Sunday, January 28, 2007

The youth of my old age (Ken)

I have heard it said that "the forties are the old age of your youth and the fifties are the youth of your old age."

That means I am really young or really old depending upon who you are.

Today is my official birthday. As of 6:32 am eastern standard time, I turned 50. It was a pretty quiet day around here. Helen and I had a lot of studying to do for our Spanish class.

A few of you wrote and asked about the guitar. It is a Gracia, made here in Argentina. I played a bunch of guitars and went back to the same store three times. I also priced it at a few other stores and they were all charging the same. So I bought it from the store that was nicest to me and tolerant of my limited Spanish.

I really wanted a cut away, so I only tried those. Also, I only wanted an Argentine guitar. The reason I picked this one is the active electronics. I has a 4-band EQ and built-in digital tuner.

I have played it a bit and like it very much.

. . .

Next topic: food.

There is nothing that makes it feel like home or reminds you that you are not home like food. I just can´t figure it out. I wander around the supermercado with an empty basket (well, there is wine in it). I feel awkward and embarrassed to ask what things are. I often don´t understand the answer. We end up eating the same thing a lot. It gets uninteresting. I tried something new tonight, milanaise, a type of flattened breaded chicken. I tried to make something approaching chicken parmesean--not even close.

I was suddenly reminded of the day just before we left when we had lunch with our granddaughter, Leah, at her elementary school. There was a little Latino boy who had just arrived the week earlier and spoke no English. He would not eat. They asked me to find out what was wrong. ¿No teines hambre? I asked. "No, no quiero," he said. "¿Por qué no?" to which he said, "No me gusta."

His teacher said he had been eating peanut butter and jelly sanwiches, but he didn´t want that either. Today, I knew EXACTLY how the little guy felt.

On the walk back form the music store we passed a construction site. Right there on the city street in front of the building they were working on was a makeshift parilla. All that was left were the sausages, Morcilla cocida, blood sausage. I left that on my parallada too.

Back home in Frederick, Maryland, there are several tiendas near our house where the Latinos (mostly Salvadorans) go to shop. Helen and I have been in them. Most of the stuff is the same stuff they could buy at the large grocery stores, but the Latinos go to the tiendas and pay 15-20% more. We could never figure out why. Now we know. They don´t feel stupid there.


Chas said...

Schweeet lookin axe, muh man! (Who's the old guy playing it?)

Rick Kappra said...

Ok, I am stuck reading your blog when I cuold be out enjoying this beautiful day - but it is so refreshing to read that other people have had the same experiences I am having - the supermarket is the most humbling experience I have ever had, and my Spanish is supposed to be pretty good!