Friday, February 10, 2012

Slowing down to ponder my roots and read about mice


I don't find it right to type into this my online journal without pictures. The pictures are one of the reasons I wanted to this. I like to take pics of things that make me slow down and take a second look. I have been dealing with a sick camera for some time now. As a matter of fact, I have bought three cameras in the last 6 weeks and have had no luck (all have been returned due to poor performance). I am no photographer, so I need a simple camera that catches the glimpses of things that make me smile. I have had to continue to use my old HP until I find a new one. The battery no longer charges, the on and off button is broken and it overheats… but it will do for now.


If there is one thing that makes me smile or stop and take a second look, its stories of mice using our every day things to make their homes or living as humans do. Now, don't get me wrong. I rather NOT have these little bacteria laden creatures in my home; But, I also do not faint at seeing one.  I think my fascination began when I discovered Tom and Jerry as a child. Jerry's cozy little nest was too cute. He was up-cycling when it was not in fashion: a matchbox was a bed, a pop top over a spool was a table, a thimble a cup and a post card was wall art. Growing up not so well off, Jerry reminded me that a home is what you make of it with what you have been given. So our furniture was mismatched, a bit worn and a bit wobbly .. it was okay...it was still warm and it was always home.
I just finished, the book pictured above and I loved it. Celeste finds the perfect home and adventure in this beautifully written and illustrated book. Sure its a juvenile book, but I will not read much of anything else these days outside of the office. The career I have chosen is not an easy one. I tire of reading case reports, newspapers or behavioral health journals. Juvenile literature is my way of escaping reality into a world where the impossible is possible. And, when it involves little mice making homes, I gotta read it!


I have also been working very very hard at slowing down - this is my new years promise. As a result I ponder a lot more than usual. I ponder about being Puerto Rican. My kitchen makes this subject come to mind.

Brazo Gitano and Turron: Sweets from Puerto Rico thanks to the bro-in-law. Brazo Gitano is a Guava Roll sprinkled with powdered sugar. Turron is a hard almond candy. In front are Mexican sweets. My favorite is the puerquito (the brown sweet). Its made with brown sugar and molasses among other things and shaped to resemble a piggy.... So good warm and with a cup of Abuelita Chocolate. 
I can safely say that most Puerto Ricans I know are very very proud of their culture. I know my family is! I dare you to find a Puerto Rican that does not have a couple of Puerto Rican flags in the home or some trinket from the island.  I always say that although I was not born on the island, the island was born in my heart. Yet, I am not as loud about my roots as most folks from the island are. I am not sure why this is. When people ask me my nationality, race, etc. I simply state "ImARican". I am American. I was born in America and very proud of that! Yet, I grew up a Rican (another way of saying Puerto Rican) making me somewhat confused at times. Someone told me to just say that I am bicultural. That makes more sense that not. Latina's from the South America or the Caribbean look at me as an "Americana". Yet Americans see me as Latina. ImARican and my kitchen tells this story. I was born in America but Puerto Rico was born in my heart.  

Yup, my kitchen reminds me of my roots. Like every good Latin home, I keep   Cilantro at hand. I will post the recipe for my mother in laws delicious but spicy salsa verde (green salsa) that uses cilantro. I joke that they put this stuff and jalapeño on everything including pancakes. I actually have eaten cornbread with pieces of jalepeños and it was delish!

My grandmother and mother kept crocheted items around the house. Crocheted items or doilies- another sure sign of a Latina in the house. 
 Finally, these wonderful molds. The copper colored one belonged to my mother in law when she first married. My husband grew up looking at this one and a silver colored fish mold. One whole state away…….
 ….I grew up looking at the very same silver fish. This one belonged to my grandmother along with a wonderful rooster. There was something about sitting in my grandmother's kitchen after school for my daily cup of cafe while the sun filtered through the soft white curtains and hit this fish that made the whole thing seem magical. Then again, maybe it was the caffeine hitting a 7 yr old.

 Slowing down recently has meant questioning my roots. My kitchen yelled loudly:  You are an ImArican. American born with and island in the heart.

To know where we are going
We must know where our roots are imbedded
To question who we are 
We must know who they were
To have a brighter tomorrow
We must never forget where we come from
From Gabli Musing,
Gabli

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