Saturday, May 17, 2008

Party in Montebello

So before the parking bullshit (see post below), I took Kidlo to a birthday party for the grandson of Reina (the woman who takes care of Kidlo). We had a ball even though it was brain-meltingly hot. 95 degrees and no air conditioner in the house. Oo-wee, I forgot what it's like to go to a party and sit in a puddle of your own sweat. But the whole family turned out, there was a lot of good food and we got to hit a piñata. Cumbias on the stereo and cholos bouncing baby cousins on their knees. It reminded me so much of home, except with us we'd be eating pernil y arroz con gandules.

I drove down Whittier Boulevard to get there, and that was a trip too. I'd recently read about Whittier on LA Eastside, a blog devoted to the neighborhoods east of the LA River (check it out--it's hilarious, well-written, enlightening). I loved seeing all of the paint jobs on the stores. I couldn't snap any pix because I was driving with Kidlo, but I found some great shots at Walking in LA (another great blog--nothing but maps and photos).

Most of the people at the party spoke only Spanish except for Reina's oldest son and her daughter-in-law. Spanish is hard for me--I learned it from my Abuela who spoke only Spanish, but she died when I was 19 and since my mom came to New York from Puerto Rico when she was just five, we speak English with each other. Most of my other relatives also speak English. When people speak to me in Spanish, I can understand most of what they are saying, but when I try to respond I sound drunk and brain-damaged. What I do to verb conjugations is a crime. ¿Bueno, que vas hacer? I did my best. I wish I could get over being embarrassed about it, because that just makes it worse and who wants to talk to someone who's both stuttering and self-conscious?

Kidlo is just learning to walk and he spent most of the party stumbling around. Between chasing him and walking to work, I should be able to lose the final 11 pounds of pregnancy weight. I like when he spends time with Reina's family since my family is back in NYC. She's so good to him and he gets to hang out with her teenage sons and grandson. MB and I are kind of hermity and don't know a lot of people with kids, so I want to make sure he gets a social life. Hell, maybe I'll get one for myself.

ETA: Forgot to mention that a woman at the party said (in Spanish), "I heard you moved to El Centro." This reminded me of the post written by the Militant Angeleno, Journey To The Center of Town...Or...The Militant Puts His Foot Down On The Whole Eastside / Westside Nonsense. That really brought home for me how there's this whole enormous side of LA that's invisible to most white people (and transplants, like me) in this city.

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