Monday, June 18, 2007

The Sagrada Familia

Every time I go down Mallorca Street, I can hear the hustle and bustle of the people, the tour buses, the construction equipment. But I can't yet see it in it's full splendor. I have to actually cross Sicilia Street in order to see the spires. And when they come into full view, you can't help but feel small.
Perhaps that's what Antonio Gaudí wanted. To make you feel the grandness of God. The awesome spires reach out to heaven.
If the sky is gray, they almost seem to plead. If, on the other hand, the weather is good, they seem to be reaching up in praise.
So often. When I feel a little down, I go all they way to the other end of the city to look at them. The Twelve Apostles (only 8 built so far). When I think of them this way, and not as towers, then it's not so much earth reaching to heaven, but Heaven reaching down to earth and giving us that Divine Inspiration that some of us are so much in need of.
I have never really taken a look at what apostles each tower represents. It just makes me happy to know that they are here. And that one day, for domes, taller than the spires will be built, representing the four Evangelists. And then one taller than those four, representing our Holy Mother. I expect I will not be around to witness this, but my son will. How joyful to have this representation of Blessed Mary look over the city where my son lives. And finally, that tallest of the domes, with a giant cross perched high above it will represent Jesus. No words.
No words come out of my mouth as I stand in the plaza directly in front of the Passion facade. I just look, and pray and sometimes cry. And all around me flashes go off. I hear people speaking in foreign languages, some I recognize, some I do not. I may not understand what they are saying, but the tone is that of amazement at what stretches out before them.
And I sit in silence and revel my smallness.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day

I suppose that today and tomorrow many a blog entry will touch upon this theme. Dad's all over the US must realize that theirs is a second rate holiday. But to me, it's just as important as Mother's Day. So important that I celebrate it two times. First on the 19th of March (St. Joseph's) and then again in June.
My dad has been so very important in my life that I could celebrate this day (and Mom's day as well, but I'll leave that for another occasion) every day of the year. Dad has done many things that make me appreciate him, both big and small. The one thing that will always stand out as his greatest attribute is that he was a great role model as a husband. It was thanks to the standard that he set that I ended up with my husband. After many other failed attempts at finding "Mr. Right", what made me decide on D. was not that he was just like my dad, but that I saw him as a loving caring husband and father. By no means perfect, but willing to go that extra step to make things work.
Dad always did that. In his relationship with Mom and with his children. Sometimes we didn't understand the why of his actions, especially when they implied not getting what we wanted, but as adults we all see the wisdom of his words. Not once was he wrong. He was never wrong in the things that matter.
I could go on and on but really the only things that I want to say to Daddy (yes, I am 42 years old, but he'll always be Daddy) over and over is: Thank you! Lo quiero mucho.
And now to all those who are nauseated by cheap sentimentality:STOP READING HERE!

I always hate it when people write song lyrics on blogs. Having said that here is part of the song that I always makes me think of Daddy (and Mom and Jesus):
For all the truth that you made me see. (About me and everything and everyone around me)
For all the wrong that you made right. (broken hearts, broken spirit, broken car)
For all the love I found in you. (and Mom)
You're the one who held me up. (when I needed it the most)
Never let me fall. (so many times)
You saw the best there was in me. (even when I couldn't or wouldn't)
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach. (Cookie jar)
You gave me faith cause you believed. (thank you for teaching me about Jesus)
I'm everything I am, because you loved me. (Thank you)
I lost my faith you gave it back to me. (with actions and love)
You said no star was out of reach. (it kept me going)
I was blessed because I was loved by you. (Thank you)
You were always there for me. (Thank you)
You've been my inspiration. (and still are)
Through the lies, you were the truth. (dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres)
My world is a better place because of you. (Thank you! I love you!)

Tu hija.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Trans Border Community

This past weekend I participated in the 2007 Atlanta Eucharistic Congress via Ustream. It was great to see the people that I usually listen to. What was even better was to see that Catholic joy that most non-Catholics seem to think is non-existent.
If there is something that I have learned this past year, since getting my very own iPod and downloading every Catholic podcast that I can get my hands on, is that, yes, we Catholics are a "peculiar bunch", but we have stopped being afraid of living our faith in a very public sphere.
At least in the US. Europe, or at least Spain is a very different matter. That is why I hang on to this virtual community that has formed around this new technology. I often mention Greg and Jennifer, Father Roderick, Fathers Seraphim, Fr. Bill, Fr. Geek, Fr. Barron, Fr. Dave and Mike, Doctor Paul and others in my conversations with husband, family and friends. The SQPN has become the Catholic community that I am lacking here in Barcelona. For you see, in my home God is present in all things great and small. But stepping outside my door it is almost impossible to find someone that will own up to believing in anything.
This summer I look forward to going back home (I've lived in Barcelona for nine years and I still call Orange County home) and joining the Catholic community that I grew up with. The one that pray and sings in Spanish and English. The one where everybody still knows my name. The one that knows that I am C. and G's daughter and R's sister and D and M's auntie. The one where you can say "God bless you", "God willing" "Praise God" and nobody will call you fascist for doing so (perhaps they will call you other things, but not fascist).
So, the countdown begins for what I hope will be a relaxing and Spirit filled vacation.

May God be praised!

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Child

My son is six years old. He doesn't really understand what is happening to him yet. Like his mother and father, he is growing up in a home where more than one language is spoken daily. He knows that Mom speaks English (much to my chagrin, as it was always my intention to speak the sweet sounding Spanish that I heard from Mom, Mother, Grandmother and aunts), Dad speaks Spanish and Grandmother speaks Catalan (also the language used as school).
The difference between Mom and Dad is that Dad's two languages are not that different. Mom's two languages are worlds apart.
When he was a baby, he was soothed by the sweet sound of "Duérmete niño" and didn't really care for "Hush Little Baby". Was is the sound of Spanish that lulled him to sleep, or was it that those words has much more feeling behind them than her learned English.
Now that he is six, he's increasingly more discontent with English. It is a language that is imposed on him. He has to learn it. Mom and Dad don't speak it to each other. In school, he gets one hour of English a week.
He wants to speak better Spanish and Catalan. He is painfully aware that all his friends speak much better than he does. He just wants to fit in. (I can hear the hurt in his voice, it's the same hurt I felt for so many years when my thick accent and my limited vocabulary made me stick out like a cactus in a flower garden)
Should I really continue to teach him something that is not something I feel as mine? D. says yes.
Yo no lo tengo tan claro.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Going Home

The upcoming trip to see my family is taking up most of my time. Non-existent time. End of trimester is always a tricky time for me. What is taking up most of my time is not the usual preparation. That's the easy part. One change of clothes, my favorite shoes, Barça t-shirts to give away. Mom's favorite bread sticks and assorted gift items for my sisters. No, that's not the problem.
The problem is the linguistic border that must be crossed in order to retain my dignity. Yes, being laughed at (not a blaring in your face haha. More of a snicker under the breath, but it's there. They love me too much to let out a big whooping laugh) is not one of my passions.
So words such as coche, conducir, coger(especially this one) must be put into a draw in my cluttered brain and I must drag out carro, manejar, agarrar. It's not that they don't understand the words, but they are just not used. This of course is just the tip of the linguistic iceberg. They here me, they somewhat understand me, but they know that their daughter/sister is not the same. She can't be. She's found new places to be displaced in. She's found new ways of being different.
I so envy my little sister. She doesn't question being Mexican, she does not question being American. She just is. Her big sister can't be either anymore.
Reading this, there may be tinge of regret mixed in with these words. There probably is. It doesn't bother me, got used to the constant flux of things in my life. Just going back to a universe where things have been the same for a long time and there's a bit of envy on my part. Just want my worlds to stop moving so I can enjoy them for a while.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Border re-visited!

Ten days ago, my friend Carl paid me a visit. Had a great time with him, mostly chatted about grad school experiences. It was as if we had just picked up where our last conversation left off. Well, not quite. My Spanish has greatly improved and I'm not as reserved as I was nine years back.
Carl's comments about writing, about my constant treading on borders that got me thinking again. Really thinking.
Sure, born in El Paso, Texas, physical border. Growing up in an American environment with Mexican parents teaching and expecting us to live in a displaced Mexican culture. Becoming aware of being Chicana (feeling Mexican, feeling American, belonging to nothing and the possibility of belonging to both at the same time. See JBN, I was listening!).
Then marrying a Spaniard. From Catalonia (border culture here too). Moving to Barcelona and being Chicana is all of the sudden not important anymore. So, what now? American, that's it!
But, in every conversation I had with any Spaniard, I had to defend the American government. Hard enough to do with Clinton and his Oval Office tryst (What was her name? Oh who cares... Miss I'll-Keep-The-Blue-Dress-Just-In-Case) but absolutely impossible with the Texas Butcher at the helm.
So, back to being Mexican. But that wasn't right either. Easy solution. Become Spanish. That's right, Spanish citizenship. What the heck. It's just a paper anyway!

Fins aviat!

Here goes nothing!

Had been thinking about writing again. Don't really know why it all stopped. Maybe it was the transatlantic move. It gave me a chance to reinvent, to omit, to fictionalize.
But mostly it landed me right in the middle of the middle again. That's one of the things I could not really change. Been in no-man's-land since birth.
Should go back to the beginning, perhaps. But what beginning. Forty-two years is a long time. So is nine.
Well, perhaps next incursion back into this world of black and white will dictate how far back to start this tale of living on the line.

¡Hasta la (re)vista!