Published: May 16th 2012May 16th 2012
Meeting Sayuri’s Mom
Talk about an amazing mom. I was invited to take once tonight with her at her home. We pulled up into the driveway beside a garden full of head high rose bushes. After entering through the door, I met the nana of sorts. She has essentially lived with the family since she was about 9 (now about 60) and she now lives and works with them for no pay other than insurance and room and board. Unlike many other nanas, she is welcomed as one of the family. She even dined with us later that evening. I can believe it though that this family would be so welcoming. It’s a large one – 4 sisters and 2 brothers Sayuri has, but I only met mom and one sister tonight.
Mama walked into the living room to greet me apologizing that she looked like a clown, but I thought she was pleasantly striking: grey curly hair, a dark blue dress with patches of color, and a black shawl, small eyes, and all smiles. She greeted me with a great hug and kiss. After dinner, she began to talk to me (much more her talking to me than me talking to her…) and I heard (and understood! Yay!) some of her stories. Evidently she was a traveler. That must have been the reason Sayuri got started. Ariela spent time in Europe and while there, she loved to find the youngest people she could to converse with in English, but she also loved to converse with the rich and those who serve the rich – everyone – to get to know the culture. Among these, she says that the same types of people exist everywhere – the good and the bad, and I think she’s right. One person she met left a particularly strong impression on her. I can tell because Ariela went on and on about her: a beautiful young woman from Germany who worked for a tour company. She was a liscenced lawyer who spoke 5 languages – absolutely fantastic to abuelita – but she chose to do this work. We reminisced about some of our shared experiences. Apparently, she has been to Teotihuacan in Mexico and climbed la piramida del sol just as I did. She experienced a great cooling energy when she reached the top which I seemed to have missed out on. I was pleasantly surprised also when she mentioned that her favorite composer in Chopin – my favorite as well! I sang Somewhere over the rainbow for her and everyone there (that’s Juan and the nana too) and of course she loved it. I told Sayuri before we left, “Tienes una madre vacan!” a cool mom, and it’s true – what a lady! I hope to see her again soon!
More magical music
Ariel, the director of the choir with which I've been singing on Tuesday and Thursday nights, had invited everyone to attend one of his high school group’s choir rehearsals, and so I did today. WOW. Talk about awesome. I arrived at the school inquiring to the guard about a choir concert. He said there was only a rehearsal, but he showed me in and led me to Ariel anyway. As we waited to file into the classroom where the rehearsal was held Ariel told me that this choir is officially about 150 people. That room was so packed… All the students gathered around Ariel and his keyboard, and today, around me too. Talk about surround sound. I had a clear view of the piano and the tenors beyond that. The Altos sat in front of me and the basses behind. Off to my other side sat the sopranos. Before beginning, Ariel had me introduce myself to which I felt a little shy speaking my somewhat broken Spanish to all these new faces. Each song they sang was in Spanish and was full of simple but charming 4 part harmony and improvised accompaniment. Ariel, come to find out, created all of the parts from popular music melodies. It’s pretty impressive what this kind young Argentinian man has made out of what’s available. I was overcome with the power of the music that room full of kids made. How could I have been placed in the most perfect of places to experience such great choral music!?
At the end, they began to ask for me to sing which evolved into a chant, “Can-ta! Can-ta!” and as I have been singing this tune recently, I agreed to sing somewhere over the rainbow for them. The silent attentiveness of 100 teens huddled around you has a particular magic – especially as you sing that final note, a brief pause, and then a most thunderous applause. It feels good to make people happy. I made my way home through the dark wet streets. The rain and wind are starting to set in with the winter, and this often affects the electricity - hence the darkness. I filed out with the rest of the students and one young man next to me looked to me. I said, “Hola!” in passing and he stopped to kiss my cheek as is the Chilean way to greet someone. It seemed to me somewhat of an excuse to kiss the blonde, but I was happy either way.