Monday, August 29, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I don’t know about you, but when the shit hits the fan, when it all goes pete tong, when the world comes crumbling down I don't want to hear you say it's all going to be alright.
I know you mean well. I know there is really little else to say, but what I really want to hear is:
“shit, that sucks big time”
is it that hard?
I know I will survive. I know there are children dying of hunger in Africa and I know that my woes pale in comparison. I don’t want to hear that. It’s bad enough that I know it, you don’t need to remind me.
Just bear with me. Listen to me. Feel sorry for me.
And please, please, whatever you do, don’t belittle my feelings. Don’t say it’ll all be ok.
Even thought we both know it will be
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
There is a beautiful Colombian saying that a house is not built over the earth, but over the woman. And this I believe to be true. At least it was very true in our house. As the years passed we all changed and evolved, even our Pilipino nanny who had arrived being almost a child herself, after seven years with us moved on with a child of her own. But like in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, very much like in One Hundred Years of Solitude to be precise, it all revolved around my mother: the wind, the breeze and the tempest.
She was the tree we held on to when something went wrong. Where we all went for shade. She was the roots to our family, and it was under her protection that we flourished. For years she would even translate between my father and us, who insisted on talking to her when referring to one of us, even if we were present, as if we did not speak the same language. And to some degree for many years, especially when the girls hit adolescence, we did not speak the same language. A common conundrum of third culture kids that move to more “developed” or liberal societies. It is well documented that under these circumstances it is the women, the mothers, that are more able to adapt, while the father’s often recur to raising a blind eye to the situations that arise, being able to understand rationally that the culture they live in has different norms, but unable to accept it emotionally.
As a child it was difficult for me to see what role my father played. I knew he worked, I knew he provided, but those are very abstract things to a child. With time I have come to appreciate the other roles he played in our little garden. I think now that he was the earth. My mother held us and him and everything together, but in return he was the one that held, fed, and nurtured her. He provided her with the strength to withstand it all, he was her reference and our north. I have not met a more noble or honest man. Hardworking and ambitious in a good way. And with his quiet example he taught us right from wrong.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I know a girl much like a porcelain doll.
Her beautiful face, her black hair is long
Her short limbs are thin, her dark eyes shine on
She is delicate and calm, her half smile is fixed,
She studies at night, weaves time and her hopes
She walks brisk and fast,
as if she was dancing to the tune of a quiet song
This little porcelain doll works hard.
Gets up with the sun, plows quietly ‘til dawn,
lies down with the children to tell stories of old,
The stories she’s been told, which haunt her at night,
Will remain untold.
She’s perfectly dressed, clean, proper and pure.
She prays when she must,
she does what she’s told
I’ve know this porcelain doll for some time,
She’s young yet she’s old,
She has found yet she’s lost
She cries when she smiles,
She walks all alone
her heart now seems cold, her womb has been dried,
her future was drawn over her hopes on the sand
her whispers are cold, her body abused,
the shine has worn off, she makes money now.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I used to struggle with my photography thinking that I had to choose: either do it professionally (at least try) or give it up. and then one day I stopped judging it and accepted it for what it is, a part of me, a part of who I am.
Monday, August 8, 2011
It’s day 4 of house hunting in NY and I'm already walking up to complete strangers to ask if they know anyone moving or renting out. Sounds desperate and it is.
I managed to get to here while still in absolute denial of the whole thing. Picked up a map (well, it took a few shops to find a map, everyone just looked at me and said
“use your phone!”
Except, I don’t have a phone because I’m apparently the first person ever to move from outside the US to NY, and since I don’t have a credit rating or a home address they wont give me one.)
I was saying
I set out to the (dirty and cemented) streets to find us a place we could call home. I felt like I was in an episode of Friends or something, and too old for the damn part.
I kept looking around and wondering “so what’s in it for them?”
them being the monkeys.
Got the wrong end of the stick for one viewing and ended up in completely the wrong part of town. I felt like I was in a movie again, but not one where you could find Jenifer Aniston, Spike Lee maybe. Passed the church with gospel singing, the gardens with plastic grass and American flags, and walked all the way back to where I had started, confirming yet again that in the US 2 blocks up or down can make all the difference.
I’ve discovered that those things that look green on the map are actually made of rubber with maybe one or two trees. They call them parks, I call them piss takes. Wonder what the monkeys will make of them. What I do love is that most of them have sprinklers going on in the summer heat. Probably the closest thing we’ll get to a pool this year.
Stuck in an empty and dirty metro stop that smelled of piss I realized at some point that it was just me and a man that was half a sleep standing up, possibly drunk.
I remember being taught as a kid the rule to blending in was to look bored, so I made my best to look local and bored, dragging my feet like I’m late to something and tired of hanging out there, only to remember I’m holding this big map on my hand.
Trouble- “momma it smells like pee pee here”
Me- “yes darling, some people pee in the subway. We mustn’t pee on the subway now must we”
Princess- “is that guy dead?!"
Me- “no sweetie he’s homeless”
Princess- “Can we take him home?”
But it’s not all bad. You know how some colors really bring out people’s eyes. Or like when you find a dress or a pair of pants that really hugs you all the right places and everyone thinks you just lost some weight?
Well, apparently NY does that for me. I’m getting a lot more compliments than I've had in years, probably has something to do with the fact that I am no longer surrounded by tall Dutch blondes anymore.
Another thing I have learned this week is that new Yorkers like dogs, like really like dogs, and shops cater to them. This shop sold ice cream but had free dog cookies ... three types.
This other shop advertised that they are a dog friendly shop
And many shops put water out so that the thirsty dogs can drink, which I thought was sweet, but then a lady near me was outraged
Lady- “wahhh da hell is puppy water? Doesn’t even have puppies in it”
In case you didn’t get it either, puppy water is water for thirsty puppies, not water made from puppies.
Then there are the nice things: the man playing guitar on prospect park, the siolouette of the statue of liberty as you take the subway that passes by Trouble’s school (nearly through it as a matter of fact), skimmed milk (which in Holland is unheard of and almost unconstitutional), the woman singing jazz on a Sunday morning, brunch…
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
This last photo is of the Hotel New York in Rotterdam. The hotel restaurant here looks to the water, and it is where many a travelers stopped before embarking on their trip to New Amsterdam, or what later came to be known as New York. It still has some old features, like the old elevator or some old luggage, and I thought it was the most appropriate photo to say farewell to my years linving in Holland and hello to my new life in New York.