Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Luck, Resilience



Because 4 weeks under an incompetent specialist, deaf to our story, were enough to land you in an emergency room at the hospital, but not enough to get you killed.  I'm lucky.

Because, despite prejudice and the illusion of knowledge from those who opened you, and cut you, and studied you, and questioned you, and disbelieved you, you were able to leave hospital with, yes, a wound to painfully and slowly heal and scar, but also with the opportunity to heal, live, and enjoy life.  I'm lucky.

Because you're mature, and strong, and were ready to face the worst and a possible beginning of the end, calmly, and looked me in the eye and told me how much you loved me, and how this had been one of the best years of your life, and there was no doubt in your eyes or in my heart.  I'm lucky.

Because though horrible and seemingly endless nights would bring forth fears of gloom and destruction that clawed at my certainty, my reason, my peace... at dawn, and at seeing you smile at silly things I'd do, and at seeing you eat with healthy appetite, I'd feel joy, and regain peace, and retain confidence, and feel ready to face the future, whichever it would be.  We're resilient.

Because though doctors' mouths would spew forth what sounded like curse after curse... lymphoma, gangrene, tuberculosis, meat-eating disease, death, unusual illnesses... almost as if they wanted for it to be something terrible but easy on their mind instead of something simple yet beyond their cultural limits, we were able see through the thick chaos of the possible to glimpse the safety of the probable.  We're resilient.

But most important of all, because today you're here, home, with me, retaking life; because the improbable didn't materialise to take you away forever; because I can hear you chuckle while you watch a funny Japanese documentary, because I can look into your eyes and see clear love, and trust, and peace.  Because I still have my one and only "you".  I'm lucky.  Damn lucky.


*My husband was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery to address a neck abscess which, due to lack of adequate treatment by our specialist, could have killed him or lead to irreparable damage.   Four days after surgery, my husband left hospital, having none of the nightmarish possibilities the doctors offered as explanations.  In the end, it seems we were right, luckily right, all along: a simple neck injury, from a passionate Butoh workshop, that got infected.   But, like they say, all's well that ends well.   

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Fruitful, eventful, loving, imprevisible 2011


It’s a good idea to look back.  Our past is but a recollection of memories, so revisiting and editing it is both unavoidable and useful (at least in my case).  

Travelwise, 2011 was plain crazy.   More than ever, our travel plans were dictated by money constraints, whims, work, and special occasions.  This was probably the first year I didn’t visit anywhere I had planned, with rather fun results:   

On a decidedly romantic whim, we visited a freezing but magic Québec, where we had the chance to live one of my dreams: visit an ice hotel!   Later on, a  quick trip to Buffalo (in the U.S.A.) to buy a gift went wrong in so many ways it was hilarious, showed us a pleasant side to the city we never thought existed, and had a totally unforeseen and very positive side-effect a few days later.

For work, we had to go to Mexico.   And am I glad I made the most out of it because, workwise, it was a total fiasco (but I learnt a valuable, if painful, lesson).   But as far as the museums, the food, my family, friends and everything else goes, I think that trip scored a 10!

And the special occasionOur friends’ wedding anniversary.  Which got us discovering a Portugal more beautiful and fascinating than we had ever imagined, and enjoying Spain on a most personal level.

On a less spectacular level, it was a year of discoveries too: great winter days, including a fantastic day at High Park with tons and tons of snow; it was a year of music and concerts, like by Yemen Blues and Aretha Franklin, and in different and diverse styles, like klezmer, norteño and Icelandic; it was a year that taught me to really appreciate the sun after a very long, cold, snowy winter; and a year of enriching life with a Jew-ish twist, through bagels and Chagal

It was a year of satisfying giving: for the first time ever, I raised money for a cause and that felt real good (and did I mention it was fun?).  Yikes, I almost forgot to say! 2011 was also the year my husband and me celebrated 10 years of being together and were also finally and fully recognized as a married couple!   And, on top of that, it was a year of seeing my husband grow and develop as an artist, discovering digital art (thanks to, guess what, an iPad!), finishing a (soon to be published) book, and immersing himself in Butoh (thanks to trips to Yokohama and Montreal) in a way that fuels his imagination and creation.  

It was also a year to be humble and receive, from my husband, my sister, and especially my father.   And a year of remembering that we come in bodies that break (in my defense, the door was carelessly slammed on my face) and get sick, and of exercising patience and optimism in recovery, and being thankful for having caring people around. 

Good.  Retrospection task - done.  And I needed one, with such a chaotic year, to bring everything into perspective.   Thanks, 2011.  Welcome, 2012.  Bring us more surprises (especially of the enjoyable kind!).  And to you, let me steal these words from a wonderful person and friend, Fearghus Ó Conchúir:

To everyone who showed kindness, concern, friendship, love and support; to those who challenged, encouraged, smiled and shared; to those who danced in body and mind and spirit:  Thank you and a very Happy New Year.



The photo:    It's hard to choose a photo to represent a whole year.  That's a bunch of delicious Icelandic liquorice from a festival I found out about by chance, and which was packed full of pleasant surprises for me.  I think the mix of randomness, fun and happiness that candy bag represents is quite a good metaphor.