Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Letters To Alejandro #2

                                             Dearest Alejandro,
I write this letter at the risk of putting myself out there, the risk of unveiling myself for all the world to see, at the risk of even more hurt. I've listened to sappy love songs on repeat all week long, looking through old text messages and pictures, breaking down in between for a moment or two.



I wasn't in love. Let me make that clear.
He was simply a "friendship" gone terribly wrong, and for all the right reasons. I'd gone in it, as I usually go into theses things with men, looking at them as nothing more than bystander, a temporary witness to my life, and for about a month it worked. Until I started to actually feel. And once I realized this, I felt like running as I always do when these things come about. I felt like running for the hills, for Mexico, for my freedom. With the fear of heartbreak still settling in my stomach, and the feeling of unrequited love nostalgically rising in my throat...I went for it.

 After two years of pushing every one else away, I'd finally opened up for this one, putting my heart out on a tiny little platter for the taking, letting go of every past insecurity, fear and heartbreak, and letting him see me.

And everything I held within.



Alejandro, I'm unsure why I even I let him in, maybe it was to be brave, to finally take a chance with something, or maybe it was because I was ready to let go of you once and for all. I took a chance, and yet here I am, listening to sappy love music.

Heartbroken. Again.



Let me make it clear again, I was not "in love" because I know it sure seems like it. I simply liked the guy, and the way I felt with him (happy.) And I've had greater loss, I know, but this one really hurts, down to the marrow (right now at least) I think what hurts the most, is not that it's over, or that he still hasn't called (and probably never will) but that I took a risk (for once in my life) and got beat. Beat down pretty bad. And I know I will get over this one, as I have in the past, but for now I'm thinking of  those who say "Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise."Well I've lost, and I'm not feeling very wise, just hurt and a little bit hopeless. Because as much as I read quotes that cheer me on claiming "At least you tried!" I'd rather have not tried at all, I'd rather have stood on the sidelines safely and not have gotten hurt.

But it's too late for that now.











Monday, October 17, 2011


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Letters To Alejandro # 1


My Dearest Alejandro,
They say the love that lasts the longest, is the love that is never returned. It has been two years since you walked down those stairs and said goodbye. Two years since I last saw your face. Two years that I still haven't been able to get you off my mind. 

Two year since this un-returned love has lasted.

It was late June 2009. I was only nineteen. Summer was  just arriving as you left. We had spent the Winter in the Caribbean, soaking up the sun, and working on our tans. We fell in love. Or at least it sure felt like it. I still clearly remember sitting with you underneath the warm Caribbean night sky watching the moon trying to out beam the sun, listening to the waves fall into each others arms, and the single red rose you'd left for me that night at the foot of my bed. Alejandro, you were the closest I'd ever gotten to a fairytale and now two years later...I just don't want to give it up. Falling in love with you was easy, you made it easy...but falling out is crippling. Like making someone crawl, when they've already learned how to walk.


Guys have come and gone, and I've felt a glint of what could possibly be love, but never fully let myself get there. I sent them on their way, and forgot about them, over a few weeks time, sometimes it took longer. But you were always there, on my mind. Wondering where you were, and what you were thinking, what grand adventures you were having, and who you were having them with. Have you thought of me often? I understand if you haven't.



The biggest part of me wants you out of my mind, out of my heart, out of my bones, and I even get angry at myself thinking of you, remembering you. Missing you. Alejandro, I'm not sure there is a point to this letter, I am not writing you to ask you to come back to me, nor am I writing you telling  you that I am finally moving on, I am simply writing you to tell you that I still love you, I still love you and I hate myself for it everyday. And that I miss you.
Been missing you since the second you left.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Nine Year Old Guidelines To Finding A Husband




When I was little I used to think silly things about the man I would marry, I even had a set of "guidelines" for the right man. Though now that I am older, I look back on those so called "guidelines" and can't help but laugh. Things like; he had to have the same amount of letters in his name that I had in mine. Thats N-i-c-o-l-e-t-t-e I'd think nine letters in my name, so he'd have to have nine letters in his. Or that; he'd have to have the same last name as me GOMEZ. This was because I was (and still am) proud of my last name and where it came from...and wasn't (and still am not) keen on changing my last name. And the last one I remember was sillier than ever...one day while my grandma was doing laundry the topic of middle names had come up...my uncle Louie's middle name in particular-my grandmother had told me She named him Louis Alfonso Duran. Alfonso; I thought in my little 9 year old brain...that name is so romantic, I think I'll marry it! 

At 9 years old, I had it planned out...I would marry a man named Alfonso Gomez...and we would live happily ever after. Forget the amount of letters he had in his name that was too complicated! All the little details in between (like if he was a good man or educated or had the same morals) really didn't matter...I mean I was only 9!!

Since then my "guidelines" have changed




Though there is an instant I often remember; being 16 and going out on my first date, with a guy who was named Luis Gomez. He was no Alfonso Gomez, and definitely didn't have nine letters to his name but I though it funny that at 16, when hearing his last name I remembered those 9 year old"guidelines." Being twenty two now, I don't really remember too much about that time, I remember meeting him at a friends birthday party, where a friend whispered in my ear "he thinks you're cute" and me thinking "really...me?" I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. A Spanish looking kid with dirty blond hair and dark green eyes, he was dreamy even without the last name. I remember going out in his red Mustang, feeling mature cause he had his own car, meeting his mom, seeing their apartment, and all the pictures inside it...I remember going home. And to be honest I don't remember how or why we lost touch. But I remember thinking of him often, thinking I would find him again one day and marry him...so I wouldn't have to change my last name! 

And of course since then, I dated other guys, and was even engaged...to a man who was neither Alfonso nor Gomez. And then just recently (years and years later) while bored on Facebook, I hit the search engine...decided to look him up...one thing about Facebook...is if you want to find just about anyone you can, because almost everyone is on there...well he wasn't. But I'd remembered his sister-who was near my age...looked her up, found her and added her, hoping to come across him. Never really said anything at all to her, until just the other day.

I saw a post that read: I thank God everyday for the blessing to have spent 18 years with my big brother, Happy Birthday Luis, I'm sure God does parties up there better than we do!


I contacted her. Found out that he passed away, in 2007. January 20th 2007 she says. I try my hardest to think of what I was doing that day...that month, that year. And I know it was so long ago that we dated and that he passed, but sadness rushes over me. And I wish there were some way I could've been there, could have changed the way things came out. Maybe I could have saved his life, I think, as if I am some sort of heroine. I wish I could've been at the funeral. Seen him one last time. The thing about that is, I can't. No matter how much I cry and weep for it, I can't. The thing about death is that no one ever knows when it is coming, no one ever knows when to step in and start appreciating the people in our lives. It just sneaks up, and then we are filled with regret.



Less than four months ago, my grandpa died, and I remember feeling the same way, thinking the same things. I wish, I wish I wish.... I wish I would've done so many things different, would have told my grandpa I loved him more often, would have came home from Mexico sooner.

But I can't. 

Now, I am older. I am no longer waiting for that Alfonso Gomez to sweep me off my feet and marry me (though I still think about it) I have a new set of "guidelines" a set of twenty two year old "guidelines."  Ones that are a bit more... practical, who knows if they'll stick.

Though Luis Gomez will always be a reminder of how close I almost got to those nine year old husband "guidelines"...a reminder of not taking the people in my life for granted.

So this one is for you Luis, may you rest in paradise.



   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Say That You'll Love Me



Grr...so I haven't been posting much lately, simply for the fact that I have been focusing more on my novel. Just typing the word novel makes me shudder a bit, when you tell people you are working on a novel, they either a. think you're brilliant or b. think you are insane. Which am I? Brilliant or Insane? No...don't answer that, it's best I didn't know. Anyhow, I came here to specifically talk about LOVE. That four letter word you either...well, love or hate. Love because you are in love, or hate because you have been burned by it or haven't experienced it yet.

Lately I have been hearing a lot of talk (mainly from my girlfriends) about how much they want and yearn to be in a relationship, to be married, and to simply just be with a man. These are girls who have "dated around" and I mean nothing bad by saying that, though what I'm saying is, these girls end up rushing into something with the WRONG guy, end up getting hurt and blaming him! Is it his fault? I mean if you deliberately go after a guy who has no sense of commitment whatsoever (even though you want to be married) a guy who really doesn't want kids (even though you want quintuplets) and who just wants to mess around (even though you're waiting till marriage) how exactly do you expect it to work? Err...maybe I'm rambling, but I am just angry at girls in general. Making us women look so vulnerable and helpless, making us look like all we want, and care about is men, men, men and marriage, marriage, marriage. Ladies, if you're looking for a good guy, it's usually not the good looking hunk flirting with your co-workers, or the one that has had three different girlfriends in the past three months. The good ones are always hiding. Usually in the back of the library or at home studying for his Calculus quiz tomorrow. Okay, okay maybe not all of them are there...but I like to think that's where mine is!



You see, I am not anti-love. I have loved and lost just like any other, and been so heart broken to the point where I hated all men. I'm over that phase.I remember Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, where all my cousins I grew up with would bring their husbands, fiances and boyfriends over to meet the family, and I simply felt embarrassed. Embarrassed because I was still alone. Twenty years old and still not a man to bring to the table (literally) I felt frowned upon by my family...even though they said nothing. And soon after began looking for Mr. Right in all the wrong places. I dated some really weird guys....like one who liked feet a little too much, some very intelligent guys...one who was at UCLA...and some fairly normal guys....one who was ready to settle down and marry me. And from doing this, I realized as nice as most of these guys would be to bring home for Thanksgiving, none of them were it, for me at least. And have since, given up dating all together. When Mr. Right comes around, I will know it, and so will you. I think finding love is more waiting than anything. There should be very little seeking, things should just come together. Flow. You should wait for that guy that is going to treat you like everyday were the day he fell in love with you. The guy who you don't settle for, but are certain of, without a doubt.

Ladies, don't just sit around and wait for your life to come at you. Put yourself on a higher pedestal. Actually go out and live your life, travel, seek, explore and get in trouble sometimes. Set goals, other than "getting married" and "having children" (though nothing is wrong with that goal) I'm simply saying, we are young, beautiful and capable of much more than we hold ourselves to. And once we realize that, there he'll be.



 -NICO

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Poem For Your Wednesday




Not really sure where these words came from, was watching a guy sitting in library next to me and it just kind of rolled out, and stopped coming after awhile, that's why it's left unfinished. Anyway here's a poem for your Wednesday. Feedback welcome!


Andrew's sitting alone in the lunch room
been that ways since 4th grade
wearing a t-shirt that says "Live long and prosper" 
khaki pants that are just a few inches too short
and black Etnies that have been out of style since like...always

His head is held low, his self confidence even lower 
with earphones so immersed in his ear canals
he can barley hear that voice in his head telling him he's worthless
he eats his lunch quietly, hoping today will be the day, 
the day someone recognizes the greatness within him, 
the day someone tells him they give a fuck
The day that semi crashes into his bus on the way home
The day he gets the courage to pull the trigger
To take those pills
To tie that noose

Jenna's sitting at the table next to him

All alone just the same
been that way since her best friend Loni moved away in the 5th grade
she's wearing a t-shirt ten ages too old for her
and shoes that are hand me downs from her older sister
She holds her head up high
faking the self confidence
exposing her breasts and pouting her lips
hoping that today's the day someone will recognize her
tell her she's worth it
tell her she's beautiful

                                                                 find a way to disappear
that the condom won't rip
that the razor will slip 
and it will all end


.....



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Something Worth Holding Out For.

Ronald and Nancy's engagement photo

On Thursday I picked up a lovely little book titled  I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan along with two other books about "bettering my writing." While I am already half way through I love you, Ronnie, I have yet to finish five pages of the other two books. I can't seem to pull myself away from this book, even now as I type I'm torn to close my laptop and finish it off...but I had to share this with someone!

I have always been intrigued with Ronald Reagan former 40th president of the United States, but finding out he was a romantic made me love him even more. The book is filled with love letters, doodles and cards that Nancy saved from Ronald. From their dating years there are simple letters of affection and happiness, that move onto more romantic letters, and cute little one liners.



In one letter he writes "Man can't live without a heart and you are my heart, by far the nicest thing about me and so very necessary. There would be no life without you, nor would I want any." 

In another letter he writes " It is a day on which I love you 365 days more than I did a year ago and 365 days less than I will a year from now. But I wonder how I lived at all for all the three hundred and sixty fives before I met you."  

Sigh.

Where has all the romance like this gone? I hate to sound ancient but nowadays people don't write letters like this, they send instant messages, emails and texts, they take advantage of the person they once fell in love with. Ronald Reagan is the kind of guy I have been holding out for, the kind of guy we should all hold out for! A guy who will love you even more than the day before, who will treat you as if everyday were the day he fell in love with you. And this isn't just for women, but for men too. Never settle for less than you deserve. Okay, maybe you aren't going to get a guy like Ronald who will leave you love letters and doodles at your bedside, but still, I believe in romance, in true love and fate. Call me silly but I'm still holding out for it.


 Though I have yet to finish the book, I definitely recommend the book to anyone who is a romantic, or loves Ronald Reagan. You won't be disappointed!



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To The One That Got Away.






I've been thinking about the times we used to spend together, conversations for hours in your beat up old black Honda. Talking about anything and everything, and not noticing the silence in between it all. I still can't forget all the ridiculous times we had together, both so silly and incredibly romantic. Nights with you, sitting at the edge of the world gazing up at the moon. Real talk.  I remember it all. The song that was playing on the CD player in the car when you first kissed me, with the sun beaming down on my legs, your hand softly resting on my jaw, and me thinking that the universe and everyone in it had conspired into putting this one moment together. In putting the two of us together.

And it's funny how one destiny can greedily change its mind, how you can have the world one moment, and nothing the next, how I distinctly remember that feeling in the grave of my stomach, the last time I saw you, knowing it was the last time. I still really can't get it through my head that you grow distant from people, and that good things come to and end sooner or later. But along the way, I've learned so many things, like looking up at the stars is always better with someone next to you, like my knees really do get weak when you're around, like I'll  always think of  you when I hear that song, and that no matter how many times I play it back it won't take me back to that point in time, it won't take me back to you. I found out that clichés are clichés for a reason, and that it truly is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  
  


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dearest Isabelle,







Leaving you off at the bus stop was hard enough. And I'm certain you noticed, I didn't cry. I'm certain you wondered why. Why you couldn't stop crying, and why I didn't even shed a tear. And I had wondered why as well. Though as I sit here, writing this letter to you, I simply can't hold the tears back, because as I came home after dropping you off, I came home to the absence of your grimy running shoes at the foot of the door, your frilly outfits hanging in the closet, and your makeup scattered all over the bathroom counter. 

And I cried.

I cried for the absence of you. Thinking that you would walk through the door any minute, telling me about your day at work and all the wonderful things you learned. Cried for the time we'd spent and the time we won't spend now. Remembering me teaching you how to dance to salsa in the kitchen, you teaching me how to make a perfect pasta and everything else in between. And I know those last days we spent together you caught me staring at you. Staring at you because I wanted to remember every little freckle and hair on you. 

The truth is, I never thought I would need to remember, because selfishly I thought you'd be here always. As a permanent memory of sorts.


Truth is I never wanted you to leave in the first place, I would have been happy with you by my side always. With the grimy shoes and the makeup scattered across the bathroom counter. So I'm unsure why I'm even writing this letter. Because your halfway across the world already. And I know there's no bringing you back or turning back time. But I just wanted to let you know that I'm sorry, I'm sorry I cried after you left, and not when I should have, I'm sorry I thought you would be there always, and I'm sorry I didn't ask you to stay. And in case you didn't know already, I love you. 
  
Frank



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 104: The Last Dance







 May 15, 2011



Yesterday was my last FULL day in San Cristobal, today my bus will leave heading towards Tijuana at exactly 1 pm...Well 1 pm Mexican time, which could mean at 2 pm...Maybe even 3. Yesterday morning I had woken up with the worst migraine in the world, and as I stumbled out of bed and stumbled on over to try and look for pills unnoticed, I'm greeted cheerily by Yolanda and Pancho, as I hide my "morning face" I grumble that I have a headache, Yolanda say it's the heat, while Pancho tries to take pictures of me with his phone, but I'm certain it's because today is my last day here in San Cristobal. I'm certain that in some particularly odd way my body understands I'm going home and if I were crazy enough I would even say this is a sign, a sign from the earth, from my body, or from the tiny little  nerves in my brain telling me I should stay, I shouldn't go home. But instead I fumble around with a box that I believe is some form of Aspirin (but I'm unsure because it's all in Spanish) and take two with a glass of water. After taking the two anonymous pills I begin packing, begin getting rid of things I don't need, of things I probably do.



Around mid-day as I'm sitting on my bed, painting, Pancho and Yolanda invite me over to lunch. Yolanda has prepared my favorite; fried fish, guacamole, Spanish rice, and those delicious little black corn tortillas I love too much.  It's only three of us. The three originals, I think. The two I have gotten closest to over this three month long hiatus. The two who know me the most here. (Well beside Javo.) And as we sit there eating and laughing and talking about things that are of no importance, I get this feeling in my throat, and Yolanda would said it's a fish bone, but I'm certain I am about to cry, yet I hold back the tears anyway. And the day continues on...



After we've finished eating, we all share in helping cleaning up, and I finish up both my packing and my painting and what seems like an hour later, I am sitting around the table, with most of my closest friends and some who I've only met this week, eating yet again and talking about nothing and everything. A "despedida" they say; a going away dinner. Javier, a Spanish guy who I'd only met a week and a half ago is making me "hash" these delicious little potato slices with cheese and who knows what else, while Sergio, a guy I'd met only two days ago is making me delicious pasta. I sit around the table, and get that feeling, that fish bone in my throat kind of feeling. But still, I hold back, and pretend I'm strong.



After dinner, I am pulled out on the dance floor with Yolanda, Virginia (a lovely Chicagoan who I have had the pleasure of knowing for this past month) Pancho, Manuel (my chistoso) and Javier. I had spent many days out there, in that plaza (mostly Thursdays and Saturdays) across from the Posada dancing marimba with both new and old friends. And there I was, for the last time. The music began to take me away, and I drift off into memories I really would like to keep until another time. To look back on when it rains. And finally after much resistance, a small tear rolled down my cheek as Javier spun me. I wiped it away as if it were an eyelash on my cheek, a bug pestering me. And we continued to laugh too loudly and dance terribly.






 Stupidly I begun crying when I had asked Manuel  where Javo had been. Javo was a friend of Pancho's, who quickly became my best friend (in Chiapas.) I had told him on Wednesday that Sunday would be my last day here in Chiapas, and he had to come over on the weekend so we could dance the night away one last time. He'd agreed, and I'd expected to see him Friday, or Saturday even. But here we were hitting early Sunday morning and I had yet to see him. Manuel had spilled the beans, he had told me Javo hadn't come intentionally, because he hated goodbyes.  And there I was, in all my glory, in front of all my friends, bawling my eyes out. Not just for Javo who made the bad days seem brighter, but for Pancho, who taught me how to salsa dance, Yolanda, who taught me how to make rice and a really good cup of coffee, for Manuel who taught me how to laugh, and I mean how to really laugh, for Tom who helped me with my bad Spanish, for Virginia and Kelsi who bring me chocolate and remind me of home, for Bernaldo, "mein Schatz" who would let me talk his ear off for hours as long as I kept the coffee coming, for Clara and Aldo and Rita and Team Tigre and to all those who already left, and those who I will probably never see again, but still like to pretend that one day I will. The tears came down like rain, and at the moment, I could have cared less who saw me.





So here's to the last dance, to those who made it all worth while, to leaving behind and one day coming back to them, to sticking it out when things got rough, to living it up and taking chances.

To going home. 



 To one dream down...and many more to go.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wake me up when it's over.



It's nearly 6 am, the sun is beginning to rise and still I haven't slept one wink.  This past day and a half has felt more like weeks. I have spent half the night at the hospital and the rest of this morning here, at home with my older sister and my mother; digging through tubs of photographs. Searching for photos...photos for the wake.

My grandfather passed away at exactly 11:30pm last night. And I begin to feel sick to my stomach thinking that less than 24 hours ago I was talking to him about my recent trip to Mexico, he'd asked about the food I ate there (he loved food) "Did you eat a lot of beans out there?" I hear him asking in his goofy old voice. And my mind begins to drift off...



To somewhere happier...

Now It's nearly 11 pm. It's still Monday.  And I have spent the day here at home with family, with my sisters, aunt, cousins, mother and my grandmother. We spent the day in, like crabs, only opening the door for more family members or to let the dog out. And for a minute everything almost felt okay again. With my cousins here, things felt better. All of us exchanging stories, about our grandpa and the goofy things he did. Everything felt okay. Until I looked around and didn't see him falling asleep in his comfy old love seat, like usual. "Oh I'm just resting my eyes." he'd say

My grandpa was everything a grandpa was suppose to be and more. And I can't thank my grandma enough for finding such a "gentle giant." My grandpa who loved lemon meringue pie, my grandpa who called EVERYONE "darlin" my grandpa who went on for days with his life stories...even when we started falling asleep, my grandpa who still asks me what Santa brought me come Christmas time, my grandpa who was always smiling wide in every picture we dug up in those tubs.

My Grandpa (choka)


And after all the pictures have been dug up, all the posole has been eaten, the tears dried, and the family had gone home, I've ended up here. Alone. Next to grandpa's bed. Letting it all out. But still, holding it in. Because I would much rather be angry. Angry at God, angry at the doctors, but most of all angry at myself. For not being there with him these past three months. For not spending every second of these past two days I had, with him. For not running up to him and giving him a big old bear hug every chance I got. For not knowing he wouldn't make it from one hour to the next.


And I know you're gonna tell me "he's in a better place" and "that his pain is gone now" but to be brutally honest I don't want to believe you, because there can never be better if he's not here with us, telling us his life stories and sneaking sweets when no one's looking.  

And I feel like I have been sitting here for hours, yet it's only 11:30 pm.

I hear the dish washer running in one ear while Sanctus Real's "I'm Not Alright" plays in the other ear. And this is literally the 100th time I have listened to this song. And I'm going on 101 and still I'm not sick of it. Still I haven't come to terms with him being gone. Because whenever I hear the door open, I jump up, hoping it's him walking through the door. 

But it's not.

And I'm certain this is the 110th time now. It's five past twelve. It's Tuesday. And I haven't really slept since I woke up early Sunday morning. And I keep thinking that I want to wake-up, that I want to wake-up from this terrible nightmare. 

And then I realize I've yet to fall asleep. 



R.I.P Charles Maddux May 22, 2011



,










Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dearest Frank,



Before I'd left yesterday, I could have sworn you'd asked me to stay, though instead I'd left. Left for all the wrong reasons. And I'm standing here now at your doorstep, like a fool. Defeated and desperately tired. My feet are aching from the long walk back to you, my shoulders bruised from all the weight I've been carrying on my back. All the things I've been holding in. And as romantic as it would sound to tell you I love you, to tell you I simply can't go on with out you. I won't. I'd be lying if I did.

 Though as I'd sat there in the bus station, with my ticket in hand and my luggage slumped over beside me, I couldn't help but think of you. You and all the things I'd wanted with you. For once, I'd want to stay. To stay through the good, the bad and the destructively depressing. So here I stand, like a fool with my foot in my mouth and my cheeks stained with tears. Ready to tell you, that I'm back. Back for good.

Isabelle




.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dearest Frank,



There's been a lot I've been holding back. More than you know, more than even I know. And I've waited so long to tell you. Patiently, like a child on Christmas morning. And days have turned into weeks and weeks into months and here I sit, with you in the next room. With a lump in my throat, a feeling I get right before I'm about to cry. I've never been able to control this feeling and I hate it. If I could make it disappear I would. If I could tell you all the things I'm feeling I would. So instead I write it. Write it, because it's what I do best.

 So here. Here I stand. And these past few hours, these past few days, weeks, months I have been going crazy. Literally crazy thinking about what this is, what we are. If it was nothing more than a kiss, nothing more than a moment that passed between us. Because to be terribly honest, and let me remind you, that this honesty doesn't come easy. The kiss, for me was more than a passing moment, or a mutual agreement. I know because every second, every minute afterwards I have not yet been able to get you off my mind and to be blunt, I hate it. I hate that I can't get you off my mind, I hate that once I've reached that point of determination to stop thinking about you, there you are. With those eyes and that smile I can hardly resist. Maybe for you this was simply a kiss, simply something that  has happened often, and with many...I'm not sure. But to me it meant something more, and I'm sitting here wondering if it meant anything at all to you...if not you can disregard this, we can go on being friends, acting as if this had never happened. But if it meant more....than the rest is up to you to say so. I felt I've said too much already.

                                                  -Isabelle

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A few nights in Tuxtla



     I'd been standing in the middle of my third class. Second to my last. With this slapped in the face kind of feeling. This paralyzing feeling.  I had thought about San Cristobal, and how after these last two classes I wouldn't be greeted by familiar faces as I walked home, I wouldn't take off my shoes, let down my hair and flop onto my bed. I wouldn't see Poncho's goofy smile greeting me at the front desk, or Yoli’s mischievous smirk sipping cafe con leche in the kitchen. This sudden fear ran through me like a bolt of energy. A bolt of realization. I had left San Cristóbal. I had left home. And though it was only for three days I had felt this rush of change in me. This change I still am unable to recognize. 

    The call had come early morning Wednesday, I had already cleaned the hostel, checked people in and out, eaten breakfast and I was now lounging in bed reading Isabelle Allende's Of Love and Shadows. “Nicooo, telephonooo” Yoli yelled out putting much emphasis on the O’s. I'd hopped up out of bed hoping it was some long lost ex telling me he simply couldn't go on without me. It wasn't. It had been a friend of mine who needed as substitute for her class for two days in Tuxtla. Tuxtla is the capital of Chiapas and only an hour and some minutes away from San Cristobal. The problem? I had a class at 12 pm in San Cristobal that day that would end promptly at 1:30. But I'd said yes anyways. I'd needed this. A short get-away from San Cristobal and everyone in it. I know, I know that sounds terrible…but I'd gotten cabin fever and simply wanted out. So I'd jumped at the chance, and after my 12 o clock class I'd power walked home, packed up the essentials, said my goodbyes and headed off to the bus station. It was  2 o clock, the bus would depart at 2:30. The walk between my house and the bus station was approximately 30 minutes. I was testing time, and because I am both stubborn and cheap…I would not succumb to taking a taxi. Luckily I had made it, with time to spare to buy a bottle of water. I'd soon boarded my bus and was on my way to Tuxtla. It had not even phased me yet. This morning I would have never of thought I'd be here, on a bus, leaving all that is familiar to me. I guess that's life, when you take it one day at a time. With no plans or collection of "to do" lists.



I arrived in Tuxtla at 3:40 exactly. My first class started at 4. I had twenty minutes to get to where I needed to be, read the lesson plan and teach my heart out. And, everything went smoothly….yeah right! I'm no superwoman! I hadn't written down the address of the school, seeing as though I had been in such a rush to get all my things together and go…I didn't have Internet access to get the address and my Spanish was limited. So I'd succumb to flagging down a taxi, telling him to take me to an Internet café so I could retrieve the address. This was simply wasting more time, and I'm sure the taxi cab driver was taking the long way so I would have to pay him more, I can not be certain. Though after I'd retrieved the address, we were off! The taxi cab driver said he knew the place and would take me there immediately! It was now 3:55. The trip to the actual school took longer than expected, there were stop lights and traffic and a little old lady who decided she would walk in the middle of the street for no apparent reason. We'd arrived at 4:10. I was late, and upset that the taxi driver charged me 75 pesos just for the ride, in US this is only 6 dollars and some change, but still, I was cheap. And could have used that money for hundreds of things. I had entered the school wearing a charcoal colored tube top, a cardigan to cover any excess skin, torn up jeans, flip flops and my hair all swept up in a clip. With two bags stuffed full of my life slung over my shoulders I'd asked a tall, light skinned man with ash colored hair “Are you in charge?” not even thinking twice about whether I should speak English or Spanish to him. His eyes met mine. “Yes, I am can I help you?” and from there on we had fallen in love…wait, no wrong story. He'd really told me that my class had been covered and my next class started at 5, meaning I had time to dump my things off in the house I was staying in and freshen up. The friend that I had been subbing for left me full access to her “bachelorette pad” as I like to call it. The place was both simple and incredible.  There were stairs leading up to the roof, with the most incredible view of the city, the room was stocked with canvas and books galore. The books alone were enough to keep me entertained. I had gotten more excited about all the books she'd had than the breath taking view.  But at that moment, I had to focus, I still needed to go over the lesson plans and clean myself up, make myself look more “teachery.”


The clock struck five. And I had assumed that someone would be supervising the class while I taught, or at least stay in with me for the first five minutes. I was wrong. I'd been shoved into a classroom with 10 greasy faced children with only a “They’re all yours” and a pat on the back. There I’d stood, with my lesson plans in hand, and a frightened expression on my face, the children had been gleaming up at their teacher in awe. And me,with no time to waste, I had no choice but to jump right in! The plans set out for the day were to cover feelings. So I proceeded to write on the board in big  black bold letters

                                                                        I FEEL…
 
 And proceeded as directed on my lesson plans. And it wasn't until I was three classes into it, when I had gotten that feeling. That "why am I here and not in San Cristobal?" kind of feeling. Tuxtla reminded me most of Los Angeles. The life was  fast paced, people on the streets were in a rush to get to work, to home or to wherever it was they were going, that they hadn't taken the time to enjoy the beauty around them or the sky scrapers towering above them. Tuxtla treated me well. The food was good and the pay even better. After 2 nights and 3 days in Tuxtla, I'd returned to San Cristobal. Returned home. With a handsome amount of money in my pocket, and a dozen mosquito bites scattered throughout my body. Tuxtla is infamous for sucking people in, I'm told. This is why upon my arrival my boss had nervously asked if I had been planning on moving out to Tuxtla "Yes" I'd told him in an overly dramatic voice "I simply must go!" He'd caught onto my sarcasm.


San Cristobal holds my heart. All of it. Tuxtla and all of it's money could never drag me away. Though I admit, there are days where am I rushing rapidly through the streets of San Cristobal, late for work or a meeting with a friend, not taking the time to realize the beauty surrounding me and then, there I bump into someone with their head to sky watching the clouds pass by and I remember to slow down.

And that same feeling, that paralyzing feeling comes over me when I realize that soon I'll have to leave San Cristobal for good, not simply for a substitute job in Tuxtla or a few nights in Palenque. I'll be leaving to go home. And though I am unsure of when exactly I will be leaving, this paralyzing feeling still lingers near, reminding me reality awaits.




Traveling Tip # 3: Always take time to stop and look at the clouds. No matter how late you are. 



-Nico




Friday, March 25, 2011

The emptiness between us.



This is an apology letter to the both of us. For how long it took me to let things go, it was not my intention to make such a production of the emptiness between us, it's just that I could have sworn that you sung me a love song back there... and I could have sworn that you meant it. But I guess that some people just chew with their mouth open. So I eat earplugs alive with my throat hoping they'll get loged in the empty spots, so I wouldn't have to hear you leaving...Wakefield.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The fall.


He'd told her. He'd finally told her. 
"I am falling in love with you. And I wish I could find time, more time for you, stuffed in my backpack or underneath the grit of my fingernails, like the change I find in my pockets.

I can't keep pretending. Acting like this feeling is non existent. It's been howling out at me for much too long now. I've tried to play cool. To keep calm and brush it off.

And then. Those eyes." He'd said "It's those eyes that have brought me here, those eyes that tell me stories for days, those eyes that both mend and break my heart all at once.

And I'm standing here now, like a fool with my heart strewn out across the floor before you. Because I don't want to go another day. Another minute, knowing that you're not mine to keep, knowing that I'm keeping this truth from you."




,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2786.61 miles





 2786.61 miles; still I look for you in a crowded room

2786.61 miles; still I see you pass on a bus

2786.61 miles; still your scent lingers in the air

2786.61 miles; still I hear your laugh


2786.61 miles between the two

2786.61 reasons it could never be you 




Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sweetest Nightmares.


These past few days I've been having this reoccurring dream, this reoccurring nightmare. I'm still unsure which. In the dream, I wake up one morning in San Cristobal and out of nostalgia and stupidity, I book the soonest flight back home. In the dream there is no time frame, I do not take a 15 hour bus ride back to Cancun or spend the day on a flight back to Ontario. I simply decide I want to go home, and at home I am! Of course everyone is happy to see me and I reminisce on the people and places I've met and seen. The dream never seems to drag on. Like most dreams it starts just as quick as it ends. In this dream, I can never remember too much of anything, except for one feeling. A  heavy feeling of heartbreak of regret. Of anxiousness. Is that a word?

Ehh, anyhow. I awake to a world unknown. With the covers pulled over my head, for a second, I am unsure of whether reality was really a dream, or dream a reality. I peel back the covers slowly each time and see the oak wood of my dresser next to me. A feeling of both disappointment and relief hovers over me. I'm unsure of whether to be happy I'm in San Cristobal or to feel sorrow for not being home. 

I simply go on with my day. 

Soon it will be a month since I have been in San Cristobal de las Casas. People come and go. People from Austria, Japan, Quebec, and all over Southern and Central America, my favorite are the Argentinians. Something about them, maybe it's in the water, but they are simply the sweetest, most hilarious people you'll ever meet, honest. Wait where was I going with this? Ahh yes, okay, over this past month I've seen so many come and go already. As most of the others locals are smart to not get too attached, I've seized to learn my lesson.



Whether I'm awake or asleep I have started to realize a change in me. A me I hardly recognized, due to a short hiatus.  A me who appreciates the comforts of home, but more-so the nakedness of being all alone in a foreign place. A me who is once again happy. Not through alcohol, men or materials even. I am simply happy in my own atmosphere. Happy waking up each morning to a fresh brewed cup of cafe con leche from Yoli (the hostel mom) to Pancho's loud but welcoming voice echoing throughout the hostel each afternoon, and to sitting around the dinner table at night watching boot leg  scary movies on the hostel's ancient television set. My life in San Cristobal is not that of daring adventure, or one of endless romance. Life here is simple. It is no Cancun, I admit, the nearest beach is 4 hours away, and the weather here, greedily changes it's mind often. The cats here are skinny, the clouds often hang low and every morning the cathedral bells ring loud.
Mom, this place is a utopia, sometimes I fear of waking up in High school Musical plastered sheets, and sometimes even in multicolored cobijas.  At times I wish the two could collide, both paradise and reality.
Both High school Musical sheets and multicolored cobijas.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tostadas, familia, and oh so much more.

Palenque, Chiapas          

It's been almost a week since I’ve returned to San Cristobal from Palenque. Who knows, maybe even less, I've always been terrible with estimation. Regardless of the actual time, it's felt like years. I've gotten to know the place and the people so quickly and can hardly imagine leaving.  New faces and stories are seen and heard each day by travelers from all around the globe, and each time they head off to further destinations, we are forced to say goodbye and go forward. As hard as one can try to detach themselves you simply cannot help it, you fall in love.


Recently I'd celebrated a 22nd birthday, and being amongst people I hadn't even known a month ago, I expected nothing more than a “Feliz Cumpleaños” if even that, to me it had simply been another day.  Though come nightfall I had been surprised by the entire hostel with an enormous cake, and off key singing of Feliz Cumpleaños. My heart melted as quickly as the trick candles did. Jonathon, an American man who had lingered here from California, and spoke terrible Spanish banged his fork against the table, to catch everyone’s attention “Un tostada” he’d shouted “Un tostada para Nico” he repeated. We’d all looked around for these so called “tostadas” and burst out in laughter, in realization that he was trying to give a toast…not a tostada (a delicious little fried tortilla with beans and such on it) as the night tip toed on we’d laughed and danced the night away.  As we do most nights here. 

San Cristobal, Chiapas


Last night in the kitchen as we’d cooked a farewell dinner for a couple from Argentina Yoli, the “Hostel mom” had said “Somos familia” and though my Spanish is still progressing, I’d understood exactly what she’d said. We are family, no matter how long or short of a stay someone has spent in Posada 5, in San Cristobal they have become part of the family, part of something some hardly recognize. 

And I wish to never leave or forget this place. Well, I’ve semi-gotten my wish. I’ve landed a job teaching English at a school here in San Cristobal de las Casas.  I was told “You’re like an angel who’d fallen out of the sky” when found by the Director of the school, because an English teacher was very much needed at the school and well, here I am. Ready to weather this out with them. I had simply planned on staying out here two weeks, three weeks tops, and have been caught up in this beautiful little routine. I will be out here for all of next month, I’m sure of that…as of anything further than that…quién sabe? (who knows) All I know is, that I start work tomorrow and I’m happy. I’m experiencing life a little differently, coming out of my comfort zone of materialistic items, cookie cutter living, and warm weather.
    
                                                                Mostly, warm weather.