Homesick

There are moments in time when I miss home like crazy. I close my eyes and imagine myself at home, at my parent’s house, laying in the hammock, listening to the sounds of the trees and the occasional car driving outside. Sometimes I look back and can’t believe I’m not there to take care of my nieces and nephew. I should know them like anyone; they should know me and find safety in me, their aunt. It hurts a lot if I think about it too deeply. I didn’t know this was going to be my life, living in a foreign country, away from everything and everyone.

I wish I could go up there tonight, have dinner with my parents while the nightly news is on and loud on the TV.  Eat whatever our beloved maid made, which for sure would include rice. After eating, we would all go outside to the patio, and the grandkids would arrive, and we all would talk and make sure the bigger one of the kids doesn’t knock the smaller one to the ground, by playing too rough. I wish I had plans with my friends, and around 9 I would go and meet them up at the square. We would sit in the eastern bench and just talk and talk away.

My eyes watered writing this. I wish my grandma was alive, so we would just talk and laugh in the hammock at night.

I miss home like crazy today. I don’t want to miss it forever.

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Life

I’m overly ambitious thinking I can follow a schedule and have a routine down. It hasn’t been the same for the last few weeks. Life is getting in the way in the most wonderful way. 

Life is hard. I’m enjoying the shinning moments. 

Home buying

I haven’t been on my game lately.

Over the weekend, on Saturday specifically, we went to see some townhouses in a new development. Our idea was to just look around the model homes, get some pricing to build our own home who knows when, and go about our Saturday (which I was so excited about). We ended up choosing an already built home with several upgrades at a really good price.

I haven’t slept since.

The thing is, for several months now I’ve been all over Trulia and Zillow looking for new homes coming up in our city. We’ve also been passively visiting open houses over the last few months. I haven’t really found a home in our price range without issues. They are all old homes with some upgrades and a lot to fix. I don’t want a nightmare, thank you. I’m okay with losing sleep for a good cause.

We got pre-approved yesterday and we are planning to see the builder today and sign the contract. The reason I’m feeling like am floating in an air of incertitude is because we are doing all these without a realtor or agent. We showed up at the builder’s site and chose a home. We will sign papers without assistance from professionals.

How crazy is that? Are we really crazy?

We feel you don’t need a realtor if you are buying new construction, especially if it comes with a guarantee and you will have the builder on site every day until all construction is done. Something is not working? -Hey, builder, would you check on that?

I feel confident. I feel scared. Oh my, I feel excited?

I don’t know. And won’t know for a while.

Storytelling

When I’m reading a book, one of the things that catch my attention the most are the scene descriptions. I love a writer that makes you feel the textures, taste the flavors, see the colors, imagine the faces. This is something I would like to introduce into my writing, but not just as a detailed-good description of things, but as something that makes your senses burst.

Here an extract of my one my favorite books of all times:

“On rainy afternoons, embroidering with a group of friends on the begonia porch, she would lose the thread of the conversation and a tear of nostalgia would salt her palate when she saw the strips of damp earth and the piles of mud that the earthworms had pushed up in the garden. Those secret tastes, defeated in the past by oranges and rhubarb, broke out into an irrepressible urge when she began to weep. She went back to eating earth. The first time she did it almost out of curiosity, sure that the bad taste would be the best cure for the temptation. And, in fact, she could not bear the earth in her mouth. But she persevered, overcome by the growing anxiety, and little by little she was getting back her ancestral appetite, the taste of primary minerals, the unbridled satisfaction of what was the original food. She would put handfuls of earth in her pockets, and ate them in small bits without being seen, with a confused feeling of pleasure and rage, as she instructed her girlfriends in the most difficult needlepoint and spoke about other men, who did not deserve the sacrifice of having one eat the whitewash on the walls because of them. The handfuls of earth made the only man who deserved that show of degradation less remote and more certain, as if the ground that he walked on with his fine patent leather boots in another part of the world were transmitting to her the weight and the temperature of his blood in a mineral savor that left a harsh aftertaste in her mouth and a sediment of peace in her heart.”

― Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezOne Hundred Years of Solitude

This book was originally written is Spanish, and this translations is not the greatest. But it is a good representation of what I’m aiming for.

I’ll write a story. I’ll give it a try.

Planning and planners

Since I started this job, I’ve had a lot of time to organize my life and personal activities. I got a planner where I detail our weekend plans, to do lists, my “wants” lists, grocery shopping list and weekly menus. I really love to have some time at work every day to organize my life.

This is how we work, in case you want to try it:

Weekend plans: I try to plan something fun for L and me to do every weekend. I look over local events or new restaurants and ask L in advance to okay the plans. It really makes my week fly by if we have something fun to look forward to. This weekend we are going house hunting, lunch out and to our local Festival of lights. Next weekend is beach day on Saturday. The following weekend we will probably just stay home.

To do list: I write down everything I have to do during the week. If it is something that doesn’t need to be done on a specific day, I write it down on a sticky note and take it out once that thing is done. It is satisfying to look back and see all of my accomplishments, like a little “good job!” to myself.

My “wants” list: L and I get paid biweekly, and we decided to set aside a small amount every paycheck  for us to use in whatever we want, no questions asked. He normally uses his share on a haircut, books or programming stuff. I use mine in clothes and Target. If there is anything I want, I write it down and go and get it on payday.

Grocery list and weekly menus: I normally do this one on Friday, because we do our grocery shopping that day. I start by asking L over text messages what he would like to have for dinner. He provides a few suggestions and I gather a few more, and build a menu of 7 dishes that we will have for dinner the following week. I create our grocery list according to the ingredients that we will need, nothing more, and nothing less. This is great because it keeps our grocery budget on check.

This is all very lovely, but this is also real life and nothing is perfect.

Today I wanted to get out of the office and get some fresh air. All the tables outside were taken and I didn’t want to sit in my car with everyone watching (though I love sitting in my car in my lunch break). So I decided to drive to the nearby Target; “I will just look around”, I told myself, “I won’t buy anything”. Well, I am now the proud owner of a beach hat, beach tote, water bottle and plastic clutch.

I just couldn’t resist.

It was not part of my very well calculated plan. It is not payday nor did I have money set aside for it. However, breaking the rules is sometimes fun. Not feeling guilty at all (sigh).

Anxiety

For many, many years I’ve had mild anxiety attacks one way or another. Growing up, I was terrified of eating out, for no good reason. I’m not sure what I was scared about; maybe feeling sick, maybe not being able to finish my food, maybe people watching me eat. Whatever it was it lasted a good couple of years. Being a kid, it seems you get over things rather quickly, because I don’t remember how exactly I got over my fear of eating in public.

Now that I’m older, anxiety creeps in in the middle of the night, and it is manifested with acid re-flux and other gastric problems. I wake up hot, sick and scared. I found some good over the counter medicine to take care of the sickness, but I have yet to find anything for my troubled mind. It is frightening to lay there, in the middle of the night, scared at nothing.

I refuse to believe that my issues are isolated. I’m pretty sure that people have episodes like these, maybe milder, most definitely worst. But, what to do? I can’t just go and pay someone to fix less than one sleepless night a month. I can handle my condition, I have control over it. Right?

Here is to everyone suffering anxiety. You are not alone.

The day before Valentine

We moved from Texas to Florida a little over 4 months ago. I’m not sure why it is taking us so long to find a rhythm of life in this not-so-new city. We had a friend and my parents over since we moved, but the whole time I felt I was walking in limbo; not sure where to take them, not sure what to do, not sure how to be a host.

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it (or on my poor husband!), but I want to be the best host I can be. I’ve visited people in their homes before, and I’ve had such a great and warm time. I want to pass that along.

On Saturday, L and I decided to take an early Valentine’s celebration and avoid the crowd. We had homemade waffles for breakfast, fancied up and headed to Bahama Breeze for lunch. I can’t even start explaining how nice it felt. The weather in Florida was wonderful, and doing something in the middle of the day (as opposite as dinner like we always do) felt like heaven. The food was great by the way, if you ever want to try that place; it is Caribbean style and the fried plantains are to die for! Later, we went to a good ole Kmart to buy some beach gear. It is a little embarrassing to say that we live 20 minutes from the beach and we are now thinking about including it as part of our routine; like a said, it is taking us so long so adapt. Shopping was so much fun! It was the perfect date with my husband; no disagreements, no rush, no nothing, just the two of us sitting in a Kmart floor choosing beach chair colors. On the way home, we decided to stop at our local library and pick up some books, and then go to the nearby Starbucks and read over coffee. Writing this down makes me so happy; if I ever imagine a perfect day – a perfect life – this would be it. I need to remember this.

Next time I have people over, I want to be able to provide them these perfect days. I want to know a great little place for lunch, and take them shopping for quirky cheap things, and end up with coffee outdoors. I need to feel at home to proudly show them around.

Time, everything in life takes time.

On jobs

image via google
Having your own business is heartbraking. It is like you put all your dreams and efforts in this little thing, and then it gets slow and no one likes it and you make no sales. You spent so much time and effort (and soul) into no return. It is hard. And it is the main reason I don’t drop everything and go into it full time.

Having a regular job means you get paid to sit and stare at the wall. I work hard in my current position, but sometimes is takes forever to receive that approval email and all you got is to read the New York Times until they let you know you exceed your free 10 visits. It is nice to have steady flows of income. I sleep well at night not worrying about my next paycheck, because it will surely arrive on Friday.

I dream about having my own business. I want to be the cool store owner that gets coffee (I hate coffee, let’s say hot tea) and pastries from the downtown Starbucks. I want to walk around with my designer sunglasses and open my storefront, and millions of people will enter buying and loving everything, and my husband and I will take river cruises around Europe with the profits.  This dream is so unrealistic it hurts.

What should I do then? Stay in this cubicle forever and never get morning pastries? Live comfortably and never fulfill my dreams?  I’m 28 and trying to buy a home. Is that more important that finding my dream job?

So many questions, so many approval emails pending.