Tuesday, June 28, 2011

April 10th, 2011 - Ressurrection


April 10th, 2011 - Ressurrection
The hot and humid days are slowing subsiding, making it more bearable to live here. I am thankful that even with days like those, the weather is still manageable. I can go outside everyday.
I started to run a few miles a day on an unpaved road near by my farm. I never thought of this possibility – “to cross the border” of my farm. We always lived very secluded within our property, never wandering around, or visiting neighbors very often. My mother wanted to keep us away from strange men’s eyes, and I am grateful for it. That´s my turn now to teach my daughter to do the same.
The road goes around the farm, for a few miles, up and down gentle hills, making it pleasant to ride a bycicle. At certain point, I reach the rural paved road, and have a view of a lake. The worst part is when I have to pass by a house with a mean dog.
I try hard to look at everyday blessings I have in my life. Running in the morning, already getting some sunshine, along with my five (of six) dogs, I go under pinus trees, some honeysuckle vine climbing off the cliff, extending my vision to green pasture taken by cows to the left, and coffee plantation to the right. I rarely see people, but when it does happen, I surely know them.
Nothing else has changed much, except that I am no longer working on my vegetable garden. I have time now for running while my housecleaner works in the house. I have more time to spare, thinking, writing, reading, sleeping, and attending church several times a week.
I am preparing myself to spend here another year, trying to accept the facts the way that they are; not with the intention to change it, but to surrender. But my biggest challenge so far is to change my way of thinking. I don’t let my thoughts run aimessly anymore. I am vigilant, and gently, I redirect my mind to Jesus.
All the other plans will come in second. I feel the need to overcome the cheap desires of my flesh, toughning my soul, but feeding my spirit.
While everything looks frozen in my outward life, my inward life is bubbling with restoration of my soul. I am very excited with my new spiritual journey after two years of drought.
I am having my faith restored. When I can’t do anything else, when all the odds seem to be against me, that’s when God comes in. In a very little ways, He has shown me that there is a way. A 68-year old widow told me she bought a tiny piece of land wanting to plant mandioc, yam, and corn. If she has a dream of seeing plants growing, knowing that she can’t eat it all, I do too can take pleasure from the land. I start to think about selling a portion of the farm in order to raise some money, and then, fix up the house, and continue living here. This would cut out all the possibility of going back to America sometime soon. The longer I take to go back, the more difficult will it become. I have lots to think, but next week is the Ressurrection day, all the meaning why I still have hope. Remembering that I too can be ressurrected, perhaps not in the way I imagine, but somehow, in yet better way that only the perfect God can do.

February 4, 2011 – The Unthinkable Happened


February 4, 2011 – Unthinkable Happened
Much desired, though unthinkable, happened: my father has decided to sell the farm and move near Sao Paulo city.
I just can’t understand how a non-God sent heartbreak in my private life opened the doors to what, maybe not me, nor my brother, but my sister considers an answer to prayers that must be celebrating something like 20 years. She always mentioned to have my parents living near her so she could take care of them. But it was so remote and almost impossible, that I didn’t even consider it for prayers. I was trying to find a more painless solution made of human flesh and mind by suggesting to sell part of the farm, but keeping the house, and finding little solutions that were temporary ou doubtful such as finding a cheap caretaker or a free tenant.
The would-be cheap caretaker is only 15 and wouldn’t stay after I moved out – she is too young and shy to work by an old man; and the free tenant, in spite of confessing that it was a dream to have a free piece of land to grow vegetables, gently declined the offer. He is now more applied to find solution for us to stay in town. Volunteer work also came with volunteered suggestions. He suggested buying a piece of development, so we could build a business and a small house behind; he offered a house for sale somewhere in town; and he had more things to say as he mentioned have come to talk to us all afternoon. Fortunately, a couple of pastors were coming to pick up some donations and the conversation stopped there. I am just fearful as he said he would come back to finish the talk. What for? Just to mentioned that he is a pastor of a very tiny church he founded himself…They were the pastors that would come once in a while not to ask me out, but to ask me in – to the church services.
Alright, until the dreaded day, my father and I keep working hard to clean up the farm. He has been clearing the land covered with tall and lush weeds, selling all the rubbish he collected his lifetime, always mentioning what he is going to bring to a new home (a wheelbarrow, a sawmill, all the furniture, at least two refrigerators, all (my daughter’s stuffed animals) to my dismay. I tell him that there is no such a thing as space in city houses – at least, the size we can afford. He said he will take everything he can and leave them outside covered with plastic. Yes, I feel so positive about it. It is literately “trashy people’s house” – yellow trash.
I have been going through hundreds of letters and cards, old photos, notebooks, papers, memorabilias, old writings. I was able to get rid of many things – specially other people’s, except my writings when I was young and started my first productions. I got to keep the originals, even though, I refused to read them. Too painful to read low level literature.
I found notebooks of when I was my daughter’s age; my piano partitures I didn’t donate to a local library – I gotta keep just in case; items my mom bought for a trousseau and went unused or underappreciated (flurry blankets, old fashioned coverlets, rough sheets, bright colored towels, weird printed tablecloths, tiny table settings, cloth napkins, and other small ornamental useless pieces. But the hardest thing to donate is her crochet she made almost compulsively all her life. I can say that there are over a hundred kilos of worked material and other hundred of unused yarns. Several bags of fabric also… but these were mostly mine…projects I had and never accomplished. Even though we had four car trips full of descarted things, the house is still full.
My mother had also bought several (hundreds) of kitchen items, porcelan, crystal, plastic, glass, metal, you name it. There were boxed and put away in a large yellow cabinet in attempt to discourage stealing by a caretaker or any house worker. I don’t know if we were ever stolen, but for sure, mice did a good job in bulding a whole town, with a playground, hotel, restaurant, and all. I even found two dead mice and droppings scattered around. I put most things for donation. Before the pastors were able to come to pick it up, my cousins came by and helped themselves, thinking that “they were up for donation”, not that the donation had already a destination. I felt mad remembering that in any other move, I had to deal with vultures. Covetousness of the eyes…
I have a great sense of loss, and seen people not wanting to pay a fair price but coveting free things, don’t make any easier the process of moving. Specially for my father…He said that selling the farm is like losing a son or a piece of his heart. I sincerely hope that the lost piece can be refilled again. At least he told me he wants to buy a 42-inch TV, under my sister’s protests. I support him. Perhaps he can fill his hole with the internet (ironic speech).
My male cousin is helping us with the process. We couldn’t make without him, at least in this speed. He was adamant about selling the whole farm at once, and change the lifestyle drastically, with nothing leftover. Even though, I thought it to be a bit too rough on my father (and on me), he is right. I agreed that there must not be anything hanging to be solved later. The price is already set, and the first attempt is going to be on Monday, to our tenant.
Meanwhile, I search on the internet the real estate in our new chosen town. It is about 50 miles from Sao Paulo city, with mild climate, where Japanese community settled and developed horticulture. The home prices are high, and it seems there were no many homes for rent in downtown. I had looked into small rural properties “to live”, as they describe, in opposition to “for recreation” or “for farming”. I found pretty nices homes, with built-in bbq grill and swimming pools. The nicest ones are a bit out of our range. But I think this will be unpractical, as my parents would fall into the same problem as living on our farm – away from town facilities, and specially, a caretaker.
I confess that I am becoming so involved with the new town that I even told my daughter that we may not even move to the US. Who knows? I may find meaningful work, nice school for my daughter with lot of extra curricular activities, new places, things, and activities to explore, I may find a good yoga-pilates place, and so, so close to a metropole! I can even work there. The only thing is that…I would still be living with my parents. The positive side is that I would inherit the house that is getting up in value each year. Nice to think this way. Or…I can move nearby and have a place of my own! Who knows?
I told my daughter that God will direct us. This way, Boulder is becoming far…Specially after today that my ex-husband called worried about me landing somewhere without any support or money. He wants me to move near or with his brother (and his wife), who is not the father of my daughter to have this kind of obligation. I am becoming annoyed by their pressure to move to California instead of elsewhere. I may just stay in Brazil, specially now that my anger is subsiding and I don’t feel a real need to revenge myself of someone.
Oh, I feel like eating a tomato foccacia with onions…It’s 3:24 a.m.
Of course, no foccacia, and no even tomatoes…but I can still sabotage my hard lost kilos.

January 18th, 2011 – Desolation


January 1 Desolation8th, 2011 –
Summer down in Brazil means rain and hot days. While part of the country is under water, suffering from the worst flood ever with possibly thousands of deaths, our farm is pretty safe for not having rivers to overflow or hills to crumble down. It rains at night, dropping the temperature a bit. During the day, the muggy weather makes our house windows be covered with mildew.
The end of the year was particularly hard on me; not because of the weather, but for some heartbreak other than bugs eating up my kale. I was so dismayed with my life, that all organic talk was left aside. I totally ignored my garden, abandoning to its fate. Just a friend comes over to hoe, not knowing which one is stronger, the man or the weeds. He doesn’t know that I have given up on it for good. I have decided to move on with my life to a larger city, somewhere in Colorado State. I threw everything up and out of my heart, and I want to start over – my life, not the garden.
I had considered going to live on one of those organic farms, but I have not had answer for the only one farm I had applied for; therefore, I changed my mind and decided to live in the city, having already chosen the neighborhood. I read that it is an older neighborhood, so I imagine that it may be downtown, with small shops and restaurants, a little bit more crowded than the rest ot the town. I have chosen Whittier for its elementary school. I thought that a public international school would be great for my daughter who no longer speaks English.
So it cooled down this evening. I went to close the entrance gate, as we do every day. The walk was exceptionally pleasant, after so many weeks of humid and hot weather. On my way, I tried to knock down the giant board that announces the Organic Horticulture Program, with my name on it, without success. So I went by chayotte vine to see if there was any fruit, observed how low the lime tree is growing, the guava tree displays dozens of green fruits and some ripe, eaten by birds (and other bugs) – this land is good for guava orchard – I observed. If I had plans for this land, I would plant guava. All the guava trees were abundant. Some even yield a fruit the size of a melon.
The orchard and the vegetable patch look desolate, covered with tall weeds and vines. The corn is way too ripe, unproper for consumption; the okra is turning tough – I haven’t gathered any, even for myself. There are also leeks, scallions, parsley all under the vines. Only the smell of celery reminded me that it may have some under those suffocating plants.
The wild and aggressive aspect of the weeds taking over reminded me of movies on Southern States where abandoned properties look this way. Totally desolate. Not desert, arid, or empty. But full, crowded, airless, opressive. Like very very sunny hot days can be opressive, so lush green vegetation can be too. It looks abandoned, in spite of all the life that exists there.
It rains right now. I love it. For as long as I remember, soft or hard rain always calms me down. It settles so many things inside my mind and my heart – at least, for a while.