Side Note: Car knowledge

Me in college:  (upon hearing a car in the distance) that is a CR-X modified with an x inch exhaust and a y nitro booster.  It’s probably white and yellow.

Me now: (when having to describe a car that passed right in front of me)  It was one of those cars, like the ones that have the little *indicating curve with hands* on the back and the lights are like *indicates square with hands* and it was blue, like the new blues?  Not the blue-blue but like the new ones?  And I think it had two doors.  It could’ve been four, I’m not sure.

Wednesday Wisdom: I made a bonsai

Have you ever heard someone talking about something you both know in a way that made you wonder if they were talking about the same thing you experienced?

It’s called perspective.  Our brains filter everything we see or know and manipulate it to fit as per our experiences and feelings.

Pretty much how someone manipulates a bonsai to be something it is not, we sometimes form in our heads a much different perception of reality.

I know, because I made my own bonsai.

I wanted to believe I had a good relationship.  I trimmed off all the pain, all the hurtful words.  I made most of it smaller and unimportant and I kept believing I was in a good place.  I could be happy if I just worked harder at it, if I just changed more, if I made everything perfect.

But I couldn’t make anything perfect.  I couldn’t keep bending over backwards and still feel happy. I wasn’t even me anymore.

My relationship was my bonsai.  I made all the suffering much smaller than it really was and I thought it could work that way.

And then one day I stood in front of my bonsai.  I saw it towering over my entire life.  It overshadowed everything that I was, and in front of it I felt small, like I had never felt before.  I felt insignificant and unimportant.

So I stepped away from the shadow of that giant tree that for so long I had tried to make a bonsai and then I started seeing myself again.

I was there, and all of me is much bigger than that tree.

Walk forth and your road will follow

My paternal family lives in one of the highest towns of the island so, when I was child we would visit several times during the year.

I had this thing where I believed that whenever the road went up – because of a mountain – it would leave the ground (cartoon-like) and raise independently and I would be able to see the ground below if I could just look out far enough from the window. So, every time I felt the car climbing a mountain I would stick my face unto the window hoping this time I would be able to see the ground below the road.  

I was always so disappointed when I could see the ground beside the road.  

The other day I was driving and I was reflecting on everything that has happened the past weeks, all the ways my life has changed, how I’ve changed; and I felt this longing to know where the road was taking me, or at least which road I was on.
And I had this moment where I thought, you know what? It doesn’t matter because, while we always have that feeling that we pick a road and we travel through it, the truth is: the road follows you. We put our feet out and the road is made beneath them. We are building the road we journey on while we live.

There’s a song in spanish that says “caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” which translates to “walker there is no road, the road is made when you walk”.

 I finally understood what it means.  

We get so anxious to always know where the path it’s leading and it’s us leading the path all the while.  

come on road, I’ll make you mountains

do not fear road, I’ll swerve you right

follow me road, follow me

because I don’t know where I’m going

and not knowing makes me lead you right

It’s ok.  
What have you done to regain your way when you’ve felt lost?

The moment when everything is possible 

I discovered a silly thing about starting up again, as they call it.

Not that you ever, truly, start again – different stages have a beginning and an end but; where ever you are, or what ever you are now, it’s the sum of where ever you where and whatever you were before. If we actually started up again every time we changed a stage in life, we would always be nothing.

But, in any case, I discovered the other day that being in this “new place” position puts your brain (and possibly your heart, I’m not very sure because I’m new on this) in this weird double-plain place where anything you think (or dream, I’m sure of this part) becomes a reality for just a tiny moment.
It’s a way of giving you the boost you need to accomplish whatever idea – or dream – you decide to make true.

Like, that day, I was falling asleep in a hotel room, and just before closing my eyes I took a minute to really look around and then when I finally closed my eyes, an image of Lorelai Gilmore came to me. Instantaneously I thought – because I want to start my professional career anew – well, I could very well be an Inn owner! Why not? Find a place, already have seen a few, do the redo, do the promo, people will love it and everyone will be there. It would be quaint, but chic. Vintage but minimalistic. It will have flair and sass.
For the next five minutes I was an awesome Inn owner. Every employee loved me, I had all the regulatory agencies enchanted.

Or the other day when I was organising my makeup and I was a makeup artist. I would make house calls and start doing brides and quinceañeras. I would do everything from natural looks to wild and colorful styles. Of course I could, I have a makeup course certificate from a workshop I took back when I was in college. It took me six hours to complete it. And I was for the next ten minutes (I had a certificate to back me up this time) an amazing makeup artist.

I’ve been a business owner, a great employee, a professional service consultant, a recruiter, a secretary, a student – I have been pretty much everything you could think of the past three weeks. Every day I imagine something different and every day I feel a bit more confident that, what ever it is that I’m going to end up being or doing, I’ll get there and it’ll be ok.

It’s like my imagination is my safety net.

Be brave

I hear it whispering.

I am

I answer.

Not home

I couldn’t call it home.

The place broke me.  I walk around now holding the pieces of my spirit, trying to keep them all together, trying to not loose them anymore, but I barely remember who I was am.

I tried, but I couldn’t call it home.

There’s a rule written up somewhere that if you suffer enough, you don’t have to stay.  I know because it kept coming up everywhere;  “go away”.  “Be brave”.  “Get out of here”.  “You hate this place.  Leave.”  

I tried.  I really did try, even if no else saw.  I gave it my all.  I loved the peace, the nature.  But it isn’t enough.  I also need love and the comfort of knowing someone cares.

It’s not home if it feels like no one cares.

“you can’t keep doing things the same way and expect different results”

someone said.  Probably a scientist.  I like science.  And it’s time to try a different way.

Dancing Mondays: When Darkness Turns to Light Edition

I planned on sharing a video that premiered last week.

It was going to be cool, funny and on the sensual side. 

But the weekend was… violent. 

No one planned that, it just happened.  One moment we were thinking about our daily things and the next we were sad.  Not just any sad, but collectively sad.  Sad for the world sad.  Indignated, disappointed on this only place we have to live in sad.

I don’t know how it is for you, but I get particularly angry because I have this rooted faith that we can be much better.
Like the parent that is disappointed when the kids brings home low grades, not because they want perfect grades but because they are so sure they could do much better if they wished. 

And we could.

We can do SO MUCH BETTER than a guy who rapes and then tries to be the victim.  We can do much better than a place were a crazy fan can murder an artist in a venue.  We can do better than the worst mass shooting in the history of any place.

We are flawed but we have done great, good things.

I hope you have that in mind when you vote this year because we need better.  But then, I also want you to remember that it’s not only about whoever you want in your government, it is also mostly about you.

You can do better. 

Whatever are doing now for the best of the world, or whatever you are not doing; there’s always something you can improve.  

So, do better.  Do good things.  Give more.  Share your talents.  Do everything with love.

We only have one chance.  And we, the good ones, we are more.

This is an interpretation called When Darkness Becomes Light.

Go be a light today.

What I mean is, his beard is freaking perfect

There was a birthday party on manfriend’s family the other day and I had to make an appearance by myself for the first time.

Manfriend was busy working on his apartment and Baby J had to go because she only has two cousins there – a boy and a girl – and you know how it goes.  You go to their parties so they will come to yours because when there’s only three kids in the family assistance is kind of critical.

So I prepared as best as I could (which means I ran to the drug store at the very last minute to get the boy his presents), put my best face and went.  I was ready for the talks and the jokes and I knew I was going to have a lot to share with at least one of the moms because she had her baby last month and is breastfeeding.  I breastfed Baby J one year so I’m an expert 🙂 

Baby J had never seen a baby that small before and when she did she sighed.  Apparently it was the most delightful thing she has ever witness – and she’s seen puppies and chicks, kids these days are harder to impress.  Manfriend’s aunt was standing beside her and she melted when she saw her sighting and smiling at the baby.  Clearly the thing to remedy this reaction was in the question she posed.  “Do you like the baby Baby J?  Do you want a little brother like this one?”  Baby J thinks you throw whatever doesn’t work into the garbage can, so I could tell you where that imaginary baby will go as soon as he has his first bout of non-stop crying, but of course she thought it was an excellent idea and nodded enthusiastically.

“Awww she wants a baby brother!  Did you hear that!  You are going to have to give her one!”

We all knew this was coming.  There’s a series of questions and remarks that will follow you anywhere in this island:  1)  when are you getting married?  2)  when are you having a baby?  3)  when are you having another one?  Repeat until you are forty.   4)  When are you having grandkids?  When are you having another one?  Repeat until you die.

I looked at Baby J and told her that I will buy her a male baby doll.  Everyone chuckled, but manfriend’s aunt also pointed out that “it’s not the same!”  Because I don’t know the difference between a real baby and a baby doll.

I proceeded to take out my city girl, sprinkled with sarcasm and spunk, something that never goes right in the Hardcore Country Life.  I said “or I can find another woman for your dad so he can have many more kids!” 

Everyone chuckled again, there was even a loud holler on the table next to us.   I thought it was hilarious, they probably thought I was crazy.  Well, crazier.

Very late that night when manfriend came to bed he asked me how the birthday went and I told him about the two most important events of the evening:  his (adult) cousin broke a rented pool slide and the birthday boy got stuck into a baby swing and there were tears and screams.  I also mentioned the baby scene.

He asked who was there and I tried to explain as best as I could saying things like “there was that guy with the very thick sideburns?  No, the one that always wears the big buckle belt.  And the lady with the two really thin boys, the ones that have green eyes?”    Because I only know a handful of people by their names.  I mentioned a good looking lady with several kids and manfriend scoffed.  “Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t have to go, she’s so annoying.  She’s been trying to get into my pants for years, argh.”  He looked genuinely disgusted.

That’s when realisation dawned on me like a shining light from heaven.  The very loud holler when I made my joke about finding manfriend another woman?  Oh, yeah.  That was her.  She didn’t thought I was hilarious, all she heard was a window of opportunity.

But whoa “miss”.  I can take my city girl out in more ways than you want to know and NAH FREAKING AH.

I mean.  Manfriend sometimes drives me absolutely crazy.  He is far from perfect.  Like perfect would be on one side and he is infinite loops away from that side.  He might land on the perfect side by pure chance but only because he is so far from it.  And we are so different.  Vastly different.  I read this post on insidethelifeofmoi and nodded the entire time because I could’ve written it.  I mean, I don’t have half her wit so, it would never read that awesomely, but we have the same case of different partners.

I’m not even going to go all pink here and say that our love compensates all his flaws (and my flaws, if I have any… ) and we are going to be together forever because JLo divorced Marc Anthony, dooce divorced Jon!  I think that proves that love is weak at it’s core but;  I’m certainly not about to give him away.  He’s not available.  Not for pathetic old ladies who try to score points for their ego or for anyone else.

Lesson of this story:  be careful of the jokes you make and the people you make them for.  Because you never know.

Also, today is manfriend’s birthday so I’ll try to make it one of the days when I don’t want to strangle him.

Happy birthday crazy guy.

Because I can’t do the big rock n’ roll party I wanted

I wanted to do something special for my birthday this year, writing wise.

I miss writing like I used to.  I think it’s unbelievably unfair that back when I didn’t had anyone to share my stories with I was a story making machine.  I could sit down and produce a short story in forty five minutes, or I could narrate it as I made it up, right in that moment.  They were all filled with magical characters and places and I felt such joy from them.

I can’t bring fiction back to my fingers as easily now (maybe because my life has received a dump full of hardcore reality the past couple of years) so I stick to real life narration.

In an effort to exercise my writing differently and merging the main purpose of this blog’s birth – which was to conserve my memories for posterity – I thought of a new series.  Hopefully each week I’ll share a memory of something, someone or somewhere that has touched my life and/or my heart so deeply I still can recall it with vivid clarity.  One moment that became engraved in me and redefined what I am today.

I’m going to call it the “I Remember” series and tomorrow I’ll share my first one with you.  I’d love to hear your feedback on it and I do hope you enjoy it.

I invite you to drink the alcoholic beverage of your choice or just eat something deliciously decadent to celebrate with me my birthday today.  Get that bottle of wine out and use this excuse to chill back and relax.

Have a happy day!

Verde luz de monte y mar

One of the topics WordPress insists on making us write is the title of your blog.  Why you chose it, what it means.

This blog used to be just “narami” until almost two years ago.  I used to change the tag line almost monthly too because I was never satisfied.

Then one day, on the way to Plan Bonito in the quest to find the place where my great grandfather was born I heard a song and it all clicked.  I had finally found the name I had dreamed of.

You see, I always wanted a name that was a reflection of who I am but I don’t have enough wit to come up with that sort of thing so it took me more than ten years to hit the nail (apparently I’ve been blogging for almost fourteen years in May.  Apparently I’m ancient).

The song was one of my favorite songs of all time (OF ALL TIME!  She repeats with the stolen microphone in her hand), considered by most Puerto Ricans the “true” hymn of Puerto Rico (because the one we have was pretty much written for us by Spaniards who wanted something tame that wouldn’t provoke angst against their invasion into our country — oops!  End of tangent) it’s one of the most beloved pieces of music of the island and you can hear why.

Verde luz de monte y mar,
isla virgen del coral,
si me ausento de tus playas primorosas,
si me alejo de tus palmas silenciosas,
quiero volver, quiero volver.
A sentir la tibia arena
a dormir en tus riberas,
isla mía, flor cautiva,
para ti quiero tener.
Libre tu cielo,
sola tu estrella
isla doncella, quiero tener,
verde luz de monte y mar.

Verde Luz – Antonio Caban Vale (El Topo)

It translates to something like;

Green light of the mountains and the  sea
virgen island of coral,
if I’m absent of your exquisite beaches,
if I’m far from your silent palms,
I want to go back, I want to go back.
To feel the warm sand
to sleep in your shores,
my island, captive flower,
for you I want.
Your sky free, 
a lone star
maiden island, I want to have,
green light of mountains and the sea.
You can listen to it here:
It’s a love song dedicated to this piece of earth where we saw our first light and that many Puerto Ricans adore with passion, me being one of them.  And that’s what I am.
I’m a piece of this sand, and I’m a bit of these mountains.  I carry both in my being;  I grew up in the shore but my roots are in the tops of the peaks of it’s centre.
I’m of the mountains and the sea:  de monte y mar.

Presence: A Memoir

The first time that I was in third grade (because I was in third grade twice;  TANGENT:  my mother taught me to read and write at home and I could do both when I was three, so when I went to school I was in kindergarten only one semester and then went to first grade, putting me a whole year ahead of the rest of the class.  My mother then became concern that I didn’t had easy connections with my peers -read, I was as anti-social as I am now- and took me out of school for a semester so I could begin studying in a new school with kids my age.  This might have been a brilliant move, or a huge mistake.  I still can not tell.)  one of the assignments one day was to write a brief essay on what you wanted to be when you grew up.

I was very exited to write about this.  I even asked my grandfather to let me type my essay in his typewriter (a beautiful Smith Corona circa ’69) to make it more professional:  I wanted to be a secretary.  I liked paper, envelopes, filing, typewriting, pens and of course stickers (secretaries make use of a lot of stickers.  Or so I thought) so, my dream was to work at an office.  I wanted to use tape every day and have pretty nails painted in bright colors.  I also wanted to be a veterinarian and a scientist, but only in the afternoons or something.

After I finished my draft of a resume assigment, citing how awesome I would be as a secretary because I had the natural talent of stapling papers, I showed the paper to my mother.  She was very happy and proud of my wording so, she showed it to my father right in front of me.  He didn’t read the essay because he hates to read, instead he asked me what was it that I wanted to be when I grew up.  I smiled real big and posed for effect “A SECRETARY!”  If you heard a scoff in 1987, it was my father when he heard my answer.

“Listen to her!  A secretary?!  What sort of crap is that?”  My mother gave him one of her looks, the one that said you better shut your mouth up right now.  He said this was the moment to tell me I didn’t want to be a secretary.  I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that, something respectable with a good pay.

“Do you know the wage of a secretary?”  Um, no, but I’m sure at seven years old not many people bother to learn what a wage is.  “A secretary earns a misery.  You want to be something that gives you a lot of money so you can buy a lot of the things you want.”

I’m pretty sure that moment ruined my life.  The beginning of all my problems can be traced to that single exchange with my progenitor.

Fast forward a few decades when I was already working in the pharmaceutical industry (at the very place I once dreamed of working, it was nothing big, but something attracted me of the place) and my father kept telling me I had to go take a course to be a Dentist Assistant.  One of his cousins had an office and I could work there.  Or I could go finish a certification on Data Entry, he could find me clients among his friends so I could work from home.  Actually, he would set up a pizza place and I could administer it, paying him a wage every month.

In other words:  I should have been doing anything but what I was doing.  I was working a job that taught me A LOT, with a good schedule and a good pay, with people that were like family and that was simply not good enough for him.  He let me know this at any opportunity.

The other day we were eating at my grandmother’s place, much of my immediate family together for the first time in a while, and we began discussing profesional lives.  Manfriend began listing the things he knows I’ve done –work for security in a marathon, rotate shifts, train people, work in a service centre- with me mentioning some others;  his point being that I’m known to be a hard worker, I’ve done a bit of everything I’ve had to when I’ve needed to earn my bread.

And then my father perked up and mentioned that I also had that Dentist Assistant Certificate.  Which one?  The one that doesn’t exist because I never studied that.  I could never deal with anyone’s mouth (no offence to anyone that does,  on the contrary, thanks for cleaning our teeth!).  But he had made that up in his mind, no doubt to compensate for my lack of good professional decisions, and it was so intricately elaborated in there that it became a truth.

Much like the presence he has had in my life since sometime around third grade.


This post was shared in this week’s writing challenge: Memoir Madness, featuring some AMAZING posts.