Internet has finally arrived in my little apartment in Brooklyn, with some help from Santa Claus! Ah, feels good to be connected with the world again.
Christmas Eve at Manny’s family was so much fun. Once again, all my knowledge of Spanish disappeared, I could not even bring myself to say feliz navidad. But the gift of baked goods proved to be the universal language. My cookies and brownies were consumed with much praise and were gone in about an hour.
But Manny’s family – seriously – the nicest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met. I ate dinner seated next to Manny’s older brothers, who know English, and they kept translating the conversation for me so that I wouldn’t feel left out. Then I hung out with Manny’s four nieces, who are all around the pre-teen and teenage years. They are awesome, smart, tough kids who made me feel so old because they thought Daria and Beavis and Butthead were vintage TV classics. I was afraid they would think I’m too much of a dork, because they’re cooler teenagers than I ever was, so to break the ice I told them about some crazy science stories (like that boy was nearly decapitated but doctors reattached his head) and soon we were all watching Nacho Libre together on Manny’s computer.
After Manny’s house, I went to my mom’s house up in Westchester, collapsed on my bed and slept for about 12 hours. During Christmas, I realized that my family is the exact opposite of Manny’s family in every way possible, and realized this is both good and bad. My family is big on traditions and doing the same thing for Christmas every year. Usually these traditions are comforting and reassuring, but this year they felt forced and I felt like I was just going through the motions. Plus my grandmother makes it no secret that she disapproves of me and dislikes that I live on my own in the city, that I moved out by myself without getting married leaving my mom alone with an empty nest, that I don’t go to church anymore, that I voted for Obama, that I’m dating a Mexican, etc etc. But you know, it was still good to have the family together.
This week I am back to work and sadly, without reading material. I started reading Labyrinth of Solitude by Octovio Paz but I can’t quite finish it. Originally published in 1950, Labyrinth of Solitude is collection of essays that explore the essence of the the Mexican identity. I read the first few essays, which were interesting, but honestly, the book is not really a page turner and I found it hard to stay awake on the morning train ride to read it. So, back to the library it goes. But, you should read more about Labyrinth of Solitude because it is a really important book.
On Friday I have to take the subway up the Bronx to visit a friend , which is about an hour and half train ride each way. I cannot face this trip without suitable reading material, so I have some book exploring to do.