Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred moments, oh dear
five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure... measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets?
In in midnights, in cups of coffee?
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife...
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

2014 is almost gone and... I'm getting old. I'm thinking back about my life and thinking: what have I done with all these minutes?

I decided I'm not going to measure this year's success by how much work I had to do. Somedays I don't do much and some others I, honest-to-God, see the light of day and say: Oh Fuuuu--- it's 6AM already? send a finished file and go to bed.

Money? Nah... that's not a burden, or a joy.

So, how succesful was this little piggy (me) during the year?

I snag a picture and had the shortest chat with Rigoberto Urán during Bike week.
Is that success? being more excited about meeting a two-time Giro D'Italia podium winner than meeting Idina Menzel before the now infamous "Let it goocooooooooooo"?
- yeah, I met her too -

A couple of months ago my friends Maria() and Rafa got engaged and a about month ago they told me I was going to be their cyber "Maid of Honor". We're all social network people so I was all: WHO???? MEEEEE!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!
Is that success? becoming an important part of an important event of a couple of strangers you happened to meet a long ago and now they're the geeky cool friends you like to hang out with and they patiently take care of you even though your super allergic to their cats and you have to drug yourself everytime you visit?

During that same day, they took me on the longest bike ride on-mah-life... 95 kms (almost 60 miles).
Ninety-five kilometers!!!!! 65 from the original route + 30 to and from home.
I normally do, 25-30 kms on a Sunday stroll. The longest ever I did in the US was 50, maybe 60 km but this was waaaaaaay longer, and I was alive.
Once it ended, I rode back to my apartment under the pouring rain, all I heared as I hung my bike on the rack was the doorman asking: "Besides all wet like a puppy, are you ok, Miss?"
Is that success? overcoming your own barriers and doing things you never though possible?

Mr. Big sends his love everytime he can... and everytime he makes me smile and pout a little because I'm not with him snuggled in by his side eating pineapple pizza and watching movies like I should.
Is that success? having someone missing you as much as you miss them?

My sister's getting married and she's been marriage-thoning every Saturday on the last 6 months finding a church, a place for the party, a car, an apartment, furniture... and I've been watching everything from a safe distance, offering help when and where I may be able to.
I remember she mentioned a while ago that I would be fun if I drove the car that was going to take her to the church, so... nice, my part on that wedding was going to be "Driver of the Bride". Sweet!
A couple of weeks ago, the bride and the groom gave me a little box with a wedding invitation with my name and the words "Maid of Honor".
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be my sister's Maid of Honor which means... like in all Hispanic cultures, that I'll be their marriage godmother... oh my God... what were they thinking?? 

Yes, that is success. Thinking, for the last 3 years, how big a failure you are as a role model to one of the most important people in your life and finding out YOU WERE NEVER A FAILURE.

Yes, 2014 has been a great year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Being innocent

Today I went out on my last Sunday bike ride of the year.
Today is the "Day of the holy innocents", it's how catholics call the day when Herod killed all the newborn babies while trying to kill baby Jesus.

Today was like a scene from a Disney movie, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm.
I kept seeing little children taking their Christmas bikes and skates for a ride, actually learning how to ride without training wheels.

I saw a little girl, wearing baby blue skates, with her baby blue helmet, baby blue knee and elbow pads... falling fat on her face, crying because she got her gear all dirty and scratched.

There was this other little guy who ran in front of me and I almost ran him over. All I could do was hit the breaks and scream "Dooooooooooooooooooooon't ever do that again dude!!!!". I think he was more freaked out because of the sound and high pitch of my terrified voice than the fact that I could've hurt him.

Of course, someone was funny enough to give his grandma a full-geared bike and found out she was in way bettet shape than any of the million and a half people out on their bikes today and was now running after her.

Three little girls were out with their parents, all of them on their brand new Barbie bikes, all of them without their training wheels, each one of them going in opposite directions and their parents freaking out, screaming, and most probably regretting having those little side wheels taken off.

It was like a Disney movie, everyone was happy, everyone was friendly. Even the mom of the kid I almost killed.

But, like every little happy story, it must come to an end.

As I got home, I found my Twitter feed filled with pictures of a guy I remember having met a while ago. I checked Facebook and it was just the same... he was dead.

He was friends with most of my bike friends and friends with many of my former students from 10 years ago. Oh... no.

Cesar was dead, a group of teenagers thought his bike had more value than his life and shot him while he was up-hill training in a small town 3 hours from Bogotá... as his mom and dad were pacing him, guarding him, so other cars wouldn't run him over. They saw him died. Is there a worst memory for a parent?

Regular people barely knew his name, but among the bike people, he was one of the most important people in the city. Not only he was a bicycle activist but he was actually doing real work in the real world -- in the real city, to make it a better place for bikes. He co-wrote the book on bikes I now treasure on my desk.

Today, we're all Cesar, we won't stop riding, we're not afraid.

I join Carlos Pardo when he says: "I know Saint Peter is a cyclist, and he'll send you to the deepest of Hells, to a frozen lake where you deserve to be with Cain, Anthenor, Ptolomeo and Judas, and every single bike robber who's had the stupid and God-forbbiden idea of killing a person.".

You deserve nothing... assholes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Every stupid question

... requires a not-so-gentle answer.

Old lady: I heard your sister's getting married.
Me: Yeap.
Old lady: Oh my God!! what's gonna happen to you?
Me: what do you m--- WHAT?
Old lady: When are YOU going to get married?
Old lady: ??
Me: Duuuuude, Been there, done that, wasted my time... never again.
Old lady: Who are you calling DUDE, young lady? show some respect!
Me: That's the same thing I thought when you decided to slam yourself into my personal life.... DUDE.

... and I left.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eyes where the eyes don't see

How nice it is when you feel two eyes watching you move... smile... talk... think.
Hiding in plain sight.

And when and you look at them, they look away.
You look again... and there they are.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

And now, a sad story

I've been having some weird dreams lately.

I've seen this kid I used to hung out with, sick. Hospital bed SICK, So sick his grandma called me and asked me to visit him. I woke up before I even got a chance to know what was going on.
I've seen myself robbing a house (wait---- WHAT?)
I've seen children crying by a lake.
I've seen a weird birthday celebration that became a ninja fight that took me to a farmer's market (what the deuce?!?!) just like the ones with the giant chicken from Family Guy.


None of those dreams warned me about tonight's call.

Tito, my lended dad from DC, is suffering from something the doctors aren't sure exactly what it is he's all the symptoms of a stroke without the chemical damage in his brain. He's dizzy, he's memory is failing and he's sleepy most of the time.
When we called him, he recognized our voices immediately, he's aware of everything that is going on.

My ignorant non-medical brain thinks that's a good thing, I guess.
He knows about his therapies and the medicines he needs, but at the same time he's aware of what Tita's going through, his son and daugthers... and my little monsters.

Today was the first day I wished with all my heart to be somewhere else but home.

I wanted to be at my other home.

I wanted to help, or just to keep them company, to be there the same way they kept me company, spoiled me when I needed to smile, gave me shelter when my life was falling apart and kept my secrets when I knew I would be judged anywhere else.

I need a... something to take me there.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to the future

It's been a little over three weeks since my birthday and I'm just sitting down and... breathe Mafe, breathe.
I'm old man, I'm getting old. I'm an old hag pretending to be 10.

Working AGAIN and studying simple things AGAIN has been

Working as an baby-independent-contractor it's super hard but great. Sleepless nights learning and writing about river port/front design, bicycle paths, drivier's psycology and non-motorized-transportation is making me a little crazier than before but I'm a truly happy camper.

Being a professor has been as fun as I remembered and beyond... add to the fact that now I'm the boss... "You're the boss! You speak, we do". I'm still trying to fit that itty bitty part into my brain.
I'm a big girl now, not just pretending.

I'm taking French classes AGAIN every saturday morning and... ugh, even though I don't like to wake up early I'm on time, and I have all my books, dictionary and new French literature loaded into my Kindle since the moment I got my hands on the syllabus.
I'm a geek, sue me.

I'm not playing Racquetball anymore, I'm playing Tennis AGAIN, learning Squash, swimming a mile and a half twice a week AGAIN, and biking every Sunday AGAIN. I traded one little thing for everything else.

Birthday wishes? All of them!

When my sisters asked me how big a party I wanted for my birthday all I said was: "I just want you guys, that's all I want this year. It's been too long since we spend a birthday together, I want my family".
And so it was, my parents, my sisters, brothers-in-law, uncles, aunts, cousins... my entire family was here, just like when I was 10.

We're back to the future: one day, my family took me out for a drive and we ended up at a bike shop where a funky dude was waiting for me to help desing a bike, JUST FOR ME!!
The frame, colors, steer, breaks--- I chose every little detail and, a week later, Maya was home: a beautiful black hybrid with bright yellow rims and pedals that looks like a little bee was all mine.
I couldn't believe it, I got a bike for my birthday, just like when I was 10... AGAIN!

How do I know she's gorgeus? people stare at her, I took her to a food fair and some guys asked my permission to take her pictures. Little boys and girls stopped, stared and said things like: "you have a really cool bike", "where did you buy your bike?", "mom, I want a bike like that one". 
I'm a bike diva now.

Yeah, right.

My parents wanted to keep celebrating during the weekend:
- What do you want to do Nana?
- Let's go... fly a kite!!
I know, their faces were as flat as yours, I'm sure.
I wanted to fly a kite, I love kites and I lost mine in NJ. August is the windiest month of the year here so don't be surprised if you find families and friends going to a park, bbq'ing, camping and yes, flying their kites.
So, my sister got one and we drove an hour away from the city to a little plainfield and flew a kite... for hours. Just like when I was 10. AGAIN!

Am I an old hag pretending to be 10?

From the way I see it, I'm not pretending to be young... I'm being as young as I can be.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A senseless oniric witch

In the last months I've been having really weird dreams.
I cannot have normal dreams like winning the lottery, or being Miss Congeniality on a beauty pageant, or riding a unicorn, or getting unlimited frequent flyer miles just because.

No, Mr. Sandman must be high on mushrooms everytime he visits my pillow, because... really dude! what are you smoking??? You're going from one edge to dreamland to the opposite in the blink of an nap.

Some of them are really nice, the kind of dreams that wake you up in the middle of the night with a funky smirk and make you hold tight whatever you find next to you while laying in bed.

Thank you Mr. Sandman. You fluffy, dirty, sexy, piece of sugar daddy!

My not-so-cool dreams are very much like the scary ones I used to have before:
Death, blood, tears, funerals, dark nights, rain, strong gusts of wind, 3 children (who I don't know) crying by the side of a lake... apparently, my dreams are a copycat version of The Prisioner of Azkaban.

My dreams turn into horror movies but, unlike before, I'm not emotionally involved.
I'm watching, listening and being part of whatever's going on BUT I don't react like I think I should:
I see people cry, but I don't cry.
I see dead people, but I'm not scared. -do NOT insert a Bruce Willis joke here, don't be lame-
I see accidents, but I don't scream... I just call an ambulance and leave.

I wake up and... nothing... another day, another dollar.

They're not nightmares anymore.

They're not nightmares, or I'm facing a stage in life where seeing other people suffer does not have an effect on me.

Yeap, I've become that... a senseless oniric witch.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Being an immigrant, plus interest

"Once an immigrant, always an immigrant".

That's what my best friend in the entire universe just said to me.

It doesn't matter how long you've been away, how long you've been back, or even if you never go back to the first place; you'll always long for something you left back home or back where you used to live.

Family, friends, food, places, scents... your furniture won't be the same.

You may be sleeping in the same bed you used too 12 years ago, you may be sleeping in the most amazing bed  in the world... no, it'd never be the same.

You've earned the right to say I've been there, I've done that, I've seen such-and-such. You've been all over the world and back, you've fought giants and demons, but you've also missed many things you can't bring back: birthdays, funerals, births, fights, weddings, tragedies... simple moments that will never come back.

How much are you willing to pay for it?
Does it really have a price?

I know I'd give my head to be able to cuddle in bed with my mom while she "sleeps tv".
I'd take both my arms to be able to spend an entire day with Mona doing nothing.
I'd give my heart to bike around with Cata, just because she's into biking now.
I know I would give all I have to take care of my dad while he's recovering from surgery.

But at the same time, I kill to spend my weekends with the most amazing man on earth, making my grandma's empanadas and pineapple and ham pizza.
Being able to get away from it all and visit my best friend in the entire universe is as valuable as 10 gold mines.
I don't want to be away from MY river front where the view is amazing, the breeze is soothing, the company is always nice and I can bike around any time.
My apartment... oh, don't get me started.

Put everything on the line and check, how much are you willing to lose, how much are you going to get from it?
Is it worth it?
Is a 6-digit salary worth missing the first steps of your nephew?
Is a brand-new car worth not being able to go to the spa with your long-time best guuuurl friends?

Think again:
Would those 6-digits help the ones you're leaving behind?
Is anything or anyone making you happier that you've ever been, far away from the place you used to call home and the people you used to call "your family"?

The answer is never easy, nor it's the same for everyone.

We have a saying in Colombia: "Quien lo vive es quien lo goza".
Only the one who has been to the party knows how much fun it was.
Each one of us has a personal and very intimate party going on in our lives (pff… that came out wrong), the decisions we made would probably make no sense to the world but they do to us, so... fuck it.

Make a decision and start walking.

Just remember: you can try, but you can never be 100% in someonelse's shoes.

This is for Natalia, Luisfer, Cristina, Alejandro, Yeli, Dianila, Laura and all the Babel citizens I've met on this planet.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mode: Uncharted - ON -

No words.

My tears won't make any room for 'em, oh
And it don't hurt like anything I've ever felt before.
This is no broken heart, no familiar scars

This territory goes uncharted

Just me in a room sunk down in a house in a town
And I don't breathe, though I never meant to let it get away from me
Now I have too much to hold, everybody has to get their hands on gold.

And I want uncharted

Stuck under the ceiling I made, I can't help the feeling I'm going down
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around like you'll show me where to go.
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how to get started.

It's all uncharted.

Each day
I'm countin' up the minutes 'til I get alone 'cause I can't stay
In the middle of it all, it's nobody's fault.
But I'm so low
Never knew so much I didn't know.

Oh, everything is uncharted

I know I'm getting nowhere when I only sit and stare like I'm going down
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around like you'll show me where to go
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how to get started

It's all uncharted,

Jump start my kaleidoscope heart,
I love to watch the colors fade.
They may not make sense, but they sure as hell made me.
I won't go as a passenger, no.
Waiting for the road to be laid.
Though I may be going down, I'll take in flame over burning out

Where you are to where you wanna be and you'll get nowhere

I'm going down
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around like you'll show me where to go.
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how to get started.

It's all uncharted.

I'm going down
Follow if you want, I won't just hang around like you'll show me where to go.
I'm already out of foolproof ideas so don't ask me how to get started.

It's all uncharted.

- Sara Bareilles -

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yakamatsu (x)

Hey, Gabe and I are organizing a pot-luck dinner on his place. Wanna come?
Awwww... you guys are inviting me?? that's so sweet!
[whatever] It'll be Oscar night, we'll do dinner before and watch the show.
Sounds cool.... but who is he?
What do you mean?? It's Gabe... you know him.
No, the other guy.
What other guy?
Oscar... is it his birthday? should I buy a present or anything??
Well?? is it???
I have to go. I need to lay down.

Yakamatsu (ix)

Going out?
Ohhhh... looking nice! Who's the lucky guy???
First floor neighbors.
Oh lala!!
The guy's a 75 year-old man.
Oh... gross!!
He and his wife are taking me out for dinner.
And why aren't they taking ME as well???
Do you even know who am I talking about?
From their mailbox, I know their last name! Hui.
No sweetie, those are the chinese from the second floor. Two dudes. In their 20s.
Still, I can't believe they didn't ask you to invite me. That's rude!!
Do you know their names?
They don't know yours either. You're even. See ya!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why do I exercise?

0-3 years old: huh?
3-12: Swimming is funnnnnn!!
13-16: I have to, I don't want to fail PhyEd and my mom is dragging me to tennis lessons... ugh!
17-22: Now I want to be a badass tennis player.
23-27: I'm a yuppy and that's what we do, I want to fit the clothes I can afford now.
28-33: He drags me to the gym every-single-f***ing-day.
33-34: I just lost a TON of weight. I want to look good into any piece of rag I try on.
35+: I want to look good naked.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yakamatsu (viii)

Did you see? the Pope made the news again.
Nice, where?
He's in the cover of Rolling Stone?
What's that?
... a magazine.
Never heard of it... is it a geology journal?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Having a baby

... now that I have your attention...

No, I'm not HAVING a baby, I HAVE two babies.

Want to meet them?

Click here and here.