well there that is.

thought bubbles mixed with random amusements.

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be.  (via oliviacirce)

From a Happy Heart: Present


We must cherish the time we have with others. We must be present, open, alive.

2013 is for me, the year of the Present. At least, it’s the year I am learning most about its value. Before last Fall, I always said, “I have nothing to my name. The only thing of real worth I can give to another is…

One of the many puzzling aspects of yesterday’s attacks was the question of what, exactly, the perpetrators thought they’d accomplish by targeting what basically amounts to a celebration of human tenacity. If anything, the tragedy in Boston will further solidify the bond between runner and spectator. And when the Chicago marathon happens this October, I’ll show up to run harder, and they’ll show up to cheer louder. If anyone thought this attack would discourage the runners or the watchers, they’ve clearly never been to a marathon.
— ERIN GLORIA RYAN, in her great piece: The People Who Watch Marathons (via nettra)

(via nettra)

Do What Makes You Happy
Sunday night serenade, courtesy of my Dad. #home (Taken with Instagram)

Sunday night serenade, courtesy of my Dad. #home (Taken with Instagram)

(via bizzznar)

Loving Family.

One of my functions at home is to be somewhat of a peacemaker. But that doesn’t make me immune to weak moments and conflict of my own. I failed this morning— failed to be mindful, considerate, and respecting. I hurt someone emotionally this morning, and she felt she needed to hurt me back. She didn’t deserve it, but I did. Now both our days have started on a bad note.

My bad attitude this morning was the product of many things— hormones, an irritating alarm clock that robbed me of 1 hour of sleep, and my growing bitterness about the time I lose just commuting to & from work every day. All of this culminated in my terrible choice to let my frustration out in my tone of voice.

In true Castro-Robeniol manner, I can let my emotion seep out of my intonation and body language. It’s just enough to let another know the acuteness of my opinion. It’s a terrible talent, and only one I have learned to utilize in expressing negativity.

In mediation training, we were asked how anger is expressed in our families. We were all able to answer, no hesitation. We recognized anger through actions varying anywhere between harsh silence to amplified voices and slamming doors. Then, the next question came:

"How do we express love?"

There was a long silence, as if all of us needed to take time to dig into our experiences, trying to place it. How do we recognize we are loved by others? How do we express our love for others? Do I even express it? And if so, how often?

And that brings me to this moment, where I admit to you that I failed this morning. I failed to let you know that I love you.

I’m certified as a mediator in California! :) (Taken with Instagram)

I’m certified as a mediator in California! :) (Taken with Instagram)

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing— Stevie Wonder

The Biological Advantage of being Awestruck

(Source: vimeo.com)