Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pass the salsa, please

Another tumble for Allison. This time at the construction site after-hours poking around where we should not have been. She tripped on the sidewalk and fell. Now she adds a purple knot on her forehead and a scraped knee to the bruised lip and two absent front teeth. All these accidents are making the adjustment to life here just a little harder. I'm not doing a very good job as her protector, apparently. She says she wants to go home, that this is "your dream, Mama, not mine." My attempts to console her are hollow and I'm angry inside and I ask myself why. It has to do with my reaction to lack of control. I'm angry that she keeps getting hurt. Enough mishaps will sour her feelings about going along with the program. My plan has good intentions if I can get it rolling along. She learns some independence along with a little Spanish, Robert and I benefit from needed interest and adventure and healing.

So tonight to difuse the negative energy we all engaged in a complaint forum. She went first, then me, then her daddy: Hers, the obvious complaints, me the typical rants directed more at Robert--does anybody notice how things magically get done around here? (Our maid was a novelty that lasted three weeks before I succumbed to guilt) Isn't it miraculous how clothes appear laundered and put away and floors are swept and dishes hand-washed, and people's socks and shoes picked up, and sinks wiped clean!!!! Needless, to say, Robert didn't bother with his turn to complain seeing he spent all day on a boat with eight Mexican buddies.

That's another story, the Mexicans. They are builders in the Loreto Bay project who have taken a liking to Robert. We were invited to dinner last evening at their home in Loreto. They live in a compound of smaller buildings surrounding a main palapa-roofed house. Outside, under a full moon, carne asada was being prepared on a huge grill. Most of the people present were related, and there were faces we recognized from our forays into town like the banker who had risen from his desk to gently inform me that my picture-taking was not allowed in his institution. (I was instantly stung with embarrassment realizing that I was treating all of Loreto like a giant photo opportunity and overlooking that real business goes on here.) Everyone present was prosperous and educated, all having attended one university or another. Robert and I struggled along to understand their Spanish now and then filling them in on our background. Since they already knew essential things about Robert, he took great pleasure in presenting my personal history with lots of flourish. I was a televison news anchor and probably would have gone to Atlanta to work for CNN had I not ruined my career by marrying him. I am a writer and photographer and the voice of a cable channel back home. He had a stage and he was saying these things to honor me more than impress them; each little item based in a foggy piece of truth twisted in well-intentioned promotion.

After dinner Robert invited the men to a boat ride following an 8 a.m breakfast at our house. He and I woke early to prepare a big American style meal that included a couple pounds of bacon, scrambled cheese eggs, homemade biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, three kinds of jams, fresh squeezed orange juice. An hour later they had not showed and we joked that that's Mexico for you. Eventually they appeared. The oatmeal was a flop and I learned that salsa beats jelly here.

Tomorrow, it's week two for Allison at school. I'm hoping for a week full of great days, not medium or bad ones, as she would say. No cuts or bruises. Just more opportunities to make friends. I'll feel a lot better when she's better equipped to live with "my dream."

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