Friday, November 30, 2007

I Wear My Sunglasses at Night

It seems that the older I am getting, the more of an opinion I have about my appearance. At first I was only picky about my clothes, insisting on wearing certain shirts, or refusing to change my pants. But lately I have discovered the beauty of accessories: boots and purses and sunglasses, oh my!!

To that end, I have become obsessed with wearing my sunglasses all the time (and this has nothing to do with Mommy losing hers (Another Loss of An Inanimate Object). I wear them during the day – at the park, to school, while eating meals, drinking milk and generally just hanging around the house – and even at night, when it is so dark with them on that I sometimes bump into things. But I still refuse to take them off (and heaven forbid they fall off – it is a tragedy of gigantic proportions). Daddy says I remind him of that 1980's song by Corey Hart (whover that is).


Last night Mommy did manage to convince me to remove them when I went to sleep – I didn’t really want to, but she’s sick so I thought I’d throw her a bone by complying.

I am turning into quite the little fashionista, wouldn’t you say? At the very least, you can say I have a bold sense of style . . . .





Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Thanks

I had expected (and at some level hoped) that Thanksgiving this year would pass without much thought or attention. It’s not that I don’t love the holiday and all that it represents, rather it was being away from home during this time, knowing that family would be gathering and we would be missing out, that made me want the day to go by like any other ordinary Thursday.

But even here in Mexico there were many references to the holiday – with the American television station broadcasting Macy’s Parade preparations, Mexican radio stations acknowledging the day for all Americans living here, and even emails on the Newcomers website by Americans about where to buy turkeys and canned pumpkin.

So I was especially grateful that my friend Christine and her husband Kip invited us over for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at their house. It was wonderful to be able to think about and appreciate the holiday and have good friends to share it with. And this year was a treat for both Sonny and me – he got to eat turkey on thanksgiving for the first time in years, and I got to experience my very first turkey dinner. Even though I didn’t eat any turkey, there were a number of delicious side dishes that Christine had prepared, as well as the traditional pumpkin pie for dessert.

Asha had a great time as well, playing with Christine’s dog Sacha (and feeding her cookies), and hanging out with her pal, baby Charlotte.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another Loss of an Inanimate Object

While we had a nice time in Cuernavaca last weekend and desperately needed some fresh air and time away from the city, the experience was marred by a major loss: that of my Fendi sunglasses. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I never, ever buy expensive accessories like sunglasses, wallets and key chains because I have a propensity for losing them. So this splurge on a pair of sunglasses that cost more than the combined cost of every other pair of sunglasses, wallets and key chains I have ever owned was momentous. And it's not just that they were expensive - it's that they made me feel gorgeous and glamorous no matter what else I was wearing. Therefore, I am typically vigilant over them. I suppose, then, that it only takes a second of being careless that your life – and accessory collection – changes forever.

It all starts out innocently enough. You go into the restroom of a fast food cafĂ© to change your daughter’s diaper, take off the sunglasses and place them on the sink. You become preoccupied by the fact that you must change the diaper while she is standing up (ever
so-grateful that it is only wet and not dirty), because there is no changing table, and focus on pulling up her tights and cowboy boots afterwards, all the while guarding the door to avoid getting hit in the arse when it flies open. You forget to grab the glasses on the way out, and three minutes later when you return to get them, they are gone. Just disappeared off the face of the earth (or into someone’s pocket book), and no amount of badgering the cafe employees about whether anyone has turned them in is going to bring them back.

For anyone who has read Asha’s post Lost Manju: Reward If Found
, this occurrence is likely to sound familiar. We forget something in a public place, realize it, return within minutes to find it, and it has vanished. Of course it is our own fault for forgetting the item in the first place, but I can’t help but feel annoyed. There have been numerous times I have lost or forgotten items (anyone sensing a theme here?) at stores and restaurants in the U.S., but upon my return to find them, someone has always turned them in to a cashier or manager. So far in Mexico, I have only found people who seemingly pounce on someone else’s forgetfulness and pocket the item in question.

The thing is that I know all Mexicans are not this way, and I am determined not to let these experiences mar my opinion of an entire population. And if I think about it carefully, I can recall a couple of instances in the U.S. where I have actually had my wallet stolen, not because I forgot it somewhere, but because someone actually pick pocketed me – and I don’t let those instances affect my opinion of Americans in general.

As for how I am recovering over this devastating loss: let’s just say that I am following in my daughter’s footsteps when she lost Manju. I wake up at night crying, “Fendi lost, Fendi gone . . . I love Fendi.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Lovely Weekend

We are just finishing off a long weekend here in Mexico because of a holiday called “Day of the Revolution.” I have no idea what revolution we are commemorating (I play the ignorant foreigner on this one), but what I do know is that this was a great chance to get out of the city and get to a colonial town I have been dying to visit called San Miguel de Allende. As usual I waited until the last minute to book a hotel, which on any ordinary weekend would not have mattered, but on this major holiday resulted in every single hotel and bed and breakfast being booked solid. So we had no plans for three days, and I was dying to do something a bit different than just go to Lincoln Park yet again.

So we decided to take a day trip to Cuernavaca on Sunday (on Saturday we did our usual breakfast/market/Lincoln Park during the day, and then went to the movies at night). Cuernavaca is about an hour and 15 minutes from Mexico City and is known for its eternal good weather. It is a popular spot for weddings, and boasts wonderful Spanish courses for foreigners, but mostly it offers Chilangos (Mexico City dwellers) an escape from the city, some fresh air and great hotels with swimming pools. Since we were there only for the day, we walked around the zocalo (town square), ate at a charming outdoor restaurant, and took Asha to 1975-style Chuck-e-Cheese type of place where she rode mechanical horses and boats for $1 a pop. Truly a great way to spend a Sunday.

Today we returned to Chapultepec Park and went boating. It was a lovely day to be outdoors – about 68 degrees, not too sunny – with leaves crunching under our feet along the way. The manmade lake at the park is lovely with great views of some of the cities’ tallest buildings that tower behind the trees that flank the lake. (Chapultepec Park reminds me of Central Park in every way, except that it lacks an ice-skating rink.)

We had the option of renting a peddle-boat or a row boat (they have kayaks as well, but with Asha that wasn’t exactly an option). Given our physical state, Sonny and I opted for the peddle-boat, thinking it would be the easier of the two to maneuver. I’m not sure if we were correct in our assumption, but I certainly haven’t felt so out of shape in a very long time. Unfortunately we forgot our camera both in Cuernavaca and this morning at the park, so I have no pictures of us to upload (this one is from http://community.iexplore.com/, just to give an idea of how pretty the park is), which is really a shame because Asha looked adorable peeking out from under the huge orange life-vest she had to wear when boating.




Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diwali

While I was a bit disappointed to have missed our first Day of the Dead here in Mexico, I was fortunate enough to have been in the States during Diwali this year. Diwali is the four day festival of lights that marks the end of the Hindu calendar year and start of the new year. Of course there is a rich religious history behind the holiday that I cannot get into, in part because I don't recall all the details. What I do know, though, is that some of my most memorable childhood and even adult memories are of this holiday, when my parents and I would do a puja on the first day, and my mom would cook special foods. On the day of Diwali itself, we would hold a puja at my dad's office, with all of our extended family and close friends participating, followed by an elaborate dinner at one of the relatives' homes which was always decorated with lights and candles. It has always been a very special holiday in our home, and I cannot imagine not being around my family to celebrate it.


So I was particularly thrilled to be there this year, when being away from family and friends has been difficult sometimes on the most ordinary of days. And I was glad to have Asha participate in the celebration as well, because the older she gets, the more important I feel it is that she understand and appreciate at least this one religious event. While our family gets together on Thanksgiving and Christmas and has big celebrations, Diwali is the one event that is at its heart Indian and Hindu, and that is something I want to make sure my daughter understands is part of her culture and heritage, no matter where in the world we live.


* Image obtained from http://virtual4redemption.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/diwali.jpg

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

(Image obtained from http://www.digitalscrapbookplace.com/gallery/data/507/419kskold_dia-de-los-muertos.jpg)

When I am Mexico, I am accustomed to remembering holidays or other important days in the U.S and feeling nostalgic about being away from home. But today I experienced nostalgia about being away from Mexico on an important day. Today marks one of Mexico's most important holidays - Dia de los Muertos. Sounds a bit morbid from the name (and even some of the pictures you might see online, as the Mexicans have this fascination with skeletons), but the sentiment behind this holiday is actually quite beautiful: remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away.
My understanding is that Mexicans believe that the souls of the deceased come back to visit once a year, and in honor of this visit, they create altars in their homes and at gravesites with pictures and sentimental memorabilia of the deceased. They also cook some traditional Day of the Dead foods, as well as foods that their deceased loved ones used to like. One of these traditional items (and one of my favorites) is called Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), and it is a cross between a donut and a huge kaiser roll, but softer and coated in sugar. Sounds gross, I know, but it is delicious and unfortunately only available at bakeries in the days leading up to the holiday.

I feel a bit regretful that we are missing our first Dia de los Muertos in Mexico (even the children at Asha's school are creating altars in their class to place photos of lost loved ones) - I really hope to be in Mexico for this holiday next year.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick-or-Treat

Mommy is really thrilled that we are in New Jersey right now, for more than the obvious reasons of shopping, eating and seeing everyone. She loves the fall weather and the leaves turning colors and drinking pumpkin spice coffee. Most of all, though, she was really excited to take me trick-or-treating. While we went last year, I was still pretty young and naive and didn't have a clue what all the fuss was about. But now I think I'm starting to figure it out - you dress up in fun clothes and go around to people's houses to collect candy in your little Halloween basket - and boy did I have a blast doing that!

We went to Aunt Jackie and Uncle Scott's house, where their son Dylan was Blue's Clues, and Aunt Melanie and Uncle John came too, along with little Johnny who was a skeleton. I dressed up as a fairy - don't we all look precious? I'm not sure what my favorite part of the night was: ringing the doorbells, walking around in the dark outside, or collecting candy in my basket (though I do know that the whole experience was so much more fun because I got to go with my two boyfriends). Or maybe the best part was the HUGE tub of candy Uncle Scott had for the trick-or-treaters, next to which I felt absolutely no shame in parking myself and helping myself to about seven lollipops.

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