Saturday, May 8, 2010

A New Generation Gap

Contributing Writer: Pierangela Shaw (my inspiration, my mentor, my mother)

I think us baby boomers were cheated with a New Generation Gap.

We revolutionized, survived and came out triumphant from what we knew as the Generation Gap with our parents. This Gap we recognized as their rigidness through rules, codes and pilgrim-like submission of their will, that didn’t let them be themselves. We wanted better for everyone and the generations to come. We understood life and were openly determined to celebrate it. We surrounded ourselves with music and colors and nature, and found the happiness we were looking for. Our dress flowed with our hair in the wind, and beads marked our individuality with meaning. We understood the soul and the spirit, and drew up perfect formulas for happiness for every step in life...many today continue to lead in the right direction. Make no mistake, in our skin, we are all still flower children.

Some of the older baby boomers were able to ‘surf’ it OK to the end. Some picked up the best of their parents’ heritage, and with love, peace and freedom maintained the high standard protests in their lives and 8 hour work days; mixing both.

Some even had earth-conscientious babies that battled anything that threatened humanity; even to the point of annoyance. Possibly, mostly late bloomers bred today’s corrupt and violent; they missed the learnings and rebelled with their own distorted culture; not realizing there was nowhere better to be.

I believe new babies receive the aid of their well formed peers and ‘baby boomer grandparents’, that still have it right and continue to show the way.

Undoubtedly, we all thought the Generation Gap was a thing of the past, unquestionably defeated and gone; making the generations forever opened to our understanding.

But our children came with a New Generation Gap; technology in their pockets, bedrooms and backpacks, which we would control if we knew how. That was one element we did not have to figure out, and it caught us by surprise.

Baby boomers with adolescent babies; how are you managing? What is enough? How do you interrupt? How do you isolate? How much should you take away? How much away is it ever,when you can’t put them in a crystal box? When we didn’t want to? Is that perfect happiness we learned to teach and share - the meaning of two fingers that say ‘peace’ without a sound - dead and dying to our children?

How perverse is our adolescent becoming through violent-video-games already accepted as normal, all-hour cell phone calls to strangers, chatting/surfing incessantly through the web with no filter for evil..deafness through cables in their ears, headaches of day long lit monitors, thumb and wrist deformities, infections as they try different color contacts for their eyes(those eyes we preached showed the beauty of our souls), and indelible markings of emotional states of mind in ink and metal.

I still battle this new age threat with my virtual spears, but in understanding, try to cross successfully this tight can make it easier... and we trust....because we swore to trust life.... that our children will be better parents by closing this New Generation Gap, through their know-how and experience, with their own children.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Things I Can Check Off My Bucket List....

When I was younger, I loved keeping diaries, journals and scrapbooks, but the older I get the lazier I become in recording these memories. I'm trying to be better at recording every time Lucas does something new - because God knows I'll soon forget and will eventually be mad at myself for not having kept a log.

For a change, I thought it would be fun to reminisce about some of the crazy things I've lived and experienced, because I'm sure that one day I'll want to look back and say to myself, what can I check of my bucket-list...

1) Visited 27 countries in 7 years - 168 to go
2) Had a joy ride in the NY/NJ national soccer team's ambulance around Manhattan at night
3) Won $1000 cash in a random crazy legs contest dancing alone, a day before leaving for Sweden with barely $100 in my pocket
4) Was filmed dancing for a Department of Health anti-smoking commercial - never found out if it aired!
5) I lived in Sweden, France and NY all in one year
6) I can say cheers in 8 languages and say Happy New Year, give me a dollar in Chinese
7) NBA player for the NJ Nets asked me out
8) I danced with Prince, shared a toast with Ashton Kutcher and sat next to Latin music legend Celia Cruz on a connection flight to Uruguay a few weeks before she passed
9) My son sat on Bill Murray's lap
10) Invited on a boat ride in the middle of the night to the Statue Of Liberty, got stranded when the host underestimated the low tide - ripped the propeller right off
11) My first car accident was with a correctional facility bus packed with inmates on their way to Rikers
12) Cheese, sleep and sunlight are essential to my well being
13) I promoted a Swedish band in NYC for an entire summer - I know nothing about music
14) I paraded down 5th Avenue, dressed in traditional garb, proudly holding the Uruguayan flag on "El Dia de la Hispanidad"
15) Me and 14 other girls promoted JLO's clothing line in a limo on the streets of Manhattan during the Puerto Rican Day Parade - I'm not Puerto Rican
16) I've sat on male model Tyson Beckford's motorcycle
17) I've been featured in a Ford Models talent book - freak chance
18) My nickname is chulys and family hasn't called me by my first name in over 31 years
19) My mother is named after Mussolini's mistress' daughter - yup our family knew her
20) The coolest summer job I've ever had was helping to organize a concert for Colombian Independence day at Madison Square Garden, standing on stage in front of thousands of people and having access to Juanes before he made it big - I'm not Colombian
21) I have an obsession with teanie beanie babies and reality shows - even though they're not real
22) I once founded a film company with a girlfriend and named it after one of my favorite authors’ books, Anita Diamant - business went nowhere, that’s Hollywood, but we still had to pay taxes…you can argue that is was “a thank you for doing business in CA” tax!?
23) I hugged Demi Moore and still think Ghost was the best chick flick ever made, after Dirty Dancing (RIP Patrick Swayze)
24) I once sold a picture to a tabloid magazine, which ended up paying for my trip from LA to NY
25) I have had each foot in two rivers at once
26) Eric Estrada (from Chips) asked me what I thought of his haircut one random afternoon standing at a cross light on Wilshire Blvd
27) When I was a baby, I would sleep with my eyes open and crawled on my rear end…turns out my son inherited these strange ways, however not any of my facial features
28) I was flown to Marbella, Spain for an interview with an investment company...was offered a free apartment on the Mediterranean, a Porsche and a substantial salary for someone right out of college…was made to room with my competitor…unbelievably we both declined & we’ve been amazing friends ever since
29) Had cocktails with Dr. Michael Nobel, a great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, and 2 years later, fate had it that I would shake hands with the Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation
30) A night out for a friend’s bachelorette party made front page in the Chicago Tribune Entertainment section
31) Was forced to take a trip alone, which was meant for me and my ex European boyfriend, and ended up meeting my husband instead…serendipity

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Big Fat Uruguayan Family

I think one of the best things I’ve inherited from my parents is a big family, second to my Uruguayan culture. With my father’s 9 sisters and 3 brothers, it’s no surprise that we are a total of 35 first cousins, not counting the 2 cousins on my mom’s side, which brings us to a grand total of 37. The family keeps on growing with 9 children amongst the cousins, and 3 more on the way.

While I’m forever grateful that my parents decided to move to the States in search of a better life back in the 80s, I can’t help but get sad and wonder “what if?”, when I think about the distance that separates us from the rest of our family. I knew, from the moment we got on that plane that birthdays and holidays would never be the same...

When good economic times were on our side, our family would go back to Uruguay for the Holidays. There’s nothing like having a warm Christmas, with parties on the beach and sun bathing throughout our vacation. Not to mention the envy in our friend’s faces when we’d show up to school after our long winter break with a nice tan.

Despite the long distance, I’ll forever be grateful that our Uruguayan culture & traditions were upheld at home. Not only would Spanish be spoken at home, but waking up to the smell of “mate” throughout my childhood and starting off my mornings with a café con leche would bring about nostalgia, coupled with the longing to visit whenever possible. Traditional folklore music and our occasional asado always brought large group of friends to our home. The juicy steaks a la parrilla were always a staple at our parties…hotdogs and hamburgers never sounded so dull…

In January of 2003, on one of my trips back to Uruguay, I met my husband. I realize that the phenomenon of choosing someone who either looks like, acts like, or thinks like one of your parents is so true. I found that my husband has some of my dad’s traits, and soon realized this phenomenon couldn’t be more spot on. While there are subtle similarities, the most obvious are the Uruguayan traits…the “mate”, the desire to eat a good Uruguayan asado from time to time, the Spanish spoken at home, the traditional music in the background..the abundance of soccer games on my TV screen…and so on.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will continue to keep these traditions alive at home for my son, so that he knows where he comes from and appreciates his culture and big family. February 2010 will be his first discovery, as we take him on his first trip to our first home.