open the computer, turn into a white screen.