Tomorrow is my grandma Elpidia's 82nd birthday! While part of me still grapples with the reality of my departure from Portland, I am truly excited that my arrival in Los Angeles coincides with her birthday.
Sometimes, when looking at my grandmother, I laugh at how her little size belies an immense strength. She has been a presence in my life even before I was able to comprehend what that meant. I only need to think back to the earliest days of my childhood and look past the haze of banana, coconut and mango trees in the empty field in which I played; past the images of the small farm in the country on which I lived; past the river with the sandy rockbed in which I bathed; and past the shifting images of jungle and concrete. And, there she is, always, a stalwart, silent figure of a woman. (She remains silent until you get her mad, and then ...) After we immigrated to the United States, she shuttled my sister and me between the two worlds that sought to define us, acting as a cultural anchor, a reminder of days spent in foreign lands and in foreign tongues. And so she remains.
Tomorrow, my sister and I are going to throw my grandma, in elementary school fashion, a birthday celebration at the senior center, where she spends her days rabblerousing. We (rather, my sister and my mum) are going to make savories. And I am going to bake chocolate chip cookies.
I thought of bringing a pinata, but things could go very wrong with a pinata in a senior center.
I will pass.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010