Thursday, May 22, 2008

my in-laws.

i never write about my in-laws. it's not that i don't like them, it's just hard to put them in words. i decided once that i was going to move in with them for two months and write a book about the campo where they live - about the characters who make up their lives... but honestly, i can handle only about three days at a time.
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like i said, it's not that i don't like them. their life is just so different from mine. after visiting i often spend hours wondering how amalio came out the way he did. he's unlike them in so many ways. yet, so like them too.
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amalio grew up in a little, wooden house with no electricity and no running water. he walked about three miles to school each day - on the other side of the mountain - and bathed in a river. the family had a few cows, some chickens and my father-in-law worked as a gardener. there is no road or motorcycle path that takes you to where this little house was. and now there are no houses there. the family moved first to the center of the "village" to a house they built with their own hands and where his sister and her family currently live.
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about 15 years ago their mom fell ill. devastatingly ill. to the point where she could no longer cook and clean and take care of their father. with the two girls married and only the three boys at home, my father-in-law remarried. not because he didn't love his wife, but because her job as a wife was compromised and he didn't (and still doesn't) even know how to light the stove, let alone take care of himself and three sons.
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he has been married to his wife now for 14 years. amalio's mother passed away on july 4, 11 years ago this year. i never could understand how you could leave someone you love just becasue they can no longer "complete" their role as "wife."
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as i've gotten to know and grown to love my father-in-law, i've started to understand. i might now like it or agree with it, but it's a different way of life. way different. there's more to the story.


i had a chat with francisco this weekend about sharing it here and in some of my writing... he gave me his permission because he thinks it will help people understand what life is really like in this country. that it's not all crystal clear beaches and fun hikes in the mountains.

life here is different. not better. not worse. different. and its time to share more deeply that what makes us different really just illuminates what makes us the same.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

it certainly is very different. i don't know that i could live like they do for long periods of time. 3 days seems to be good. maybe in the future that will change though...