In the care of a Governess

In his dream, he found that his deepest intimacy, lay far beyond the borders of his solitude

Vista del Río Siena París, Francia
View of the Seine 
Paris, France

“Assuredly, you must believe I have lost my wits, at least momentarily!” he remarked excitedly, as he recovered his breath. “I assure you that it is quite the contrary! Perhaps you would find my enthusiasm easier to understand, if I briefly describe the charming conditions in which I grew up in during my childhood days.”

La vitrina París, Francia
The display
Paris, France

“During the initial years of my life, my father dedicated himself to rummaging and poking around, among the tombs of the long dead Pharaohs, searching for treasures and whatnot of historical interest or at for his own. As I mentioned before, at the time I was placed in the care (may I rather mention, the scrutiny and custody) of a Governess.”

“Custody is too kind a word to use while describing the attentions of Mrs. Mary Louise. The aforesaid madam must have surely seen better times before the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.”

La margen del río París, Francia
The riverfront
Paris, France

“Not to tell a lie, I never knew her true age. It was an unfathomable mystery, even for my vivid childhood imagination and absolutely without any apparent solution. The fact is that in those my most tender years, my stock of numbers to count things only included numbers up to one hundred. So, if for some reason, I had been able to uncover her age, surely the number of years found would have exceeded my capacity for expressing them!”

Upon listening to these pungently sarcastic comments, Alicia could barely hold back a smile.

Calles del barrio París, Francia
The neighborhood streets
Paris, France


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Between soldiers and dolls

Through the centuries, it has been said many times that during the nights, the toys awake to play…

Galería Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
 Cusco’s Historical Centre, Cusco, Peru

They had time to spare, and so also kept their discussion, about the first child’s gender alive and spent long hours speculating about this important issue. When they finally reached the European coasts. each one of them was utterly convinced that they were right, and knew the sex of their future boy or girl and perfectly well.

Vista dela ciudad Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
View of the city
Cusco’s Historical Centre, Cusco, Peru

So, it happened that, on the next day after disembarking, they went out to do some intense shopping, searching for all manner of small gifts for their firstborn to be. During that long first day, her father bought a few regiments of beautiful tin soldiers, which were fairly fashionable at the time. At the same time, her mother was picking up the dolls which her future daughter would play with in the future.

Balcones Centro histórico, Cusco, PerúBalcones Centro histórico, Cusco, Perú
Cusco’s HIstorical Centre, Cusco, Peru

A grand drum was picked up in Rome and added up to the hope-chest for the firstborn, of unknown gender. In Napoli a Pierrot and a Pierrette, fashionably dressed in lively coloured silks also were incorporated into the collection. Both these dolls had exotically painted faces that distinguished them.

From Paris, they brought back a lovely doll with a ceramic head and face, a body filled with goose feathers that turned out to be a gracious ballet dancer. Also, they added a large brass cannon that actually fired littler lead pellets.

El patio Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú
El patio
Centro histórico de Cusco, Cusco, Perú


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The power of onions

Chapter 1… My poor broken down worlds

Calles de Granada Centro Histórico, Granada, Nicaragua
Granada’s streets                    Historical Centre, Granada, Nicaragua

“That… this is your boarding pass, kiddo. Listen carefully and then keep it to yourself. Tomorrow, go to school as if nothing were happening. Wait around for half an hour, and then discreetly, place half an onion in each of your armpits. Leave them there for around ten minutes, give or take. Then when you’ve worked up a fever, get up slowly, walk to the teacher and tell her that you’re not feeling good. Don’t forget to wear your best I’m about to die and gonna faint face. I’ll be at home, waiting for the call from school, I’ll tell them, that it’s no bother at all to pick you up there and take you to the doctor. Then we walk away and… we’re off to see the Wizard! I know these fishermen in Moyogalpa that know how to make these shrimps taste so good, that’ll really make you faint! “

Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

The problems in life

Chapter 1… My poor broken down worlds

Mural sandinista centro histórico, León, Nicaragua
Sandinista Mural                   Historic Centre, Leon, Nicaragua

“My sweet child,” he´d say laughing, while he fixed my toy. “Broken toys, they’re like many of the problems you’ll run into as time goes by. Never think that they’ll fix themselves on their own. Don’t put them off for another day either. If you do, there’ll always be a next day, because every day is in itself, its own tomorrow. That´s how they’ll end: caught up forever, as sad toys without a proper fixing”.

Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

Unveiling the truths

Sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping truths lie

Seguiré viviendo Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
I shall live on
Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

“Let us continue and forget about these matters for the moment. We will surely get back to it and recognize your noble sentiments and of course your legal perceptions which, by the way, have my absolute support and credit.”

“But, for now, to center this discussion which I have decided to open tonight. Allow me to invite you to go back, barely two years ago. If you remember, darling Felipe, that was the moment when my parents decided to embark on a tour through Europe. Their absence was considered, at the moment, as indefinite. They had plans to present themselves at different European countries and hadn’t considered the when of their return.”

La Querencia Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
La Querencia
Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

“My mother, probably thinking of the possibility of some misfortune on the road, or perhaps, reflecting on her own mortality and her brief passage through life, decided to finally reveal the story of that infamous Jaimito, and disclose the vague mysteries related to his death. “

Casa Vieja
Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

At least, as far as I was concerned, there were a lot of unresolved doubts related to that particular subject. By some kind of mutual agreement, we had never broached the subject before and touched it only in the passing and in a most superficial way, without ever delving into the details.”

Caminos del pueblo Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
Country roads
Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina


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The first poems of a little dreamer girl

As old as humanity, were the first dreams they had and their strong desire to share them

Caminos de la Quebrada Peña Blanca, Jujuy, Argentina
The Roads at  La Quebrada
Peña Blanca, Jujuy, Argentina

“Let us abbreviate and get down to the heart of the matter. It was Miss Teresita who awakened the love of reading, in all the girls in my classroom. Of that perhaps, a small group of little girls, there’s not, but one that later in her life… didn’t turn out to be an ardent reader. Still today, we all read anything and everything that we encounter, even the occasional writing on the walls. She would organize these discussion sessions, where we commented on our reading. I´m sure you’ll think I exaggerate, but let me tell you that these gatherings were quite fun and decidedly entertaining.”

Vista a la Quebrada Tres Cruces, Jujuy Argentina
Vista to the Quebrada
Tres Cruces, Jujuy Argentina

“Teresita taught me to love Poetry. She marked such an enormous difference with respect to the series of piano teachers of my life, for she was whom conducted me one step further ahead. It was thanks to her that I began to write. How to explain… the charm in beginning to explore that vast and wonderful world of my inner-self?”

Puente sobre el Río Grande Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
The bridge at Río Grande
Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina

“Can you imagine, Felipe? I was barely eight years old and already writing my own verses. Both of us were ecstatic and overwhelmed. Teresita believed that I showed a lot of potential, and she did everything humanly possible to stimulate my creative sensitivity. As for myself, I was overjoyed! It was the equivalent of tasting this incredible sweet dessert, and finding that you wanted to repeat it again and again… always encountering these new hidden flavours full of exquisite possibilities.”

La cañada Uquía, Jujuy, Argentina
The gully         Uquía, Jujuy, Argentina


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A mother’s dreams

Some dreams are lost in reality, some realities are lost in dreams

El puerto Callao, Lima, Perú
El puerto Callao, Lima, Perú

Simple and straightforward, professor Rafita was gifted with a profound intelligence and a great degree of human sensitivity. Always kind and running about in a good mood, it was difficult, if not quite impossible, not to like this kind-hearted school teacher. Together with the doctor, they both were the only persons respected by both the liberals and the conservatives, whose constant onslaughts and in-fighting had ravaged the country and done so much harm.

La costa Callao, Lima, Perú
La costa Callao, Lima, Perú

“It pains me to recognize the fact that in only a few months’ time, we shall finish with the second-grade level. After that, I am sorry to say, there is nothing more, I can possibly offer Camila. Bearing this in mind, there is an important fact, you should be aware of, ma’am. Camila has confided in me that she is determined to be a writer.”

El parque Barranco, Lima, Perú
El parque Barranco, Lima, Perú

“Well, now, my dear Professor, when I was a little girl, for I once was one, don’t you dare doubt it… I wanted to be a Nun” she answered laughing in excellent spirits. “And look at me now, sitting in the park and talking to you about my daughter’s future. As children, we tend to dream, and we easily believe the world is just there, waiting for us to make it our own, as easy as that. Getting back to this business of being a writer, how can that be? She is still much too young to know what she wants in life, wouldn’t you agree?”

Bicicleta Barranco, Lima, Perú
Bicicleta Barranco, Lima, Perú


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How things can get complicated

Yes, they were family, but still.. she didn’t t really agree with their way of looking at life

Balcón Colonia Roma, CDMX, México

Balcony           Colonia Roma, CDMX, México

So, when her Dad arrived to the next chicken enclosure, Camila was quietly letting the chickens out to the yard. Having opened the shutters, the air felt fresh and clean. In her left hand, she held an open book. It was a thick and heavy volume. With the other hand, she was opening the wire-mesh partitions and shooing the hens out.

Ventanal Colonia Roma, CDMX, México
Picture window            Colonia Roma, CDMX, México

When her father saw the book in hand, he made a disapproving face without realizing it. Camila turned around, just in time to catch the look on his face, which was in fact, a reaction she had already seen many times before.

Confused, and without knowing what to say, he decided to confront the child, once and for all. Looking severely into her eyes and using his sternest tone, he began to say:

“So, what do you think you’re up to, Camila? Did you actually believe, I’ll fall for your silly little tricks? Now, as it turns out, I’m supposed to believe you’ve done all the work in the first two coops, in the short while it took for me to finish my breakfast! It seems that you have a lot to learn and a lot to live…”

Maceteros Roma México
Flower boxes           Colonia Roma CDMX,  México

The little girl knew her father quite well and also, knew his most of his moods. For the same reason, she held herself easy and aloof and heard him till he finished talking. Holding his stare, confident and without challenging him, she waited before calmly answering quietly:

“Yes, sir. You are completely right.” 

Kiosko de la Alameda Centro Histórico, CDMX, México
The Alameda Kiosk           Centro Histórico, CDMX, México


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Chasing libraries

Camila, Camila Why do you pass your time away inside those books?

So easy! See, Because I can, but aso, because I love to…

Ventanales ciudad de México, CDMX, México
Picture windows           Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

How different, however, with Camila. That little girl surpassed all the rest of the kids that went through his school.

La repostería ciudad de México,CDMX, México
The bakery           Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

What a surprise for her teacher, when he observed that Camila, in only a few months, had gone through all the books in his small collection, devouring them in her wake.

Fachada ciudad de México, CDMX, México
Facade          Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

That small library that with so much effort and time, he had put together for his young students. The little girl had finished them all and was now re-reading the books she had liked best.

Plaza Garibaldi ciudad de México, CDMX, México
Garibaldi Plaza          Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico


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Sense of direction

He always knew the where and the when of any place he found himself in

La Plazoleta Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The Plaza         Loja, Loja, Ecuador

That was how, among other things, he learned to measure time.

La Ventana Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador
A Window           Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador

He could determine it accurately and with unbelievable precision, just by observing the wealth of tiny details surrounding him.

Flor urbana Loja, Loja, Ecuador
Urban flower          Loja, Loja, Ecuador

These talked to him about the time of the day at any given moment. Coupled with that natural sense of orientation he was born with, he could always tell the exact where and when of any place he found himself in, at any given moment, never feeling lost in the world.

Río Malacatos Loja, Loja, Ecuador
Malacatos River          Loja, Loja, Ecuador


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