During the past couple of weeks, I've endured quite a bit of scrutiny, those "I mean well" comments, etc., regarding my tattoo(s), particularly the one of the Koi on my left shoulder. The latest was just now when, in the office, no less, a new colleague (American, of course. Not big on manners) sees the Koi peeking out from the edge of my top and feels it her duty to slide over the edge of my top, push aside the bra strap (!) and take a good look. I think this is a little more extreme than just going up to a dreadlocked hunk of man and feeling the locks without asking, but Critic and Anhedonia, I feel you.
There were some comments in Guatemala, too. My cousins saw the Koi and were way cool about it and all "Esta virgo!" which means "it's cool!". Other comments "Only gang members get tattoos! Are you in a gang now?" And my mothers comment, which made me laugh, actually, and go just a little red since she made the announcement over lunch in front of two cousins, Auntie Carmen and grandma: "Yeah, and she's got another one of a big butterfly right on her ASS!" Note: it's not really on my ass. It is right above it on the small of my back.
I'm thinking though that my mom was just sore because this time around, since there always has to be at least one of us who has to take criticism for being , um, gordita (a nicer way to say chunky as hell), she was the gordita and I was, get this y'all, skinny (comparatively speaking). Finally! And with my cousin pregnant with what is sure to be one of the cutest little beebees ever (her husband is pretty cute, ha ha), I'm not the only panzona in the family! At last! The mixture of the South Beach Diet and the Moctezuma's Revenge Diet, in which everything that goes in soon comes right back out (which was most advantageous because I got to eat tamales, tortillas, Champus, espumillas, yummy breads, turrones and cake without gaining an ounce) ensured that I was even more lithe upon my return to the States. Sadly, the latter diet is not one you can choose to keep and to continue receiving its benefits, one must consistently travel to foreign, Third World countries for more than a week at a time. I advise also that the diet is not always hearts and flowers, if you know what I mean, so be prepared.
All in all, the vacay was pretty great. I loved seeing my family and I miss them a lot. The family dramas were many and sort of painful, but time changes everything, and I hope next visit will be even better. I did get to spend a lot of time with my mommy who I love very, very much despite some issues I have with her, and yeah, I cried when she left, even though i will see her on 2 September in Washington. Oh, and I took the weaving lessons with her in Atitlan. We were doing pretty well, but couldn't get used to being at the loom (the contraption where one end is tied to a tree and the other around you, which is supposed to make it tight and easier for weaving and whatnot, but for those who don't weave as their livelihood, it's not so comfy). My mom and I quit halfway into it, but made friends and had a good time. We also went to the beach. The house we stayed in belonged to her friend, so we had to endure them and their more-than-loud friends. The friend and the husband, I like. The daughter and the rest of them, well, in Guate there is a word for them and it ain't so flattering, although they were nice enough. one of them reminded me of one of my uncles. Nonetheless, it was like being at a party where you only know two people, and they're busy making conversation. Even worse when you are perpetually regarded as the kid, better seen and not so much heard, even though this "kid" is pushing 30. The second day at the beach my other uncle came down with his son, and I felt a lot better. My unky sang karaoke, which was funny, and he got the highest score.
The strangest thing happened when I got back, though: I got this horrible lump in my stomach, you know, the one filled with fear. I was petrified of going back to work! Not only that but the "tropical" weather (hot and hair-dryer humid almost everywhere you go) seems to have returned to New York on the same flight I took. Apparently, it stopped being like that when I left and then returned when I came back to work. Well, work was OK. I was anticipating piles of papers for me to file and other shit, since no one around here seems to lift a finger but me and my friend, but she did all of that for me, perhaps because she had a feeling that the minute I came back, there would be three or four people waiting to give me my orders. She was right. People here don't say "hello", they say "I need" and "Can you do this urgently". Same old, same old. I know it was only two weeks, but I always hope that people will evolve, slowly but surely. I really do believe in miracles, and even though I get disappointed sometimes, I figure optimism is the way to go.