1. My Tia's, my grandfather, my Tio Ruben- they were all teachers in Mexico. I experienced a different education when I spent Summers there in elementary and middle school. It was fundamental to my love of learning. My heart aches for Oaxaca. For those women getting their hair forcefully cut in the middle of their town. I see my Tia Mari in their faces. My heart is with those Maestras.
2. Yesterday while at Target, I heard a FaceTime sound go off. I turned the corner in the sports equiptment area and see a cute viejito talking to his grandkids, showing them the pool he was about to buy them. Thick, beautiful Chicano accent, all like, "Look, mija! Popo is going to buy it for you! Call your Mami!" South side, I love you forever and ever.
3. I've been swimming more times in the last two weeks than I did all last Summer. I'm a Taurus, that's an earth sign, right? Pero I LOVE LOVE LOVE the water. This year marks the first time I have worn a bathing suit in probably 20+ years. Like, for real. I found this perfect but imperfect suit at Target, and although it's not the best fitting (basically no boob support...) and I'm never looking back. Do you know how much easier it is to wear a suit? How much faster you dry and how less bulky it is? I lived that t-shirt and shorts life for far too long. Next up will be a tankini- just watch me!
3. My little Etsy store has been keeping me toda busy these days! I'm so grateful for all the orders I've been receiving daily, and as this Texas heat gets crazier and crazier, I am happy to be working from home in the comfort in my workspace with a window unit. I live that 64 degree life, ya'll! I'm working on releasing some new prints soon, and my Chingona Series earrings are coming along nicely! Etsy lets me know how many return buyers I've had, and it's lots! Is it you? THANK YOU! I'm excited for some new stickers coming really, really soon, pero the icing on this month's cake? THIS TOTE BAG! Dedicated to my Guelita Petra, who has inspired a ton of poderosas/chingonas/cabronas. You can grab this and others on my Etsy, in the Tiendita tab up above!
4. Plantitas:: Plantitas
I have had the same baby plants living on my window sill and around my house for a long, long time. A collection made from gifts, and finds. They make me smile every single day, and as my comadre Diana told me, they seem to be happiest when I'm happiest.
5. Cuatro Años /De Que Manera Te Olvido
The first Summer I had my period I still went and stayed with you. I managed to stain myself, your sheets, your bed, my panties... And you never shamed me for it once. It was completely different from sharing a space with my sister who would taunt and tease me endlessly when I had that kind of accident. You washed everything I stained, by hand, like you did everything else. You taught me how to steam myself, how to sleep on my side so that my cramps would ease. You made me te de manzanilla, and massaged my panzita.
I don't know if that was the last Summer I spent with you. Something tells me that it was. I guess it was my last Summer as a little girl.
A Facebook reminder told me that we buried you four days ago (yesterday). I can't believe so much time has passed us by. Since you left I quit my job at KCI, the one you were really proud of me for finding and keeping. The one you told me to take care of. I know you didn't mean it. I always looked up to you because you did what you were meant to do- you taught, you volunteered, you did what you wanted.
My days are now mostly spent doing what I want. Tia, I run a little Tiendita out of my home. La misma casa. I live in the same home I grew up in. Just like you did. Les hablo a mis vecinos, just like you. Mis amigas me vienen a visitar, igual que a usted. A veces me toca viajar, aunque prefiero por avion, me toca mas por carro-- Igual que a usted.
A memory that I will carry with me always is when we were saying our last physical goodbyes at the cemetery in Piedras-- the same space your mother is in, the funeral parlor guy made a speech. He was your former student. He said you were the hardest teacher he ever had. The one who graded the strictest. The one he loved the most. He said you taught kids that went on to be lawyers, doctors, nurses (like you), teachers (like you), mothers... There were a few other former students there too. One of your old teacher comadres, I remember her very well, remembered me as the Chiquita con los lentes that you used to bring to work in June.
Regretting that we grew apart will be one of my biggest heartaches forever. I'm sorry.
I live my life in your honor. Le prometo cumplir con los deseos de las dos lo mas que pueda en esta vida. Le prometo viajar mas, con usted en la mente, in my heart. I promise to do the things you suggested for my life. To sing out loud to my favorite songs. To people watch. To laugh all the time. To do what makes me happy. I miss you every single day. Ay mi Tia consentida, como la extraño. Como quisiera abrazarla una vez mas.