Monday, January 31, 2011

Bilingual a Plus

Within the hollowed depths of my job search, I have come across many postings whom list bilingualness as an incentive to hire. Living in southern California, it's a safe assumption that the tongue besides my native one is that of the sultry rolling r's, part one of the Romance: Spanish.

I've always sort of poked fun at the fact that I cannot speak a word of Spanish. My German born father and I once went to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place, and both of us played charades attempting to spell out of orders much to the amusement of the lady behind the counter.

Being born to Peter Lucyga, with half my people living beautifully in Northern Germany, learning das language was always a part of my life. When we were children, my father bought this interactive language learning program. We sang songs, attempted grammar, and learned the words for things like strawberry or sandwich.

I still remember one of the songs.

Guten Morgen! Guten Morgen! Euch Kinder hier in Haus. Euch Madchen und Jungen euch grossen und kleinen, kommt alle zusammen, Wir fangen jetz an...

Good Morning! Good Morning! All the children are present in the home. All girls and boys, big and small, Come together, and we will now begin...

My sister and I were glad to learn the song, because it was oddly satisfying to sing in German even if you had no idea what you were singing about. But as I grew older, the disadvantages of living in California and not knowing Spanish began to make themselves visible.

For instance, getting a text message from a boy, saying "Calmate chica." Confused for a moment, then restfully assured calmate means some form of beautiful. Them ruminating on how much you are smitten with the charming, Spanish-learned rascal.

Then showing your sister the text message, expecting a similar conclusion. There is a quick debate on the actual meaning of calmate. It is remembered that caliente means hot, not calmate. Then rapidly pulling up and realizing that "Calmate, chica" does not mean "Girl, you are so fine." Rather, it roughly translates to "Bitch calm down."

I know that I should be more disappointed that my lack of Spanish speaking knowledge has held me back from applying for some really fabulous jobs, but it is my "Bitch calm down" scenario that truly grinds my gears. If I am to be honest, freeing myself of the chill girl representation I've built in this blog (haha), I curse the day I learned my first "Ich habe Hunger" specifically because for a good half an hour I was lulled into a brief euphoria of dreaminess and good feelings when I was really being chastised.

Spanish is a sexy to hear, especially that elusive Listhp that reverberates off the lips of my friends who have returned from studying abroad in Madrid. But when I think of Spanish, I don't think of sexy things, like, er, parted lips or...naked people. I think of things I could not understand. I think of someone trying to tell me something, and the message simply refusing to enter into my consciousness. Or better yet, my consciousness dressing up the sage advice in a way cuter costume. You know how the squeamish say a squirrel is just a rat in a cuter costume? Well, for me, in that silly instance, Spanish is all the words I don't want to hear in English. In a sexier, listhp-ier costume.

When I look back at my lack of bilinguality, I have to smile. I smile because the whole affair transcends job frustration or that push and pull of initial dating when things are "complicated." I like the allure of not understanding the words that people are saying. Because for once, I can just let the syllables and meaning wash over me without the strain of interpretation or analysis. I can just listen to the organic foundation of human communication and actually appreciate for a minute, the miracle of language.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


When my sister and I were younger, it seemed we were ages apart.

We are not quite two years, and she is really my best friend; so much so that it seems the only thing separating our ascent to doing everything together is her inability to legally drink in bars. She is my best gal pal, if not slightly on a protective sisterly pedestal. I start gnashing my teeth and cracking my knuckles when my boy friends talk about her sex appeal or whereabouts.

As in its 10 p.m. and we're all 5 shots deep and my charming neighbor inquires, meaningfully: "Sonia, where's your sister?"

Or, "Sonia, you're sister's so hot...Where is she?"

So, yes my sister is hot. And yes, if you try to hit on her in front of me I am immature enough that not only will I cock block you to Hades, I will also defriend you on every social networking platform, ever. I know, terrifying. Testosterone is quaking in its boots.

But anyway, when we were younger our two year span seemed more like four. We were different, and disagreed on many things. One large nugget of dissension was the welfare of our mother. My sister was very protective, she didn't condone any roughhousing like chicken fights in the pool or that weird game where you swim around, pushing your opponents head down into the water, trying to drown each other.

I on the other hand, was older and had an attitude. I saw myself as an equal opponent to my mothers head-dunking abilities, and would challenge her. When my 8 year old core strength failed, I would get mad, exact revenge, and cling onto my mother's neck like an enraged koala, hoping for an advantage.

My mother would laugh, my sister would cry, and then my attempts at winning the drowning game would be thwarted as we'd all have to stop to calm Sasha down.

But there is one moment in my sister's brief career as my mother's bodyguard that truly bested me. My mother is athletic, and growing up she coached quite a few of our sports teams. When we lived in Virginia, Sash and I were just starting to play soccer, and my mother was the coach for my Under 8 soccer team, dubbed "The Geckos."

It was one of our last practices. All seven year olds want to end every game or practice by throwing water or Gatorade on their coach, because it is hilarious and adults look funny wet. Exactly the kind of physical humiliation, however, that my sister did not allow in our house. The instant Sasha caught wind of my team's giggly plan, her protective instinct kicked in.

Meanwhile, I was deviously unscrewing the cap of my water bottle, chuckling to myself.

During our post practice huddle, all the girls are looking at each other, mischievously, clutching their water bottles. My mother knew what was coming, and began jogging away as 13 Geckos took after her, shrieking.

I hung back a bit, wanting my dousing to be just me and the coach, for full hilarity. As I began jogging towards the pack, something felt off. I began to hear a vague buzzing sound, getting louder. I stopped my cleated pursuit, and turned around to face the growing hum...



I was full on flattened by my midget of a sister. She sprang up from kicking my ass, wailing in fear and sadness, and took off like a demon towards my mom. I sat up in disbelief as I watched the back of her pigtailed head cover the field alarmingly fast.

"Mom! Sasha hurt me!" I immediately complained. I wasn't even mad, I was more humiliated that my awesome water throwing moment was ruined by a shrimp wearing a Winnie the Pooh shirt.

My mom couldn't really feel sorry for me, considering she was busy comforting my sister/bodyguard as well as holding back laughter at the grass and dirt in my hair, evidence of my ass beating.

It was the first time I was taught never to underestimate my younger sister. Though I may have height and 1.75 years of life experience, she assess situations in a different, and often far more bad ass way than myself. But now I feel like her protective instinct has grown to encompass me, and I am her quarterback instead of, er, the other team. She protects me, just as vehemently and insanely as she protected my mother that fateful day on the soccer field.

She was just giving me a preview of her services.

I miss you, Sasha.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If the shoe [doesn't] fit...

Hello, dear blog.

So my last few posts about Oceanside and a new job seem woefully unimportant now. The few weeks that I was employed by that company feel like a black hole, a hole where the site of my reporter pad would make me nauseous and I developed a brief interview stutter.

In other words, I was laid off.

So now I am blogging to you from a coffee shop, terrifically unemployed, unpaid (the former company of mine is having financial troubles), yet undeterred. If you can't laugh when life takes you to Oceanside and then shits all over your lovely yet childlike perception that the job world will give you as much love as you give it, then when can you?

I choose to laugh. HA. HA. Ha. ha.

So, let me dwell not and instead get to the real subject of this post: shoes! My brief stint as a reporter allowed me to meet a bunch of people and get to know a bunch of local business. Being the clothes hound that I profess I am, (I am! I am) I gravitated toward boutique business. During one interview, I found a pair of precious black patent wedges.

I yanked them off the shelf and immediately tried the price. $7.00! I'll take them!

Unfortunately they were size 6.5. I can squeeze into a 7.5 sometimes, and have bought a pair of 7.5 studded stilettos in a moment of reduced price desperation. But 6.5 was pushing it. They are uncomfortable, my toes hang off like pigeons on a phone line, and I can only wear them to outing that involve little walking and lots of sitting (read: movie, dinner, doing my makeup).

But I had to have them, very much. In fact if I left the store without buying them, something truly terrible would happen, like I'd get gout or be fired (ha.ha.ha.). My hands itched to possess the too small shoes, and my heart raced as she rang them up. Let's go! my silent thought process said. If I don't own these, someone else with smaller feet will. I should have them, because I want them, now. They will make me happy, now. If I don't, right now, they will sit, right now, and later, someone who doesn't really love them for all they are will get them, later, and I will be alone, for now, and for later.

And then perhaps, for ever.

Well, I got them, I now own them, and they sit along the top shelf of my closet gathering dust. I realize, regretfully, that I really should not have bought them, even though they looked great and made me feel great. When I'd feel dull or unhappy, I'd look at them and think "Well, at least I have that." And I'd feel giddy, and sneaky, and comfortable for the time being.

But you can't keep shoes on retainer, especially ones that don't fit. Shoes are meant to be worn, walked, and admired. They are meant to spend time with you, to be a part of your life. You can't just stay with shoes because it makes you feel good to have them around, just in case.

In case of what? Something bad happening? Like getting laid off?

Well, I got laid off. I put the shoes on, thinking I could salvage something from my time "on the job." And when push came to shove, when I most needed them to fit, they still didn't.

I know its silly to pin hopes of support onto inanimate objects. But my reverse Cinderella story made me realize that it is just as silly to pin hopes of support on ill-fitting relationships as it is on pretty patent wedges.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome Home?

I moved into my new space in Oceanside, moving in being a relative term. I have an air mattress and eight boxes of heels (four of those serving as a nightstand).

The house I'm renting a room in is beautiful; new, with painted walls, spacious rooms, and bathrooms with decorative towels. I'm kind of afraid to touch anything, I tiptoe around but still manage to make a racket. I feel silly, like Jane Eyre, the mental estranged roommate emitting sinister noises in her back house burrow.

I am not sure how my new town likes me. The first morning I got a sixty dollar parking ticket (street cleaning). The second day I set my car alarm off in the Ralph's parking lot and frightened a passing little girl to tears. The third day on my moving misadventure I, in an attempt to carry three shoe boxes and a glass globe lamp, lost control of the armload and watched it slow motion fall to the ground and shatter.

As I reviewed the carnage of flinty, frosted glass pieces and spilled purple suede booties I felt that perhaps Oceanside does not want me.

I recently interviewed the owner of "Kindred Journeys" who is also a psychic. After our interview, I was flitting around the sun spackled store, photographing it. She asked me how long I had been doing this. I told her I was new. She told me I wouldn't be in North County for long. She said I was going to move closer to the city, for a job I would get with my persona (does this mean I has no skills? and what type of job would hire me for my lamp dropping, children scaring persona?)

She gave me a sixth month deadline.

Oceanside is preparing to eject me.

I'm kind of pissed. Why don't you want me, O-side? Okay so I clutter your neighborhoods with glass debri, make your children cry, and get in the way of clean streets.
But I like you. I'd like to make this relationship mutually beneficial.

I was in the Walmart trying to buy a correctly sized curtain rod and was stopped in the parking lot by a man asking me "Hey, girl. You from around here?"

Dammit. Again?

He was wearing a long sleeved button down, unbuttoned except for the top one. Wifebeater underneath, cargo shorts, and a sideways trucker hat.

"Hey girl, are you from around here? Why your wearing those boots? Are you from Texas?"

I looked down at my cowboy boots, cursing them for betraying my non-local status. Damn you. Damn you, because as much as I try to smile and eat Mexican food, and shop in local stores, and not get lost while driving, I am still just a big haired Jane Eyre who it seems cannot escape her true, tourist nature.

It's not like I haven't been down this road, but this time I am far more determined. Soon you will learn Oceanside, all the things I can do for you. You will learn I am an amazing happy hour partner, fun, interesting dining companion, drink orderer, funky white girl dancer, enthusiastic shopper, sweet listener, and naive, unscathed, not-yet-soured-by-life reporter.

Forget cowboy boots. Get ready for these babies: