Monday, 14 October 2013

Neighbours... A street like no other

The Potter's Shed  "A street like no other" (original title: "Uma rua como aquela", byLucilia Junqueira de Almeida Prado).  This book talks about the daily life of people living in a cul-de-sac in a Sao Paulo neighbourhood, in Brazil. There were children and teenagers, whose parents were pilots and engineers and housewives. There were three old ladies, sisters, living opposite a field where they used to play football. And there was the old man, who seemed to be Uncle Scrooge himself, who lived in a "castle" squeezed between the field and the orchard.

There was friendship, arguments, crushes, family problems, parties, a lot of mischief, and a lot of solidarity.

Set in 1969, this book symbolised my childhood and teenage years... I grew up in a street like that... It wasn't a cul-de-sac, but it was a quiet street. We were about 20 children who would together play ball, hide and seek, tag, who would dance to slow music and discover love and jealousy and get grounded by our parents every now and then. It was like there was no worry in the world!!!

Having grown up and moved abroad, I am still friends with most of those people, or at least keep in touch on Facebook and stuff (God bless the Internet), but becoming an adult and living in a different country (with a different culture) got me thinking about friendships and how much easier it was for us back then (in the 70s, 80s, 90s...).

I had my best friend in the street and we used to visit each other (visit is too formal a word here, we would just show up and ring the bell, really) all the time. We used to spend hours on the phone, minutes after saying goodbye to each other... We would talk about boys, make plans, go to the cinema, lie to our parents together, just so we would go to that party or stay a bit later in each other's houses. 

I live in a great place now (a cul-de sac of my own!!!) and seem to have nice neighbours. I am in a dilemma though... I don't remember how to make friends like before... =/   How much can you trust? Is there any nosy neighbour? Any gossip? Should I invite them for a coffee? Should I accept that invite for dinner? 

Ah, I wish things were much simpler, like in those years... Actually, I wish I could have all my neighbours back! All living in "my cul-de-sac"!  Doors would be always unlocked, kettle would be always on, smell of coffee all over the house... 

To my childhood/teenage years friends... Giuliano, Lucio, Fabiana, Fernanda, Netto, Otavio, Tatiana, Marcelo, Marconi, Felicio, Cristina, Fabiano, Fred, Cecilia, Vinicius, Tayssir, Daher, Hayssan, Jandra, Marilia, Thais, Simone, Carol, Isabela, Agnez, Beto... and of course my sisters, Isa e Xu... without you, life wouldn't have been so fun! =)Miss you all sooooo much!!!


Revisiting "A little chat with God"

I've been thinking of writing again for a while now, but somehow, something always kept me away from this blog.

It was after working on blogs with my Academic Skills students (University of South Wales, Caerleon) that I began to WANT to write again, instead of just read.

I went back to some texts I had written during my first Creative Writing course and found "A little chat with God". I wrote this text in 2008, and not even in my craziest dreams I would imagine that one day my mother would die of cancer, within about two months of discovering breast cancer metastasis in her liver and spine. 

Reading this text I wonder whether God spoke to her, like he did to Henry. She taught me and my sisters about God and resurrection and I'm sure she's in a much better place now, but I often ask myself... What exactly did she know? What exactly was going through her mind once it was confirmed in tests that it had come back? I was far, far away and hadn't seen her in a year and a half (see Letters to my mother), so I didn't have the chance to go along to any doctor's appointments; I didn't have the chance to look at her and really know whether she was in pain and how much pain she was in... All I know what she was given hope. We were all given hope. She even had a first chemo session. She was gone in eight days. 

I'm a very big fan of a few books by Mitch Albom, especially "Tuesdays with Morrie". After my mother died, I bought and read "For one more day" and "Five people you meet in Heaven". I was obsessed by finding out what happened to my mother, what it is like "on the other side"... How many times I wished my mother would come back to me in my dreams, and we would have "one more day", and I would be able to tell her how much I love her and ask her so many things... 

I wonder what she'd have done if she, like Henry, had been given two more months to live...  What would she have chosen to do? Who would she have chosen to see, to make amends with? 

In Tuesdays with Morrie this dialogue really touches my heart every time I read it:

What if you had one day perfectly healthy, I asked? What would you do? 
 “Twenty-four hours?” Twenty-four hours. 
 “Let’s see … I’d get up in the morning, do my exercises, have a lovely breakfast of 
sweet rolls and tea, go for a swim, then have my friends come over for a nice lunch. I’d have them come one or two at a time so we could talk about their families, their issues, talk about how much we mean to each other. 
 “Then I’d like to go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch 
the birds, take in the nature that I haven’t seen in so long now. 
 “In the evening, we’d all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe 
some duck—I love duckand then we’d dance the rest of the night. I’d dance with all the wonderful dance partners out there, until I was exhausted. And then I’d go home and have a deep, wonderful sleep.” 
 That’s it? 
 “That’s it.” 
 It was so simple. So average. I was actually a little disappointed. I figured he’d fly to 
Italy or have lunch with the President or romp on the seashore or try every exotic thing he could think of. After all these months, lying there, unable to move a leg or a foot—how could he find perfection in such an average day? 
 Then I realized this was the whole point. 

I'm still working on Henry and his two months left... And I can't stop thinking what my mother would have done... I'm having these wild idea of guessing... And using them for Henry, even though they lived such different lives. Would my mother have told us, her family and friends, that she only had two more months to live? Will Henry tell his loved ones?

What's going to be in Henry's list? :) 

Please share this article, and write your ideas... 

I'm looking forward to read your opinion!