Archive for January, 2009

the trumpet symphony

we live on a street that considering it’s name you’d think it’d be more quiet. here, you imagine things are just merry and happy and everyday busy. our street has always children running back and forth, specially now that they are on summer holiday, brings back memories… dogs barking at the roosters in the morning, people talking loudly sounding as if they’re in our room, cars driving carefully because our street’s asphalt was used to make the other streets pretty, night-guards arriving and leaving, the ice cream man ringing his bell, the ironman yelling his little “i fix your iron/metal!!” with his i’ve been drinking all night voice, even the arab mosque in front of us with it’s imam singing 5 times a day (but they only start at 10a.m.!) and last but not least, AT ALL, the trumpet symphony!

i am being very gentle, it’s not a symphony, nope, not even a ORCHESTRA! noooooo… it’s plain, rude, early NOISE!

there is a building at the end of our street, when you exit our door it’s to your left on the right side, there is a building on the corner. it took me two months to understand what the building was and the early month of december made me discover it, it’s the AIR FORCE BUILDING, in that 6 apartment building, (in another post i’ll tell you the beauty of nationalizing homes/apartments back in the communism days) live soldiers, or whatever air force men dressed in army clothes are called. that’s an ok detail. they don’t do army exercises in our street, which is another ok detail, what they do is actually very simple and it takes only ONE of them to do it. HE PLAYS THE TRUMPET!

this little soldier, i’ve seen him, plays not only the trumpet, but he plays it at the cutest hour of 5A.M. yes, indeed, 2 HOURS before my own alarm clock rings. i have always loved waked up with the sunshine but this way i end up being scared of the sun, all i’d want was for the sun to come up only at 7a.m. so i’d think i still had lots of minutes of sleep after the trumpet man. i don’t really call him a man, to me he’s the NOISEMAN seeing that he plays a rather small ridiculous little trumpet on a LOUDSPEAKER, i’m sure all the neighbors wake up with me, and man, does he play like an ass! i swear i haven’t been able for the past two months to understand if he’s playing a song or just breathing into the darn thing.

and you know me… i can’t just sit, or lie down in my bed and pretend the world is a better pleace if we all let this tiny man play the tiny trumpet. so one morning on my way to work, with my eyes shut after the hundredth time of getting scared by this object and tiny man, i drove past the other soldier standing around at the corner doing gosh knows what and called him over.

i said “mr. soldier, who plays the trumpet?”

“that mr.soldier over there” he pointed and smiled as if he thought i’d ask for an autograph

i waved, and calmly turned to the mr.soldier next to my car window “is he having lessons?”

“no SINHÓRA (it means lady, sounding like LAIDÉ)”

“tell him to, PLEASE, before i come here myself and play the flute!”

“does it bother you LAIDÉ?

“now that you mention it OF COURSE IT DOES!!!! it’s like he’s playing it in bed with me and aldo!”

“i’m sorry but he has to use a loudspeaker so the sleepy soldiers can hear him… he’ll get better soon”

i thanked him telling him that for my mental stability i need that tiny soldier to learn and FAST otherwise i’ll teach him other ways to wake up the other, i presume, tiny soldiers. he said “we’d all be happy to learn” his smile so wide i tought his teeth would pop out!

i felt really good for having had this conversation, i could feel i was entering a whole new way of waking up. until the next morning. THE TINY TRUMPET MAN IS STILL NOT HAVING LESSONS and as i walked out of my door and decided that after this trauma i could use a walk to work risking passing the tiny soldier and choking him, i was approached by 3, yes THREE soldiers, not so tiny these ones and they all smiled and said “LAIDÉ? good morning! he’s playing better isn’t he??!!!!”

two weeks have passed and the noisy symphony is still playing and every morning i have three soldiers asking me if i notice the difference… i think the fact that i just wave and look so sleepy answers their question…

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29.01.2009 III

rosie was born a year ago. exactly twelve months of a beautiful life. 

on that first moment that i saw her i knew, this is the moment i realized i would be connected to belgium forever to greet and kris and to everything in antwerp. she represents to me happiness, a life filled with love, smiles and friendship. rosie is growing up beautifully, full of life. her one minute movies made by her mommy for me keep me laughing, and looking forward to her next “new thing”. 

she plays keekaboe, she stands up by herself, she claps he hands, she can eat a whole pear by herself and i am sure by now she can say “andrea” together with words like mama! i have heard her “talk”, i have heard her laugh and play. i have heard her stories from her mother, i have missed her dearly. 

i haven’t held her in my arms for 5 months and last time i did was on a very sad day, the day i said goodbye to everything i had and to everyone i loved in her city. i miss her sweet smell of cookies, that is why she’ll always be COOKIE ROSIE.  12 months of you

29.01.2009 II

sofie, i haven’t forgotten you, i have tried to call you this morning but apparently you were sleeping because that voice was way to deep for someone who should be up and about enjoying her birthday!!! 

have a wonderful day today and i promise before the day is over i’ll call you, you know i will. 

my gift to you is a koffie verkeerd on me, i’ll pay when you get here!!!! come and visit ’cause we miss you! wish i could be there… and hope you day ends surrounded by friends!

29.01.2009 I

bart mermans… you promised to come to visit us on this day two years from now. so i’ll hold you onto that promise and i’ll se ya when you’re 32, if i don’t come to belgium first! happy birthday my dearest bart, i hope you have the time of your life!

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and they just keep on coming, and they’re getting even better!!!!

this time it was a package filled with indian treasures. pants, jewelry tiny boxes and a friendship foot bracelet that sings when you walk from rita and joão filled with spiced kisses and warm hugs.

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again, it’s so wonderful to get them and knowing they actually arrive even after 1 month! thanks TEEMA ARCHITECTEN for the card, it’s 2009 already for 21 days but i still like thinking it just began! the side i chose to be the front is a great picture nice to know they really use those ALKOVEN!

swaziland #001

aldo needed a new stamp on his passport, so we decided that traveling again through that horrible South African border would be too much for just a stamp, so this time we said, let’s have lunch in MANZINI, the italian named town in SWAZILAND. i was already meaning to go there seeing that i have traveled this country in search of things, places and pieces of my families story, it seemed fair that i would go to Manzini, to see the school where my dad’s sister studied and played basketball, just like me!

and off we went, to what we now know as THE SWITZERLAND OF AFRICA. or at least until now… you do know i’ve been to 3 countries in africa don’t you?!!!? of course you didn’t, but i’ll tell you: 3 COUNTRIES!!! so now i can say that of ALL of these, SWAZILAND = SWITZERLAND! see the similarities?

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ok so let’s start by explaining this photo above, there is a giraffe there, “where’s waldo the giraffe”, and of course i know that there aren’t any of these in Switzerland, but apart from this one giraffe and other 5 zebras (we are in africa in case you forgot!) we saw thousands of cows! and what does switzerland have? lots of milka cows. so that’s your  first clue.

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Swaziland is compared to mozambique not chaotic, there aren’t people everywhere, the border on Swaziland side was perfect even with the big spider above our heads, not even a bad moment… on the mozambican side, i had a fight with the guard. there is green everywhere and everything is cultivated, not burning and waiting for the sun to make potatoes out of light. 

people are all very gentle, they don’t stare as much at you and this in a place where we saw only two other white people.

it has a king, with 30 wives, much like Switzerland has a bank empire filled with 30 million accounts with laundry money. 

it has italian named cities, like Switzerland has an italian region.

enfin… so many similarities, except this one i think is slightly greener. indeed it was a positively surprising place to visit, no expectations, just a really, really nice lunch in Manzini.

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the green big blob is the KRUGER PARK, just below it there is a sort of a circle, that’s SWAZILAND, on the right next to the ocean is MOZ and on the right side of the park and swazi is SOUTH AFRICA. it’s like finding a treasure in this continent.

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i couldn’t leave this place without a KFC lunch, i’ve been dying to go to KFC. no sorry, eventhough that was a very good junk food lunch in this country of cows (?!), i couldn’t actually leave without going to see this place. my aunt Nelinha’s school, i hope, because i didn’t confirm before hand that this was the correct location, but following instruction of her sms it seemed correct. it’s still a school and a Catholic Centre.

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you said in front of the cathedral, so i’m sure it’s this school. if it’s not… pretend. because we only have to go to SWAZI again next month. new stamp.