Monthly Archives: October 2014

In case you were wondering what my soul looks like…

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Last week was Victoria Isabel’s birthday, yes, my daughter turned 5. Why do I feel compelled to tell you all this fact? I feel like all of you should meet my daughter, I feel like she would offer all of you some sort of lesson. I feel like she’d make your day better, offer some perspective, the light at the end of the tunnel. Yeah, I know she’s 5. How could a 5 year old possibly do this for strangers? She does it every day, with each interaction. I’ve seen grown men melt over her smile and little old ladies giggle at her hair and the way she speaks to people. I’ve also seen this every day, in my home, with each conversation I have with her. There is no such thing as a day of random, pointless conversation between us. Everything we talk about has meaning, has depth, has a purpose. Now, I know many of you parents out there think your children are amazing, adorable, geniuses, blah blah blah blah, and it might very well be true. My child is incredible, my child is adorable, my child is intelligent; however, I am very realistic. I grew up in a family who will tell you if your child is ugly, or clumsy, or an asshole. My judgement is not shadowed by the fact that I squeezed this child out and have been raising her ever since, I fully understand that just because my child is amazing right now, doesn’t mean that she will be stupendous forever. Children become pre-teens who become assholes who become adults who may or may not grow out of being assholes.

All I know is that my daughter is remarkable right now.

Reasons Why I Adore Victoria

1. She’s mine.

2. She’s animated.

3. She’s kind.

4. I never cry in front of my daughter, I don’t want her to feel the way I do when I cry and she’s very good at absorbing other people’s emotions. One day, she caught me crying…Sobbing actually. She walked over to me slowly, eyes deep with concern, grabbed my face in her small hands and said, “what’s wrong mae? You’re too pretty to cry. Okay okay listen, how about I clean up all my toys and we can watch one of YOUR movies? It’s okay mae, I’m your best friend remember?”.

5. She has beautiful, strawberry blonde hair. It’s so long and full and although the curls have died down a bit, it’s still as bouncy as it was a year ago.

6. She has gorgeous blue eyes. They’re not the same shade of blue as mine, but as my father’s. She never forgets to exclaim “my eyes are blue like grandpa’s!”.

7. She always, aaaaalways has my back. She is my sidekick and don’t you ever forget it.

8. Jokingly I always say “Victoria get outttaaaa here with that nonsense!”. She usually can take the joke but today (literally today) she says “Moooooom! I live here, this is my home, I don’t wana get outta here! You’re my buddy remember? I don’t wana leave”. I said, “Oh, honey it was just a joke! Mae says it all the time!”. “Mae, sometimes I don’t feel like joking!”

9. She has an amazing sense of humor, and is witty as all get out!

10. The way she says “yes/no ma’am/sir” in Portuguese. She’s incredibly respectful and knows how to treat her elders just as I was taught growing up.

11. The fact that she speaks Portuguese fluently and can communicate with my grandmother flawlessly.

12. How dainty she is and how she carries that characteristic in everything she does.

13. I love how the only way to wake her up so that she isn’t annoyed is with music or singing to her.

14. Our shared love of music.

15. Her brutal honesty.

16. “Mae, what are you wearing? You’re wearing that to work? Why?”

“Yes, I am Victoria Isabel, why?”

 “Nothing.”

*changes clothing*

“Oh my gosh mom, now you’re so fashion! That jacket and the heels, wow mae, super super fashion!”

17. Her unforgiving laugh when I tickle her or say something ridiculous.

18. The fact that she understands her father is away “working” and how she is completely content with just having me around. She doesn’t even ask for him and that makes me feel like I’m doing something right, that I’m making her feel comfortable and happy.

19. How appreciative she is of anything and everything she’s given. Whether it’s an orange or a new bicycle, she’s just as excited to receive either one.

20. The unconditional love she gives, even if she doesn’t have to, because she’s loved no matter what.

21. This past weekend we went to a wedding and she was the life of the party during the reception. She joined every group of adults and danced with everyone! It was as if I wasn’t even there, so I sat back and watched. I’ve never watched someone so small command the attention of so many adults with nothing but dance moves haha

22. When she asks me to marry her because she heard that you should always marry the person you love the most, but of course, only after she marries daddy haha

23. When she asks me how was work and she actually wants to know how it was. She asks about my meetings, my contracts, even my boss!

24. Her eagerness to share her thoughts, ideas, and experiences with me. That in itself is a blessing.

25. How amazing her memory is and how she repeats every single thing she hears. This may be a curse to some parents but personally I think it’s hilarious. You cannot say ANYTHING in front of her without her repeating it to someone else in the family. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

The above merely graze the surface of who Victoria Isabel is and how important she is to me. There are billions of reasons why I love this little gem and with each passing day, my list grows longer. She’s my best friend.

 

 

You should meet her.

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Meu Fado Meu

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               Fado. Most Portuguese people know what this genre of music is, they’ve heard it in their grandmother’s kitchen, or at a festa. You either adore it or you hate it and find it extremely boring. This genre of music can be identified from miles away by the Portuguese people, but do we all know what it means? Do we all know what this timeless word means? Fate. Destiny. Love. Loss. Experience. Hope. Saudade. It has been traced as far back as the 1820’s in places like Alfama and Bairro Alto in Portugal. However, I believe it’s been around longer than that. There is normally only one singer called a Fadista and two instruments: the classical guitar and the Portuguese guitar. Now, various artists have added different components to accompany both of these instruments, however they’re still alive and well in Fado. The Portuguese guitar is my favorite instrument, so beautiful and flawless.

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Fado is, without question, my absolute favorite genre of music. I hope to one day open up a Fado House as they have in Portugal, here in California so that Americans can really embrace the essence of the art. It’ll be just like a Fado house in the streets of Portugal; dim lighting, coffee, desserts, dinner, alcohol, and amazing artists. I imagine having an open mic night for local fadistas everywhere, every week. It’s going to happen people, I can see it!

The 19th century’s most renowned Fadista was Maria Severa but Amália Rodrigues is who fore-fronted the popularization of the genre worldwide and is known as Rainha do Fado (Queen of Fado). She is who really paved the way for all modern singers.

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Now we have fadistas such as Mariza, Ana Moura, Katia Gueirrero, Dulce Pontes and let’s not forget the men Camane, Ricardo Ribeiro and Calros do Carmo. All amazing artists, all inspired by the late Amalia Rodrigues.

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Now back to the word saudade as mentioned before. Although there are explanations and meanings of the word plastered all over the internet, I believe that this word does not have a specific meaning. It’s a feeling that is far too complicated to define, a feeling of absence, longing, and emptiness. A feeling that whatever it is you are seeking and longing will never return. Lost lovers. Lost family. A love that remains forever in our hearts even after that person has left us indefinitely. A bittersweet, overwhelming feeling of anger, happiness, sadness, all rolled into one. This word doesn’t even have a direct translation to the English language. Sure, you can translate “tenho saudade de você” to “I miss you”, but it is not the same thing. It isn’t even close. This word is so powerful to the Portuguese and Brazilian people that there is an entire day dedicated to this word alone! You can even have saudade for someone who is standing right next to you. Maybe you’ve drifted apart, or maybe that person has changed and detached themselves from you. Whatever it is, there is no word in any other language that can describe it quite like this word.

I recommend, to any of you that have never listened to Fado before, to take some time to listen to at least one song. The following are some of my favorites:

Mariza – Primavera (Live) <My favorite version

Ana Moura – Fado Menor (Live) <Also, my favorite version

Amália Rodrigues – Primavera <Just so you can compare old school to new.

Dulce Pontes- Canção do Mar

Katia Guerreiro – Amor de Mel Amor de Fel

These are only a few of the great Fados out there and I don’t pretend to be an expert on Fado, but I am passionate about it.

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