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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Place Where Dreams Really Do Come True

 

"No more crying, No more begging, No more hoping. Let us go where our dreams really do come true." ~ Aley


Hispanics really are a blessed race because we carry in our blood the passion and desire to push forward and reach our dreams and ideals; so much so that the Latin diaspora has extended to every corner of the planet.
 
Our history is delicious just like our food. It is a saga that is full of tales that have navigated the rivers of time, originating in ancient Mesopotamia and cultivated in the Iberian Peninsula to later get mixed up with the legends of the first Native Americans and with the wild customs of Africa. This is how we came to be like a salad of many colors and many flavors.

As all strong races are, we are a product of many sufferings and stumbles in our evolution. We have all heard the stories of our forefathers who had to fight with tooth and nail to find a better life in this country. Even today we are sometimes soldiers in battles without victories.

I understand this because I am just like you. Sometimes you feel like a lost swallow desperately searching for her Capistrano. Life can often push you down just when you think you are making progress. In these moments, like the scariest horror movie, your thoughts take you to dark places. This is when you need to remember that these thoughts create your destiny.

 Do not allow yourself to become a castaway lost in the sea of your own thoughts. Rather tame that savage beast! Take it by the horns and program your mind to all that is positive. Tell yourself that you are STRONG, you are CAPABLE, you are INTELIGENT, you are GRATEFUL, you are LOVED, and you are SEXY!

Every day you are given a clean slate where you can write your own story, your own legacy. Our daily walk does not occur in a poppy field. Rather it is an arid desert that can only be nurtured with positive steps, with friendly smiles, with noble acts, and with gestures of love. It all depends on you.

And just like that, we can start planting seeds that will grow and flower beautifully regardless of where in the world we are. This is how we can transform our desert into a lovely, nurturing and verdant garden. And when we have won the battle with ourselves, we will put an end to the crying, the begging, and the longing and will embark on the trip to our own Eden.

 

 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Caerle Bien a Todo el Mundo - La Otra Cara de La Moneda



“Algunas veces ganamos y otras, perdemos. No esperes que te devuelvan lo que has dado. No esperes que reconozcan tu esfuerzo, que descubran tu genio, que entiendan tu amor.”

 ~ Paulo Coelho


Aunque leas muchos libros de como caerle bien a los demás, como mi favorito de Dale Carnegie, “Como Hacer Amigos e Influir Sobre Las Personas”,  es inevitable que en esta vida te darás golpes contra muros humanos imposibles de penetrar.

Algunas personas tenemos el complejo de querer ser moneda de oro para todos. Queremos que nos quieran, que nos aprecien. Somos seres sociables y queremos caer en gracia a todo el que encontremos en nuestro camino. Desgraciadamente esa es una aspiración imposible de cumplir y bien removida de la realidad.

Primero,  porque hay personas que no conectan desde el principio y jamás podrán hacerlo.  Cuando se trata de personalidades compatibles,  existen dos efectos que causan antipatía,  el efecto agua y aceite que todos conocemos o el efecto magnético repulsivo.  Haz notado que dos imanes de la misma carga cuando se tratan de juntar causan una fuerza de repulsión tan poderosa que no es posible unirlos por mucho tiempo? Si esto ocurre en la naturaleza porque no ha de ocurrir en los seres humanos?

La verdad es que hay muchas razones por las cuales no le caerás bien a alguien. A veces es tu propia culpa, pero a veces simplemente es un poder natural de  repulsión que no puedes controlar. Tantas veces he hecho todo lo posible por caerle bien a una persona que tiene una carga repulsiva hacia mí. Cuando esto ocurre, me posee un deseo desafiante de vencer a esa fuerza maléfica de antipatía.  Inmediatamente empiezo a usar todas mis armas de encanto.  He intentado charlar con el/ella, darle regarlos, festejarlo, invitarlo a un café, etc…y nada funciona y termino frustrada y aborreciendo  a esa persona tanto como ella a mi creando una atmosfera aun mas hostil.

He pasado mucho tiempo pensando y tratando de descifrar porque esa persona no me quiere, porque no puede ser mi amigo. Esculcaba todos mis defectos, afectando mi autoestima.  Y un día me di cuenta que estaba errada, que no soy la moneda de oro del proverbio famoso. Si lo fuera no tendría que hacer que nadie me quiera. 

Nuestro brillo vienen de adentro y no todos pueden ver nuestro valor. Por eso no puedes permitir que  interacciones negativas  con otras personas te hagan polvo y cenizas. No es que no tengas cosas que corregir en tu manera de tratar a los demás. Siempre podemos cambiar nuestro comportamiento, ser mejores escuchadores y comunicadores, tener mayor empatía, comprensión, humor, y amor. Pero no debemos de castigarnos por tener nuestra propia y única personalidad.

Cada quien posee ciertas características personales que le van a caer bien a algunas personas y caerle mal a otras. Eso es algo que debemos absorber porque  tratar de caerle a bien a todos no solo es un ejercicio en futilidad sino también es un desgaste inmenso de todos tus recursos internos y puede llegar a paralizarte socialmente.

Cuando pienso en las personas a las cuales admiro no pienso en súper estrellas  o héroes del mundo farandulero.  Las personas que realmente me inspiran son aquellas que ejercen su personalidad, sus creencias, sus carácter sin importar quien esta de acuerdo o no, quien les quiere y quien no.  Aunque no este necesariamente de acuerdo con ellos, me causa una enorme impresión cuando alguien navega contra la corriente de la opinión popular.

Es difícil pensar que no le caes bien a ciertas personas o que tienes mucho que mejorar en tu comportamiento. Especialmente cuando deseas ser una persona que motiva e inspira pero debes de seguir hacia adelante sin dejar de seguir tus metas y de cumplir tu propósito. No trates de entender porque esas personas no te quieren. Más bien trátalas con respeto y entiende que algunas personas son agua para tu fuego. No debemos forzar la entrada en corazones que no nos abren la puerta.  Nuestro tiempo sobre el planeta es demasiado corto como para ponernos a construir puentes que no llevan a ningún lado.

Deja de ser quien los demás quieren que seas  y  date permiso a ser tu mismo,  gústele a quien le guste! No seas orgulloso ni soberbio, simplemente entiende que no encajas en todo lugar ni en todo corazón. Más bien enfócate en esos corazones que si se abren con gusto para recibirte. Estas son las personas que pertenecen en tu vida.

Como dice un dicho, “no te preocupes demasiado por lo que dicen de ti, ni siquiera Dios ha logrado caerle bien a todo el mundo”.  Así que cuando te sientas rechazado recuerda que te encuentras en muy buena compañía.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Safest Place in the Whole World

 




“Deep in the night when you lie in your bed
wondering at shadows up over your head
and you pull those soft white sheets to your eyes do you whisper to God and ask Him why?
And she sees the little girl far away in her bed with the covers pulled up around her head and she smiles through the pain
when He answers 'you will be together again.”


The thunder in the distance breaks the silence of this room, but it doesn’t scare me. It does take me back to a time long ago when everything was different.  As a little girl in the middle of a stormy night I ran to my mother’s bed and hugged her as hard as I could. And at that precise moment all of the monsters of the dark would dissipate. My mother’s bed was the safest place in the whole world.

With the passing of my mother, that place is no more. I arrive at the hospital just a few minutes after her heart stops beating, that same heart that beat to the rhythms of my own, the heart that gave me life. The bohemian gypsy woman who lived her life recklessly, who just wanted to be free of ties that bind and suffocate.  She was highly misunderstood and unfocused. I feel guilty because I should have tried harder to understand the challenges that she faced.  It had become harder and harder to be around her. I didn’t like being pulled into the maze of confusion and sadness that was her mind. Most times I just left her to figure it out on her own. Other times I got frustrated and angry.

She lays there on her death bed and I don’t recognize the person who authored my days. Her entire body swollen, the invasive hospital tubes still inside of her, and I can imagine how she must have wanted desperately to rip them out.  I touch her hand, but that cold stiff hand is not hers anymore. She is gone forever.

I am stunned by the reality, by the phenomena of death. My youngest sister is also here in this place of darkness. I know her pain and I want to comfort her, but I am speechless. My mind is working hard to remember my mother’s life. I want to know that she is leaving us because her mission here is accomplished.  Questions are firing in my head, but I don’t have the answers.  All that I really know is that she will never come back.

 I knew that I would miss her laughter. When she allowed herself to relax and forget her troubles she was happy and silly, at least for a little while. I knew I would miss dancing our crazy dances in the middle of the living room whenever a Carlos Vives song came on. I would miss her free spirit and her sense of adventure.  I remember a time when I was eleven years old and she took us on an expedition in Santa Marta, Colombia. We had to walk through a rocky shore near the ocean that led to a pathway up a sea side mountain where we found a beautiful historic castle. It is thanks to her that I have memories like these which otherwise would have only lived in the fairytales of my imagination. It wasn't that she provided any fairy dust. By no means did she try to be positive or uplifting or strong, but if the moment was right and her mood was good, she would occasionally show me the magic that lived within her. She would be loving and motherly and sweet. During those times I knew who she really was inside.

Another thing I know is that I would never again listen to the stories from her childhood and of the way life used to be in the old days when women cooked outdoors in iron pots over the fire and told each other tales that have been passed down from generation to generation.  She also talked about the people she loved, and the people she hated and even those that hurt her beyond repair. Her heart would not let go of those feelings and she would not  let us forget either. Maybe she wanted me to pass those stories down to my children. I probably will, but in a different form. I will make them understand where we come from. They will learn about the life and rhythms of those that came before that form the history of our family.

In the hospital room I look at her and can no longer find her. I want to catch a glimpse of her essence once again, but it is gone. I used to think that somehow she would come to me in dreams, but I have never seen her again. So I look for her some nights when I try to find her amongst the stars. I know she is in heaven now, but still I look for confirmation. Sometimes on windy nights I think she dances among the trees along with the mystic beings of my childhood dreams; the kind that spread light as they move, illuminating the world inside. I wonder if in the other world she has been granted the wishes of her heart. I realize that our greatest wish is to be happy and I know that wish has been fulfilled in her.

My mother was a creature of the ocean. She loved the water and the sun on her skin and I wonder maybe if I look hard enough I will see her swimming alongside the dolphins in a clear blue sea, no longer afraid of the sharks or the whales. They are her friends now. A place like the ocean could hold the vast expanse of her spirit.

Other times I think I will find her in the dark, but then I realize that I won't because she already passed through there and came out on the other side. The place of skulls and carcasses is not scary anymore because my heart tells me that it's just a pit stop where we go to dump the sorrows of our world before continuing on the journey of light without those horrid things weighing us down.

My mother is now blending in with the inhabitants of the world of love. She has stopped fighting. She lives in a new place where she can be who she was always meant to be. She is beautiful, she is happy, and she is free with a new mission in her heart and a new dance to her steps.

My thoughts are interrupted by another large boom of thunder, and I am brought back into the present time. I am not scared because I am back in the safety of the bed, only now it is my own bed and I am the mommy. The safest place in the whole world now lives inside of me.

In remembrance of my crazy, unique, adventurous mother,
Eva Luisa Quiñones - October 9, 1946 – July 12, 2011

Your Children Love You

           

                                   


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sex and the Single Mom II

 

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master...”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
 
 There he was on my computer screen with his beautiful bright smile and big brown eyes.  He was handsome  but not in the obvious kind of way. It was the type of good looks that radiate from the inside; the kind that you don’t see at first glance, but like those stereogram pictures that you have to focus on to see, his splendor is visible just below the surface.  To this day I still don’t know why Evelyn decided to point Mau out to me when there were so many others to choose from. She must have seen something special that I was not yet able to see.  

I had been emotionally depleted by my latest rejection so I was reluctant to try again, but I  remembered the lyrics of that beautiful Rascal Flatts song, Bless the Broken Road. Every long lost dream led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars, pointing me on my way into your loving arms.”  So I thought, this is my broken road. I have to keep pushing through. So I responded to Mau’s email where he had simply said “hello.”  He seemed like a modest, sweet, happy, and kind guy. Before long he called me and that night we talked for hours. I was still not hopeful because I had been wounded by my last online dating experience, but I liked the sound of his voice. It is a manly, but sweet soothing voice. It has a calming effect on me. He was also very respectful in his conversation, never once mentioning sex or inappropriate topics.
Right away we decided to meet personally. I wasn’t willing to invest a lot of time talking with someone who could turn out to be a disappointment in person.  He understood my feelings so we made a date to go out on a chilly, windy October night. I took the kids to the babysitter’s house and then I came home and put on my prettiest red cocktail dress.

We had decided to meet at a restaurant in Clermont, the town where I lived, so I got there and parked my car by the back of the building. I was excited to meet him, but I didn’t have very high hopes. I thought at least I would find a friend in him. I walked around to the front of the building. Then I saw him standing by his car holding a single red rose. When he saw me his face lit up as if the sun had just come out over the horizon. His bright white smile greeted me and immediately made me feel comfortable. Then came a great big hug. He was very formal and looked older than his age because of the way he was dressed in a sports jacket and slacks.

I was immediately impressed by his charming personality. We had plenty to talk about on the way to the restaurant in Orlando where he was taking me.  We arrived at a beautiful Mediterranean Village with a Venice style canal, gondolas and lovely piazzas. This was a beautiful and enchanting place for a date. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant that was too romantic for words complete with opera singers that serenaded us as we ate.

Despite the beautiful atmosphere and the great food, the most fun was to be able to pour my heart out to this stranger whom I had just met and who seemed to understand me. There was a look in his eyes that was far removed from any other I had ever seen. He wasn’t evaluating me or trying to seduce me, or even trying to impress me. He just seemed to be telling me YOU CAN BE YOURSELF…THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU…YOU ARE GREAT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.  He didn’t verbally say these words, but everything about him from his demeanor to his way of looking at me screamed it loud and clear.  It wasn’t the typical first date where the man is full of compliments in the hopes that he’s going to get rewarded later. No, this one was different. There was an honesty that emanated from him. A sincere appreciation of who I am. He was a good listener, but also knew how to respond at the appropriate moments.

Our conversation was full of stories from our lives. We made each other laugh. Yes…that’s right he actually found me funny and he was pretty silly himself which is on the top of my list of must have qualities in a man. I am a story teller and he is a great listener, a match made in heaven! I didn’t know it yet, but I had just found my soul mate.

It all happened on one of those wonderful nights when the wind blows wildly and full of magic. The kind of magic that calms your heart and transports your mind into a world of dreams.  I didn’t want the night to end and by now I felt that I could trust him enough to invite him into my house for my special apple cinnamon tea. We sat on the loveseat in my beautiful back porch. My house was located on a hill so we could see the twinkling lights of the town below and that intoxicating wind brought us closer together. The moment was ripe for romance and he looked into my eyes and the sweet aura of his stare overwhelmed me. The first kiss came slowly and soft. His fingers swept gently through my hair and my first feeling was not passion, but warmth and comfort like coming home after a long ordeal. Or like a hot cup of soup in cold weather. I had never known this feeling before and I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

We kissed and we hugged for a little while, but the hands only traveled to my hair, my arms, my face, and even my own hands, but never to any of the inappropriate places. He never once did anything disrespectful and I was so grateful for it. He showed me right there and then that he was a true gentleman. Soon he kissed me on the hands and said good bye and thanked me for a wonderful night. I was left with a strange sensation of calm contentment, but also I was a little scared. I wasn’t feeling the type of chemistry I thought I was supposed to feel. It was something different all together. It was a gentle feeling without expectations, a cozy shelter, and a pleasant mellow peace.

They say there is an eerie calm before a storm is about to hit. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was about to be ravaged by a force that was beyond my control. For the first time in my life I would get to experience romantic love in its full and awesome power. But it crept up on me so slowly that I didn’t even know it was happening until it slapped me in the face.

Three months later I found myself in a relationship and suffering from the unforeseeable consequences of meeting this wonderful soul. I had become addicted to him. It all began when Mau bestowed upon me a hallucinogenic dose of something I never had before or ever dreamed I would ever have. A thunderous love, an unprecedented amount of adoration, of attention, of passion, of incredible excitement.  My cup was filled to overflowing and yet I craved him like a junkie.  


He became my drug and when he began to withhold it from me I began having withdrawal symptoms, getting sick, feeling crazy, and upset. I was resentful of him for encouraging my addiction in the first place but now refusing to dish out the good stuff in the heady amounts that I required. I knew he would give me all that intense attention again at some point and he did, but it wasn’t as free as it used to be. He had a life, things to do, children, work, etc…and so did I, but I was the one who was losing control of myself. When it came to love, I had been living on crumbs all of my life, from my parents to my boyfriends to my ex-husband. I had never had anyone give me the full banquet like Mau did and naturally I became infatuated.

Meanwhile, the object of my affection was becoming withdrawn from me. He wasn’t used to all of that adoration and neediness either. He looked at me as someone much different than the one he met. As if I had misrepresented myself. I could hardly blame him. I mean I was a mess. I broke every rule of dating. It was too much too soon.  I was pathetic and unrecognizable even in my own eyes. So I reached the final destination of my infatuation. I had lost myself in someone else and by doing so I had made myself scary and undesirable.

I knew that he loved me because he showed me in so many different ways. He was always trying to take care of me and made sacrifices to make my life better. He would also tell me every day how he felt, but I wanted him to be like he was in the beginning when we were inseparable, but I wasn’t making it easy for him.  For my own sanity I tried to end the relationship by breaking up with him, telling him I never wanted to hear from him again. I changed my phone number and erased my connections with him, but he genuinely loved me and therefore he would find me and once again we would fall into each other, but it wasn’t long before we would start the same pattern of neediness and withdrawal. Our relationship died a slow death over a period of years and despite that, we became irrevocably encrusted in each other’s heart.

I moved away from the city where we met and our relationship was over, but I will never regret having met him because he is truly my soul mate in the sense that he broke me apart and showed me my weaknesses. He reached deep inside my soul and accepted me as I am. He showed me that I deserve to eat at the banquet table instead of subsisting on crumbs. He broke my heart, but in a good way because in the breaking, my life was forever transformed, bringing me closer to God.

Thank you Mau wherever you are. You were my hero and you left  me flashes of magic, of light, of love.  Maybe someday on some windy night we will meet again.



To be continued…




Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sex and The Single Mom


“Profound desire, true desire is the desire to be close to someone.”
 ~ Paulo Coelho

Yes they are out there, the Good, the Bad, and the “OH NO YOU DIDN’T!!!

Vultures, wolfs, confused, misguided, irresponsible maniacs? Oh yes, you wouldn’t believe me if I pointed them out to you. They look like normal, nice, guys. Some of them are even famous. But there is a dark side that I know oh too well. I have to admit that I know what to expect most of the time, but the “oh no you didn’t continues to shock the hell out of me to this day.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good ones out there too. Those that elevate you to the highest dimensions of love, respect, friendship and admiration; those that bring your dreams to life. They allow you to believe that the fairy tale really does exist. But beware of those that cast a light so bright that the shadows they leave behind are too difficult to deal with.

A young woman starts out in life believing in fairy dust, the magic of love and the knight in shining armor. When a man comes along who slightly resembles him or convinces us that he is in fact our knight, we marry him. We are young and in love, so we get a house, a min-van, and have children. Then one day, when you least expect it the knight’s armor turns to rust and your castle in the clouds collapses.

Divorce is a horrid, repelling, gruesome thing that happens every day to a lot of us. I wish it wouldn’t have happened to me, but it did. There was no way around it; there was no way over or under it. The only way was through it. As they say, “if you’re going through hell, keep movin!” Well, I did and I felt I had lost the love of my life, my partner, my knight. But I also felt that love had betrayed me. Was it really love or something else in disguise? Was I too young to understand what love really is? Had I done something so horrible to deserve this? Those were some of the questions that I asked. I also told myself that I hadn’t been good enough, that I should have tried harder, and that I should have held on. Let’s face it, divorce makes you feel like a big fat loser.

My reaction was that if there was something so wrong with me that I was rejected by the man I had known and loved for 15 years of my life then I would have to make myself a better me. I had to pick myself up, shake it all off, and move forward. After all, I had three children to think about. I looked at their beautiful faces and I knew they needed me to smile and be happy so that they could continue to be children, free and innocent from all this turmoil and heartache.

So I raced through that hell and during that time I cried, I screamed and I looked above and asked God why me? But when it was all over I came out the other side feeling happy, confident, and grateful for my life and my babies. I focused on my health, my emotional and spiritual well-being. After all, God knows my heart and who I am. He knows that I never stopped loving. He also knows that I gave all I could give.

So once I felt ready, I decided to give dating a try. After all what could I lose? It would be fun to be romanced by a man again. There was so much to look forward to; the first date, the butterflies in my tummy, the first kiss, the wining and dining, the flowers. Sigh! I was excited about all of it! However, being a single mom with not one, not two, but three kids all under eight years old would make it difficult to meet someone out there in this big wide world.

Well, we live in the 21st century, the age of technology, so why not try meeting someone online? Hesitant as I was, I decided to try a dating site geared towards Christian singles. That sounded pretty safe to me. At least, they would be nice, honest, Christian men right? So I set up my profile with some of the best pics I had taken on my cell phone. I had a lot of fun with that new phone camera technology. When I checked my mails the next day, I found so many responses that I was overwhelmed! How cool is this? I have hundreds of men to choose from. And they were all so complimentary towards me, saying I was pretty and cute and so many more wonderful things. That was a new experience for me. I ate it all up.

After many emails, I finally connected with a man that seemed to have a lot in common with me. We progressed from the email to the phone. Unfortunately we lived 200 miles away from each other, but that didn’t stop us from becoming very close. Our phone relationship was getting kind of serious. We would talk in the morning, during lunch and at night before bedtime. I never knew I had so much to talk about with one person, but we never ran out of things to say. Well inevitably the day came when we decided to personally meet. I had to come down to Miami to visit my sister, so we decided to meet that weekend.

Little did I know that my first “OH NO YOU DIDN’T!” was about to happen. I arrived in Miami and stayed at my sister’s home. Right away I started sprinkling fairy dust everywhere. I was Cinderella about to meet Prince Charming at the ball. So of course, since there was no fairy god mother to give me a glimmering outfit and glass slippers, I made myself as stunning as I could while wondering if he was going to like me. I knew he liked the inner me, but would he be physically attracted to me? I wasn’t worried whether I would like him because, after all, I am not a shallow girl. If I like your personality, I will probably like you in the flesh too.

Well, I showed up at the restaurant in my fabulous red dress and I saw him waiting for me at the table. He seemed happy to see me and relieved at the same time. He was no Antonio Banderas, but he was good looking enough. Not very tall, café con leche complexion, and beautiful big eyes (no surprise there).

Big hug, kiss on the cheek, and a glass of wine later, he asked me for a kiss on the lips. Ufffff…the moment we’ve been waiting for after three months of a phone relationship. Sprinkle some more fairy dust under the moonlit night over Miami, and magic happens. A spectacular highly anticipated juicy kiss and suddenly everything is spinning. I am dizzy with emotion. Now he felt that he couldn’t wait a moment longer to be alone with me so that he could have me close and spend some "quality time" together so he proposed we skipped dinner. I was too overwhelmed to eat anyway so naive little me said, “of course, why not.”

In the car on our way to our next stop we talked, held hands, admired each other, as happy as can be. Suddenly I realized we were parked in front of a hotel room! But wait a second, “what do you think is going to happen tonight?” “What you and I want baby! You know you want it. I want you so badly!” What?? Didn’t I meet this guy on a Christian web site? Wasn’t he supposed to be safe? Did I want this? YES I DID! Did I need this? HELL YES! I wanted to say yes, but then what have the previous three months been all about?

This was about to turn into nothing but a booty call. All the meaning behind our relationship would be gone. He would hate me and I would hate myself in the morning. The answer was NO, but that lead to problems and arguments. Believe me I am no prude, but this was too much too soon. This was supposed to be something meaningful, not a one night stand.

He finally did take me home, but I felt defeated. Somehow I knew he would never call me back and I was right. I have never heard from him again. Three months of my life wasted.

I cried for a long time after that. It had been a big blow to my ego. I didn’t know that this scenario was typical in the dating world. If I had given in and had sex with him that night, he would have repudiated me just the same because I would have been too easy. I’m sure that if I had lived in the same city he would have continued to try until he got what he wanted.

The difference between being a single mom and just a single girl in the city is that men look at the single mom as easy prey and at the single girl as someone who might be more difficult to get. In my conversations with men over the years, I have learned that they view us as desperate, lonely women who are “dying to get some.” Yes I know it’s pretty disgusting the way some men think, but it is a crude reality that our world is full of these ugly stereotypes.

After this disenchanting experience, I was reluctant to try dating again. But a friend convinced me that I should take out the nail with another nail (un clavo saca otro clavo). This is a very popular saying in Hispanic culture. So I tried another personals site that was free through my email (I no longer trusted the Christian site). My friend Evelyn loved to go through the profiles with me because she thought it was fun shopping for men.

One day I was making us some tea at home and I hear her scream from my computer, “oh my Apple come and see this!!” So naturally, I run to see what she’s so excited about and there on my computer screen was the picture of a man that was about to change the course of my destiny.

(To be continued…)

 
 
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deli-Cioso

Look out the balcony to see this spree ....
Look out the balcony to see who sings
Look out the balcony to see your friends

Look out the balcony to see the vacilón...


"Delicioso, delicious, yummy! This is in the pot! "I tell Chef Sammy using the vulgar language of my beloved Borinquen. My palate is transported to that place I know very well in my dreams and my memories. That place where rice and beans are flavored with green peppers comingling with creole sauce and a lot of love. My senses recognize the taste associated with palm trees playing with the wind, of sand, of sea, of wood fire boilers, of drums and guitar, and especially of pure island ...

It all started two weeks ago when through a series of events I met Chef Sammy and his friends. I once read that God draws a circle in the sand in the exact place where one day you will meet someone special. I really do not know how many circles God has traced for me, but I do know that I arrived at one of them that very day. Deli-Cioso reminds me of the Puerto Rican version of the TV show Cheers. That place where "everybody knows your name and they are always glad you came."

It is so rare to meet someone and be able to immediately identify them as a friend, but that day I met three of them. There are one or two words to explain this natural phenomenon that occurred on that Sunday afternoon: "Vacilon Boricua!"

All this happened thanks to my good friend Gaby Berrios. It was he who took me to this great place. It was on a Sunday like any other that I went to visit his church. I wanted to take the opportunity to greet my friends at Metro Life Church. Afterwards, Gaby invited me to lunch at his friend’s deli and since we had so much to talk about the trip to Hollywood seemed very short.
Before we know it, we arrive at Deli-Cioso. The first thing I see before entering the place is the beautiful majestic flag of the Island of Enchantment ... "this is going to be cool!" I say to myself.

Gaby opens the door and I am overpowered by the wonderful smell of sofrito, fried surrullos, and all kinds of good smelling things to eat. Now I am really hungry. Gaby introduces me to his friend and owner of Deli-Cioso, Chef Sammy. Right away I recognize that charm which is typical of my beloved Puerto Rican people. It’s a relaxed and cheerful nature, but besides that, Chef Sammy has a quality that reminds me of the gentlemen of old who look straight into your eyes when talking to you and know and respect the value of a lady.

It makes my mouth water to see the cauldron in front of me filled with rice and beans. The Pinero brothers, Miguel and Jorge are Sammy’s good friends and they also work at Deli-Cioso. These guys are fun and lively and are also the main culprits in arming the Vacilon.

Miguel says to me, "you have to try this arroz con gandule. It is goooood stuff!! Do you mind if I serve you some pegao?” Without any hesitation I say, “Bring it on!” I love pegao or cucallo as they call it in my country. Pegao is the rice from the bottom of the pot. It is crispy and captures all the flavors and the spices that accumulate during cooking. Mmmmmm ... the only word to describe this is ... DELICIOUS!! What an appropriate name for this place!

Born in what is considered by many "the largest Puerto Rican town," Brooklyn NY, Chef Sammy is true to his roots. We sit for a while to eat and talk while Chef Sammy tells me something of his personal story.

For several years he had worked as a chef in prestigious restaurants in New York City and then Miami until he decided to open his own deli in Hollywood, Florida. He says he was struggling to find the funds to pursue his dream of owning his own place when his beloved mother, Doña Pilar Marrero (may she rest in peace) told him "Mijo take my credit card and buy everything you need."

Ufffff! Chef Sammy’s caramel eyes become pools of water as he remembers the author of his days. At the time that she gave him such a precious gift, she was also battling cancer. Doña Pilar went to meet her maker on February 14th, the day of love. And it was indeed a legacy of love that Doña Pilar has left to her son. The love of his mother is something that will live forever in his heart.

Doña Pilar’s influence is felt here. The place is not very big, but it is very cozy just like a mother’s kitchen would be. The walls are filled with memories and mementos of Puerto Rico and New York.

After eating that exquisite meal until we are ready to bust, Gaby and the brothers Pinero begin the vacilon. We tease Chef Sammy and talk so much none-sense in the typical boricuan style while Sammy in the kitchen patiently listens to our foolishness and smiles sarcastically as he keeps saying, "you guys are bunch of Tostaos!(loonies)” In the end my tummy hurts from laughing so hard with my new buddies! But that is a good kind of pain.

During those couple of hours I felt I was with family. The truth is that even though I have roots in Baranquilla, my heart lives in San Juan, La Parguera, and El Yunque, or wherever a Puerto Rican is my friend. This time I left a piece of my heart in Deli-Cioso.

If you ever see me around and I happen to be with my Puerto Rican friends, you would not know that I am Colombian. I am an adopted daughter of the coqui and I must possess at the very least a bachelors degree in boricua.

So let's go to lunch at Deli-Cioso to eat our fill even if later our majones (jeans) are too tight (who cares?). And let us get drunk on Mavi (fermented drink from the Mavi tree bark). We will have a cool time having fun all afternoon and we will be “super chillin!”

You see now that I am trilingual? I speak Spanish, English, and Boricua!
Since I had such a wonderful time that day, I came back the next week with my friend Martha, she is a Cuban-American vocalist and according to her she is also African (She says she comes from an African man ... shhhh!!! Please do not tell that to her dad). Martha a.k.a Melikah was also impressed with Chef Sammy and the gang.

Deli-Cioso is now our new hang-out. So if you want to see the author of this blog in person, you can always find me on Sunday afternoons with my friends at Deli-Cioso!

See you there!

Deli-Cioso
954-961-8199
6794 Stirling Rd.
Hollywood, Fl 33024

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Message From my Mother - Evelyn's Story





"In the presence of love, miracles happen."

~ Robert Shuller


Sitting in that dark room by myself and surrounded by boxes, I was frozen in fear. Those horrid boxes beckoned me to open them. I could hear them call out to me, whispering my name. They said, "Evelyn open us. Open us now...we have something to show you." But my shattered voice overpowered them. "I don't want to!!! Please don't make me!! You contain memories, pain, anger, tears that will hurt my eyes, my head, my heart, my entire being!!"

And yet those boxes were relentless, ''Evelyn open us! Evelyn open us!" As I struggled with the decision, I felt my hot tears stain my face once again. Why does pain love me so much? Why does heartbreak visit me so often? Where is my happily ever after?


I wanted to get up off this dusty floor and kick those stupid boxes, shut them up once and for all. But no no no they were too compelling. They were all that I had left of my mother.

The past few months had been full of misery and this was the last thing I wanted to do. Go through my mother's stuff was to much right now. I did not want to release this Pandora's box of unbearable emotions that I wasn't ready to deal with yet. The author of my days on this earth, my beloved mother had passed away and all that she left behind were the contents of these menacing boxes.

I looked above and begged God to help me get through this horror.

My mother had battled Lou Garrett's disease for a long time, but the end had finally come and she had lost the fight. I had been there for the final days of her life. I spent all my resources, everything I had to take cares of her, however, I was far away when I received the news that she was close to death. I rushed to the airport to catch the next flight to New York to be with her, to see her alive for the last time. But as I reached the airport gate, my strength failed me and I collapsed . I couldn't feel my body. The bitter cold of the city penetrated through my scantly clothed skin. I was about to lose my mother, my best friend! My entire being scattered like broken glass and grief overtook me.

And now here I was in that dark scary room. I was still weak when I heard those boxes say to me, "come on Evelyn, you can do it! Open us!" As I touched the cardboard, I prepared for the worse. I reached into the first box and took out an object wrapped in newspaper. As I unravelled the paper, the object became visible and what I saw took my breath away. It was a beautiful porcelain angel. Ohhhh...the tears that filled my eyes, but it wasn't sadness, it was joy!

I set the angel down and reached into the box again and to my astonishment another angel emerged. And then another, and another, and another until I was surrounded by the angels. These precious statuettes reminded me of my mother's love. And then the miracle happened...her voice whispered into my heart..."I am OK and I love you! I am in a wonderful place and I will see you again. These angels I have given to you to remind you that God loves you and protects you always."

The warmth and the love that filled that room overtook me in that instant and brought an immense joy to my heart and the fear was finally gone.

My mother's angels are now all over my apartment and every time I see them, I hear my mother's voice in my heart, "Death is not the end, it's only the beginning. Love abides in the realm of the Spirit and it is everlasting."


Author's Note: Evelyn is a real woman. (but I have changed her name because I have not seeked her permission to write her story here.) I befriended her when I lived in Central Florida. She told me her story and asked me to write it down for an article in her church newsletter. These events really happened as told to me by Evelyn. I have attempted here to describe Evelyn's experience as a writer in my own words. I hope this story brings hope to those that are grieving and I especially dedicate it to my good friend Martha B. Suarez who has lost her mother recently. Love and the Spirit survive and death cannot overtake them .