when we lived on the east coast we were crammed into a small, typical east coast living arrangement. 4 families in a space about a decent sized house would fit one family normally. we were subject to conversations loud and small, knowing every detail of the other families schedules. we knew the italians across the hall had an autistic kid before they accepted it. a 3 year old up until 3 am running a muck, screaming and screaming, never slept thru the night and always screaming with mottled words. things falling off our walls from the disgruntled child awaiting diagnosis.
we also knew the korean family above us put their kids to bed at 9 pm and we could smell the sushi they made with spam and eggs with the occasional kimchi assaults. they were probably offended by our smells and sounds too. that was life. we adjusted, complained and cried into a friendly routine with them all.
we were subject to cultures on a daily basis. the english that came with it always kept me entertained, always. the Spaniards kitty corner didn't understand halloween, the italians didn't understand early bedtimes and the koreans didn't understand star wars. we are a weird culture.
in turn, i always had to laugh at the words they used or they way they said things, trying to understand our complex language. our favorite korean family above us would randomly insert L's for R's. just randomly. "winds of love" given name was always said properly, but the Spaniard, katarina was always katalina. it was on and off and bless their hearts. it always made me chuckle....
one year i decided to take on a regular babysitting job to help raise money for our cross country move. i did occasional babysitting for a few clients, it was vary sporadic and i liked that. it was our go out to eat money, clothes for the kids money and just play money. it was nice in a time of pinched pennies. so.... i put the word out to a few clients that i was looking for something part time and steady. i got a call from a lady that worked at the science lab and some of her friends were looking for someone 2 days a week. turned out they lived right across the way from us. i met with the mom, enyoung, and we met seoyanna the baby, it was a great fit. the dad, sangtae was great. this went on for 2 months without a hitch. then, i surprisingly got pregnant. and i started noticing a smell on this sweet little girl. it was crazy and offensive to my pregnant nose. i finally realized that they were traditional korean people consuming unearthly amounts of kimchi. it enters every part of their bodies. to a sensitive nose i was dry heaving all day. it took 2 days to recover after she was gone. that sounds awful but the last pregnancy was tough, not to mention the colitis and daily migraines. i had to end the job and felt horrible but told them i was pregnant and couldn't give her the attention she needed.
all of this culture exposure leads me to a story happening today in our little lives. hella's speech impediments are showing themselves as her words take off. apparently all the babysitting and kimchi exposure have seeped into her bones. all of a sudden "winds of love" is glayce, grandma is glandma and grandpa is proudly accepting his status of glandpa.
yesterday, hella and i were grocery shopping alone. a privilege these days with a little bud "e" in afternoon school. as i was getting her out of the car, she started pointing and whispering to me. i couldn't understand her and she kept saying it over and over. i finally stopped in the middle of the parking lot and looked at her face.
what are you saying baby?
pointing to the front of the store to a crew cut balding gentleman she whispered,"glandpa, glandpa pete mommy, glandpa pete."
really? could her little mind remember that long ago? still think about him? i had to catch my heart from wanting to believe her and run to this glandpa. then the tears started. and this is the part of mourning when your heart knows you'll see them again, but just a few minutes in the parking lot for a quick hug and kiss wouldn't hurt. it reminded me that a life lived well to others is what gets you thru this hard time. i get to let his life affect how i do things and what choices i make by the good life he led. makes me love him more.....