With love

Walking along the gray streets, sometimes, I wonder how I survived all this time without you.

pablo-4You said goodbye one morning, and although it was not up to you to stay, or to leave. The fact is that you left, and your farewell changed my life. For better or worse nothing was the same.

I was never the same.

And although, I know, deep down in my heart, that you never wanted to leave me, yet again you did.

Ironically, none of us had a say in what happened, but it still hurts, even today. In every step I walk, in every moment I live, in every dream, I still hope to find you.

And I want to think that you remember me as well. I want to believe that this post will reach you. And, that you will read it, and we will be together in some parallel universe. In one way or another.

Somehow trying to explain the emptiness you left in me, I had come up with the crazy idea that when you left, you took a piece of my heart to later hide it somewhere in the world. And that’s why I have lived like a gypsy looking for that missing part of me. Like a cursed soul, whose only hope to survive is to follow the memory of you in this world.

I guess what I mean to say so inadequately in these lines is that I will always love you and that nothing could ever erase nor replace you, ojii-chan (ojii-chan means grandpa in Japanese)

To my beloved white supremacists: Here is your brown mommy

Hey, you all…!! Come on..! What are you so sad about? What did you say?

People do not understand you..!!! Oh, my..!!

You poor little things. Now, come here and let me give you a warm hug. There, there it’ll pass. You’ll see.

What is that? That the Brown people are taking your jobs? And that the African Americans have been mean to you?

Come on..! Do not cry..! Now, put down that tiki torch.

There, there… good boy.! Now come on, let’s talk..! But first, let’s blow your little white nose. Nice..!! I will definitely have to throw this handkerchief away now.

No, I will not call you master.

Now, what is that non-sense of starting a genocide so you and your children can have an opportunity in life?

Oh, I see..!! You had privileges before, and there given to you, not because of your intellectual abilities but for the color of your skin, and that’s why you don’t have any (intellectual abilities)now.

But honey, there are so many smart and successful white people out there, what is the difference between you and them?

Ahh..! I see, they worked hard, they studied hard, and they actually made a great effort to succeed in life. But you want none of that nonsense, what you want it’s things given to you.

You want things the way they were before the civil war.

When the white man was respected and feared, and that’s why you voted for the Donald Trump, although, the functionality of his prostate interferes with his “brain abilities.”

Honey, let me give it to you straight, to succeed in life, there are no shortcuts, you have to work hard, study harder and stop with the rallies and shenanigans, why don’t you work on yourself instead of trying to bring other people down? Because that ain’t cool.
And now go on your way because this brown hot mamma gotta keep working.

 

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Introducing yourself: In Rome do as Romans do

A sunny day of spring, I bravely made my way to the closest Japanese school and tried to make one of my most precious dreams come true: Stop speaking Japanese like a barbarian.


When I got to the class, there were all younger than me, as I had expected. And all Asians. Most of them Chinese. And as I don’t speak Chinese I was feeling rather left out.

I tried to smile in a rather sad attempt to connect with them. But it was all dead silent. I was cursing myself already for being an idiot. At my 30’s something, I should have known better. I was already thinking to call my boss to apologize and ask him to give me my job back. I am sure he will believe I was “temporarily insane.” When suddenly a young teacher entered the room. Stopping my thoughts at once

He looked at us, smiled and introduced himself as our tutor. When he finished, he asked us to do the same. And if as someone had switched a lamp, the whole room became alive. The youth woke up, and the dead whispers became an animated chorus of singing cicadas in summer. It was a magical moment.

When we all finished introducing ourselves, the veil that had covered the room in the gloom was simply lifted.

And I am sure this was inadvertently for them, but for me, I had just witnessed the power of self-introduction in Asia. I have all these years thought, stupidly, that it was mainly a Japanese cultural characteristic but I was wrong, it is an Asian cultural characteristic.

In Asia, you need to introduce yourself. You must introduce yourself. As if giving the person you meet a rope to not fall off a cliff. And for me realizing this was like a car crash because I do not like introducing myself. But in Rome do as Romans do.

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My son

Taro, the little character of my book “Positive thinking to learn English (or in Japanese 英語を習うのためのプラス思考)was born one morning, when life seemed to not only have closed doors but windows, and all the paths that could ever lead to happiness. Or at least to spiritual or mental peace.
And suddenly for no reason or whatsoever, although, there is always a reason in the crazy carousel of our lives, I took a piece of paper and a pencil, although I hadn’t gripped a pencil in long time. And I held my breath while drawing fine lines and circles, and as if it were a miracle, Taro came to exist.
Smiling at me since its place in the paper, I couldn’t help but smile back at him. Very little I knew at the moment, but Taro had saved me. He forced me to look at the corner of my soul, at that part of me that I had hidden long time ago from everybody, even from myself so that it wouldn’t get hurt.
Taro softly made me look and discover that unknown part of me, at the silent place that I had always neglected, pretending it didn’t exist. But that through Taro could re-emerge, or maybe only come to be. Just be.
Sometimes life resembles a wild black horse, it will throw you. And if you are lucky, it’ll go away, but sometimes, its fury is such that it will not only throw you, but it’ll step on you, over and over again, until it is sure there is no hope to stand. Sadly, some may never stand, some stay broken, just a bare mirage of who they used to be. Some recover and get stronger, but they lose a part of their soul, and become bitter and try to take their anger on others, I think I was destined to be one of those souls. And lastly, there is a lucky group of people, who recover and become human. I think I was fortunate enough to be part of this last group of people, and although, I would like to get credit for this, I don’t think, for a second, it is my merit. I think a miracle happened. The ordinary in the extraordinary took place when Taro found me, and with him, I started writing discovering  I’m a storyteller. And with him, I never went back to be the same. I became a little braver and started putting my words out there. So, with little Taro, the story begins, again, when it should be finishing.

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Is multiculturalism an advantage in a homogeneous society?

Working with people from different nationalities, although, exciting and thrilling, it is not always a piece of cake. But I love it.

Moving without realizing it, among various cultures and languages in the same building can be a daily adventure. You never know what’s going to happen. You never know when the Latinos are going to snap at you, with their rather hot-blooded temper.Nobody knows. Even Latino people themselves don’t know when they might snap. Believe me. I should know since I’m a Latino woman and the one who always snaps (Ooops, you didn’t read that here)

But seriously, working in a multicultural environment is interesting, it can be an incredible learning opportunity because you can always learn exciting and fabulous  things about other countries and cultures

And why not? Even learn a new language

Knowledge of different languages also gives you a rather deep insight into the culture you want to know better. And in my humble opinion, a powerful tool when trying to connect with the locals.

It doesn’t matter if you speak the local language, as a barbarian, as I do. The effort is what counts 😉

And in this multicultural maze, you learn to adapt, to change your cultural skin as it were a jacket and to communicate in various ways to suit your audience.

But what happens, when you are a multilingual and multicultural person living a homogeneous society, where even the concept of multilingualism is barely understood. These societies still exist in this globalized world. And they still discovering the world beyond their borders as if they were discovering hidden moons in their backyards.

I am lucky enough to live in one of these societies, and I must admit that is not always easy, I find people staring at me when I speak with my husband in English. And even at the supermarket, people try to take a peek into my bags. You might want to know why. And the answer is because they want to know what I eat as if I came from Mars. This behavior is quite rude for many. And I agree. But in those moments, I remind myself that I am a teacher, and that understanding is vital to educate not only my students but society. Because I have decided to stay and to teach what I know. Share what I have. And nurture the people around me to let them know that the unknown world they might fear is not so scary after all.

So answering my question, I would say that multiculturalism is an advantage in a homogeneous society but not for ourselves but for the good we can do to others. What do you think?

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