I remember… (part 3)

I awoke not knowing where I was or what had happened. A bump on my head told me I had fallen hard. I carefully got up, taking my time so as to evaluate any damage in my body. I was not a stranger to fainting nor to forgetting what had happened. This much I always knew.

I examined the photo on my hands. It was of me with a girl I could not recognize. We seemed happy, almost in love. What was her name? There was a black blur in the picture. Something was near us. I needed to find out more. I looked around the room: a lamp, cold coffee, books everywhere, a comfortable reading couch. This seemed like a place I could live in, but whose was it?

With the picture in my hand, I slowly started walking. My back ached a bit from the fall, but I seemed to be okay. I looked around the kitchen: toaster, coffee maker, sink with a few dishes, fruit. I walked towards the bedrooms and slowly opened the door: a bed with a closet. No sign of anybody here. I opened the second door: a bathroom with a shower, tub, sink and toilet. Nothing out of the ordinary. I walked towards the last door in the hallway and held my breath. If there was anything that could help me figure out what had happened in my life, it would be this door.

Once again, I woke up and found myself lying on the floor. Flashes of something jumping at me kept repeating in my head. I began moving my body slowly to make sure I was okay. One of these days, I would wake up from these absences unable to walk. As I moved my arms, I felt something furry near me. On my other hand was the photo. All of a sudden bits and pieces came back to me. That black blur was a black cat, perhaps the same black cat that was sleeping on my stomach now. Flashes of the cat in my life came back to me, some of us sleeping, others of me waking up after fainting and the cat on my belly as if keeping guard.

I still didn’t know much about my life, but I knew I was home.


This is part 3 of a sequel titled “I remember part 1” and “I remember part 2.” Although these posts are not necessarily related to each other, they are inspired by each other.

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A love letter to language

Dear language,

I don’t know if our love affair started when I was in daycare and classes were given in Spanish, English and French. Perhaps moving at such a young age and learning to communicate impulsed our love. It could even be an intellectual disposition that has made sparks fly between you and me. To be honest, I don’t really care why and how it started because our time together is what matters most.

Some of the reasons why I feel romantically involved with you are the way you allow me to truly understand a culture, the endless supply of words and expressions I have to explain what is truly in my heart, and, I will not lie, the fact that I am good at learning about you in all your variations. Thanks to you I can share what I think, I can tell those I love how much I love them, I can read books and be immersed in the stories, and thanks to you I can even write this blog post. You have catapulted me into a better person, someone who speaks what she feels instead of just acting, someone who can explain my frustration without anger, someone who can ask for flowers on a cloudy day.

The truth is that I wish I could learn all your variations, but I know that task is useless. I’d rather perfect the parts of you I know, those I use to speak with my family, my friends, my neighbors and my stories. There are over seven thousand variations of you in the world, and those are just the one still used! But, like I said before, I am content knowing 5 of those seven thousand and using them the best way I can. That is, in my opinion, the best way to show you my love, my admiration, and my need for you.

Yours truly,
Karoly

I remember… (part 2)

I still cannot understand what made me get on the train. I just know that I felt an impulse, a push on my legs that forced me to take a step and get on. I walked through the coaches until I found a solitary one. I needed time and space to think. My life had been chaos the last couple of days, and now, I was on a train without knowing the destination of my life. I sat on the other side of the window to admire the landscape. Maybe I would see something I could recognize, a sign of what had happened. When night finally fell and the light of the sun no longer touched the trees, I closed my eyes. It was 10:30 p.m. already.

I fell into a deep almost hallucinogen stupor. I felt drugged and I was terrified to know if it was due to the exhaustion or something I had taken. Suddenly, I remembered images. They  were faint and incoherent. Remembering a meditation class I had once taken to please an old girlfriend, I decided to let the images run as if it was a film. Maybe this way I could understand something, know something. The image of a blond woman with light skin and a pink dress repeated several times. I did not recognize her but I felt I had met her during the last couple of days.

The train stopped in a small unknown town. I remember seeing the word Bunde at some point, but I wasn’t sure. What did that mean? I looked out the window to see if I could recognize any of the passengers. Nothing. I heard some voices but could not understand what they said. Everything was abrupt, unfriendly. I felt a strong desire to be home and feel the warmth of my place, of something known.

When the train reached its third stop, I stood up. The same push that made me get on the train made me get off. The few people that got off the train made their way home without noticing my fear. I walked with everyone not knowing where I was going. Perhaps it had been a bad idea to get off the train. Would I be able to get back to the station if this search proved to be unsuccessful?

I walked about ten minutes. I was cold and hungry, and the fear I felt choked me up. I walked to a tall, dark building. The names on the entrance signaled this was an apartment building. I found a set of keys I had never seen inside my coat pocket. I went in and took the elevator. The other key had a sticker with the number 309 on it. I got off on the third floor and found the door. 309. What would I find once I opened it? Perhaps I would find a clue as to what had happened to me these last couple of days.

Carefully I opened the door. I didn’t want to make noise and alert anyone in the apartment. I found a lamp softly illuminating a chair. Next to the chair was a table with a cold cup of coffee and several books. I immediately recognized the titles. There was a bookshelf behind with more books and pictures. I walked towards it. Perhaps the woman in the pink dress would be in these pictures.

As soon as I looked at the photographs, I felt a chill come in to the apartment and inside my body. This was too much and I fell together with the photo. I found my ghost.


This story was inspired by what I remember… (part 1) talks about.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

She was in such a hurry that she began throwing the clothes inside the suitcase instead of placing them neatly, not noticing the car in the driveway. She was a neat-freak with hints of OCD, but right now, organization didn’t matter. What mattered was to get out as fast as possible. As she was rummaging through her drawers and closet, trying to fit enough clothes and anything of sentimental value she might want or need, the words her friend had told her rang in her head.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Clearly that line in the latest book her friend had read was meant for romantic love, but somehow it spoke to her. What type of love did she deserve? More importantly, what did she deserve? She was a hard working girl with decent grades and enough activities to be considered for the state schools. She went out with friends and occasionally drank never losing her sense of responsibility. She was pretty in an average kind of way and was exceptionally kind to her friends and family. She deserved better.

Once again the words rang in her head: We accept the love we think we deserve.

She was one of the few people to realize she deserved better at such a young age. How many stories had she read of wives, children and parents in comma or dead because they thought they deserved that? How many stories went untold?

As she closed the suitcase, she looked around the room one more time. That room had been her salvation, her safe place, but she knew it would be no more. Her safe place would be in her heart wherever she went. She deserved better love and that is what she was going to find even if it meant a lifetime of searching.

She started walking down the stairs hoping to get out as soon as possible. As soon as she set foot on the last step, the one that always creaked when someone walked by, she heard that voice; the voice she wished she would never hear again.

-Where do you think you are going?

After that, everything became blurry. Flashes of light and screaming haunted her for years to come. Her life was not the same after that day, yet she never forgot those words:

We accept the love we think we deserve.


*Quote taken from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My home sweet home

I love the phrase “home sweet home.” I have been fortunate enough to always have a home sweet home. I don’t mean to boast that I’ve never had problems at home nor that I never thought I just needed to get away. What I mean is that my homes have always been a place I have enjoyed to be in.

When I was twelve, I lived in a beautiful house in Texas. My mom best describes this house as the most beautiful house in the world, one she would like to re-construct wherever she lives. The house is nothing special. Its part of a 10 house horizontal condominium with a pool and a good sized garden. On the outside, my favorite part is the light pink bricks that make up the house. Considering only women lived in our home, the pink bricks are appropriate.

The house has two floors, although the living room ceiling goes up to the top floor. I am a big book nerd and always imagined having tall bookcases with stairs and everything on the walls of the living room. Do you remember the scene in Beauty and the Beast when she slides with the stair talking about the books (in the town’s bookstore)? Well, those walls would be perfect for that! Sadly, my lack of body coordination and clumsiness would probably have meant that that slide would send me to the hospital with some sort of broken bone!

Since we never used the garage for the car, my mom decided to make it into a family room, home office and laundry room. When the walls separating the different rooms were in place, we had to figure out what to do about the floor. We had no tile floor and no budget for it either. My mom and older sister, being the crafty people that they are, decided to paint the floor of the TV room in a bright lime green color that gave so much light to the room. They then added hand painted angels to the floor. They spent a whole day painting angels (using stencils, of course). The floor looked amazing, personal and budget friendly! It saddens me to say that saying I painted one angel would be a lie!

Writing this post makes me realize that what my mom said is true. That was a beautiful house where we lived comfortably and happy. Because we were far from our family, my mom, my sisters and I became very close, and all of this happened in this house. I am sure that when I buy a home where I will start a family with Riccardo, it will be, in my eyes, the most beautiful home. I will think back on my mom’s excitement and love for this home, and feel the exact same thing about my new home sweet home.

Childhood food memories

I remember getting home from school and smelling that the food was ready. Even when I was teaching, I enjoyed opening the door and smelling my grandma’s cooking in the kitchen.  There are many meals that I miss from Mexico, some that my mom made, others that my grandma made and, of course, many that are too complicated to make at home but that a some restaurants specialize in.

Today I miss my grandma’s chicken tacos. There isn’t anything gourmet about this dish; it isn’t even hard to make. You just need to roll up some shreded chicken inside a corn tortilla and fry it to make the tacos crispy. A little bit of cream, avocado and salt (no salsa for me) finish off the plate. When my grandma makes taquitos, the menu is always the following:

-noodle soup with slices of avocado
taquitos
-fried plantains (with cream and sugar on top)

There isn’t anything special about this meal. It is something simple and quick. Perhaps today I miss the taquitos because she usually made them on Monday. These taquitos give me a sense of belonging and security. The plantains are also delicious. Every time she made them, I complained that she hadn’t made enough, even though every time she made more.

I hope she makes taquitos today even if I don’t get to eat them.

A little story

I was walking towards the park holding his hand. This wasn’t getting serious, but I liked holding his hand. I liked the idea of being serious, just not with him. I think it was the way he chewed his food that screamed “Don’t marry him.” Regardless of the fact we had no future, holding hands was fun. I would pretend we had been together for years and this was one of our routine outings. After this we would go look at furniture for our new home, and then go back home to finish some do-it-yourself project. It was the best fantasy marriage.

We had been walking for about half and hour when I spotted this old woman at a distance. She was sitting on a bench with a small black purse full of red yarn. She had a bag of bread crumbs for the pigeons. There must have been dozens of pigeons around her. They were a cloud of black smoke surrounding her. It was magical, creepy and quite comical all at the same time.

As soon as the old woman’s face was clearly visible to us, I felt him get nervous. Something about the woman unnerved him. He suddenly let go of my hand to cover his face. All at once he began weeping; he was out of breath. I remember feeling embarrassed at first. What could possibly posses him to such a spectacle? The old woman was just as stupefied with his behavior as I was. Once my embarrassment subsided, I became confused. Why was I with this man? This man had nothing to offer; we had no future. As his tears became stronger, I knew it was time to leave, to flee this circus-like show.

To this day, I do not know what happened. Once I turned and walked away, I lost all contact. He never called nor was I interested in his phone call. It was as if with those tears he wiped clean both our lives and we started over. Sometimes I still imagine him walking around the park before going to a do-it-yourself store with his wife. I can never see the face of this woman, but I also know it isn’t me. Perhaps it is the old woman who was sitting on the bench that sunny afternoon.

A place I love

There is one place I love to go to. I have been especially nostalgic about it, perhaps because distance makes us want something more. This place has been part of my life since I was a young girl. My family and I would go every vacation we could. We are beach people and the beach is where we love to go!

Right now, I would love to go to the beach. I would love to sit under an umbrella and hear the lullaby of the waves. I want to feel the sand stick to my skin and the sun warming my skin. I want to taste a cold drink as my body cools down. I want to see the blue water, the white sand and the brightness of the sun. I want to hear children building castles and others splashing with the waves. I want to close my eyes and feel the waves inside me.

Once the heat warms me up too much, I want to cool down in the ocean. I want to feel the sudden coldness on my stomach as I go in the sea. I want to feel the relieved from the heat as I take a dive to wet my hair. I want to float on the water as the waves rock me into a calm stupor. I want to escape all responsibilities and worries.

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You say goodbye, I say hello

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My family is a lover of cats. The first cat to join our family was a present for my older sister from her high school boyfriend. After that, the cats kept coming. We have no doubt that we will be cat ladies for the rest of our lives. We love to cuddle with them and don’t mind the hair they leave on our clothes. Their comfort is above everything, even if that means scratched furniture or boxes around the house. We even have a family photo stream dedicated to our pets!

This year has been exceptionally hard when it comes to our furry companions. My cat Mona, a black feisty street cat I adopted and brought to the Netherlands with me, was diagnosed with feline epilepsy this past February. Mona was a very active and feisty cat that honestly scared the heck out of some people. Overnight she became inactive, she lost control of her body while she suffered seizure after seizure. Fortunately, with the help of medication, she is going back to her old feisty self and she seldom gets a seizure.

As I sit and write this post which was supposed to be a dialogue about two opposing ideas, my mind is drifting back to Mexico with another cat my sister and I adopted shortly after we moved there. Her name is Allora. She was severely abused and hurt, but fortunately she was found by a rescue group and later made it to our home, together with her sister Ciabis (my sister and I were taking Italian classes at the time). Allora had a hard time adjusting to our home, but she eventually came around and loved it! She loved our home so much that she refused to move with me when I moved out of my mother’s apartment. Consequently she became my mom’s new daughter.

Right now Allora is at the vet fighting between life and death. Her kidney is failing. My brave little sister, who is now a strong woman, is taking care of her. In an effort to send some positive thoughts, prayers and good energy to Allora and my sister, I will share with you what I would say to her if I could be next to her right now.

Allora, please don’t be scared. You endured so much pain in your youth, but enjoyed a wonderful and comfortable life with our family. You quickly gained weight and made every bed and couch yours. You constantly stole your sister’s food and told on me when I was out late. I felt so bad when I took you to my new apartment and you didn’t adjust. The worst part was that you ran away from me ever since that. I understand why you didn’t adapt. You already had a home and sister, and you knew a crazy feisty cat would need a home with me. The last month I was in Mexico was truly magical. We bonded once again, just like we did when you moved in. You were scared at times. I did my best to not move and let you know you would be okay with me. You cuddled with me again, you licked my face and left hair all over my clothes. Allora, as you struggle between life and death, I want you to think about all the wonderful moments in your life. Think of all the naps you took, the food you ate, the toys you had, the love you gave and received. The struggle between life and death is inevitable, but something in our heart makes us forget this. I want to be selfish and ask you to live, but I know its not in my hands. All that is left for me to say is that I love you and I thank you for your company. I hope I will see you again in December, but I know even right now, you are in my heart.

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Someone I know

This writing challenge is meant to help describe characters. I am to chose one person I have met recently (within the past year) and describe this person to you. This is a hard choice because for the past year, I have met some amazing people. Moving has given me the opportunity to meet all sorts of people, people with different nationalities, with different stories.

I was thinking about who to write about during my zumba class last monday. I had so many options and couldn’t come up with just one. Writing about them all would call for a new blog with material to last me a lifetime. As I was attempting to follow the steps, I realized I had a great option to write about. Me.

For as long as I remember, I have been a very calm and sedentary person. My mom talks about how even before I could read, she would give me a picture book, and I would stay where I was. As I grew up, exercise didn’t call to me. I disliked physical education class, and even managed to take my last high school class via computer. I like to read, write, watch movies, eat and drink coffee. When doctors ask me what type of exercise I do, I simply reply “extreme and fast reading.”

Since I’ve lived in the Netherlands, I have slowly changed that. Since I don’t have a driver’s license here (you are tested on a standard car and I only drive automatic), I started moving around by train, bus and by foot. I also started riding my bike and doing yoga at home. However, the biggest change has come during the last two weeks. A new friend of mine invited me to go to yoga class, and I accepted. I had a lot of fun, and she invited me for zumba and piloxing. I had even more fun. Last Monday, we took two zumba classes in a row to start the week. I feel like a new person.

Perhaps these challenges might seem small to people who enjoy physical activity or those who already have a workout routine. For me, this is the Everest. This is one of the biggest challenges and one I have constantly failed at. Regardless of my past attempts, I am confident I will stick it out. I am having so much fun as I try to coordinate arm and leg movements, as I sweat, as I move around. I feel energized, healthy, and happy. I am motivated to keep on going.

As I continue to climb my Everest, I am not blind to the hardships and obstacles that will arise. However, I have a great support system that I know will help me during the tough moments. I choose me as my interesting character, created not only by my personal attributions and characteristics but also by the influence of those around me.