Friday, September 28, 2007

Book Reading!!!!!

Well, I did it! Last night I had my book reading at Books & Books in Coral Gables. Friends and family came and patiently listened to my ramblings.... I picked different passages, the parts I truly like and remind me so much of Curaçao. Needless to say than more than once I was a bit emotional and had a hard time with while reading about some event or another.... but nothing happened, no crying or hysterical laugh! That would have been something in front of so many people. Some of them do not know me well. Others know me too well and would not have been surprised!

These were my fifteen minutes , and I have to say I throughly enjoyed them! Regardless of my reservations, I can speak in public without making a fool of myself. Of course, I now wish I did things differently.....more pictures with my friends and family, more details to send to my children who were not there, too much of the book given away, wrong refreshments, who knows, I can always find something wrong in hindsight. What to do now....... Such is Life in the Tropics!!!!! Everyone was extremely nice and considered, praising my book, my presentation. I signed some books and I hope Books & Books is pleased with the sales. All that's left now is see how the book continues to sell, and isn't it the reason I did this?

When I was in Curaçao in December, I had a book signing event. My friends that know me well were there, I even sold a couple of books that day; but mostly it was a relatively lonely affair. I sat in my friend Alicia's store and waited for people to come to me. I think I am much better when I can communicate....or how my husband puts it: drive everyone crazy with my chat! Is that so bad? In this modern world we are losing the art of conversation, of exchanging ideas. We have even lost the art of writing properly with all that texting going back and forth! Oops! I am showing my age here.....

So for everyone that tells me that I only find faults with Miami, here it is: this was a much successful event than the one I had back home!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where is HOME?

A good friend gave me food for thought today. Terri read this blog and wondered.... where is home? I am no expert, but I think it has to do with the way expats see themselves. In olden times, they always referred to their native countries as home; maybe because it gave them a sense of security while living in a place completely different from what they were used to. Still, in many cases, once they went back home readjusting was hard and many never felt they did.

This still happens. When you live abroad for many years, you don't belong anywhere anymore..... but the thought of a place called home is reassuring, isn't it? On the other hand, a lot of expats do adjust to their new homes and happily live there forever.

Anywhere you go, there are the expats that never stop calling they native country home, look forward to the annual visits and would love to move back. Ah, don't know about that. Readjusting to life back home may not be as easy as we think. When you live abroad, you move on, you change in ways too subtle to even notice, but you do... and not everyone understand this back home. So going back is not always possible and one is forever at odds with family and friends one left behind.... that hasn't changed.

So, where is home? My friend is sure Denmark is her home now. She learned the language, raised her children there, feels accepted and has contributed to her community....home is where you hang up your hat, she said. I couldn't agree more! Home is where you hang up your hat or more important where your heart is.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Aerial Plants

I was in Boston this past week with my husband and daughter. It has changed so much, and it is beautiful! The air was crisp, the sky blue and there was a hint of Fall. One night we visited the North End, Boston's version of Little Italy....walked around, had an excellent dinner. With us was the daughter of friends, I have known her all her life. She is engaged , her fiance is from Boston, she from Miami. We talked about choosing where to live, where to raise children. Not an easy decision to make. In my time, there was no doubt about following your husband.... nowadays both partners have equal saying. When I married, I moved to Curacao, to Puerto Rico, to Miami and finally back to Curaçao. I did it and thought little of it, even when I had some qualms about raising my children away from my side of the family.

One thing I have discovered, mutual respect for each other's ways is very important. Embrace your differences and appreciate your similarities. Then you will discover that you can do it, you can thrive, make a life and build friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. Your children will grow up open-minded, independent and accepting, at least that has been my experience. You make your own family traditions, your own ways. It is liberating sometimes!

More often than not, when you move from place to place or to a place that is not HOME, you become self-sustaining, like an aerial plant. You remember those? beautiful and lush without the need to put roots on the ground! It continues to be hard to keep moving on, but you learn to belong everywhere and nowhere. You only have to let go and adapt, the world is indeed a village!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Close Call......again!

OK, this is getting scary, not even a month has passed since hurricane DEAN came calling to Curaçao's doorstep, and now FELIX. As I said, the storms are getting closer and closer and I don't I like it. This time it was a real close call and even though Aruba got the worst of the it all, Curacao got its share of rain and wind.

During the years I lived in Curaçao, (1982 to 2003) I remember two storms that actually made a small threat to the island. First it was Tropical Storm JOAN in 1988. The amount of rain that we had was the most I had ever seen. We even had a small waterfall formed on the highest elevation: Christoffelberg. This was unique because there are NO rivers on the island. Still, we all made our pilgrimage to the site and were dutifully impressed. The island was green and lush (another unique occurrence in this dry country) for several months. Of course we had roofs blown away, beaches ruined by the surge and flooding in different parts of the city. The Queen Emma Bridge, that spans the entrance of St. Anna Bay, was damaged and it took a while for the pontoons to be repaired. Now, if there is anything coming remotely close, the bridge is moved further into the secluded bay.

In 1999, hurricane LENNY, not a major storm but a strange one came calling. It had started in the Western Caribbean and moved Eastward..... first to do that since someone decided to keep track of the storms. That time we had rain and winds, and the surge really did a number on the beaches. It took months to replenish the sand, years to get them back to normal. I remember there was a regatta scheduled for that weekend and had to be canceled. After that it rained almost everyday until March! There was water everywhere and because there is no good drainage on the island, flooding was a part of our lives all those months. I thought I was going to go crazy.

Then there was calm. For years, every storm just went somewhere else. That was fine with me and I didn't think of it at all. Hadn't I been told that the island was outside the hurricane belt? and wasn't that true? only two storms in 17 years and no major damage. There were other storms, not necessarily ones with names, that passed through. After all, this is the Tropics, but nothing to alarm the population or make anyone be on the alert. Suddenly, that has changed. Since I moved away there has been IVAN, DEAN and now FELIX. Whoever is in charge, STOP IT!!