Dita Parker

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coming around again

How are you, dearest dearest denizens? Doing well, I trust, being as Tardis as they come, right? We came back late Friday night and on Saturday I celebrated my birthday in glamorous fashion by doing loads of laundry with some bubbly close at hand, estupidamente gelado i.e. insanely cold as Brazilians drink their beer. Vacation time is over but summer certainly isn't, the sun finally found it's way to Scandinavia and it's a hot one.

The last leg of our trip was a scorcher of a week in Denmark where we met a lot of very nice (and very tattooed!, what's up with that?) people, at least half of whom had probably done bit parts in Vikings (the TV series) at some point, judging by those tattoos I mean, which read like episode guides. If Finland is a forest spotted by towns and fields, Denmark is a (level) field of connected islands spotted by towns and forests. Using Swedish was just as useless as I thought it would be, apart for reading signs and such. They might understand what you were asking but trying to decipher the answer... Holie!

The World Cup now feels like a hundred years ago. I felt sorry for Brazil for a minute or two. So did they. And then life and the party went on. Germany displayed amazing restraint on the pitch, playing against a team playing in total shock, and admirable sportsmanship and support later on, on Twitter for example, and I second Mesut Özil: "you have a beautiful country, wonderful people and amazing footballers-this match may not destroy your pride! #Brasil".

Life resumed normal programing but they'll never ever forget. They're still talking about the loss against Uruguay in 1950. 1950! Brazilians still love football but many hated the Cup (read: FIFA) and are actually relieved Brazil didn't win because then all the insane amounts of money spent would have been forgiven and the protests forgotten. They didn't deserve to win and that's that, not with how they played, and maybe the pressure was too much, the expectations too great and the signals the team got, well, like I said they were mixed. What do I know. What I do know is football has always been fun and free and inclusive, an outlet as much as a doorway to a better future, everything the multibillion business the Cup is wasn't.

Next in line: the Olympics in 2016. We'll see how that goes. Don't know if we're going. Time to get back to work and down to business or we're definitely not going. Looking forward to it, actually, going back to work. No, really! Sure it was fun spending time with family, mine and Hubby's. On the rare occasion all siblings on both sides get together, I've counted 4 nationalities of 3 denominations with an atheist and agnostic thrown in who speak 5 mother tongues and all work in different fields. A family of many cultures and colors and creeds, some deeply rooted, some expats on the move, and it may look and sound like Babel but it's our life. It's life.

Such is my family, sweetie darlings, and such is the world and such a shame not everyone sees the beauty or respects the diversity of it all and I guess I can't make them, but we're all cousins on this planet, some more distant than others but cousins all the same. So when that's the world you know, your truth and your experience, how depressing was getting up to speed with the news after doing the Dark Side of the Moon Tour i.e. trying to unplug and avoid news outlets of all sorts. Pretty damn depressing. South Sudan and Syria, Gaza and Ukraine, Libya and Egypt, ISIS and Boko Haram, Ebola and terror, extremism and nationalism of the worst kind. Never again but always one more time.

What a family of feuding, belligerent clans we are. One thing I've noticed, no, four: In the middle of all the barbarity, it's easy to lose sight of all that's good and right and getting better. In the middle of all the savagery, it's easy to lose hope and trust and faith things will keep getting better. In some, any sign of vulnerability or helplessness, of distress or fear, rouses the need to protect. Some it just puts in a sadistic rage, and when that rage takes over you get a baby torn out of a belly sliced open with a machete. A five-year-old shot in the head. A woman raped to an inch of her life then buried alive. A man gutted like a fish. Not on the dark side of the moon. Not in some alternate sick twisted world. Ours.

I know you can't dwell on it all day long or you'll go mad. You cannot not think about it because it's like toothpaste oozing out of the tube. Good luck trying to push it back in. It's out, it's a mess, so what are you gonna do about it? What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, I guess. Everything, I suspect, because last night I dreamed I was back with my grandparents where I spent many happy summer weeks in my childhood.

I wasn't a kid in the dream, I was an adult and so were they. Not old like in the end, just adults. Funny that's where my mind went for solace. Logical, really. They gave the best years of their youth to a war that claimed her brother early on and a piece of his mind forever after. The very same years I spent at university having fun and getting a degree, he spent dodging and firing bullets while she worked her fingers to the bone in backbreaking labor so he'd have a home to come back to.

He rarely talked about it, any of it. She often told stories about life in the home front and what her brother was like, and one of my most treasured pictures is my great-uncle in his uniform, 19 years old, so very handsome and about to die. I could only imagine her pain. She missed him all her life. I could only imagine her fear. Would she lose her husband next?

He came back after years of fighting and close calls with barely a scratch on him. How is that possible? How do you go on in the middle of all that, after all that, with all you've witnessed and suffered and sacrificed? Play some football, meet up with family and friends, go out and see the world, not with a rifle on your shoulder but a backpack? You just do because you have to and because there is no option and it's not always your choice or voice that matters, it's not about you but the people around you.

So much randomness, a location lottery, a game of chance, an inch, a second that changes the course of one's life or spells death. So much love and selflessness, so much beauty and wonder, a word, an act that changes the course of one's life for the better. What a world we live in, sweetie darlings. What a family we are.

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