Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My name is Asher Lev

Book by Chaim Potok. 1972.

Yeah, yeah I'm really behind in my literature and I'm doing reviews of books from the 70's. What can I say? Readman found it in his parent's library and lent it to me. Plus, I don't buy a lot of new releases.

Asher Lev is a Hassidus Jew being raised in Brooklyn. Asher could draw amazing pictures even before he could read or write. Any "goy" (Christian) family would love to have a kid like that, a prodigy. However, Asher's family is deeply religious and his Dad thinks that his gift comes from an evil place. The book narrates the first 20 years Asher's life, his problems with his Dad, his discovery of what art is, his training as a professional painter, his deep troubles when he finds himself between his religion and his passion, his suffering when his Mom gets caught between him and his Dad. In all, it is a really good book about how we never meet our parents expectations and; the problems that said expectations can cause in our development and our happiness.

I give this book 8/10.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Visas

Two days ago I found out that Canada is now asking for all Mexican citizens, that wish to visit it, to apply for a visa. Previously we only needed to show our passport (valid) and we got a stamp. I do not disagree with Canada's new policy. However, apparently the announcement came with only a 2-day warning and, on top of that, the application can only be processed in Mexico City and the applicant has to be present because it includes a medical examination. So, this new policy affected hundreds of people that had their summer vacations already booked.

The reasoning behind this decision is that a lot of Mexicans are asking for political asylum in Canada. I can see that people from states with political conflicts or drug-war (that is most of the country, unfortunately), could ask for asylum. But, as usual, a lot of people try to abuse the system. The Canadian government supports people that ask for asylum, so unscrupulous people ask for it under false pretenses and enjoy a payed vacation while their case is being looked into. That situation has cost a lot of money that comes from people's taxes. Also, a lot of people go to Canada to study english and work there illegally, sometimes for a long period of time. Asking for a visa to enter the country will be part of the solution to all of this. But, a short notice and the complication of having to travel to Mexico City will seriously affect anyone that wants to travel to the maple tree country.

While the Croatian government reacted badly to this new rule, with its ambassador calling on the Canadian government and asking to immediately revoke their decision, the Mexican government decided to ask for visas to all Canadian diplomats. Big deal! How is that going to help? We should ask for visas from all Canadians as well. Even if they are for free. Most countries are now securing their borders. When is Mexico going to do the same?

Mexico is a paradise for foreigners that want to disappear from their countries. I'm all for giving people asylum when there is a real threat for them to return to their countries. There is a big Cuban population in Mexico, for example. But, a lot of the foreigners that stay in the country are criminals that get away and live happily in Mexico because no-one does a background check on them. How many children have been kidnapped by a parent and ended up living with them in Mexico? How many ETA members have been (with high difficulties) tracked down to Mexico? I think it is time for my country to have more control over the people that visit it and not just make them file a form that is not even captured into a computer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The virgin blue

My friend Readman and I are a little obsessed with good books (he also reads bad ones, I don't have the patience). Frequently we interchange books (yes, we trust each other that much), then, of course, we interchange opinions. A lot of times we agree on our views, except for suspense/horror books that Readman adores and I don't care for, that much. The opposite is true for my romantic novels, I don't think he would read them, even if there is nothing else to read.

In my last visit to Hermosillo (my and Readman's hometown), we interchanged books, as usual. Amongst the books that Readman lent me was "The virgin blue" by Tracy Chevalier. It is one of those books that make me envy those people that have the wonderful ability to get brilliant ideas and that know how to get them across in an engaging and captivating way. "The virgin blue" was published in 1997 but, it wasn't until the author's second book ("the girl with the pearl earring") was published that it got noticed. 12 years later it fell on my hands, and I devoured its 350 pages in 4 going-to-bed-really-late nights.

The book narrates how the family bond can survive centuries, overcome space barriers and even defeat death. It is a story of a woman that researching the life of her ancestors discover an ancient bond between her family, the color red and a particular shade of blue. In the process, she also finds her true identity, her real home and her real love. The story is told from the points of view of; Ella, the woman in the present; and, Isabelle, the root of Ella's genealogical tree. The book takes you from the happiness and anxiety that is a new beginning, trough marital trouble, flirting and enchantment, the suspense of family secrets, some spirituality and a touch of horror, to; the love for ones profession, the adventure of the unknown, the value of friendship and the wonders of true love.

I give this book a 9/10. It could have a longer epilogue. I won't say why to avoid spoiling it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Te amaré

My favorite song in the whole world, it is in Spanish but I wrote a (bad) translation.



Miguel Bosé: Te amaré

Con la paz de las montañas te amaré
con locura y equilibrio te amaré,
con la rabia de mis años, como me enseñaste a ser
con un grito en carne viva te amaré.

En secreto y en silencio te amaré
arriesgando en lo prohibido te amaré
en lo falso y en lo cierto, con el corazón abierto
por ser algo no perfecto te amaré.

Te amaré, te amaré
como no está permitido
te amaré, te amaré
como nunca se ha sabido...
porque así lo he decidido te amaré.

Por ponerte algún ejemplo te diré
que aunque tengas manos frías te amaré
con tu mala ortografía y tu no saber perder
con defectos y manías te amaré.

Te amaré, te amaré
porque fuiste algo importante
te amaré, te amaré
cuando ya no estés presente...
seguirá siendo costumbre y te amaré.

Al caer de cada noche esperaré
a que seas luna llena y te amaré
y aunque queden pocos restos en señal de lo que fue
seguirás cerca y muy dentro, te amaré.

Te amaré, te amaré
a golpe de recuerdo
te amaré, te amaré
hasta el último momento...
a pesar de todo siempre te amaré.
-------

Translation:

With the peace of the mountains
I will love you
with craziness and balance
I will love you
with the rage of my years, how you thought me to be
with a scream in bare flesh
I will love you

In secret and in silence
I will love you
in the edge of the forbidden
I will love you
in lies and truth, with my heart open
because you are something imperfect,
I will love you

I will love you, I will love you
because is not allowed,
I will love you, I will love you
like no-one has ever done it,
because I decided so, I will love you

As an example, I will tell you,
that even if you have cold hands, I will love you
with your bad orthography and your "I-never-lose"
with your defects and manias, I will love you

I will love you, I will love you
because you were important,
I will love you, I will love you
even after you are gone,
it will still be a habit, I will love you

Every nightfall I will wait,
until you are a full moon and
I will love you.
Even if there is very little left,
as a sign of what it was,
you will be still close and deep inside
I will love you

I will love you, I will love you
as a punch of a memory,
I will love you, I will love you
until the very last moment,
despite everything, I will love you

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

10 years in solitude

I realized this week that tomorrow is the 10th anniversary since I've been alone. 10 years a go I had you and you had me. You left me and I just realized, it still hurts. I've been in denial a long time. It feels good to let it out. It still hurts.

We met in high school but we didn't pay attention to each other then. You were the clown of the band, I was the nerd. We met again a few years later, you were still funny and more interesting. I found out a few days earlier than the love of my life had his own love of his life and I was a little heart-broken. You healed my heart with your smile and your persistence. I was a bitch to you those few weeks you were after me. Yet, you kept coming back. I decided to give you a chance and before I knew it I had fell for you. It was the first time I loved and was loved back. It was bitter-sweet. We had our problems, your mom hated me, I didn't like her that much. I hated that you wouldn't defended me from her horrendous comments. But, we loved each other, or that is what I thought.

After almost a year, I knew things were not going great and, silly me, thought that if we got closer everything would be all right again. I went on vacation and didn't see you for a couple of weeks. When I saw you again you broke up with me. You told me all the clichés I never thought I would hear, it was not me, it was you, you needed time, etc. I believed when you said you just needed time. I didn't know you already had someone else.

I found out you were cheating on me 7 months after we broke up. At our professor's funeral. I had to keep everything I felt inside. I couldn't ask you about it, I couldn't slap you, even though I so wanted to. It was too late. So, I have kept those feelings inside me for 10 long and lonely years. I haven't had another relationship since then. I can't trust on anyone anymore. I have lied to myself saying that I miss having someone, that I don't miss you, I do, I miss YOU.

I know you got married and have children. You forgot me. I never forgot you. I hope you are and will always be happy. It's been a long time now and I still don't know if I can forgive you. I've almost lost hope that I will ever find someone else and I know it is because of you. I so wish you could read this, you owe me 10 years of my life.