Sunday, May 22, 2011

South America

Buenos Aires, 2007.
My first trip in South America, summer 2002
South America has been amazing! 8 weeks visiting Peru, Bolivia, Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. This past week I've spent a fantastic few days in Buenos Aires.

I am a bohemian. One of the bohemian singers-songwriters I admire most is from Argentina. His name is Facundo Cabral. I had the chance to go to one of his recitals in Costa Rica while teaching there. I have listened to his music since I was a teenager. Now, guess whom I saw having coffee as I walked down Recoleta ? Yeah !! A friend told me that these kinds of moments happen to me because I have the best karma. LOL When I first saw him I hesitated for a minute to approach him for an autograph. I didn’t want to interrupt his conversation with a friend. But I had to. I went in the café and said: Don Facundo, could I have your autograph? He immediately asked me: Where are you from? I told him: Guatemala, he then he says loudly: Waiter, a coffee for my friend from Guatemala! He pulled a chair and invited me to sit. We chatted for a while. He told me about a Guatemalan girlfriend he had and how much he loves lake Atitlan. It truly was a very special moment. One of Facundo's song says: I'm not from here, I´m not from there, I´m from everywhere. He has so many beautiful songs about life and love and this world we live in. You can see why he is one of my favorite musicians.

As I travel I notice everyone longs for the same things everywhere: making a living, having friendships and love. I've met lots of friendly and cool people in Argentina and South America. Even though our encounter was brief, it was meaningful.

Another of my favorite singer-songwriters is Ricardo Arjona, from Guatemala. He actually sang on the streets of Buenos Aires in his beginnings. As I walked down a pedestrian street called Florida, I heard the tune of one of Arjona’s songs. I got closer and there was a guy singing on the street just like Ricardo Arjona. He really sounded just like him! I spent two hours listening to songs I know by heart. I could close my eyes and it sounded just like Arjona singing on the street. I will never forget going to an Arjona recital on the streets of Buenos Aires.

A couple of days ago I visited the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. I saw paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Frida Khalo and others. Amazing exhibit. I didn’t know Buenos Aires would have a collection such as this. Beautiful arquitecture can be seen on every street.

I love people-watching. Sitting on a bench in Madero, a fancy area where they have restored old warehouses by the port to house shops and restaurants, I observed a clown making balloons for children. I loved watching the kids’ faces as they got their animal balloons. There was a lady selling roses and as they always do, she would approach the guy in every couple walking by. This one girl hit her boyfriend on the head after he said no and kept walking. I laughed so hard! It seems Argentinian girls don’t put up with lack of romanticism, and they show it!! LOL

My South American adventure is slowly drawing to a close. South America is almost waving good bye. The following is part of a poem from a little book I found in a used book store. I share it with you as a good bye from South America...

I´ve been goin a long time now
along the way I´ve learned some things.
You have to make the good times yourself
Take the little times and make them into big times
        and save the times that are all right
for the ones that aren't so good.

Machu Pichu, 2002

Two weeks later in Chile
This email is being sent to many of the new friends I made while travelling this summer. To those friends I met in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, I like to thank you for the special moments we shared. To my friends in Central America, the US, Canada, and several other places in the world, I thank you for sharing this trip with me through my emails.

This week I visited the houses of Pablo Neruda in Chile. If you haven't had the opportunity to read him I encourage you to. While visiting his house in Isla Negra, as I stood watching the ocean from the huge window in his bedroom and saw the table where he wrote many of his poems, I got teary eyed. I took a deep breath and said “Thank you for your poems Pablo.” 

Paine Towers National Park, Chile 2007

With this poem I say bye to South America.

Colors, words, whispers
mountains covered with snow
the sun smiling
smiles, dreams, sights
South America has given me all these
and more
friends, memories, poetry
gratitude in my heart
Thanks South America!
Thanks for making me feel alive
planes, buses, boats, trains
the sound of rivers and waterfalls
the crisp air in my lungs
the beers and meals shared with friends
friends for a day, or two
or forever
two months, eight weeks,
thousands of stars
hundreds of hours
enjoying places and people I'll never forget
this time, this place have reminded me of
the beauty of today
the joy of friendship
the delight of living the moment
I thank God for this adventurous life
and I thank you my friend for sharing it with me 
Iguazu, Argentina 2002

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letter to my mom. Carta a mi mama.

Dear Mom,

Today is your day !! Today I want to thank you for being the best mom in the world !! I have so much to thank you for. 

Thanks for carrying me in your womb for 9 months mom. Thanks for taking care of me as a baby. For changing my diapers and holding me when I cried or simply to show me how much you loved me. I am so thankful you taught me how to talk as I love words so much !!  Words are so wonderful when you speak them, read them, write them or listen to them.

Thanks also for teaching me how to walk because I l o v e going out for a walk  !! Thanks for feeding me and for cooking every day for me and my brother and sister !! You know how much I l o v e your cooking !! You are an amazing chef and you cook with such joy !! You sing and smile when you cook, putting all your love in every meal. Thank you for that mom.

Thanks for taking me to the doctor and for giving me the medicine I needed when I got sick. I am thankful for all the times you took care of me so I would get better. I can still remember your loving hand cleaning my scraped knees quite often. Thanks for being there helping me grow feeling your love mom.

Thanks for bringing me into the world mom. I am so happy you brought me here!! Life is really awesome !! There is so much to be enjoyed every day !! From the morning coffee, the moon and the stars at night, the smile of a friend, a book, a trip, feeling proud of a job well done, helping others, dreaming and working hard to achieve our dreams, facing challenges, strawberries and chocolate !!  The list goes on and on !! Yes, I've lived painful moments, but they are also part of life, and they have not been your fault. But even those moments seem necessary to help us grow and be appreciative for the times when life is the most amazing adventure ever !!  You brought me here and for that I want to thank you mom.

Thanks for taking me to school and encouraging me in my studies. Thanks for preparing a lunch box for me. Thanks for buying the school supplies I needed. Thanks for asking me what I had learned each day and for getting excited when I told you. I know learning is important because of you even though you didn't have much formal education you are a wise person. Thanks for being patient with me when I didn't feel like doing my homework. And thanks for going to the parent-teacher conferences too. I love learning because I always noticed how proud you felt when I got good grades. Thanks for being there with me for my college graduation and for celebrating with tears and smiles the success I achieved thanks to God's blessing on my life and with your support and your love.

Thanks for your patience and constant love during my teen years mom. I know many times you got worried because of me. I gave you quite a few headaches and heartaches. I am sorry for that. Thanks for letting me know that you loved me even when I did not behave like I should have. Thank you for loving me despite my negative attitude and my rebellion those years. Thanks for allowing me making mistakes but also for letting me know you didn't agree with me. Thank you for not giving up on me and for welcoming with a smile and open arms when I realized I had done something wrong. 

 As I write this letter I realize that everything good in my life is because of you mom. This includes my faith in God. Your faith in God, even if you never said it out loud, was evident from the moment I became conscious  that there was more to this life than just what we see. I am so happy that you and I have gotten closer to God as years have gone by. I know both you and I have made mistakes in life, but God's amazing grace has covered those mistakes and we can celebrate and enjoy God’s love for us without reservation. Thanks for helping me realize that having faith means more than going to church every Sunday. It means accepting and helping others every chance you get. Your generosity, even you didn't have much, is the best example for me to strive to bless others as I have been blessed. I thank God every day for giving me a mom like you. I also pray for you every day. I pray for you to be healthy and happy. Surrounded by God’s love and the love of those around you.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom. As I've become a grown man you have continued to support me in everything I did with your gentle advice. You really inspired me to be the best man I can be mom. Yes, you! Today I want you to know that I love you for who you are and for everything you have done for me since the moment you knew I was on the way. 

I hope this letter finds you smiling mom. Today and every day of the year know that you are loved mom. God loves you. Your children and grandchildren love you. And you know I love you more than words can tell.

So, this letter is to wish you

H a p p y  M o t h e r ‘ s  D a y  M o m !! 

I   L o v e  Y o u   M o m !!

Your son,

Mario Orlando

PS. Thanks for being my mom mom :o) 


Querida Mama,

Hoy es su dia !! Hoy quiero darle las gracias por ser la mejor mama del mundo !! Tengo tanto por que darle las gracias !!

Gracias por llevarme en su vientre por 9 meses mama. Gracias por cuidarme cuando era un bebe. Por cambiarme los pañales y por abrazarme cuando lloraba o simplemente para mostrarme cuando me quería. Estoy tan agradecido con usted por haberme enseñado a hablar, porque me encantan las palabras !! Las palabras son maravillosas cuando las hablamos, las leemos, las escribimos, o las escuchamos.

Gracias por enseñarme a caminar mama, porque me encanta salir de caminata !! Gracias por darme mi comidita y por cocinar todos los días para nosotros. Usted sabe cuando me g u s t a su comida. De verdad que usted si sabe cocinar y lo mas importante es que lo hace cantando y sonriendo poniéndole todo su amor a cada comida. Gracias por eso mama.

Gracias por llevarme al doctor y darme mi medicina que necesite cuando me enferme. Estoy tan agradecido por todas las veces que me cuido para que me recuperara pronto. Gracias por ayudarme a crecer sintiéndome amado mama.

Gracias por haberme traido al mundo mama. Soy tan feliz porque me trajo aca !! La vida es maravillosa !! Hay tanto para disfrutar cada dia !! Desde el cafecito de la mañana, la luna y las estrellas en la noche, la sonrisa de un amigo, un libro, un viaje, el sentimiento de orgullo cuando hacemos algo bien, ayudar a otros, soñar y esforzarnos por alcazar nuestros sueños, superar los obstáculos, hasta las fresas y el chocolate. La lista no termina !! Si, he vivido momentos de dolor, pero esos momentos también son parte de la vida, y no han sido por su causa. Pero aun esos momentos nos ayudan a crecer y a ser agradecidos por los momentos en que la vida es la mas impresionante aventura jamás !! Usted me trajo aca y por eso le doy gracias mama.

Gracias por llevarme a la escuela. Gracias por prepararme la merienda. Gracias por comprarme los utiles escolares que necesite. Gracias por preguntarme que había aprendido cada dia y por emocionarse cuando le conte. Se que el aprende es importante por usted. Gracias por ser paciente conmigo cuando no tenia ganas de hacer la tarea. Y gracias por ir a hablar con mi maestra cuando la llamaba también. Amo la educación porque siempre vi lo orgullosa que usted se ponía cuando sacaba buenas notas. Gracias por haber estado en mi graduación y haber celebrado con lagrimas y sonrisas el éxito que con su ayuda y amor alcance.

Gracias por su paciencia durante mis años de adolescencia. Se que muchas veces usted se preocupo por mi. Se que le di varios dolores de cabeza e incluso heri su corazón. Perdoneme por eso. Gracias por hacerme sentir su amor incluso cuando yo no me portaba como debía. Gracias por amarme a pesar de mi de actitud negative y mi rebeldia esos años.

Mientras escribo esta carta me doy cuenta que todo lo bueno en mi vida es por usted mama. Inclusive mi fe en Dios. Su fe en Dios, aunque usted no lo haya dicho en voz alta, fue evidente desde que tengo uso de razón. Soy tan feliz porque usted y yo nos hemos acercado a Dios al transcurrir de los años. Yo se que tanto usted como yo hemos cometido errores en nuestras vidas, pero la maravillosa gracia de Dios ha cubierto esos errores y ahora podemos celebrar y disfrutar del Amor de Dios por nosotros sin reservas. Gracias por mostrarme que la fe es mucho mas que ir a la iglesia cada domingo. Es aceptar y ayudar a otros cuando lo necesitan. Su generosidad, aunque cuando usted no tuviera mucho, es el mejor ejemplo para mi buscar bendecir a otros como yo he sido bendecido. Doy gracias a Dios por darme a una mama como usted. Tambien oro por usted todos los días. Oro para que tenga buena salud y sea feliz. Rodeada por el amor de Dios y el amor de los que la rodean.

Gracias por compartir su sabiduria conmigo. Al hacerme hombre usted ha continuado apoyándome en todo lo que he hecho con sus suaves consejos. Usted me ha inspirado a ser el mejor hombre que puedo ser mama. Si, usted!
Hoy quiero que sepa que la amo por quien usted es y por todo lo que ha hecho por mi desde el momento que usted supo que yo venia en camino.

Espero que esta carta la encuentre sonriente mama. Hoy y cada dia del año sepa usted es amada. Dios la ama. Sus hijos y sus nietos la aman. Y usted sabe que yo la amo mas de lo que las palabras pueden decir.

Asi que esta carta es para desearle

F e l i z  D i a  d e  l a s  M a d r e  M a m a !! 

L a  A m o  M a m a!!

Su hijo,

Mario Orlando

PD. Gracias por ser mi mama mama :o)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mario Benedetti

Mario Benedetti es uno de mis poetas/novelistas favoritos. Me parece genial como juega con las palabras y las ideas en este poema.


Tengo miedo de verte
necesidad de verte
esperanza de verte
desazones de verte
tengo ganas de hallarte
preocupación de hallarte
certidumbre de hallarte
pobres dudas de hallarte
tengo urgencia de oírte
alegría de oírte
buena suerte de oírte
y temores de oirte
o sea
estoy jodido
y radiante
quizá más lo primero
que lo segundo
y también

Mario Benedetti is one of my favorite poets/novelists.  I think it’s brilliant how he plays with words and ideas in this poem.

Vice versa

I am afraid to see you
I need to see you
I hope I see you
I don't think I will
I want to find you
I am worry I will find you
I am certain I will find you
I doubt that I will
It is urgent I hear you
I am happy to hear of you
I am lucky to hear of you
I am afraid to hear of you
I am screwed
and radiant
maybe more the former
than the latter
and also