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Hasta pronto – an ode to Aunt Rachel

January 8, 2009

Oh, how I hate long distance relationships. Early this morning, my sister Rachel departed for her other home in Madrid, where she’s been living for the past several years, after a long Christmas visit to Arkansas. Of my three sisters, Rach is the closest to me in age and by far the furthest from us, distance-wise, so it’s especially hard to see her go.

She last visited in April to be here for Jack’s birth, and when she left he still looked like this:

Things changed considerably between then and their next meeting in December, but not so much that she could teach him to count to 10 in Mandarin, her latest linguistic undertaking. I hope she understands that this doesn’t represent any shortcoming on her end, as he can’t count to 10 in his to-be native language, either. And anyway, she did manage to teach him to wave, occasionally, to us, to himself and to strangers.

Fortunately we managed to squeeze in a trip “downtown” to the Mercantile for coffee last Saturday, plenty of high-stakes word games (we’re so unbeatable as a pair at Taboo that we’re no longer allowed to play on the same team), our annual after-Christmas shopping extravaganza, and lots of pictures.

menrach

rach

rach2

Maybe by our next reunion, I’ll have trained Jack to greet his aunt Rachel as The Captain. (Long ago,  our dad decided that her smarts, opinions and assertive qualities earned her the impressive title Captain Rachel of the Thought Police.) It’s our favorite nickname for her — and if Halloween 2006 is any indication, I think it’s hers, too…

Then again, maybe we’ll see her before Jack is that verbally nimble. That would be even better.

Until then, we’ll know that our favorite world traveler is having a great time doing as the Spanish do. I like to imagine she and her friends spending their free time doing cool things like this:

statuary

(Actually, she saves moments like the one above and below for select visitors. She’s an excellent guide. Handsome tourist not included. )

bil

noche

Love you, miss you, Rach, both very much. We can’t wait for next time!

P.S. Rachel, if you’re reading, I tried to impress you / show some love by posting en Español, but then I checked my work via Google Translate. You’ll understand why I scratched that idea. (Take the following line after translation, por ejemplo: “I am from a wonderful vacation with your happy Christmas.” Ouch.)

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