Tag Archives: love

Culture, Food, and Love

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This is a note I wrote to my partner months ago, but never sent.  I wonder how it applies to other couples where family backgrounds and cultural traditions are so different.

 

I know you’re not used to fanfare with meals, to the pride in preparing and serving delicious food.  Perhaps this is not a part of your culture, or maybe because you are an only child?  However, I am used to that, and it is something I really value about my culture.  I love my memories of the intricate dishes–rolling the gnocchi, stuffing the enchiladas, mincing the jalapenos, divvying up the pasta sauce so as to put the whole garlic cloves on the plates of those who love them.  I am proud to prepare meals for you, and I am proud to serve them.  In return I expect that you will welcome the food, appreciate its appearance, smell, etc, savor the flavors, and critique the dishes.  This shows energy and respect for the effort and the pride put into the preparation and serving.

Breaking the Summer’s Crap Curse

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Hola, mis sorellas y mis amigas, y todos!  Yep, I really believe that the summer’s Crap Curse is broken!!!

Aaaaand this is how it happened!  I know this little retelling doesn’t do it justice, but really, it was an experience that no piece of writing could do justice for. And I like it that way. 🙂  So, keep reading below……..

It’s been a really stressful summer.  A REALLY stressful summer (mostly crappy).  And, for the last two weeks, I’ve been seeing my bff.  I know, that should be good, but I only visited because she’s been recently diagnosed w/ a life threatening illness (invasive ductile cell carcinoma – breast cancer – at 27 years old), and I couldn’t wait.  I stayed for almost two weeks, and on Friday it was time to come back (my grandfather’s memorial is this Wednesday, and my sister’s wedding is this Sunday).  Soo, I had a Friday morning 7AM flight from Newark back to Chicago.  Only, I was late.  It took 1.3 HOURS to travel 15miles (can you tell I’m not used to driving in big cities?!).  I was so late to the airport that they wouldn’t let me check in for my own flight, since, ya know, it was leaving in 28 MINUTES.

All I could do was get a standby seat on the 10:30AM flight home.

I knew my partner (we’ll call him BCaric) had wiggled his work schedule around so he could pick me up from the airport like he always does.  I was hesitating to call and tell him to go ahead, sleep in a few extra hours, and go to work on time.  Instead, I just went ahead and plowed my way through security (okay that’s a lie, it was only 9min from check-in to gate – Newark Airport in the morning is awesome!) and got to the gate at 6:45AM.  I didn’t see anyone at my own gate, so I nearly gave into the coffee and Jersey-bagel urge, but instead took a chance (you know I can be sooo shy when it comes to asking for cust svc on my own behalf). I asked the employee at the next gate about how to check in for standby.  She inquired curtly about my original flight time, still pounding away at that old-fashioned keyboard.  Another worker came out to say that the doors were locked and everyone was sitting down and everything was ready.  Then, the second worker glanced down at the computer screen and said.  “Well, everyone except one person is sitting down!”  …She had put me on my original flight! Woot!!!! 😀  I got all sweetly excited (mostly genuine), and asked, “Is that me? Are you putting me on this flight?! Oh, thank you so much!”  The second worker just grinned at her co-worker (still tak-tak-taking away at the ancient manila keys), and then at me.  “Yep, she’s super woman!” Sooo, I got a ticket printout, checked on, and I was the last person on the plane!

I didn’t know it then, but now I am thanking God that, for once, all my comfy stretch pants were just TOO dirty to wear, even for me.  I’d worn my pretty sleeveless sundress, so I was feeling cute, if suer chilly).  When the plane landed, I was doin the peepee dance, and a nice man let me get off ahead of him. The plane was whole 40min early (on a 90min flight!), so I did NOT pee my pants (not that I pee my pants often, buuut there’s always the phobia, right?).  I got off and got to O’Hare airport bathrooms, and the automatic sliding toilet seat cover actually worked (for once! Seriously!).  Sooo, I took my time, redid my hair, and texted back and forth with BCaric.  Over text messages, we agreed to go have breakfast downtown, so I forewent the coffee and egg bagel indulgence (a big thing to forego–you know me).  I headed through O’Hare to the CTA (Chicago’s version of the subway, also known as the “eL,” or “eLevated” trains) stop, and as I did, the guy that always plays guitar and sings (I think the airport authorities must have his spot reserved — I imagine he’s the “Welcome to Chicago” busker) was singing, “Don’t know much about the science book…don’t know much about the French I took…but I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too, what a wonderful world this would be….”  I couldn’t help smiling.  Perfect song for the moment.  Back to grad school land, and back to my beautiful man.  I dug around for my third to last dollar bill, and tipped him and thanked him, giddy.  “Tan feliz!”

Theeeen, I walked to the gates of the CTA, and waited for BCaric to come and use his CTA card to get me through.  When the next train arrived, I watched everybody get off, and although I was on the phone with him, I didn’t see him until he was right up at the gate, looking through at me!  I made him kiss me through the fence before I took the CTA card and went through the turnstile, and then made him kiss me before I moved again after. Hehe – he was quite willing to…. 😀 BCaric showed me his suit, telling me, “See, this is what I wore yesterday to the interview.  I wanted you to see just what I looked like.  Do you think I looked stupid?”  I just raised an eyebrow, and he laughed and said, “I know….”  I gave a fake smirky smile, and responded, “Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.”  Then, if I remember correctly (and I often don’t), I complimented him on some looks-related thing, because, frankly, he did look pretty dashing in his suit-minus-top-button-and-tie-combo (it’s partly the chest hair peeking out of the .

We neared where the trains were waiting, and as our train pulled in, the people around us trickled off the platform and onto the train.  You know me, I’m not usually in a hurry (at least not a *focused* hurry, LOL), so I just stood there holding BCaric’s hand.  BCaric started off, and then stopped and turned and said, “Oh, wait I brought you something.”  With that mischievous, sexy little grin of his (sexchievous?), he opened his jacket pocket and brought out a single rose, trimmed to about 5 or 6 inches and wrapped just to the top in aluminum foil (that is some seeeeriously cute forethought, right there!).  I was standing there w/ my backpack on, my bag slung over my arm, and holding his binder with one hand – leaving just the other hand free to accept the gift. 🙂

I was SO happy!

I don’t ask for flowers, and he knows I strongly *ahem, meaning only* prefer cut flowers if they can be dried and kept for a long time, and usually he brings me other kinds of sweet things, like apples, or books, or binders, or paper clips (yep, I’m an office supply junkie – you could staple a shortcut right to my heart).  So a rose was definitely a big surprise – especially wrapped in aluminum foil (SHINY! SHINY! Yay!!!)!  I just smiled and smelled it (and it actually smelled! Kudos to finding a nice, scented rose in this city! That takes both luck and hard work!), when he said, “Oh, I have something else for you, too.”  He opened his jacket again, and I saw the corner of a manila card.

Dun. Dunnn. Dunnnn. (drumroll)

Yeaaah, I kinda sorta *started* to suspect something.  But frankly, I’d only slept for two hours, and things take a while to process for me…. 😛

Soooo, BCaric took out the card, gets down on one knee on the wide cement subway platform in front of the trains, and says, “N.S.C.  I love you. Will you marry me?”*  I said*, “Yes, please! Yes, yes, of course!” And, he oh-so gracefully slipped the ring on my finger (after fumbling a little to slip it off the card/holder thingy).

And we headed for a train car.

An airport worker on the other CTA platform opposite ours jumped around and did a little dance and shouted “Woohoo! YEAH!!!” (I’m pretty thankful to the random stranger for doing that part on my behalf – it let me maintain a little more composure than I think I could have managed, otherwise!)

And we got on the train. And BCaric took embarrassing pictures of me being all giddy and giggly (too bad I completely spaced getting some of him!  He had a grin from ear to ear!!!).  And we snuggled and pretended not to notice the friendly stares of the other passengers who had witnessed the scene through the CTA car windows.

Well, there ya have it!  BCaric has been asking me to marry him everyday for months and months (and months), and everyday I’d tell him I’ll agree to marry him when he asks me in a unique, surprise-y way.  And now he has.  WOOT. 🙂

1*Teeensy weensy caveat –  I, uh, was really shocked.  I know there was something about love, and my full name before that, and marrying (DEF the marrying part, of course!).  Buuut, I honestly don’t remember what his exact words were.  It’s a good thing he didn’t prepare a speech (err, by which I mean I REALLY HOPE he didn’t prepare one! Because it would have been totally lost on me at that point!).*

2*By which I mean I THINK I said.  There were a lot of “yeses” coming from my mouth at the time, so I can’t be sure just which sixty-odd permutations of the positive responsive phrase I used.*