There was a time in my life when I could not fall asleep unless the egg beaters were running, I must have been eight or nine. My house was old and small. My tiny bedroom was adjacent to the kitchen, separated only by a curtain. To complement the family income, my mom baked cakes nonstop, sometimes twenty a day. As I lay in bed, I could hear the sound of the metal spatulas from the handheld general electric machine rattling against the glass bowl, and I could tell when the merengue had peaked just by the sound of the beaters as they twirled, incorporating air into the mixture of egg whites and sugar. Vanilla, macaroons drizzled with caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, and coconut...these were the scents that permeated the entire house, permanently infusing my mom’s soft skin with sweetness. The sounds and aromas comforted me. Without them the house was quiet, cold, dark, and scary. Today, I no longer need the sound of the egg beaters lulling me to sleep, although the scent of a vanilla cake baking in my own oven never fails to evoke memories. I realize that back then, it was not the noise that comforted me. It was my mom’s presence, her pacing around the kitchen that gave me peace at night. She will be 94 this year, and i love her dearly.
I have always loved books, the real kind, the ones you can touch, feel, flip through pages and underline special paragraphs with a pencil. I love the tactile experience of handling them. I come from the pre-digital technology generation and even though I understand the advantages of a digital book; to me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of holding a real book between my fingers.
I have acquired them through the years, one by one and at 55 now, have managed to build quite a collection. Even though most of them just sit there in my bookshelf, they all have a story. Some have faded, and some are not quite as meaningful as they once were, but they are all part of my life, they are reminders of the person I have become. Through this blog, In the next few posts, I would like to share some of them with you.
It was exactly 30 years ago, and I was 24. I had moved to Boston from Brazil, could barely speak English and had to support myself. I remember sitting by the window at the tiny shop in Harvard Square, where I worked earning minimum wage, barely making ends meet. Bills were piling up.
Almost in a state of desperation, not having at that young age the discernment to know that life has a tendency to take care of itself, I reached for a small notebook and decided to write down my dreams and aspirations in this journey called life. One by one, not quite in order of urgency, I spelled them out as they came to my mind. One thing was for sure, I did not want to struggle financially for long.
I wanted to have choices and be the one to help others. So, goal #6 was for prosperity__not the desire to have too much, but simply to have enough to share. I had always been creative, so it happened naturally that my hands became my tool. I made jewelry and sold it at street festivals and art fairs and worked hard, coming up with solutions for my immediate needs and obstacles.
And as my business grew and I became successful, life happened as it always does. I learned English (#8), I got my first car (#11), I got married (#2), and had kids (#4). And the little notebook was forgotten on a shelf, nestled among old books for a quarter of a century, until one day, as if the little thing had a desire to be held again, it made its way back to my fingers. I opened it with a little hesitation, almost in fear. I was speechless. The memory was almost too much to handle. Almost all of my goals had become reality spontaneously, as I was busy working at what I enjoyed, both simple ones and the complex ones. All except for # 12, which read: I want to pursue an education and graduate from Art School.
And so, at that moment, an intense desire to learn took over me, an underlying feeling to express a deeper purpose, as if something that had been buried needed to come to surface and unfold. And today here I am, a student at the Art Institute of Dallas! Only now the camera is an extension of my hand and the viewfinder helps me frame the way I see the world.