Thursday, October 30, 2008

I am

I am from Banana Trees, from Polleras, and Diablos Rojos

I am from the Casa Vieja where my mom grew up, with its dark rooms filled with memories; of Abuelos' stories, of the piles of golden rice he kept inside, and the rainy afternoons in October talking about nature and learning about life.

Of summers spents with grandparents, in a house with no electricity, of sneaking out to the river, of riding horses, feeding chickens, and eating guavas right of the tree.

I am from the Chiriqui River, roaring behind Abuelo’s house, of the algarrobo tree in their front yard, of laying on the grass, listening to ghosts stories, and staying up all night wondering about what was lurking in the dark.

I am from Nochebuena y Año Nuevo spent with family, of Carnavales and Processiones during Semana Santa, from Amada and Amelia and Carmen.

I am from the family sticks together, and love and respect your older sisters as if they were your mothers; of loving our cousins as if they were our siblings and standing up for those who can’t do it for themselves.
From respecting your elders, and always doing your best. Of being proud of who you are and the place where you came from, and of understanding the value of an education.

I am from being raised Catholic, from praying the rosary with Abuela, and learning prayers tthat were passed down generations. I’m from having faith in a God who is merciful and kind, of believing in ghosts, praying to saints, and never eating meat on Good Friday.

I’m from a Buddhist father, from catholic school, from learning about the paranormal and the power of the universe. I am a mix of Catholicism and indigenous beliefs, of going to curanderos, while lighting a candle for your health to be restored. I’m Catholic, secured in my faith and my beliefs and not afraid to say I don’t agree with man-made rules.

I'm from Panama, Spain, and the Guaymi Indians, of sancocho, arroz con pollos, platanos and tortillas.

From a mother with only a 6th grade education who taught me about hard work and determination, from slumber parties with my cousins, from running across the swinging bridge without our parents knowing.

Of starry nights listening to my father telling us about the wonders of the universe, and dreaming about becoming an astronaut. Of dancing on the streets during Carnaval under the blazing sun and the cool water; of patriotic parades on Independence Day.

Of Jose’s courage, and Abuelo’s strength, of Abuela’s faith, Mom’s determination, and of Dad’s thirst for knowledge.

I am from that little bench Tio Dany made for me 31 years ago, that Abuelo kept for me all these years, of watching my kids sit on that bench and see my life realized in them; of the wooden stove where Abuela used to cook, and the sewing machine where she would fix Abuelo’s clothes while whistling a tune.

I’m from dancing with Abuela after dinner, under the light of a kerosene lamp with Abuelo watching as he smoked his pipe. I’m from the moments that were never captured in film but will remain in my heart forever.

Polleras- national dress of Panama
Diablos Rojos- traditional buses in Panama
Casa Vieja- my grandparents (Abuelo and Abuela) old house
Amada, Amelia, Carmen - grandmother, mom, great grandmother
Jose- my cousin who died of diabetes-related problems at age 33. he was like my brother.
Nochebuena- Christmas Eve
Ano Nuevo- New Year's
sancocho, arroz con pollo, platanos, tortillas - traditional Panamanian dishes