Gringas and Pouncing Kittens


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Jugo de guayaba y piña…por favor.

It’s a simple request, but one that satisfies my soul: to speak Spanish because I can. Sí COPA airlines is bilingual, and yes it’s presumed I am a gringa to whom the flight attendants automatically speak English. But that is trivial at the realization and impending excitement that for the next two weeks the words I will roll off my tongue are Español.

The thing about having lived in another culture enough for mutual embrace it is there is always a part of you that stays there. By it’s very nature, this presents as a wonderful problem. However, that part of you impatiently lingers in a state of wait like a kitten scheming to pounce. The longing attacks when pieces from that other life fall without warning into your world and then you remember the tastes, smell, sounds, people, landscape, voices, and people. As swiftly they bound off distracted by the shiny reality that flashed before us.

After asking for guava and pineapple juice during the flight service that kitten pounced and pounced hard. And this time I get to play. This time I know that more delicious words await. That before I even get to return to my other home, Ecuador, I will add even more tastes, sounds, smells, landscapes, people, and voices to my heart. Even a Wonder of the World awaits me.

But to drink that proverbial jugo; to feel the nectar slide down my throat leaving my mouth alive with the taste of tropical fruits that don’t exist or ever taste the same in the United States – that is when I know viscerally I am going home.

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