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Holá, José

After a day and a half of driving (well, mostly it was Mom driving and me sleeping in the car), we finally arrived at my sister’s – and nephew’s – doorstep. It was finally time for me to meet my nephew, José. I’d talked with him on the phone a few times, even Skyped with him. But soon I would see him in the flesh. My desire to hug him was already overwhelming, though I knew to wait for him to come to me. When my mom went down to Colombia to help out Jess, it took José a couple of days to warm up to abuela. (It didn’t take so long with abuelo – my father – but we figured that was because he’s also a dude.)

So, when he greeted me at the door and then ran away, shrieking happily, I didn’t take offense. Jess was there to give me a big hug, which I always enjoy. Right away, José was eager to show me all the surprises he and Jess had for me. First, there were presents. Of course, if there’s a kid around presents, it doesn’t matter who they’re for, the kid should be the one to open them. So I asked him to help me open them and even though he’d help Jess wrap them, he still acted surprised at what was inside. Everything was from his birth country: a journal, a mug, and a purse with Colombia’s flag colors on it. He tried to put the purse on my head like a hat, unsuccessfully.

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José looks over the coloring pages.

Being an aunt, I had presents for him and Jess as well. José received a Thomas the Tank Engine, coloring pages drawn by my friend Burt, and many books, including one that he and Jess had read down in Colombia. He recognized it right away and made a happy noise. Jess’ presents were a little less exciting but much more sentimental. One was a picture frame I’d made with the word “family” in big letters and the “gotcha date” stamped on it. The picture I put inside the frame was the first picture that Jess had sent me from Colombia, the two of them grinning to finally be with their family. Her other present was a set of watercolor paintings done by my friend Veruca, who is married to Burt. I’d commissioned her to make a watercolor map of José’s hometown. As a surprise, she also made a watercolor map of José’s new hometown. I framed them and Jess hung them up in the living room. They look great and I enjoy seeing them every day!

Even though José kept asking for mas, there were no more presents, but there was another surprise in store for me. I followed him into the kitchen where he showed me the torte he and his mama made together. We all sat down and had a slice. Yummy!

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José lets me hold him as abuela laughs at his adorable smile.

The next few days went by in a blur of playing, laughing, and being utterly exhausted. I knew that new moms got tired a lot; I didn’t know that new aunts did, too! By my third night, I passed out on the couch as Jess put José to bed. I slept for 12 hours that night and felt as if I could have slept even more.

We all went to the pool one day and abuela and I played with him while Jess took a well-deserved and much needed nap in the sun. He doesn’t know how to swim yet, but he knows how to hold his breath under water and kicking his legs. He likes to be submerged in the big pool, but is too scared to go by himself (he refuses to use the floaties). But that first day we were at the pool together, he let me hold him as I walked around the pool. He clung to me but he had a huge grin on his face and I relished in the time I got to hold him. I also got to sneak in a kiss. It meant so much to me that even after not knowing me for very long, he trusted me enough to let me carry him through the “scary” water.

And here’s our first family photo with Tia Liz (notice the creepy abuelo in the background?):

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(left to right) Abuelo, Tia Liz, Mama, José

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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in About me, Everyday Life

 

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Goodbye Brickyard – Part 2

The following evening was my third and final going away party. I called it the “Drink/eat this so I don’t have to move it” party. I wanted to get rid of as much stuff in my kitchen as possible so I wouldn’t have to move it or throw it out. I also wanted one more chance to play Cards Against Humanity before I lived with a four year-old and would have to watch my language.

If you haven’t heard of Cards Against Humanity, then you are missing out. Ever played Apples to Apples? It’s like that, but wrong. Just check out their website.

Two of my best friends from high school drove 3 ½ hours to come see me, which blew me away. But that’s what great friends do, right? Also a college friend, Sally, came by. I’d seen her by coincidence a few years ago, when we were both at the Butler bookstore during the basketball team’s second Final Four appearance (in a row!). But we just briefly chatted then. This gave us an opportunity to catch up a bit more and just hang out, something I wish I’d strived to do more with Sally while I was still in Indy. Patti also came, though not her two young girls, who I’d babysat a few times before. After all, it was a grown up night and no one under the age of 18 should be exposed to Cards Against Humanity. But she told me that when the girls heard I was moving away, they said, “I thought she was going to babysit us forever!” It was very sweet, but I have my own family to babysit for now.

When the crowd was down to just a handful of us and the game was getting old, we switched to another one of my favorite card games: Anomia. Basically, everyone has a stack of cards and they each take turns to flip one up in front of them. Each card has a symbol and a subject, like “Mystery Novelist” or “Famous Ghost”. If the symbols from two cards match, the players must name something from the other person’s card first. The first person to correctly name something, gets the other person’s card. In the end, the person with the most cards won, wins. It sounds pretty easy, but if you play it, you will find that thinking on the spot and under pressure makes for a lot of “uhs” and “ums” and will make even the smartest person look stupid. For example, I had to name a famous astronaut. Not hard: Neil Armstrong. But then I had to name a famous inventor. Because this card was with the same player as the previous one, my mind automatically went to my last answer and I’d blurted out, “Neil Armstrong!” So, after a few rounds and many, many laughs with that game, the party dispersed.

The next morning my mom arrived to help with final preparations and take my cat to her new home. Dad arrived a few days later and the next day we packed up the truck* and hit the road, leaving the Brickyard behind.

*Actually, I hired people to pack the truck for us. Best use of my money ever.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in About me

 

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Goodbye friends

Yesterday was my first goodbye party for former and current coworkers. We were at Mediterra Restaurant in Broad Ripple*. I started the night with the passion fruit Sangria and the pesto flat bread (pesto, feta, Kalamata olives, and red onion on flat bread – perfecto!).

Of course, the company was fabulous and I was able to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. I was also able to get pictures of everyone before I left so I can have a scrapbook full of my friends’ faces!

Here’s a group shot:

Group shot before a fond farewell!

Group shot before a fond farewell!

I am in the first row, second from the right. The picture I’m holding in my hand is one of my nephew. Since he is the reason I am moving, I only found it fitting that he be in the picture as well.

My favorite part, though, had to be when someone was taking a photo of me with another person and said, “Is it just me or is this blurry? I can’t tell; I’ve been drinking wine.” It was, in fact, a blurry photo, but it was still funny!

All together it was a great night and only a few tears were shed on my part (after almost everyone was gone). I have a spectacular group of coworkers because they are also my friends. I will miss them all!

*Broad Ripple is in Indianapolis and it is where many 20 and 30-somethings go for dining and drinks.

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in About me

 

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