Tuesday, February 10, 2009

rosa colored goggles

I sat yesterday in a restaurant booth across from my good friend Rosa. Over steaming bowls of Tortilla soup, in broken English, she recounted her childhood experiences with a alcoholic father. As a scrawny seven-year-old girl she would wait late into the night for her father to come home so that she could try to keep him from beating her mother.

Rosa is from Oaxaca Mexico. She is a Zapotec Indian. She speaks Zapoteco. Spanish is her second language. English, her third. Her family still farms beans in a village about three hours out of Oaxaca where she grew up.

Rosa's life has not been an easy one. The circumstances that landed her in the United States are many and varied. She has worked and toiled and scrapped to build a life for her family. And she is only 34. She is three months younger than me and yet she has seen so much. I often think that my life has gone by fast. Rosa must need a pair of goggles for the whirlwind life she has lead so far.

Here's the amazing part.

Rosa is happy. She is quick to smile and easy to make laugh. She is hopeful. She is benevolent. She bears no bitter seeds of remorse or guilt. She has taken the lemons of life and made a huge batch of guacamole which she shares with everyone she meets.

I love Rosa. Every time I see her I get an overwhelming desire to look for all the happy things in my life.

That, and I'm also made to feel like a neanderthal. Zapotecs are tiny people. I don't think Rosa's hands are much larger than Thom's and she doesn't even clear my shoulders. I guess I should just be happy that I can reach the cereal down from the shelf.

On the happiness note, I would like to say, a cheerful thing about my life right now is the chocolate that I received after my pleas for "down day" donations. Thanks to everyone who cared enough about me to send a little sweetness my way. It really did help lift my spirits. Cocoa was actually discovered by the Mayans (also a Mesoamerican civilization) so it all ties in so nicely.

8 comments:

Amyesq said...

What a great post!

Pecos Blue said...

I love my rose colored glasses and wish we could govt. issue them : ) Maybe we can add that to the stimulus package.

wendy said...

I wish I had goggles---but I love people like Rosa. It's amazing how people like that can "lift your spirits:

Anonymous said...

It has been some months since I found your blog. I'm a jewelry maker (not professionally though) and I enjoy your posts.

Why did I decide to post this time, after several months of lurking? Well, that's easy. I'm from Oaxaca too, a mix of Zapotec and Mixtec (Zapotec ranks 1st in population # and Mixtec is the second, there are 14 other indigenous groups in Oaxaca, making it the 3rd state in Mexico with most indigenous population).

Ok, enough of statistics, sorry.

Anyway, reading about your friend Rosa, made me remember all of the courageous women who live in awful conditions, no matter which ethnicity or origin. Indigenous women are always a good example of bravery and humbleness, in good or bad times...

Thank you for writing about Rosa and please, next time you see her, tell her to cook a delicious "tlayuda" for you.

You will want to visit Oaxaca, the delicious food and the wonderful people are just enough reason for that.

Cheers,
gaby

ChelMo said...

I'm loving the optimism theme of late! Thanks for this post, and for sharing your sweet Rosa with us. I think with wealth and comfort sometimes comes blinders to what really matters in life, and what things we should be looking to for our happiness and self-worth. I'm writing that to myself.

And I agree that you should visit Oaxaca. One of the most beautiful, magical, and tasty places I've ever experienced!

Jeanneoli said...

I love when people like Rosa cross my path. She has every reason to be bitter...but she chooses to be happy. What do most of us have to complain about?? Perspective! I am having a huge giveaway...come on over.

Jeanneoli said...

I love when people like Rosa cross my path. She has every reason to be bitter...but she chooses to be happy. What do most of us have to complain about?? Perspective! I am having a huge giveaway...come on over.

april said...

okay guys- buy some jewelry so I can start saving to go to Oaxaca!