Monday, May 31, 2010

Was I so naive?

Was I just so naive to think that our friendship could have survived the test of time? Was I just stupid enough to believe that she's actually normal?
It's upsetting to think that the friendship to which I wrote so many poems as a teenager is not as invincible as once thought.
Do I think I am perfect? No! Of course not!
Do I have some extent of ADD? Probably. I do get distracted fairly easily. And I do tend to multitask incessantly and almost obsessively.
But have I ever been careless about our friendship?! Who?! Me?! I don't think so.
I never listen without interrupting, she says. I never listen without interrupting? I have been accused of not listening attentively my whole entire life. And then I decided to stop and think through every time I have been accused of not listening properly.
Usually the following scenarios:
a) She's pouring her heart out to me right after church, when all my friends, including the guy I am trying to impress are coming out of the sanctuary. So I'm not listening to her bc I am too busy trying to talk to everyone else. Well, maybe, and just maybe, the time for confidentiality is not quite right.
b) We are spending time together, each one of us with a number of things we each want to share. She gets to do the whole talking - about herself and myself, for about 2 hours. So I eventually stop listening, bc I am tired of not having a chance to say anything I need to say. How many times have I gotten back home after spending a day together, feeling that I just served as a shoulder to cry, and no one really cared to find out about my own feelings. "Friendship is a two-way road," she says. Maybe she should take her own advice. Just maybe.
From day one when our friendship began, I was always the crying-shoulder. It was always about her pouring her feelings out, or should I say dumping her feelings out on me.

All through our entire lives it's been like that. She talks, and talks, and talks. And when she's done, she'd talk some more. She was never really done talking. She'd talk even when it was my turn to do the talking. On MY WEDDING PREP. Did she ever even bother to hear what I wanted to do? No. Of course not! She had to talk it through - and determine how I should want my wedding to be.
"Of course I am upset that you have to teach!Why did you say 'hello' if you had no time to talk?"
No surprise she is upset! She is upset that I am not there to hear her cries. Because, really, this is the first person ever to tell me she's upset because I say hello when I have no time to chat!!!!
This is just ridiculous. No, not just annoying - ridiculous!
You know, maybe, and just maybe, she's just really upset with the fact that her engagement is over. Maybe, and just maybe, she's saying that because she really does not know what to do, or who to blame for having lost all the hope she had built up of building a life together with that man. Maybe she does not really mean the things she said.
So I will wait. I will wait and not say anything anymore so things don't get any worse. When she is ready, if she is ever ready, she will talk to me as if nothing had ever happened.
If she is never ready, than maybe our friendship was never really worth that much to start with. And I was really just so naive to think that time, distance, and men could never destroy what we had together.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saint John's - a national party

Gilberto Gil, one of the most famous musicians in Brazil, is preparing a record with only Saint John's songs.
Saint John is a national party, he said. A national party indeed. A Catholic country like Brazil has Christmas, Easter to celebrate Jesus's life and death, but it also has all the saints holidays, and Saint John's, with it delicious food and rhythms, is a national favorite.
Schools hold Saint John's parties, children sign up for food, and practice the special dances for a couple of months before the big day. Coloring bonfires, painting your teeth black, sewing non-matching patches in jeans pants and dresses, wearing straw hats and speaking with a draw. And yes, playing with firecrackers! Oh, and the food! The food! The food! Those of us who are not Roman Catholic can choose to participate or not in the religious mass, and even in the festivities - some people in my church did believe a holiday dedicated to John should not be observed at all. But it is our individual choice to refrain, and the whole world does not have to bend to us.
Why is it ok to celebrate religious holidays in Brazil, even for those of us who do not subscribe to the Roman Catholic faith, but it is such a big deal in America to celebrate their own religious holidays and even now their national holidays? However, children get punished for wearing their own flag on the day of a MEXICAN holiday!!!!!
The more I live in the country of freedom, the less free I think we are in here. It is not ok to talk about religion almost anywhere. Religion is offensive. Usually the majority's religion is offensive. So the majority of the people, who subscribe to some type of Christian religion, is not free to express their religiosity in their own country.
That's so frustrating actually. Anything that has the smell of Christianity is banned from school. As a teacher I am always stepping on eggs - can I say this word? Can I talk about this theme? Can I tell the children the girl's soul went to heaven? Should I even be asking this questions? Should I have to ask myself whether or not I can talk to people about their most common beliefs? Should I even have to ask myself whether or not I should talk to people about uncommon beliefs?
Didn't the first European settlers came here looking for a country where no one could tell them they could not express their religion? No one could prevent them from expressing their beliefs?How far have we fallen from that ideal?
We now live in country where one must think twice before he opens his mouth to say anything concerning the spiritual world. A country in which common celebrations are being banned from common places more and more frequently. Christmas at school? Easter at school? God's name at school? Bible at school? Everything is offensive. Everything is bad. Bad? oh, yes, a religion that talks about love and salvation from sin... something has gone terribly wrong with the country of freedom I learned to admire back in Brazil.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Until the finale of LOST

I fell cheated out of my time. For six years, six years!!! For six years of my life I watched and waited anxiously for the following week, for the following season, for the next new episode. Ok, not six years, since I watched the whole first season in one weekend. FIVE years of my life! For five years of my life I watched and waited anxiously for the next episode. Trying to solve mysteries, answer new questions, link them to the old ones, weave the whole story together to figure out where they were, why they were there, who were the good guys really.
Now you tell me it is all about relationships???
Not saying that relationships are not important. They are. The way that those people brought us into their present and past lives made us feel like we knew them. And we cared about them and worried about them, and we cried with them and cheered with them. But let's be honest, it was not the development of their relationships, or the dirty little secrets of their lives, that kept us coming back for more every week - it was the mystery of the island.
What is the island? Who is Jacob? What is the Dharma Initiative? What's the statue? Why can some people find the island and others can't? What's the real significance of the island? Who are the good guys and who are the bad ones - really?
THOSE are the mysteries we spend our precious life trying to answer. Mysteries we were lead to believe the authors had the answers to.
They did not. They were laughing at us all these years, watching us trying to figure out what was on their minds when nothing actually was on their minds. They had no answers. They had no reasons for the wacky things that happened in the island. It could get as wacky as they wanted - there was not an explanation behind it. And yet, they let us try to find one. And laughed at us. All these years.
If you really think Lost ended up in a satisfactory way, you have to be a sucker. It did not. I feel cheated out of my time. I feel like my intelligence has been insulted. I feel like I've been treated as a lab rat. For six years I loved watching LOST. The last chapter made me hate it forever.
No, it was not just a good show with an unworthy ending. Because then I could say - it was a good show, just the ending was weak. No, that was not the case. It was an ending that stated that everything I did until that moment was meaningless, worthless, waste of time. It was a slap across the face saying, "why did you bother?"
Seriously? Why did I bother?

Monday, May 24, 2010

The day of the bride

It will be common place to say that, but if only I had know then what I know today.
The day of the bride - a Brazilian tradition of pampering the bride on her wedding day with oils and perfumes and flowers, the one day in your life you can be treated as a true princess.
This is a tradition we borrowed from India. Oh, those magical mystery hindu people and their crazy traditions. Prepare the bride for her groom, make her skin softer, shinier, healthier, and more fragrant than ever.
It might be a general Asia Minor tradition, because queen Esther was also ordered to be pampered in oils and fragrances to be presented to the Persian King.
It is not a tradition kept by the filthy barbarian Europeans who knew nothing about proper manners until they met the Romans - who knew nothing about anything that mattered until they met the middle easterners and asians.
I should have remembered marriage is a once in a lifetime thing and taken advantage of my day of the bride.
Unfortunately the tradition kept in Brazil has been stained by the excessive wanna-be upper class mindset where you must have servants for everything. The bride should not be removed from her mother on the single most important day of her life! They day she will be given away to another family!!! That should be a family day - like it is in the United States, mom, bride, bridesmaids, everyone celebrating that very special day. That's just what i really wanted to have.

is it ok to hide who you are?

Is it ok to hide your true Christian identity to preserve your life or your safety? That's what Queen Esther did, according to last Sunday's Bible text. That's what Christians in China do, as my husband reminded me. How will you spread the word if you're dead? It's ok to be quiet about who you are then, just so you're not excluded from the community?
Is it ok to be quiet about your true beliefs on evolution just so people will still respect you as a member of the scientific community?
Is it ok to be quiet about revolutionary thoughts then? Just so you won't be excluded from the government?
How much hiding is it ok to do for the sake of life preservation before you don't know who you are anymore? And before what you really are really does not matter anymore? When should we stop hiding and face the consequences, maybe deadly, of our true identity? Queen Esther eventually had to. When her whole people were threatened of extinction, she had to. It was either risk your life now or lose your life later.
When is hiding wise?
When is hiding coward?
When is hiding sheer dishonesty?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I don't want to waste my life

When we are young, like children and teenagers we have so many dreams. What do we do with those dreams at the end of our lives? Do we just bury them? Do we pursue them? Do we keep them in the fridge waiting until time is just right? Do we wait until the people that might laugh at us are not there anymore? Do we spend our lives trying to please people that don't matter and put our dreams on hold?
One day we will die. Things we did not do won't matter. The things we wanted to do won't matter. The people we were afraid of won't matter. The people we wanted to please won't matter.
The only thing that will matter is what we actually did.
When we get to the end of our lives, when we look behind, what will we see? A life filled with dreams fulfilled, or at least the pursuit of those dreams? Or will we see a life that was wasted with things that did not matter?
When I die, what will I have left behind?
I want to many things - I want to travel and see the world. I want to learn to cook well, I want to learn to play the guitar, I want to learn different languages. I want to read different books, I want to write my own books. I want to make a difference in people's lives. I want to make a difference in my family's lives. I want to raise children who will be responsible and loving people, who will take care of the world God gave them, who will take care of the people around them, and who will value the good things in life - ans work for it.
I want a lot in life. I can't put my life on hold. I can't lose track of it. I can't, I don't want to, and I won't waste my life. I want it all and I want it now. As much as my arms can hold, as often as my arms can hold, for as long as my arms can hold.

Main character

Everyone is the main character of their own story. No one wants to be a side-kick. No one wants to be a villain. No one wants to be the less-smart (euphemism) friend to the cool guy. That's why those of us who step on others to get somewhere are in a very dangerous position. Because in someone else's story we are the villains who must be overcome.
Those of us who are in charge and must take harsh decisions are also in a very dangerous position. In someone else's story the harsh decision might be the excuse they need to be the leader of the rebels fighting against the injustices of this world. In someone else's world harsh and evil might be synonyms. Or are we naive to think that every one's view of fairness is fair and balanced? Everyone wants to be the main character of their own story - everyone IS the main character of their own story.
Real life is not like story plots where the side-kick is always the faithful less smart friend of the always-caring super-hero. Honestly, who wants to be a sidekick in their own story?
We often think too high of ourselves. Way too high.

"I miss my family"

Sometimes a song just says what is in your mind. I know that this is supposed to fun, says the song. I know it is supposed to be fun. Being a grown-up, out on my own, married. Living in a country that actually respects your as a human being. All these things have been what I have always dreamed of. living a dream - like Queen Esther. Living a princess dream.
I know this is supposed to be fun.
I'm having mixed feelings right now, says the song. Indeed I am having mixed feelings right now. Because I miss my family, just like the song says. I miss my family. And with every repetition I also repeat it in my heart - I miss my family. I miss my people. I miss the ones that were there for me growing up. I miss the ones who taught me about life, who taught me values I live by, who taught me to be who I am today.
And I don't miss them just for what they made me be. I miss them for who they are, and for the feelings that exist between us. I miss the things we did together, the places we went together, the the moments we shared together. Like Queen Esther probably did, living in the courts of the Persian king. She probably missed her family. So much that she still listened to her uncle's advice. Her uncle who had but her best interest in mind.
I love my life now. But I miss my family. My family, who has but my best interest in mind.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kids will be kids

Some things in the world will always be the same.
Children will always be children.
When I am watching them in the playground I like to try to get in their minds - to imagine what they are feeling, what they are thinking, what their fears are, what their dreams are.
Not too long ago, it seems, I was one of them too.
Not too long ago, I also had that best friend who sticks like a tick to your skin - and makes you act like a fool.
Not too long ago I also walked down hallways filled with GIANT kids ... (before I found out they were just little 10-year-olds, and were not really BIG - it was I that was just a tiny first-grader).
Not too long ago all the world was way bigger then it is now, all my feelings were way more powerful than they are now, all that happened was way scarier than it is now, all my life was way more complicated than it is now.

Here are some questions that crossed my mind during childhood (and no I was not the brightest child on earth):
"why does the 4th grade board have weird math symbols on it?"
"why does the principal think we did it?"
"why does the only good-looking boy in the whole world never talk to me?"
"why do things happen just like mom told me they would if I do something behind her back?"
"why does that girl say so many bad words?"
"why is the teacher never looking?"
"why do I get spanked if I am only a kid?"
"why do strange voices always ask if my mom is home when I answer the phone?"
"how did she know I wet my pants???"
"how will I ever see my friends again if we go to a different school?"
"how will my best friend ever be able to call me if my phone number changes?"
"how can my aunt live in the U.S. if her mom is Brazilian?"
"how did mom find out?"
and the most mind-boggling one ever:
"how on earth does the teacher know my mom?"
Not too long ago ... the world was huge and mysterious.... it hasn't gotten much simpler, I just make myself believe it has.

Monday, May 17, 2010

One day when I was young

I do not remember much of sermon, but pastor mentioned that one day when he was young he did a certain thing. When he was young. And he had that look on his face that lead to the place he was speaking from. So I guess I lost the rest of his argument, because I started looking at him where he was in life, and where he used to be. When he said that he was referring to the fact that life sneaked up on him while he was busy trying to change the world. He knew what he wanted to do, and he knew what was right. And he went on to do the things that must be done.
Now he is the father of four young adults. Grandpa to a very young baby girl. Time sneaks up on us and takes away the life we take for granted. One day when I was very young, I could not wait to grow up. I could not wait to turn 10, so I could stay up for the 8 o'clock novela. I could not wait to turn 12 so I could watch that scary movie in the theater. I could not wait to turn 15 so I could have my sweet 15 party. I could not wait till I had my own life so I could do things differently. I could not wait until I could set (and live by) my own rules.
"One day when I was young" is the sentence we will repeat for the rest of our lives. Because when we are young we do things, and we live life, and we don't realize that life is taking away that youth that we so careless live through. And when we look behind so much time has gone by. The people that were young like us are not so young anymore. The people that were old and in charge are now taking the role of mere consultants! The ones that used to be the mere consultants are mostly gone. The people that were not even people are now the young ones. So were are the old people? Heck! the old people are us!!! Then we realize that the tables have turned. We are not looking up anymore, trying to imagine the day when we will be in charge. We are in charge. And a generation of new young people are now in the place we once were, trying to take our place, trying to do things better than us - because they know what is right! And they will do it! They can't wait to get to where we are.
Life is a cycle, and we go through it, often unaware, always impotent to break out of it. If there was no God, what meaning would that all have? Lives that were not come into this world, spend a lifetime waiting for their chance to shine, then the rest of that lifetime looking back at their turn, until they are no more.