Monday, September 13, 2004


Family Affair/Green Dog

It has occurred to me that I have written virtually nothing about living with Tito's family. I think that's because I haven't really known what to make of it, as the whole thing is so far removed from my previous life experiences. I have to say I am thrilled that it is temporary. The Villalobos family have been nothing but welcoming, tolerant and kind. I also see that there is much to commend about the traditional four-generations-under-one-roof way of living. However, I am a Western girl, and I can't help but value my privacy. Let's not forget, I am an only child, and the only child of two only children! This, of course, means that I don't even have any proper aunts, uncles, or cousins, let alone siblings... a situation a million miles away from the Villalobos household.

Most of the time I don't mind living with the family. We have some fun chats around the table, and Tito's mum Glavis is a great cook. Tito's dad, Jorge, always wants to practice his rusty Japanese with me! Everyone is supportive and considerate of each other, for the most part. Nevertheless, yesterday was one of those days when I want to run screaming to the airport. Glavis was babysitting Tito's brother Jorge's children (who, thankfully, don't live with us). The five year old, Laysha, is into absolutely everything. She is a scribbling on walls kind of kid, and she has, on previous visits, been at my make-up, contact lens equipment, and computer, so I tried to prepare for her royal naughtiness as best I could. This didn't stop her, however, from bursting into my room without knocking, as I was sleeping, and demanding I look at her four month old sister, who was crying.

Not knowing the slightest thing about babies, I jiggled it about a bit until Glavis came and took it off me. Grandma started on about babies. I needed to get out of the house! A walk round town in the bright sunshine, a lucuma ice-cream, and many assurances from Tito that it really isn't my responsibility to babysit just because I am a woman of child-bearing age, and I was ready to go home. We arrived just in time for lunch, and were greeted by Laysha and a stripey green dog, which we took to be Wanpi. Did you do this? we asked Laysha. No, of course not. As Laysha's mum said, before not disciplining Laysha in any way whatsoever, who cares? It's only a dog.


Oh dear.

At this point I might suggest turning the child upside down. This seems to render them fairly harmless. And when the mum asks what you are doing you just answer "Nothing, We are just having fun."
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