Thursday, September 6, 2012

Earrings On Babies and Other Awesomeness

(Note: I re-read this and realize it might seem I'm poking fun at the Latinos for piercing their babies' ears.  That's definitely not my intention.  My intention was to poke fun at EVERYONE who pierces baby ears.  Gotta spread the love right?)

(Note 2: Received a great comment from a friend that really made me think.  I answered her comment and added some thoughts below.)


If you've ever lived in another country, inevitably you'll come across what I like to call the "Huh? Wha-?" moment.  What is that, you might ask?  A "Huh? Wha-?" moment is that slight pause or hiccup in your thought processes while your brain panics and frantically goes through its files to try and find some semblance of familiarity in the thing you are seeing.  For example, the first time in Mexico that I saw a bus packed to overflowing with a man hanging out the window.  I knew what I was seeing, but a message kept flashing in my mind: "Image does not compute."  It's the same thing that happens every time I take a moment to really think about my marriage.  I look at Yunuen and think, "She's married to ME?"  Then my brain starts flashing the message: "Does not compute."

Granted, things don't have to follow logic in order to exist.  Take the jellyfish, for example.  What the heck is the deal with that thing?  And why can't it make up its mind?  I mean, is it jelly or is it a fish?  It's not enough to be just a non-polyp form of individual from the Cnidaria phylum (thank you very much, Wikipedia); oh no, it has to be a gelatinous fruit preserve that is great for long-term storage AND classify itself as an ectothermic, aquatic animal with gills and lacking limbs and digits (once again: gracias, Wikipedia).  So which is it?  It's both.  And THAT'S what makes this life great.  You can be a non-mammal AND taste great on a PBJ and no one can say anything about it.  

But I digress.

One thing that makes me do the "Huh? Wha-?" is earrings on babies.  "But that's so common," you might say.  "Why would that strike you as strange?"  For a couple of reasons, actually.  (WARNING: If you pierced your baby's ears, YOU MAY BE OFFENDED by some of the things I write.  If you tend to be easily offended, please skip to the very last paragraph of this blog entry.  Thank you.)  First of all, why pierce a baby's ears?  What purpose does it serve?  Unless you don't think your baby is cute enough and are trying to compensate.  (I warned you.)  Second, shouldn't poking a hole in your body be a personal choice and not something forced on you by parents who don't think you're cute enough?  Now, I'm not female (stop laughing............I mean it), but it always seemed to me that getting her ears pierced is a big thing for a little girl.  It's one of those "coming of age" type of things, like biting a smiley face into your imitation cheese slice or wearing superhero/princess/Sponge Bob/Dora undies.  It's a moment in a little girl's life when she can say, "I want to show my independence by jamming little metal spikes through my lobes."  I can respect that.

However, lots of people pierce their daughters' ears right after birth.  It seems cruel to me.  But in some countries everybody does it.  Everybody.  That many people can't be cruel, right?  In the United States we dress our pets in costumes.  That seems cruel to me, but if everybody does it it must be fine, right?   And, you know what?  Who am I to tell other people how to parent their children?  They can jam whatever they want through their children's ears and it's ok by me.  Because it's THEIR child.  Not mine.  

Yunuen is from a place where people like to pierce their baby daughters' ears.  During our first pregnancy it took me a while to admit this to Yunuen, but as soon as we heard the sonographer say "It's a girl!" I knew the "earrings on babies" thing would come up and that it could possibly be a source of contention.  I didn't want to offend anybody.  I was so worried about it that I forgot to say anything until after our daughter was born... until the very moment my wife told me her aunt had sent some beautiful earrings for our daughter from Mexico.  


Before I go on, I admit I had a more practical reasons for not wanting to give earrings to our baby daughter: 

1) earrings don't take care of themselves and I feel it would be better to let her decide to get earrings when she can take care of them on her own, and 

2) baby's have tiny earlobes.  

Ever seen a woman who got her ears pierced at a few weeks of age and now one earring is in the center of the lobe while the other is floating somewhere near the planet Jupiter?  Ears grow.  If the earring-specialist twitched or was recovering from a midnight bender he/she may not place the earring right in the middle of the baby's lobe.  Best wait.

Tentatively, I told Yunuen that I didn't want to pierce our baby daughter's ears.  I braced for the reaction, the backlash, the explosion of the cultural Chernobyl I had just caused.  Instead, she said, "Ok."  And that was that.  No earrings.  


From time to time our Latino friends ask us why we didn't pierce our daughter's ears.  Yunuen simply replies, "We didn't want to."  No throwing Ryan under the bus for being closed-minded.  No snide remarks about weird things from my culture (of which there are many... hopefully she'll write a blog post on them).  Only support of my neuroticism--something I think is completely awesome.  

In the years since there have been many other "Huh? Wha-?" moments in our marriage (such as the infamous Trail of Tears in Brigham City, an incident that will go down in Uhrey family history and yet shall never be spoken of again).  They make things fun, keep you on your toes, give you good stories to tell.  I know I'll inevitably have another "Huh? Wha-?" moment when I see my daughter with earrings.  The day will come when my baby--who is no longer a baby, but a little girl who loves painting her nails, going to ballet class, and singing with Mulan at the top of her lungs--will beg to have her ears pierced.  When that day comes I'll be happy for her--I'll even take her there.  I'll probably cry.  And I have no doubt she will look absolutely beautiful... something that my brain will definitely be able to compute.

Message for those who are easily offended and have babies with pierced ears: How could you do such a thing to your child without consent?  You are a wonderful person and your baby looks absolutely beautiful with earrings.  You are a good parent and your baby is very cute.  Hugs.


UPDATE:  A good friend of mine asked in a comment: "You wrote 'It seems cruel to me.'  Did you circumcise your son?  :)"  I really liked her comment because it pointed out the inherent mistake of spouting opinion as truth (something I did quite well above), and also showed how easy it is for us to look at and judge other people's customs while completely ignoring our own.  (I'm saying "us" and "our" when I should be saying "me" and "my.")  Circumcision is the accepted norm in our Judeo-Christian society here in the US.  For a long time it was just something you did.  

As most of you know I work as an interpreter at a children's hospital.  In the last few years I've heard the pediatric urologists say time and again that they no longer recommend circumcising to families unless there is a medical reason to do so.  Meaning, they leave the decision to the parents, their beliefs, etc., without giving an opinion supporting or opposing the practice.  That being said, what difference is there, then, in deciding to pierce your child's ears or remove foreskin from one of the most sensitive areas on the male body?  Great counter-point.  Admittedly I am in favor of circumcision, which makes me kind of a hypocrite because it is infinitely more cruel than piercing ears.  I could spout my reasons and justify my opinion, but the truth is that WE ALL have opinions and customs and even though one person's customs may seem strange to us and we may not agree (such as piercing babies' ears), the people who do it have their reasons--just like I have my reasons for believing circumcision is ok.  Do I have the right to ridicule or make fun of something just because I don't completely understand it?  No.  So, let this blog stand as a witness to my learning.  That's what this life is all about, right?  Thank you, Alicia, for pointing that out.  It gave me a lot to think about and I appreciate you lovingly pointing out a great counterpoint to my rather flamboyant opinion.  

(Alicia, creo que sé cuál Alicia eres y si estoy en lo correcto esto sólo muestra que sigues enseñándome, aún después de tantos años.  Un abrazo.  Te quiero mucho.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

¿Qué dijiste? / What did you say?

¿Se pueden imaginar dos comunicólogos?  Si,  dos personas que estudiaron la misma licenciatura y no poder comunicar. Para una comunicación eficaz necesitas un emisor: persona que envía la información. Receptor: el que recibe la información. Mensaje: contenido de la comunicación. Código: lenguaje determinado. Pero al final, como dijo un maestro en la escuela: "Lo verdadero no es lo que digo yo, sino lo que entiende el otro."

Durante nuestro tiempo juntos Ryan me ha preguntado: "¿Qué dijiste?" Cuando se me han salido palabras como: fodongo, colado, gandalla, calote, chintrolas, feliz 10 de mayo, matánga dijo la changa, etc. Estas son palabras que no te enseñan en una clase de español. Es parte de la cultura, palabras coloquiales. Palabras de la calle, de la gente. En inglés por supuesto hay muchas y sigo aprendiendo.  Son esas veces en que la comunicación ha quedado interrumpida en nuestra relación ;) 

Mi primer idioma es el español y sigo trabajando en el inglés. Ryan lleva 14 años especializando su español y la verdad me da envidia que si hablas con él por teléfono pensarás que estas hablando con un nativo de México, no puedes imaginar que es un norteamericano, porque no puedes escuchar acento alguno. Mientras que yo, tengo ese acento en inglés muy sabroso, jajaja :) creo que saben a que me refiero. 

 El lenguaje del amor esta presente en nuestra relación, que bueno que para dar un beso y un abrazo no necesitas un idioma específico. Es interesante que a pesar que hablamos solo español en casa, para Ryan es mas significativo que yo le diga: "I LOVE YOU" y para mi escuchar con su voz: "TE AMO."

Somos un par de comunicólogos enamorados.

(Translation revised and comments added by Ryan)

Imagine two communication majors--two people who studied the same degree and yet are still unable to communicate. For effective communication you need a sender: the person who sends the information; a recipient: the person who receives the information; a message: the communication's content; code: the language. But in the end, as a teacher once said: "The truth is not in what I say, but in the way the other person understands it."

During our time together, on numerous occasions Ryan has asked me, "What did you say?"  when I've said words like: fodongo (disheveled/unkempt), colado (party crasher), gandalla (crook/scoundrel), calote (deception/trap), chintrolas (derived from the exclamation "¡chin!", which is derived from another word we won't write here), feliz 10 de mayo ("Happy Mother's Day!" but not is a good way... think about it), matánga dijo la changa ("Finders keepers, losers weepers").  These are words that they don't teach in Spanish class. It's part of the culture, the slang. Of course in English there are a lot of these words as well, and I'm still learning.  They're the type of things that have interrupted the communication in our relationship ;)

My first language is Spanish and I'm still working on my English. Ryan has been speaking and specializing in Spanish for 14 years. If you talk to him on the phone you will think you're talking to a native of Mexican, you cannot imagine you're speaking with an American because you can't hear any accent. While I  have that accent in English that I would describe as very tasty!!!! :) I think you know what I mean.

 The language of love is present in our relationship.  The good thing about giving a kiss and a hug, is that you don't  need a specific language. It is interesting that although we speak only Spanish at home, for Ryan it is more meaningful if I say, "I LOVE YOU" and for me to hear him say, "TE AMO".

We are a couple of communicologists who are in love. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Very Cute Kids

I could get into some hot water with this post, but there is one thing we have to set straight: your kids are cute... mine are cuter.  No need to feel offended!  I heard a suh-weet Ted Talk that illustrated this phenomenon. It's called "survival of the fittest."  Let me explain: I passed my genes onto these little people.  They are the final result of my gene test, the physical manifestation of my DNA--of course I'm going to think mine are better than yours.  Especially because, well... they are.

Part of the fun of having kids in an interracial marriage is thinking about how your kids will turn out--kind of like those flip-book games where you can choose a head and give it a different body and crazy legs.  (Clown face + Fireman body + Chicken legs = Funny)  Yuni and I would often talk about how our children would turn out.  Would they have Yuni's exotic brown eyes or would they be blue like mine?  Would they have lighter or darker skin?  Would they look more like me or her?  Of course, all marriages have these questions, but it was fun to throw so many variables into the mix.  Kind of like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel except it's your kid... and you can't really choose how they come out.  (Ok, bad example.  But "Whatever the Gods Decide" novels aren't quite as appealing to the venturesome young reader.)

Well, now we have two beautiful children--a girl and a boy--and I'm proud to say they are a beautiful mix of us both.  I call my daughter "ojos de chocolate" (chocolate eyes) because she has these deep, dark brown peepers that melt my heart.  Her hair is right in between Yuni's and my hair color (Yuni = dark brown, almost black; Ryan = bald... but it used to be blonde).  She has light brown hair with blonde, red, and dark highlights.  (It looks really cool when you see her in the sun.)  Her skin color is a nice "tan" color--lighter than her mommy but a few shades darker than her daddy.  She got her mommy's beauty and her daddy's buff legs.  She's a nice mixture of both her parents.  (I'm already considering building a mote around our home to keep all the "would be" suitors away in about twenty years or so.)

Yunuen always said she'd like to have a little boy who looked like a Mexican version of me.  Wish granted.  Our son is often referred to as "Ryan's clone" or "Ryan 2.0, the Latino model."  He has a striking similarity to his daddy, which makes me proud.  His skin is darker than his sister's, but his hair is lighter, leaning more towards red than dirty blonde.  He has the same rich, chocolatey eyes of his sister and mother but has his daddy's "butt" chin.  (I know, flattering.  That's how somebody referred to the cleft in my chin one time.  The term stinks, but I can live with it.  Hey-OH!)  He's very stout, meaning buff, and has these little shoulders that scream "I'm a future linebacker!"  

The funny thing is Yunuen and I always focused on what our children's physical attributes would be, but we now see there are other things they've inherited from us both.  For example, if either of my children hear music--any music with a good beat, but especially genres like salsa, merengue, cumbia--their little heads and hips start to wobble like a room full of Weebles.  (Those crazy Weebles!  They wobble, but they don't fall down!)  Our daughter showed us her swinging hips even before she could walk.  (Yunuen has a great video of her dancing to La Bamba.  I'll see if we can get it posted on here.)  Our son, who is just learning how to stand, bobs his head and weaves his arms.  Is there any doubt that they've been imbued with ritmo latino?

Of course, all parents love their kids and have fun seeing what parts of themselves surface in their little offspring.  It isn't something that only happens in interracial marriages.  So, all of you out there in the blogosphere, feel free to share your thoughts about your kids, what part of you showed up in your son or daughter.  Leave a comment.  Share it!  Just realize... your children aren't as cute as mine.  ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Alcohol Rub" (Continued...) / "Friega de alcohol" (Continuado...)

Like it or not, there are certain challenges that come from being an interracial couple.  When you grow up in different countries or even separate areas of the same country--when you come from two very distinct cultures--your view on things such as food, festivities, religion, healthcare (the list could go on and on) are different.  This can either be a source of dissonance and difficulty between you both or it can create beautiful harmony and texture within your marriage.

This is something Yunuen and I have often talked about.  Despite the fact that our upbringings were fairly similar (same religious beliefs, similar education, family values, etc.), she was reared in Mexico and I grew up in the United States.  We sometimes see things differently, and that is something we’ve had to learn to work with and accept as a unique part of our marriage.  Admittedly, some things have been more difficult to overcome while others have given us experiences to look back on and laugh. 

Take Yunuen's last post, for instance.  We were newlyweds living in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Still in that glorious yet awkward stage when you’re trying to feel each other out, not make any embarrassing noises or smells in bed at night, and generally trying to be on your very best of behavior.  Yunuen was such a wonderful new bride.  It was a dream come true to be married to such a beautiful person, and I looked forward to a lifetime full of love, laughter, and shared experiences.  Little did I know, a month into it she'd try to kill me.  (Play suspenseful "Who dunnit?" theme here.)

Before we go any further I want you all to know that Yuni would never intentionally try to harm me or anyone.  She is basically the reason why my children and I are alive today.  I don't know what I'd do without her.  She's our cool head, marriage councilor, accountant, doctor, logistics coordinator, provider of all basic needs, and all around "Swiss army knife" of awesomeness.  The reason why this particular story is so funny is because from that point on I've been the one almost killing us--not her.

Ok, back to the story.  One morning I woke up terribly ill.  My body was so hot I was sure the bed would spontaneously combust.  It also felt as if someone were sitting on my chest and poking me with an ice-pick every time I breathed.  It turned out it it was Yunuen.  (Just kidding.)  Later we found out it was pneumonia.  However, me being Mr. I-Don't-Need-No-Doctor-Cuz-I'm-a-Tough-Guy, I decided to just stay in bed and ride it out.  (Me: "I can't breathe! . . . Better go back to sleep.")

Yuni was so tender trying to help cool me down.  I remember her coming in with a rag and bowl reeking of alcohol.  An "alcohol rub" was the perfect home remedy to cure my plight.  Gently she washed my body then wrapped me in a few sheets like a big piece of gringo sushi.  She then covered me with a couple of blankets and said, "Now you just have to sweat it out.  Just sweeeeeeat it out."

I was delirious, weak, and rolled up tighter than a carne asada burrito from Beto's.  I felt the heat from my fever build up inside of me like a pressure cooker ready to burst.  Having seen many-an-episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy (Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!), I knew the pressure would build until it finally pushed through the weakest structural point in my head.  Yes, my brain was going to blow out my eyes and all I could think about was boondoggle bracelets.  (Remember, I was delirious.)  Somehow I murmured something about exploding grey matter or giving up the ghost and Yunuen released me from my bondage.

Now, obviously I put more of a dramatic spin on the story because, let's face it, over-dramatics can be humorous.  However, what this experience did was show me how much Yunuen loves me.  Yes, the home remedy was different than anything I'd ever experienced, and no, it didn't work.  But that doesn't matter.  What matters is that Yunuen's mother would give her alcohol rubs because she loved and cared for her daughter.  Then, the first time I got sick after we'd been married, she did the same for me--not to make me feel uncomfortable or "like I was going to die," but because she loves me.

From that time there have been other moments when both of us have done things that has made the other scratch his/her head.  But that's ok.  Because even though we do things differently and we may view certain things in distinct ways, what matters most is we love each other.  We respect our differences and we've even adopted some of each others' "interesting" beliefs and behaviors.  Yunuen will take a pill if her headache is too strong and I'll let her smother VapoRub on my feet when I've got the sniffles.  It may not be what my mom did for me when I was sick as a child, but believe me when I say it's nice to crawl into bed smelling like eucalyptus . . . and not alcohol. 


Quieras o no, hay ciertos desafíos que existen entre las parejas interraciales.  Cuando uno se cría en diferente país o aun en áreas diferentes del mismo país—cuando dos personas son de dos culturas muy distintas—su punto de vista concerniente a la comida, días festivos, religión, cuidado sanitario, etc. suele ser diferente.

Yunuen y yo platicamos a menudo de esto.  A pesar de las semejanzas en nuestra formación (las mismas creencias religiosas, una educación similar, compartimos valores familiares, etc.) ella se crió en México y yo en Estados Unidos.  De vez en cuando vemos las cosas de distintas formas—algo que hemos tenido que aprender a superar y aceptar como una parte única de nuestro matrimonio.  Admito que algunas diferencias nos han resultado más desafiantes mientras otras al verlas en el retrovisor de la vida nos hacen reír. 

Usamos como ejemplo lo que contó Yunuen.  Éramos recién casados viviendo en Guadalajara, México.  Todavía estábamos en ese glorioso tiempo cuando una pareja está tratando de ajustarse a su nueva vida y evitar hacer ruidos y olores vergonzosos en la cama—en sí, tratando de portarse lo mejor que se puede.  Yunuen era una maravillosa esposa nueva.  Era un sueño cumplido estar casado con una persona tan bella y yo anhelaba vivir una vida llena de amor, risas y experiencias compartidas.  En ese entonces no sabía que después de un mes ella trataría de matarme.  (Tocar música de suspenso aquí.)

Ahora, antes de decir más quiero que sepan que Yuni jamás trataría intencionalmente de hacerme daño a mí o a otra persona.  Básicamente ella es la razón por la que mis hijos y yo seguimos vivos hoy día y no sé qué haría yo sin ella.  Ella es la que mantiene la calma, en nuestro consejero matrimonial, contadora, doctora, especialista de logística y, en términos generales, “estuche de monerías” de neta.  La razón por la que esta historia nos resulta tan chistosa es porque desde ese punto en adelante la persona que suele “casi matarnos” soy yo.

Bueno, regreso a la historia.  Una mañana desperté sintiéndome muy enfermo.  Sentía mi cuerpo tan caliente que estaba seguro que la cama se prendería en fuego.  También sentía como si alguien estuviera sentado sobre mi pecho y me apuñalaba con un picahielos cada vez que respiraba.  Esa persona, de hecho, era Yunuen.  (Es broma.)  Más adelante me diagnosticaron con una neumonía.  Sin embargo, yo era el típico-machista-no-tengo-que-ir-a-un-doctor, entonces decidí quedarme en la cama.  (Yo: “Híjole, ¡no puedo respirar! … Bueno, a dormir”.)

Yuni era tan tierna.  Me trataba de ayudar a bajar la fiebre.  Me acuerdo que entró al cuarto con un trapo y plato hondo que apestaba a alcohol.  Una “friega de alcohol” iba a ser el remedio casero perfecto para curarme.  Muy suavemente bañó todo mi cuerpo con el alcohol y después me envolvió en unas sábanas como un gran rollo de sushi a la gringuito.  Entonces, me cubrió con algunas cobijas y dijo, “Ahora sólo tienes que soltar la fiebre al sudaaaaaaar.  Soltaaaaaar la fiebre.”

Yo estaba delirando, débil y enrollado mejor que un burrito de carne asada de la taquería de Don Miguelito.  El calor de la fiebre empezó a aumentar como una olla de presión a punto de explotar.  Yo he visto muchos episodios del famoso Bill Nye, científico extraordinario (sus amigos hispanos le dicen “Memito”) y sabía que la presión subiría a tal punto que buscaría el punto estructural más débil de mi cabeza para aliviarse.  Neta.  O sea, mis ojos se iban a disparar de sus órbitas al momento que mi cerebro explotaba y lo único que se me venía a la mente era la cancioncita del Chavo del Ocho.  (Acuérdense, yo estaba delirando.)  Tras un esfuerzo súper humano le susurré algo a Yunuen acerca de materia gris explosiva o soltar el fantasma y ella me liberó de mis ataduras. 

Obviamente al contar esto le agrego más sabor porque, pues, es más chistoso así.  Sin embargo, esta experiencia sí me enseñó cuánto Yunuen me ama.  Claro, ese remedio casero era muy diferente de cualquier otra cosa que había experimentado yo y, siendo sincero, no me funcionó.  Pero, eso no importa.  Lo que importa es que la mamá de Yunuen le daba friegas de alcohol para mostrar su amor y cariño.  Así que, la primera vez que yo me enfermé después de casarnos, ella hizo lo mismo para mí—no porque quería hacerme sentir incómodo o “procurar acabar con mi vida,” sino para mostrarme su amor.

Desde ese entonces ha habido momentos cuando uno de nosotros dos ha hecho algo que ha dejado al otro rascándose la cabeza.  Pero, eso está bien.  A pesar de que a veces hacemos cosas de formas distintas y que quizás vemos cosas de puntos de vista diferentes, lo que más importa es que nos amamos.  Respetamos nuestras diferencias y hasta hemos adoptado algunas de las idiosincrasias del otro.  Ahora Yunuen tomará una pastilla si le duele mucho la cabeza y yo le dejo embarrar mis pies con VapoRub cuando ando resfriadito.  Tal vez no es igual a lo que hacía mi mamá cuando yo estaba enfermito de niño, pero créanme que es muy placentero irme a acostar oliendo a eucalipto … y no a alcohol.

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Friega de Alcohol" / "Alcohol Rub"

Si hablamos de remedios caseros para enfermedades mi querida mamá es experta. Recuerdo en mi infancia haber tomado pocas veces algún antibiótico o haber ido al doctor. Siempre había un remedio natural para no tener que usar medicina alópata. "Mami, tengo cólicos": té de manzanilla. "Mami, tengo gripa": té de canela, muchos jugos de naranja y toronja recién exprimidos y por supuesto su delicioso caldo de pollo con mucho limón. Lo que más recuerdo para bajar la fiebre o desintoxicar el cuerpo era una friega de alcohol.

¿Friega de alcohol? Suena extraño pero es muy eficaz. Consiste en poner alcohol a baño Maria, alguien tiene que ayudarte para frotarlo en todo el cuerpo en especial en las corvas detrás de las rodillas y el cuello, quedar envuelto en sabanas de algodón  con la cara descubierta, y quedarte ahí. Sudar y sudar hasta que salga lo que esta contaminando el cuerpo. Para mí este remedio era una demostración de amor de parte de mi linda mamá porque tomaba casi todo el día. Por lo menos para mí como niña pasaban horas y horas. Lo mejor, es que me recuperaba por completo.

Existen muchas maneras de demostrar amor, ¿verdad? En los primeros meses de matrimonio en México, Ryan se enfermó de neumonía y lo primero que vino a mi mente fue: “friega de alcohol”. Pensé en el alivio que él sentiría. Recuerdo haber preparado todo. Él nunca había experimentado tal remedio. Pero aún así aceptó de buena manera como buen recién casado, jajaja  :) Para que puedan darse una idea era como ver una momia.
Sí, tapado de pies a cabeza. Yo me sentía feliz. !!Ayudar a tu amor, es lo máximo!! ¡¡Qué buena esposa!!.

Hasta la fecha sólo sé que Ryan se sentía morir envuelto en las sabanas. No quería quedar viuda tan joven. ¡Lo prometo Ryan, no quería matarte! No recuerdo si se recuperó o no, así que no creo que haya sido eficaz. ¿Qué será?

Hasta la fecha me cuesta mucho tomar una pastilla para contrarrestar algún síntoma. A veces cuando me duele la cabeza, lo primero que pienso es que no estoy bien hidratada o que no he dormido o comido bien. Y después Ryan pregunta: "¿Ya te tomaste algo para el dolor?" Aquí en EU es normal, y vaya que ha tomado casi 5 años aceptarlo. Ahora con mis hijos pequeños me cuesta trabajo darles medicina inmediatamente, claro que les doy algo porque no quiero verles sentirse mal,  pero siempre creo que hay algo mejor que darles, como té de manzanilla, miel para la tos o Vapo Rub en los pies con calcetines para curar la congestión. Solo sé que en todas las culturas siempre existe un remedio . Al final el único objetivo es ver a nuestros seres queridos felices y sanos.

Todavía me da ternura y risa pensar en Ryan envuelto como una momia. Tan dispuesto a ser sanado por su esposa, eso es confianza, ¿no creen?

PD. Gracias mamá por tus cuidados, porque sé que gracias a ellos soy afortunadamente muy sana.


If we talk about home remedies my dear mother is an expert. I remember as a child I rarely took antibiotics or went to the doctor. There was always a natural or home remedy we could use instead of using allopathic medicine. "Mommy, I have cramps": chamomile tea. "Mommy, I have the flu": cinnamon tea, lots of freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices, and of course my mother's delicious chicken soup with lots of lemon. What I remember the most to reduce fever and detoxify the body was an alcohol rub.
An alcohol rub? Sounds strange, but it's actually very effective. You basically take a sponge bath with alcohol.  Usually someone has to help to you rub alcohol over the whole body especially behind the knees and the back of the neck.  Then you are wrapped in cotton sheets, keeping your face uncovered, and there you stay.  You sweat and sweat some more until all of the toxins and contaminants leave your body. For me, this remedy was a way my beautiful mother demonstrated her love for me because the alcohol rub took almost all day. At least for me as a child it seemed to take hours and hours. The best thing is that I recovered completely.

There are many ways to show love, right? In our first few months as newlyweds in Mexico, Ryan became ill with pneumonia and the first thing that came to my mind was to give him an alcohol rub. I thought it would help him to feel better.   I remember preparing everything.  He'd never experienced anything similar to this home remedy, but he was a good sport and conceded like any good new hubby, lol :)  You can imagine what it was like seeing him wrapped from head to tow like a mummy. I felt happy! Helping the love of your life is the best!! What a good wife I was! 

To date, Ryan said he was dying wrapped in those sheets. I didn’t  want to become a widow at such a young age! I promise Ryan, I didn’t want to kill you! I don't remember whether or not he recovered because of the alcohol rub, so I think it didn't work. Why is that?  

To date I still hesitate before I take a pill to counteract any symptom. Sometimes when I have a headache, the first thing I think is that I’m not hydrated or I haven’t slept or eaten well. And then Ryan asks: "Did you take something for the pain?" Here in the United States that is normal, and it's taken me almost 5 years to accept it. Now with my young children I find it hard to immediately give them medicine when something is wrong.  Of course I give them something because I don’t want to see them feel bad, but I think there is always something better to give them like chamomile tea, honey for coughs or VapoRub on their feet with socks to cure congestion. The only thing I know is that every culture has their remedies. In the end the main goal is to see our loved ones happy and healthy.  

I still makes me laugh and I affectionately remember Ryan wrapped up like a mummy, so ready to be cured by his wife. That's trust, don’t you think?  

PS. Mom, thanks for taking such good care of me.  Because of you I’m lucky to be a healthy woman.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Melting Pot vs. Fruit Salad

Hello all.  I'm Ryan, Yunuen's "pale as can be" hubby.  I'm excited to be a part of this blog, to connect with other interracial couples and share what makes us tick.  I'll be writing entries now and then to give you my take on things.  Hopefully we'll start hearing back from you!  If there's anything you'd like to share, feel free to leave comments.  (All in good taste, of course.)

And now, ladies and gents, without further adieu, Ryan's first blog post.  (TA-DAAAAA!)

"Melting Pot" was a term I used to hear as a kid when people wanted to describe the diversity in the United States.  It was explained to me like this: "The United States is formed by a mixture of cultures, like ingredients in a pot.  They all melt together to form their own distinct culture/society/community/(insert group here)."  As a child I was pretty content with that description.  "Cool, so we're all mixed together like melted cheese.  Got it."

As I've grown and had the opportunity to befriend people from myriad countries and backgrounds, to experience and see the beauty in their beliefs and cultures, I no longer think of this country as a melting pot.  When something melts it loses its physical characteristics--it loses what makes it distinct and individual.  Ever left a chocolate bunny out in the sun?  It's not as fun to eat a chocolate puddle, is it?  People--individuals--are a composite of their life experiences, their culture.  Also, when you melt two things together, they do, of course, mix together, but it is impossible to distinguish one melted object from another because they've essentially become one shapeless mass of melted slop--think a melted chocolate bunny that was filled with caramel.  (Mmmmmmmmm, caramel.)

Not the way I want to describe my country or my marriage.

Instead, let's take the example of a fruit salad.  (I can't remember who introduced me to this idea, but I'm thankful for it.)  Fruit is yummy.  Salads are too.  (Ok, that's a little bit of a stretch.)  Put them together, and what do you get?  A healthy alternative to the goo in your melting pot.  A fruit salad celebrates flavors.  You get the acidity of the pineapple, the pop of the grapes, the tartness of the raspberries and strawberries, the oh-so-recognizable flavor of bananas, and if you're lucky you'll score a bit of mango or kiwi.  You can eat the fruits separately, but many times when they are paired together one flavor stretches its hand out to the other and they salsa dance on your tongue, sashay past your palate and do the running man down to your satisfied stomach.  What I'm trying to say is the fruit salad takes things that are already good, pairs them together, and turns them into something great.

That is how I view diversity . . . and it's how I view my marriage to Yunuen.  Take two fruits grown in different countries--one completely gorgeous and flavorful (Yunuen), one a little nutty and over-ripe (me)--put them together and BAH-DA-BING!  You've got something truly special.  Learning about Yunuen's culture, embracing it and making it a part of myself, has without a doubt made me a better person.  I'd like to think the same has happened to her.  There are definite differences in the way we think, view life, even eat.  Some differences have been a little more challenging to overcome, while others have connected us deeply in ways that are hard to explain.  All of those things, however, are what make our relationship, our marriage, special.  They are what define us as a couple and create the "spice" that makes our marriage kick.

I love it.  And I love her . . . with all my heart.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to write and tell us about your own fruit salad.