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Mi Primera Post en Jaco

desayuno 1

8/1/2019 – Día cuarto en el balcón de Inés. Gracias a Dios por mi maestra Lyda me cambió a la clase más tarde en la mañana. Me lo disfruto especialmente ahora en la mañana en mi cama. Me preocupé anoche si me enfermo pero después mucho sueño, me siento bien ahora. La más importante cosa fue, “No te preocupes, Penélope.” İHay un comando, el tema de nuestra clase ayer! También, al desayuno escuché, “Tome, amor,” cuando Inés dió el plato de huevos en agua a Antonio. İQue tierno! Hay otra palabra nueva. La usa también para huevos tiernos, mi tipo favorito.

 

Ocupada pero no con Tecnología

Mom Bike Club

English translation follows.

(Ayer fuimos a Panorama en Lacey donde mis padres vivían durante muchos años. Disfrutamos del desayuno con el club de bicicletas que mi padre comenzó hace 20 años. Esta historia honra su legado.)

Cuando era una niña, mis padres, mis dos hermanas menores y yo vivíamos en un campo de la iglesia para los niños. Vivíamos allí durante los veranos. En este campo, era la campeón de tetherball por muchos veranos. Pero cuando tenía once años, más o menos, mi hermana más menor ganó un juego de tetherball contra mí. Estaba muy emocionada. Mi hermana era muy atlética y determinada a ser la nueva campeona. Mientras yo estaba interesada en otras cosas en este tiempo, todavía fue un día muy triste para mí.

Cada otoño nos mudabamos a nuestra casa en la ciudad, dónde asistíamos a la escuela. Pero nosotros estabamos activas físicamente. Por ejemplo, montaba mi bicicleta mucho con mis hermanas y mi papá. Cada sabado volvíamos, semana por semana, a la Casa de Panqueques. A veces mi madre montaba con nosotros, pero en general ella conducía y nos encontraba allí para el desayuno. En las tardes de la primavera, íbamos al parque cercano o al sitio de construcción que lo llamábamos “el hipódromo.”

Recuerdo mis regalos favoritos de Santa Claus. Una mañana de Navidad nos despertamos y encontramos tres nuevas bicicletas Schwinn de 3 velocidades cerca del árbol de Navidad. No había espacio extra en el salón. Estaba sorprendida y encantada. Montábamos nuestras bicis nuevas alrededor el barrio toda la tarde aunque hacía mucho frío.

Para colmo, cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, montabamos bicis a la escuela con mi mejor amiga. Y a veces, íbamos a la piscina juntas. Por eso—las actividades físicas—no puedo imaginar si habría tenido tiempo para hacer las actividades tecnológicas de hoy.

 

Occupied but not with Technology

(Yesterday we went to Panorama in Lacey where my parents lived for many years. We enjoyed breakfast with the bike club that my father started 20 years ago. This story honors his legacy.)

When I was a child, my parents, my two younger sisters and I lived in a church camp for children. We lived there during the summers. At the camp, I was the tetherball champion for many summers. But when I was eleven years old, more or less, my younger sister won a tetherball game against me. I was very emotional. My sister was very athletic and determined to be the new champion. While I was interested in other things by this time, it was still a very sad day for me.

Each fall we moved to our home in the city, where we attended school. Still we were physically active. For example, I rode my bike a lot with my sisters and my dad. Every Saturday we returned, week after week, to the House of Pancakes. Sometimes my mother would ride with us, but in general she would drive and we would meet there for breakfast. On spring afternoons, we would go to the nearby park or construction site we called the racetrack.

I remember my favorite gifts from Santa Claus. One Christmas morning we woke up and found three new 3 speed Schwinn bicycles near the Christmas tree. There was no extra room in the room. I was surprised and delighted. We rode our new bikes around the neighborhood all afternoon although it was very cold.

To top it all off, when I was in high school, I rode bikes to school with my best friend. And sometimes, we rode to the pool together. That’s why, given all the physical activities, I can’t imagine if I would have had time to do the technological activities of today.

Agradecida por mi Mamá

Me and Mom

(English translation follows.)

Cuando era niña soñaba con convertirme una madre. También quería ser una maestra de niños con los problemas de desarrollo. La historia de mi madre me influyó mucho en estas metas. Como yo, ella era la mayor en su familia. Nosotros teníamos más responsibilidad y somos un poco mandonas con nuestros hermanos menores, por lo menos yo soy.

Mi madre estudiaba para ser una enfermera (RN) y después una practicante (ARNP). Ella enseño enfermería por muchos años. Yo vi mi madre criar a tres hijas y además convertirse la jefa del departamento de enfermería en su universidad.

A través de sus carreras, mis padres creaban un buen matrimonio. He aprendido que es posible tener los dos: una familia y una carrera. Ahora, mi madre tiene 90 años. Mi padre se murió pero mi Mamá continua con interés en su vida y en las vidas de otros.

Thankful for my Mom

When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a mother. I also wanted to be a teacher of children with developmental problems. The story of my mother influenced me a lot in these goals. Like me, she was the oldest in her family. We had more responsibility and we are a bit bossy with our younger siblings now, at least I am.

My mother studied to be a nurse (RN) and then a practitioner (ARNP). She taught nursing for many years. I saw my mother raise three daughters and also become the head of the nursing department at her university.

Throughout their careers, my parents created a good marriage. I have learned that it is possible to have both: a family and a career. Now, my mother is 90 years old. My father died but my Mom continues with interest in her life and in the lives of others.

Más Español

Cartoon

(English Translation follows.)

¡Tengo buena suerte otra vez! Puedo ir de oyente SPANISH 202 porque soy vieja—más de sesenta años. Mi matrícula es barata (solo $43) aunque la página web interactiva es cara (¡un gigante $250!).

Cada mañana monto mi bici 40 cuadras—ida y vuelta—porque la universidad está cerca de mi casa. Este paseo es mi cosa favorita de toda la mañana.

La maestra es mi segunda cosa favorita. Se llama Rocío. Ella merece crédito porque nuestra clase es muy temprana. Ella es lista y agradable pero para mí, la cosa más importante es la variedad de actividades: juegos, cortometrajes, entrevistas. Trabajamos en parejas y en grupos de tres o cuatro. A veces creamos historias con el vocabulario nuevo. Por ejemplo, un día la maestra dio a nuestro equipo dibujos de Madame Curie, Bono, Superman y Darth Vader. Nos dijo, “Escribe un cuento de estos personajes usando la conjugación presente.” ¡Qué idea más buena! Me encantan sus ideas para enseñar. A veces cuando la clase termina, me sorprendo. La hora pasa muy rápido.

Pues, si que es difícil a veces también. Mi gramática todavía es horrible. Y no tengo confianza cuando hablo en frente de los jóvenes inteligentes. Sin embargo, es obvio que para la mayoría de la clase, entiendo que la profesora nos dice. Y no soy tímida como otros estudiantes. Si no entiendo, le pregunto. Tengo celos que los alumnos aprenden español cuando son jóvenes. Pero con mi edad, traigo la pasión y menos miedo.

Quiero aprender la lengua tan pronto como sea posible. Necesito saberla porque para el invierno próximo que lo tomaré sabático, llegaré a ser una trotamundos. Viajaré a Costa Rica y Ecuador. Me quedaré con las familias anfitrionas locales como mis viajes de Nicaragua. Espero comunicar mejor que nunca—escuchando y hablando con los hispanohablantes. ¡Ojalá! Quizás escribir otro libro y al menos entradas de mi blog. Vamos a ver.

More Spanish

Again, I am lucky! I can audit SPANISH 202 because I’m old—more than sixty years old. My tuition is cheap (only $43) although the interactive website is expensive (a giant $250!).

Every morning I ride my bike 40 blocks roundtrip because the university is near my house. The ride is my favorite thing of the whole morning.

The teacher is my second favorite thing. Her name is Rocío. She deserves credit because our class is very early. She is smart and nice but for me, the most important thing is the variety of activities she uses: games, short films, interviews. We work in pairs and in groups of three or four. Sometimes we create stories with new vocabulary. For example, one day the teacher gave our team drawings of Madame Curie, Bono, Superman and Darth Vader. She told us, “Write a story about these characters using the present conjugation.” What a good idea! I love her teaching ideas. Sometimes when the class ends, I’m surprised. The hour passes so quickly.

Well, it’s difficult sometimes too. My grammar is still horrible. And I do not have confidence when I speak in front of these intelligent young people. However, it is obvious that most of the time, I understand what the teacher tells us. And I’m not shy like other students. If I do not understand, I ask her. I am jealous that these students are learning Spanish when they are young. But, because of my age, I bring passion and less fear.

I want to learn the language as soon as possible. I need to know it because in the wintertime I’ll continue my sabbatical when I become a globetrotter and travel to Costa Rica and Ecuador. I will stay with local host families like I did in Nicaragua. By then I hope to communicate better than ever—listening and speaking with Spanish speakers. Hopefully! Maybe I’ll write another book or at least write more posts on my blog. We’ll see.

Arriving at Presence

Presence

*Child*

When Melinda saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time it took her breath away. She had to cough wildly to feel the air rise up again from the very soles of her feet through her body, her lungs and finally out her mouth again. Next she gasped in the vast glory of it all. At six o’clock in the evening, the light around her was perfect for blinking-eye snapshots. In two seconds a cloud of sandpipers appeared, engulfing her as they turned and flashed bright white undersides to reveal themselves. Then just as quickly they shifted and disappeared. Only the gentle flap-flap-flap-purr-whish of their movements suggested they were still nearby.

Alongside the salty foam and steady waves of the big sea, it was easy for Melinda to forget how hungry she was and what it might take to fill her belly or at least take the edge off. She realized the steady in-out-in-out of her body’s bellows was not unlike the hallowed rhythm of the tides. In grateful response, she lay down in the sand to rest. She let herself be held.

*Adult*

It was late afternoon before Melinda found a moment’s peace. She was bone-tired having washed the dishes, made beds, fed the dog, made soup, scrubbed the bathroom floor, conferenced with the teachers, harassed the mailman, ridden her bike to Safeway and back, unpacked the groceries and, oh yeah, made a suitable breakfast for herself and the others as well as gobbled down lunch alone between her tasks.

This layer of physical exhaustion was as thick and tumultuous as cumulus clouds, magnified by what preoccupied and fogged Melinda’s mind as she worked. Would her hand be strong enough to open the jar of pickles? Would her husband rest after his surgery? Would anyone love him as much as she did? And what about the truck? Who would drive it back across the country? And if he died, how could she manage two houses, two kids, two pets, two cars? Not to mention the wedding? While there was plenty of money, tracking it with any semblance of responsibility would take a level of energy beyond her. The thought of it all was just too much.

In a moment of slight pause, Melinda realized the best course was to take off her slippers, leggings, sweatshirt, panties, earrings, bra and thumb brace. Damn! She’d forgotten to fill the tub first. In stark nakedness, Melinda twisted the faucets, poured in bubble bath and sprinkled lavender salts.

While the soft cushion of suds rose Melinda gathered her tools – shampoo, conditioner, a razor, shaving cream, tweezers, a pumice stone. She paused again. What else could she possibly need? A candle maybe, matches. A bath towel. No, a large beach towel. No, both towels.

And then she locked the door, turned up the heat slightly, stopped the flow and swished the water with her hand. Ah, very hot. Enough to redden her skin even more. Just the way she liked it.

Melinda dipped her toe in next and slowly slid one leg in while she grabbed the old-person’s bar her father-in-law had nailed into the wall on one of his visits long ago. She lifted her second leg over the edge of the tub and squatted, slowly lowering herself into the bliss. Oh fuck, the tea! Now when she listened she could hear the tea pot screaming from the other room, “Don’t forget me. Pay attention to me, you fool!”

You can imagine the upwind required. The sigh. The tightening of muscles. The anticipation of chill then the shiver itself when she stepped out on to the mat, grabbed one of those towels, unlocked the door and appeased the almost empty kettle.

It drew tears of disappointment and a heave of sadness when she returned. Yes, she had a full mug of goodness to warm her but by this time the bath had cooled.

Why lock the door? The luxury would become a chore too – lying back to rinse her hair, watching the cream inflate on her leg before she shaved it off, slightly scrubbing that bothersome callus on the ball of her left foot…all done too quickly, in record speed to beat the temperature change.

Clearly in this next stretch she would need to learn to rest in the midst of it. To pause. To breathe. To flush her tears periodically rather than rely on the occasional gift of a long space of time alone. Maybe she could learn to move forward with calm if it killed her.

*Elder*

As the season turned, it was easier to embrace the ocean of grief in her heart. The sea after all, in its steadiness and endless presence accounted for all that was good. Melinda knew if all else failed she could build a roaring fire and curl up before it in a fetal position.

To finally be old enough to qualify for Medicare was a relief beyond compare. When her sore feet cussed bloody murder she was certain she could bring herself to slow down and breathe. The maturity of knowing knitted in the certainty of blessed containment around her edges. They vibrated. She was no longer solid and walled off. Finally the nearby electricity wove and bounced in and out like a sleek dolphin needling the surface of her skin.

The space around her almost always seemed more habitable these days allowing her the courage to heave sobs by herself in the blue room. To taste death and even lap up pain as her teacher.

Lately Melinda wondered if perhaps it would be best to hole up there in her pajamas for a while, really experiment with the limits of time. It’s possible her daughter would bring her nourishment, anything of the sort of caloric beauty she conjured up would do. Surely her husband would check in occasionally offering his exquisite form of kindness.

Long ago, the specialist had recommended she allow them to wrap her up like a mummy for 24 hours. They promised to care for her, to feed her, unwrap her for elimination. The doctor in charge suggested her energy was of the gourmet variety and explained, “Don’t you want to gift yourself with a sample of your full intensity rather than exhaust yourself by diffusing it all the time and everywhere?” Then he offered, “Simply containing yourself may be a challenge for you but we could create the sensation for you in this unnatural way. We’d stay nearby for the level of feeling of which you are capable. You’d learn to appreciate your fullness.”

Instead decades later, when Melinda was alone, she could invite the profound feelings he’d mentioned. She allowed the accompanying giggles and waves of light ness too. In search of looseness, her swollen heart was ready to spill over in the monastery of containment and see what she was holding back. To give all of this love to herself first before considering sharing it was quite a luscious thought.

What a delight to recognize this possibility as more than the usual restful retreat. By going away she could allow herself to explode as the ultimate present.