Thursday, July 15, 2010

When we were little

When I went to visit my folks in May, I got a few photos of when we were little that I would like to share with you all

So, here's a visit to Uruguay, 1982. Juan is older than me by a year and three months. I was born in Ecuador, but my parents left a month after I was born. My brother Pablo was also born in Ecuador--and same thing, after a month or so we left again.
We traveled a lot during my first four years: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. I don't remember much of that. I remember Brazil because we camped out for a while. I remember quite vividly traveling in the back of a truck in Bolivia, with lots of cholos (refers to people with various amounts of Amerindian racial ancestry) Apparently the train tracks got messed up with a flood, and only a truck could go in that kind of terrain. I remember it was crowed and there were animals--because cholos travel with their animals all over the place. My mom says we kids looked like little refugees, all stained with dust and wet from the rain.

So this is a picture of a Bolivian market place

traditional clothing of cholo women

I don't think I ever learned any word in Quechua, except for thank you: Diuspagarapusunki

Then Sofia was born in Bolivia, and we decided to settle down for a while...between Cochabamba and La Paz, where Marcos was born

When I was 7 we moved to Santiago, Chile and Daniel was born there. Here is a photo of us performing at a school. I'm the one in the pink dress

We stayed in Chile for a year, and then when I was 8 we moved to Uruguay.

Susi was born there, two years later. Uruguay was fun because my grandparents lived there, and we got to experience having grandparents for the first time in our lives.

After Uruguay, we moved to Paraguay. In Paraguay people speak Guarani, this is how you say God bless you: √Ďande Yara ta nde rovas√° (that's the only thing i know how to say). Actually my mom was born in a part of Argentina where people speak Guarani, but she forgot it when she moved to Buenos Aires. Well, Andy was born in Paraguay. And when he was still a newborn we moved to Argentina. I was 12, and I loved Argentina--the people, the culture, the climate, everything about Argentina was wonderful! But we were there for a year and a half and then we went all the way up to Ecuador. Cristina and Vanessa were born there and it was our home for 5 years.

Juan was with us for a while, but went to Brazil the last year we were in Ecuador.
We then moved to Chile.

In 2001 we moved to Italy. As you can imagine, I have lots of stories to tell, of places and people and what they eat, and the animals, the exotic fruits, and the traditions of each country I've been to. When I was young it was difficult for me to always be traveling. But now I'm quite thankful for the original upbriging I had. And of course my parents are incredible people! I am most thankful for them!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Vanessa on her 14th birthday

Vanessa, today is your birthday. There are so many things I want to tell you, but most of all I want you to know that I love you!

It almost seems yesterday that you came into our lives, 14 years ago. You are and have always been a terrific girl! You have determination, you are generous, and you easily welcome people into your life.
You are caring and understanding, and make people feel loved and safe.
You are unselfish--that's a wonderful quality of yours.
I could just go on and on about the traits that you posess, and how incredible you are!

Here's a little list of older-sister advise for you:

1.Life will never be easy, but you must follow your heart.

2.Your dreams are important, don't ignore them.

3.Living for others is a reward in itself--live in such a way that you will make other lives better.

4.Don't be afraid to try new things. It's okay to fail as long as you keep trying.

5.When you get to the end of yourself, that's when God starts.

6.Don't hurry to grow up, life is not a race--enjoy the little things.

7.You might not find your mission in life right away--but the journey is part of the adventure.

8.Mom's prayers work wonders--rely on that power :D

9.Don't be so severe with yourself, learn to take it easy.

10.Don't get frustrated with people because they are slower or faster than you. Everyone is different, appreciate their uniqueness!

11.When all seems lost, love will come to the rescue. Love will be your keeper.

12.You can't chase happiness, but you can create the conditions for happiness to find you.

13.Our hearts are like gardens, we must tend to them.

14.Love is manisfested in the details.

I haven't been around much of your life--you were in your first year of school when I left to start a new life in the service of others. It hasn't been easy giving up being there for you. I know it wasn't easy for you either, to have to say goodbye over and over.
And yet, everything I've done, all the choices I've made in my life have been for all of us. Because I wanted to "pave the way", for you to follow.
I wanted to prove that we can bring light and hope into the world and make a difference--and I've found out we can.
I wouldn't have been able to do anything, without you, my family, backing me up on this. It was you guys who kept the flame alive.
It was your sacrifice and love that made it possible, and you can say "we were all part of it".
Some day it will be you--and I will be there for you, with you, because I believe you will go on to great things! I'm already proud of you!
Happy birthday dear Vanessa! Love you lots! xoxoxo