It’s been a busy last month…
I was promoted at work and since demoted again… It’s not the first time I’ve done a temporary management job (and not made the grade at the end of the term) but at least this time I felt like I had the possibility of success and did a lot better than I thought I would, but at the same time, I’m looking forward to the change of pace.
My grandmother passed away about two weeks into the whole management thing, and that meant an impromtu trip to where I grew up, and it was… a very affirming sort of experience. After a little more than a constant day of driving, my brother and I walked into a room filled with people that I instantly recognized; there were very few that I didn’t, and even those, it was easy to tell, everybody is related here… It’s something I haven’t felt for a long time.
I feel sorry, because it’s one of those things that have come completely around; now that I’ve had different perspectives… It used to seem a little awkward to me to be around relatives that just didn’t come to visit that often and preferred to speak in a language I wasn’t taught and didn’t take enough time to learn to speak fluently later… and now, I’m the distant relative, and I miss it all very much.
At the wake, the ladies in the family, my mother, my aunts, huddled around their mother’s (or sister’s) casket saying the Rosary in Spanish, repeating requests for Mary to watch over her. Afterward, services in Spanish, which as a child I would have found difficult, but now, it’s very familiar. El Señor es mi pastor, no me falta. (The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.) The Protestants I live around now make fun of how simple and identical Catholic services are, but it means I can visit a service in any language and know what’s going on, though I admit it took until the fifth time I heard about El Cielo (Heaven) before I realized they weren’t talking about the sky.
An afternoon with my mother and aunt spent talking about all the abominations that have been passed to us as our kind of rice ended up with her giving me an overview of how to create it myself. I haven’t tried yet, and I’m sure I’ll get it wrong, but I wouldn’t have felt right if I hadn’t at least asked.
There is a custom in my family (and I think, among Puerto Ricans as a whole) of greeting or saying farewell to someone with ¡Bendición! and the reply is something I’ve never been able to completely understand, but I think it means “May God be with you all your life.” Every time you meet someone, there’s a quick prayer…
I’d never heard my grandmother’s given name used so much either…
As for my Christmas, well, that’s likely to be the same as all mine since eight or nine years ago- I try to carefully harvest as much money as I can this time of year to get me through a winter of low hours and little action. This year I did… okay. I think I did better last year, without being promoted, but I wasn’t putting as much money out then either.
And as usual, for me the real holiday isn’t until January.
“WE CAN DANCE IF WE WANT TO”
I secretly find it funny that Time Magazine chose netsurfing us as the people of the year, the Web 2.0 generation was the happy point of the year, creating a private public art in a way that makes me feel like the decade of the 1980’s came back in quite a few of the wrong ways.
Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance” was intended to be a backhanded mantra against nuclear war… With all the things conventional media wanted to show us is wrong, new media showed us what’s positive. “Your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, they’re no friends of mine.” I’ve noticed that though people my age like to make fun of how much stereotype “blogger kids” seem to whine and complain, I remember when I felt like I was a cultural fringe… in a way, I still am, though every day I learn that people like me are more common than some would want me to think they are. Beneath the depression is a sort of peace, that we can and do create better worlds for ourselves, even if it has to be in secret.
Then again, does that mean that average Joe Public is more important to what comes of this world than any jerk in charge of a country? Actually, I think so, but I wonder what other implications come from the things we choose (and choose not) to hear.
Happy holidays to everyone.
See you next time.