Tag Archives: life

The Secret of a Successful Marriage

28 Nov

On their 50th wedding anniversary, the celebrating couple was asked what the secret was behind all those years of happy matrimony.

“Good wine,” said the husband.

“And a bad memory,” the wife added.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bad Parenting Prerogative

30 Apr

All my daughter has done today is watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the only time she´s been out of the house, is when I took her to the supermarket. There we bought popcorn, which we had for dinner.

 

In my world, that counts as some pretty bad parenting: no museum visits, no theatre plays, no park, no nutricious three-course meals.

Of course I am not raising my child solely on ninja turtles and popcorn. But today was just one of those days, you know, where you use 15 minute naps to muster up the energy for half an hour of administrative chores.

 

And you know what, I think that´s totally okay. We don´t need to be Super Parents all the time.

 

Besides, on the bright side:

* she spontaneously asked for a tomato after all that popcorn

* she has undoubtedly picked up a lot of (American) English today – and is there anything cuter than a Spanish five-year-old who knows the word “dude”?

 

 

 

You´ve Been… Alfonsified

19 Mar

So I´m working on the computer, while my husband is chasing bandits on the Playstation.
Suddenly he says: “You know, I was thinking…”

“Yes?” I say.

But no answer comes.

I take my hands from the keyboard and turn my chair towards him.
“What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking,” he resumes, his eyes still fixed on the tv screen, “I might go to the supermarket to…”

Then silence again.

“…to…” I prod.

“… to buy…”

“…to buy what?”
Now that I´ve interrupted my work, I might as well get to the bottom of this.

His fingers keep clicking away at the controller, and he´s still intensely gazing at the screen, when he makes another attempt at finishing his sentence.

“… to buy a thing…”

At this point my frustration turns into fascination.

“Really?” I tell him. “You want to go to the supermarket to buy a thing?”

He grins, but the mystery remains.

It takes me three more questions (“What do you want to buy?”, “What´s the message here?” and “Can you please finish your sentence?”) to lead this Echternach conversation to a satisfying conclusion.

“… to buy some wine,” he says at last. “I was thinking a glass of wine would be nice.”

“Yes,” I say. “That would be very nice indeed.”

They say that to keep a marriage alive, you have to keep talking.
Score for us.

 

 

Aiming For The Bicycle Guy

13 Jan

Do you know that song from Hozier called Someone New?

I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit
every day, with someone new

Keep that in mind, I´ll get back to it in a second.

Today I decided to finally get that rattling front light on my bike fixed, and get something done about the chain falling off all the time. So I went to the bike shop of an ex-student of mine. I arrived there at 10.55 am to find the lights on but the door closed. There was another customer waiting, saying he´d been there for half an hour. A note on the door said the shop owner was out for breakfast (well, almuerzo) between 10 and 11.
“He´ll be right back,” I assured the other customer.
“Well, he´d better be. And I hope he´s got my bike fixed,” the man grumbled. “Next time I´m going to another bike shop. I know one just a few blocks away.”
By 11.10 am I decided to choose pragmatism over loyalty (yes, that took me only 15 minutes, shame on me). I asked the grumpy guy where that other shop was, hopped on my bike and took off.

The other bike shop appeared to be a lot closer to home and a lot bigger. In front of the counter a few older men were engaged in little-village-conversation, and behind it stood a man who I assume was the shop owner. He called to the back: “When you´re done, can you take a look at that girl´s bike?”
A few minutes later a slender young man emerged from the workplace in the back. Thick black hair, brown eyes, energetic gait. But the most notable thing about him was how he seemed to radiate peace and happiness.
He studied the bike, asked me some questions, and told me to come over to the counter, where he literally pushed one of those older men aside to make some space for me. I wrote down my name and gave him my phone number. “We should have it fixed by Friday,” he said, with the friendliest smile in the world. And then he gave a thumbs-up with both hands as I said goodbye and left the shop.
That´s how today I fell in love just a little, oh a little bit.

And I wondered, as I have done many times before, why so many people look down on vocational education. Why they tell their children to “aim higher”. I thought of all those doctors I´ve seen these last few years, locked up in their little offices, frustrated, burned-out, prescribing me the wrong medication (no joke), failing to diagnose just about everyting that was wrong with me (unfortunately no joke either), snapping at me, trying to get me out of the door within 5 minutes because they were behind schedule, etcetera, etcetera.
How´s that for aiming higher?
I´ve come across some marvellous, decent doctors too, of course. But you can tell the ones who chose medicine out of vocation (there´s that word again, see!) from the ones who were told to “aim higher”, while their heart was with something else.

How can you possibly aim higher than being like that guy at the bike shop, who happily goes around making money doing what he likes? Who, maybe one day, will have his own shop and avoid a burn-out by going out for long almuerzos, who knows.

 

 

 

Why It´s Never Too Late

16 Oct

I wonder if it is possible to read the text below without having your perspective changed. It´s not fictional, it´s a true story that I picked up from Elizabeth Gilbert´s latest book on creative living. Read and enjoy:

“I knew Winifred back in the 1990´s, in Greenwich Village. I first met her at her ninetieth birthday party, which was quite a wild bash. (…) Winifred was the most vividly alive woman I had ever met in my young life, so one day, looking for inspiration, I asked her. “What´s the best book you´ve ever read?”

She said, “Oh darling. I could never narrow it down to just one book, because so many books are important to me. But I can tell you my favourite subject. Ten years ago, I began studying the history of ancient Mesopotamia, and it became my passion, and let me tell you –it has totally changed my life.”

For me, at the age of twenty-five, to hear a ninety-year-old widow speak of having her life changed by passion (and so recently!) was a revelation. (…) But as I learned more about Winifred´s passion, what struck me most was that she was now an acknowledged expert in the history of ancient Mesopotamia. She had given that field of study an entire decade of her life, after all –and if you devote yourself to anything diligently for ten years, that will make you an expert. (That´s the time it would take to earn two master´s degrees and a doctorate.) She had gone to the Middle East on several archaeological digs; she had learned cuneiform script; she was friendly was the greatest scholars and curators on the subject; she had never missed a related museum exhibit or lecture when it came to town. People now sought out Winifred for answers about ancient Mesopotamia, because now she was the authority.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, p 144 -145)

35

25 Jul

Ever since I turned 33 I´ve been feeling like a cosmic countdown has started somewhere. Maximum this many more years to live, if I reach age x I still have that many years left, one third has passed, almost half, etc. Something I had hardly thought about when I was in my teens or twenties. Seeing the numbers go up has therefore become more of a reason for worry than celebration.

A girl I spoke to last month, put me back with my feet on the ground. “The older you get, the more reason you have for celebration,” she said. “It means you got to live that long. People should be happy to celebrate their 40th, 50th,… 80th birthday. Dying young, now THAT is sad.” And although I was secretly thinking You´re only 28, let´s see how you feel about this in a year or four, I knew that she was right.

So another approach towards birthdays seems needed.

Last Saturday I spoke to a friend of mine who had been to a music festival, the second one in his life. He had such a great time there, that he wondered: “Why haven´t I done this more often? I´m already 35.” And I said: “Yes! Same here! I´ve only been to one music festival, can you imagine? Let´s do this more often.” And that´s when I came up with making a list of things I want to do these coming years. It´s not a Bucket List, because I have no intention of “kicking the bucket” any time soon. It´s a list with things I´d like to achieve before I turn 40.

Today is my 35th birthday. That seems like a good day to start.

So I made a list of 14 things I would like to do before I turn 40:

  1. Do a photoshoot with my daughter
  2. Go to a music festival
  3. Read 100 books
  4. Sing at a wedding
  5. Pass the Cambridge Proficiency in English exam
  6. Become politically involved in my community
  7. Have my hair like Jennifer Aniston (will explain this later)
  8. Write a book
  9. Sponsor a child in another country
  10. Work 100 hours as a volunteer
  11. Paint a mural
  12. Sew a dress for myself
  13. Pass the Valencià Mitja exam
  14. Send 100 birthday cards

And of course I will keep you posted on how it works out.

DSC_1646

Life lessons at the pool

20 Jul

3-year-olds at the outdoor pool, showing off the results of swimming classes

they dive like dolphins

they swim like fish

their confidence wider than the pool itself

and a mother ponders:

we were taught to keep our heads above the water

breast stroke, whip kick, not much more

and we swam in line, our progress being measured by how many lengths we could swim without interruption

the first thing these kids learn is to put their heads UNDER

no breastroke or anything

and it works

they dance in the water, they embrace it

maybe that will help them to embrace life

and to know what to do when they go under