Tag Archives: Francisco

Around this time last year, my boyfriend and I were getting on a plane from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires. We were staying at the house of a schoolmate of ours, whose parents world-traveling diplomats–needless to say, I was more than a little nervous.

Making matters worse, my boyfriend ever-so-gently decided that it was finally time to inform me that I had been holding my fork and knife the wrong way my entire life.

Hiding my face in shame.

As a child, I placed the knife between the rungs of my fork, and I suppose that I had just gone years without being corrected. I’ve always tried to be polite, but I’ve never had a “Finishing School” experience.

Anyway, I’ve been slowly making my way through Debrett’s Etiquette for Girls for a while now to cover any remaining social missteps that may rear their ugly head in the near future, and I can think of a few situations where a nuanced reading of the material would have seriously helped.

(For instance: about a month ago I was a guest at the house of a friend-of-a-friend-of-the-family’s house, where the only appetizer was large cuts of slippery smoked salmon on toasted crackers… delicious. Debrett’s: Never attempt to eat smoked salmon if it requires more than one bite. Heed that advice, or you might end up like me, dropping half of your salmon on your chin before being forced to cram it in your already-full mouth with a half a cracker left over. Not awesome.)

Take this self-aware tidbit about canapés, for instance:

Are canapés a conspiracy invented by resentful caterers? What other possible explanation could there be for something so eternally unmanageable? … Imagine the hilarity back in the kitchens as the hotshots and bigwigs are incapacited by gobstopping vol-au-vents or humiliated as their cherry tomato spurts into the eye of an important associate.

What I love about this book is that it casually makes fun of its uppity content at the same time that is seriously embraces it: the authors truly do appreciate etiquette but they also understand the unapproachability of the subject.

The book covers absolutely everything, from underwear to office romance.

Although… nothing says anything about how to avoid dropping not one but two wine glasses in a night at the party that your boyfriend’s family threw so that you could meet the family. Also, everything is happening in your second language.

Shudder. To be explicit, that was me.

This was the spread at the party, about T-2 hours before doomsday hit. Despite that, an awesome example of Chilean canapés.

Lagrimas caían por sus mejillas mientras me decía un no deseado adiós. Sus mejillas un poco rojizas por la emoción, emoción por nuestro amor y su continua expresión que se vería interrumpida por la distancia entre los dos. Era momento de irme, y mi destino era Chile.

Con toda la tristeza de mi corazón, y sin ninguna gana alguna de irme, me di vuelta mientras ella se iba caminando con su abuela, y me puse en fila para pasar el control migratorio. No se en que momento llegaron las personas que ahora estaban delante de mi, pero ahí estaban, y sus papeles de identificación eran, al parecer, difíciles de entender. La oficial llamo a un supervisor que sabia español para que viera si la identificación que llevaba el pasajero era legitima. El oficial, rubio de pelo corto y de estatura mediana, lo llevo hacia un costado. Transcurrieron unos segundos, y comencé a avanzar hacia la inspección, cuando, derrepente, escuche unos distinguidos, rápidos, y suaves pasos viniendo hacia mi. Alicia corría hacia mi con sus ojos preciosos en un momento de tiempo relativo. Corría hacia mi y toda la ternura de mi corazón se reunía en un solo elemento para recibirla. Corría hacia mi en cámara lenta un cuerpo hermoso lleno de amor y estaba cada vez mas cerca, mas cerca, mas cerca. Como con un destello de intensidad y amor se detuvo el momento en el que tras un abrazo nuestras narices se tocaron para acercar nuestros labios. Los suyos y los míos, cerca, comenzando a tocarse. Nunca quise que ese segundo de mi vida, esa intensidad de mi corazón, de mi alma, pasado presente y futuro se detuviera. Mi amor, Alicia, y yo disfrutábamos de un ultimo hermoso, mágico, pero triste beso. Nuestra separación era inminente. Yo iría a Chile por el verano y ella se quedaría en Monroe, Louisiana. La veré en tres meses, cuando me reciba en Beijing, China.
That was the nicest farewell of my life.
Tears fell down her cheeks when she bid me an unwanted farewell. Her cheeks were red with emotion, emotion brought on my our love and its continuous expression that would be interrupted by the distance between us. It was time to go, and my destination was Chile.
With all the sadness in my heart, and without any desire to leave, I turned while she walked back to her grandmother, getting back in line to pass through the gate. I don’t remember when the people around me arrived, but there they were, and their identification papers were, apparently, hard to understand. The employee at the gate called her spanish-speaking supervisor so that she could see if the documents were legitimate. The employee, blond with short hair and of medium stature, led him to one side. Seconds passed, and I began to walk towards the gate, when, all of a sudden, I heard distinct, rapid, fast steps coming towards me. Alicia ran towards me; her eyes in that moment are frozen in my mind’s eye. She ran towards me and all of the tenderness in my heart reunited with her in a single element, ready to receive her.  She ran towards me, in slow motion, her body filled with love and ever-approaching, approaching, approaching. With a flash of intensity and love, the moment froze in an embrace, our noses touching so that our lips could meet. Hers and mine, together, beginning to kiss. I never wanted that second of my life, that intensity of my heart, of my soul, past, present, and future, to stop. My love, Alicia, and I savoring the last beautiful, magical, yet sad kiss. Our separation was imminent. I would go to Chile for the summer and she would stay in Monroe, Lousiana. I will see her in three months, when she greets me in Beijing.
That was the nicest farewell of my life.