Tag Archives: friendship

Migraine and Yet a Beautiful Day

27 Aug

 

7.30h and I wake up with a migraine. Immediately I send a whatsapp to the group of friends/co-parents:

Migraine! Can anyone take care of Elena today, please?

and I put my daughter in front of the tv to watch The Last Unicorn.

By the end of the film, Irene has told me she´ll be taking Elena out for lunch to eat pizza with her son. And Olga says she´ll take care of her for the rest of the day and that she can even stay the night.

Fernando and Teresa say they can take her out on an excursion with their sons, but I tell them : thank you so much, but I´ve already got it covered.

So at 12:00h Irene comes to pick up my daughter, and at 16:30h she passes my house again to pick up a mermaid doll and drop off a pizza for me (which I didn´t even ask for). Then she takes Elena to Olga.

At 18:30h Isabel comes over for a short chat and brightens up my mood with her warm and energising stories. She leaves at 19:30h.

Half an hour later Olga passes by my house with Elena, her daughter Anastasia, and a dog she´s taking care of. She´s come to pick up my dog to take him for a walk, and she won´t take no for an answer. I walk with them until the orangetree fields, and there she sends me back home. Forty minutes later she brings back the dog, and takes my daughter to her house where she will stay the night.

Okay, I have migraines.

But I have the best friends in the world.

 

 

 

Saint Patrick´s Day Special: My Favourite Irish

17 Mar

Ian
Ian is a teacher and ex-colleague of mine, one of the first people I met when I arrived in Spain. While car-pooling to teach company classes in the port of Valencia (where you actually get to drive on the race track, how cool is that), we´d be cracking the silliest jokes while his little car radio would be blasting old-school songs from Carole King to Soulsister. (Yes, my Belgian friends, Soulsister!) He was one of the first people that made me feel at home in this new country, something I´ll be forever grateful for.

Marian Keyes
Marian Keyes is a writer whose novels are generally written in a light and humorous tone, although the themes she deals with are often dark and controversial (alcoholism, domestic violence, depression, to name a few). I guess it´s this combination that makes her work so addictive. I started reading her after I´d come across a secondhand copy of The Brightest Star In The Sky, which I bought for less than a pound at a jumble sale in a little Welsh village.
I usually grab one of her thick books when I´m struggling through another, much thinner book, and then I always end up finishing her book first.

Hozier
I accidentally came across a youtube-cover of “Take me To Church”, and that´s how I got to know this Irish singer-songwriter. (I just found out from his wikipedia-page that today is his 26th birthday -synchronicity! Always a good sign.) Allergic as I am to simplified tunes and uninspired lyrics (see Supermarket Serenade), I immediately fell for the soul and poetry of his work.

So: long live the Irish!

And a happy Saint Patrick´s Day to you all.

 

 

 

The Blanket Skirt: What Friends Are For

24 Nov

I had a piece of blue tartan fabric lying around and sewed it into a skirt –plain and rough, more for practise (see item 12 on the list) than fashion. But I wear it anyway.

Now there´s a woman I know, really pretty with long black hair, always dressed smartly. When she saw my skirt, she started laughing.

“Is that a blanket you´re wearing?” she grinned.

I explained her that it wasn´t, that I had sewn it myself. Showed her how amateurishly the zipper had been installed.

“Oh,” she said.

That evening I looked at the skirt again and realised that, yes, the fabric was indeed intended for blankets. Whatever, I thought. And the next day I wore it again to take my daughter to school.

When I met up with my friends at the school gate, Ramón pointed at the skirt with a smirk on his face and said: “What are you doing wearing a blanket?”

I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

Then suddenly the black-haired woman, who is part of our little group, turned to Ramón and told him off in a stern voice.

“Hey!” she said. “She sewed that skirt herself, you know!”

She was all serious, not a trace of irony.

I hadn´t felt in the least offended by that blanket-remark, but still I thought that was really sweet of her.

 

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Sing At a Wedding: Check

15 Sep

(Number 4 on the list)

Take everything you know about weddings and store it in a far corner of your mind for the duration of this post.

Now think bellydancers and paper airplanes. Think festivalbracelets and foodtrucks. Think blonde female priest. That´s the kind of wedding I was invited to by Tim and Tina. And they had asked me to sing. What an honour!

It all started off a lot less glamourous than I had imagined. Excruciating pain in my left eye the day before, frenzied search for an eye-doctor. Damaged cornea, he said, and an infection on top of that. I was in a bigger panic than the day before my own wedding. Luckily the eye-drops I got worked wonders, but I couldn´t wear my contacts, nor any make-up. So I had to resign myself to singing to strangers while wearing my glasses. Uh-oh. I know how silly that may sound to you, but I have a dioptry of -13, which means my eyes look very, very small behind my glasses, which gives me that hyper-intelligent, but far from sexy, nerd-look. But apparently it´s a lot easier to get over something when there´s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

The wedding took place in a beautifully restored Flemish barn, where a stage had been mounted and decorated with colourful Indian lanterns. Tina, who is a gifted belly,- and Bollywooddancer although Belgian by birth, wore an amazing cream-coloured Indian wedding dress. She had bought it in Mumbai, just after Tim had proposed to her in front of the Taj Mahal (which is a super cliché thing to do, and therefore a very original thing for Tim to do, who usually keeps himself very far from clichés).

The ceremony was lead by our friend Leen, a teacher, singer and actress. She did a marvelous job, with lots of love and humour. There were many moving speeches, Tim´s brother and his wife gave a wonderful performance of “Head Over Feet” from Alanis Morrisette, and then I got to sing an a capella version of “Don´t cry for me, Argentina”. I had adapted the lyrics -the chorus going something like this, to give you and idea:

I love you so much, Tim, said Tina/ and I promise I´ll never leave you / all through my wild days / my mad existence / I´ll keep my promise / don´t keep your distance – etc.

I´d been very insecure about the lyrics – unlike the chorus, the verses had nothing to do with the original text anymore and were very personal. It´s quite a risk, taking something you´ve made up all by yourself and throwing it out into the world. It makes you very vulnerable. So I was super-nervous, hands trembling like crazy. But everybody was listening attentively, like they didn´t want to miss a word, and I got so much positive feedback afterwards that my fear of coming across as the Ultimate Nerd slowly evaporated.

Instead of wedding rings, Tim and Tina exchanged festival bracelets -how cool is that? Imagine a bride with a pair of pliers in her hands! Then Leen and I sang “A Whole New World” from the Aladdin movie. By that time I wasn´t trembling anymore, and it was beautiful. It´s so nice to sing a duet. It´s one of my favourite things in the world.

And then came the most spectacular surprise: a live show of belly-dance and Bollywood performances! Fourteen dancers taking turns swirling and swaying around, tying bells at their feet, throwing scarves in the air, through the movement of their bodies invoking all the emotions on the spectrum of love. And of course Tina was there, dancing as we had never seen her dance before, with that irresistable joy and conviction that brides radiate on their wedding day. We just stood there, gazing at her with our mouths open wide.

Unforgettable.

Religion

9 Jun

At my daughter´s Kindergarten, there´s one hour a week where the class is split up into two groups: those who take religion and those who take an ethics-class. Since my husband is a typical Spanish Catholic, we have our daughter signed up for religion. One of her best friends, Dani, takes ethics.

This is the conversation we had at the breakfast table this morning.

Daughter: “I don´t like religion.”

Me: “Why not?”

Daughter: “Because then Dani is not with me.”

And I thought: wow, what a grand lesson she has already learned.

Religion is no fun when it divides people.