The last couple of weeks have been stressful for us, we are moving to a new house and when ever I think of moving, all sorts of images come to my mind; tons of boxes, heavy furniture, and countless useless things that we have accumulated through out the years. Whenever I think of moving, I just want to grab a paper bag and breath deeply – or vomit. I think the problem might be on my DNA; Colombians don’t move often, we stay in the same house for long periods of time. I was 16-years old when we moved for the first time. Since then, my parents have moved 3 more times. I have been living in the US for 9 years and since I landed, I have moved 7 times. My moving rate is of 1 house every 1.28 years! At this point you would think that I have nailed down a moving technique, but no, I still find the whole process to be very painful. From finding boxes, packing and throwing things away, to unpacking and finding new places for all our things. All those hours are painful, just unpacking your clothes and organizing your closet can take forever. The worse part, is the first night you spend in the new house. To walk though the house, opening every box in search for your tooth-brush is priceless. And to add to the drama, this time we have a wild card, or better said, a wild child with us, so we will see how everything unfolds, I guess the important thing is to grab that paper bag, breath deeply and just do it! (Stop complaining).
Since we started this process, I’ve been singing in my head “The Old Apartment” by Barenaked Ladies. I specially like this part:
Why did you paint the walls?
Why did you clean the floor?
Why did you plaster over the hole I punched in the door?
And we did have to plaster a hole in the wall, but don’t worry, nobody punched it. We had to fix something on the electric panel, and the electrician left us with a hole in our kitchen wall. “WHY DIDN’T YOU PLASTER OVER THE HOLE YOU MADE IN OUR WALL?” My friend Meme, suggested to hang a painting over the hole to cover it, and tell the buyer that it is a colombian tradition to leave a painting in the house (for good luck) but after thinking about it, we decided to cover the hole – with plaster. A painting over an electric panel right next to the refrigerator might look suspicious.
“The Old Apartment” reminded me of a Barenaked Ladies album that I haven’t listen to in a long time. Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001. Back in the day, this was one of my favorite albums, and this week I have been listening to it over and over. I forgot how amazing their songs are, and listening to them after all these years brings comfort to my soul, in the middle of all this craziness.
I want to leave you with my favorite songs; a little tribute to a great band, enjoy:
PS: William I couldn’t pull off the comparative analysis between classical music and contemporary rock. I might need to research the topic for a couple of years. 🙂
This week I have been obsessed with the song An Argument with Myself by Jens Lekman. The EP, with the same title, was released in September of this year, and it is pretty great. An Argument with Myself has some of the most strange and funny lyrics I have ever heard. After discovering this song, I started to listen to Lekman’s music and I have to say, that most of his songs have very unique and enjoyable lyrics that can make you smile.
An Argument with Myself is a song about Lekman’s having a bad time in Australia; the streets of Melbourne are referenced in the song. I read that he moved there to chase a love interest but now he is back in Sweden. Probably things didn’t work out and he end up arguing with himself for a while. In this song, where he is literally arguing with himself, you can hear 2 voices or more having a fight. Maybe this is a little extreme, but I do think that at some level, we do ague with ourselves, it is probably part of our thought process. My favorite part is the beginning:
“Having an argument with myself down Elizabeth Street
Bumping into backpackers and
struggling with the parameters
and the basic construction of my feet.”
After a deserved summer break; a trip to the exotic lands of Istanbul, I have returned to my beloved DC. Now, I can go back to my blog and keep writing meaningless articles. I can’t believe it has been a year since my first post and I most say, it has been an amazing experience – I have enjoyed the ride. I feel that writing this blog has kept me from blowing my brain a couple of times. I have discovered that for me, it is important to have a hobby, a personal project I can focus on for a couple of hours and decompress. What is surprising is that this hobby has lasted a year! Anyway,
as I said before, I never thought I would enjoy writing this much and I want to take a moment to thank everyone that reads Listen to This and have given me words of encouragement through out this year. I really appreciate it! Thank you!
Since I came back I have been searching for new music. Sometimes you just want to discover a new sound, a new group, a new album and listen to it over and over… This time my search took a while. I ended up listening to music podcasts for a couple of days. NPR Music has great shows and I most say, I ran into a couple of interesting things:
There is an interview with Manu Chau on Alt Latino. Manu Chau is one of the coolest guys on earth, and this comes across in this interview where he talks about his life, his musical influences and DJs music from his favorites artists. This is the link to the interview http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=128334429&date=9-8-2011 Manu Chau is one of my favorite artist, I’m really glad I was able to see him in concert a couple of years ago, he is a great performer. My favorite song is Rumba de Barcelona. (Check the guitar solo)
I also ran into a Noah and The Whale mini concert: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/10/138615666/noah-and-the-whale-tiny-desk-concert
Finally, Yesterday I found what I was looking for; a new band to love! Blind Pilot is an Indie band from Portland, Oregon. Their debut album, 3 Rounds and a Sound reached number 13 on the Billboard Top Digital Albums chart. The song Oviedo is in this album
Blind Pilot did a bicycle tour in 2008, biking from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, California, carrying their instruments on custom bicycle trailers they fashioned themselves. They made more than two dozen stops along the way, including Port Townsend, Seattle, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis, Eugene, Coos Bay, Arcata and Santa Cruz.1 I guess not only they are a pretty good band, but they also have good legs!
On September 13th 2011, they released their new album; We Are The Tide. this song was on Song of the Day on NPR
Last week, one of my music idols passed away. “El Joe Arroyo”, one of the best singers Colombia has given to the world, left us, leaving a legacy of beautiful music that will stay in our hearts for ever. A bright musician, who lived a life between fame, drugs and sickness, deteriorated his body to the point it could not recover. At age 56, “El Joe”, left this world and all I can say is: Joe, find peace in heaven and thank you for your music.
“EL Joe Arroyo” was born in Cartagena on November 1st, 1955. His musical career started when he was very young (13) singing in Cartagena’s brothels. In 1971 he became a nationally known artist when he joined the band “Fruco y sus Tesos”. He performed with the band for 10 years, until he began his solo career with his band “La Verdad”
Joe Arroyo became very successful by mixing salsa, soca, kompa, zouk and other music from the African Diaspora in a unique style that has earned him the prefix of Chonero de la Salsa by critics and fans.
Joe’s music is part of our culture, it is part of our lives, our memories, and ourselves.
So far, this summer has been great! I really enjoy the long days, the outdoor activities, hanging out with friends, and the frequent visits to my daughter’s favorite place; the pool. However, I will always remember the summer of 2011 as a summer full of family visits and trips. We are so lucky that this year, we will be able to see both of our families. You see, when you are an immigrant or a “Foreign Alien”, your life revolves around the excitement of the hellos and the sadness of the goodbyes. The sad part is that it never gets easier, but the good part is that you do appreciate the limited time you spent with your loved ones.
Since I’m feeling a little nostalgic, I decided to make a playlist of my favorite goodbye songs!
This weekend my daughter turned two years old! (First two years: checked!) Two years go by very fast, specially when you are a parent. Being a parent is a very tricky business, you really don’t know how to deal with a lot of situations, and when you finally think you have figure it out, the baby grows, changes and you have to adapt to the new phases of his or her life. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions, but it is also the most rewarding thing in the world. Today, however, I’m not going to write about how great (or not) it is to be a parent. Today, I want to write about two things that have been bugging my mind for a while. But first, I want to take a second to tell my brother that despite all the harsh criticisms he has made about my latest posts, I’m going to keep writing. I want him to know that I am a person with feelings, and that the only thing I want is for him to support me… (hahaha)
As I was saying, since I became a mother, two things about this world have been bothering me: Princesses and children’s food.
Princesses: The girls of our time are bombarded with princesses. From clothes, to toys, to books, everything you might need for your daughter, you can find it with a princess on it. Thank you so much The Walt Disney Company, because of your lack of responsibility with the world, the girls of today, will be the most needy and useless women of tomorrow. There is nothing a girl can learn from a princess. First of all, there are only around 5 or 9 real princesses in the world and they have lives full of privileges most girls will never have. Secondly, there is only one Kate Middleton in this world, and she was rich before meeting prince William, otherwise they would have probably never met. Basically 99.9% of the world’s female population, will never be a princess.
I don’t want my daughter to grow up, expecting a life full of luxury, palaces and princes. I want her to be passionate about life, to work hard for what she wants, and to build a life for herself. There is no bigger feeling of accomplishment, than the feeling of have done things by yourself. Princess are weak and focused on their physical appearance. They are always waiting for their prince to come and rescue them from any trouble. There is such disconnect between the princess life and the daily life, that it makes me wonder of the effect these kinds of messages will have on our daughters. Why should they wait for a prince charming to come along? Are there any princes toys in the boys section of the store? No one is teaching the men of tomorrow to behave like princes, that is why relationships are full of misunderstandings; the girl is waiting for a prince while the boy only wants to play with cars… I refuse to buy any princess souvenir for my daughter! I want her to be tough, independent, funny and smart, I want her to be the anti-princess………. more like a cow girl!
Children’s food: A while ago, we took a trip to Philadelphia. We love this city and we wanted my mom – who is visiting – to see it. We have heard of a museum for kids called “The Please Touch Museum”, and we wanted to take our daughter there. I have to say it; if I see an ad on Craig’s List, that says “Come and visit The Please Touch Museum” I’ would probably think it is a sick invitation from a pervert, but don’t worry, it is all legal and most importantly, it is children-safe and very cool! We had a great afternoon there, but when we went to the cafeteria, to order some food, I was disappointed to find out that the only things they would offer (in a CHILDREN’S MUSEUM) were hamburgers, hotdogs and pizzas. Really? A museum for kids and you can not think of a more healthy menu? How many kids eat there daily? I don’t even want to think about it. I’m so frustrated with the children’s menus at restaurants, that lately I’ve decided to order food for myself and give some of my meal to my daughter. it is a win-win situation; I eat less and she eats healthy. Seriously, I rather do this than give her greasy quesadillas, fries and ketchup. After all the research done on the effect things like high fructose corn syrup, hormones on animals, and hydrogenated oils, have on our bodies, it is sad to see that we are still feeding these things to our children. (or ar least offering them)
Thank you for reading my venting session, I really needed to get this out of my system!
Have a lovely day!