Saturday, September 27, 2014

Short travel story #2 - “Vote for me!

September 2014, Chiclayo, Peru

top photo (with me in front) by Ivan Effio Huidobro

How did I end up here?! Walking with my baby-girl in the small very present crowd.
In front of me I see a lot of white, supported by some blue and red, shirts, flags and banners. Banners that show a photo of how the situation is now in a street and in the photo next to it what it will look like in the nearby future if you would vote for this party.

They are enthusiastic shouting for their party. They walk fast, driven and a positive vibe can be felt.
The main three candidates walk and in times run in front of the crowd stopping at whichever house people show up, shaking hands, making short conversations, and giving out their party’s t-shirts, caps, flyer’s and candy. Some people try to drag others out of their houses to join them.

My baby-girl seems more popular at times than the candidates. Some of the girls, remembering her name, can hardly handle their love towards her and have to take her hand or talk to her when they pass by. She hardly responds back, just looking curious of what this crowd is all about.

Now I understand the interesting and new sight to me of all the paintings on the buildings I saw when just entering Peru. It has all to do with this election. Vote for me! No, for me!
Maybe the owner of the wall is lucky and gets a little money out of it by allowing his place labeled.

I came to Ecuador almost eight months ago just at election times and when I arrived a month ago in Peru I came into the exact same situation. Everywhere posters of candidates: mostly unhealthy overweight looking men passed their forties.
I've also figured out by now that the bigger the campaign and the more dirty tricks they have up their sleeves, the more changes they have of succeeding.

But practising what they preach? I doubt it a lot. Even though I used to be active myself I have started to feel estranged to this world of politics

“Hello.” The apparently used-to-be-famous TV comedian, with his strange hat: so people will recognize his specialness, addresses me. Briefly I feel the famous one here: the white-female-traveler.
He asks something about where I’m from and where I’m staying. I can’t help getting the feeling: I-am-famous-so-I can-screw (pardon my words) -anyone. But I am trying to stay kind and open-minded that I’m wrong. Though my bad Spanglish (for even that mix is already bad) saves me from further conversation.

My shoulders are getting weary of carrying her. I’m still holding the t-shirt* in my hand. No, I said as friendly as I could, I will not wear it. I can not vote or support a party I do not know and isn´t even green. Though still I let my curiosity and free time take me with them.

Suddenly I´m very aware of where I am by seeing him standing up high on the goal of the soccer field. Clicking away. I am in his frame. I wave, I smile. His manly posture, but functional reason to be up their, makes me smile and aroused.
I take a moment to breath in this moment, before walking on. Letting him do his job.

Everything makes me aware: I am in a new and strange country to me and the old one where I’ve spend most of my life, I feel, I am just as much estranged to.

* Want to become the owner of this shirt? Check the the Viv travel-art-shop

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Short travel story #1 - In the combi taxi

September 2014, Chiclayo, Peru

The young boy repeatedly bangs with his flat hand against the side of the van, by hanging his arm outside the window. He shouts and moves almost possessively, looking for people who need to go the van's direction. Opening the door rapidly many times, even stepping outside to try to get the people in.
If the-passenger-to-be is lucky, this boy is honest and wont bring them halfway their destination, just so he and the driver can earn some money.

His energy amazes me. 

My host and I start guessing how old he is. He says 14, I say 17, maybe 16.
Some minutes pass before I dare to ask the boy, who's finally sitting down, in my bad Spanish: “cuántos años?” “Catorce”, he answers, with a questioning look in his eyes why I'm asking.

"Aaahhh, your right!” Maybe I am more used to the Dutch, who make this boy due to his work experience and more tough life look older? Anyway, my age guessing skills need some practising.

The driver turns up the volume and the music fills the van. If my baby-girl wasn't asleep, she would definitely dance on it by bouncing up and down. The car has shaken her to sleep.

It's warm, but just perfect. The wind outside, the open windows, is making my hair dance. The road dusty, with sometimes a cloud of dust blown into the air.  
I am everytime remembered of the treeless surroundings. Not knowing if they once stood there tall and proud.

My host... I feel his leg against mine. A warm feeling in every way. I am trying to restrain myself not to take his hand into mine. We're looking past one another, but I feel we're looking into each other's soul.

The van takes us to our destistination...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A mother´s philosophy part 2 of 4: how and why sex(uality) changes when becoming a mom

He asks me if I want to come to the hotel with him. I tell him I can't, because I'm already 2,5 hours gone from her. She will need me soon.
I also have to be honest, I have missed dancing so much, that I, even if I had the time to go with him, would rather dance some more.

So, again no sex. Guess what?! I do not mind at all. Really?! Yes, really!
I have figured out by now that it´s not because I'm suddenly less sexual, the only difference is, I can not be and do not want to be focussed on it.

What´s wrong with me?!
I became a mom.

Enough men complain that women become less sexual once pregnant and once they become a mom. Maybe true, but the reason is, I'm starting to believe, not the most standard given answer: hormone change. 

They still work just positively fine most of the time, or come back fast or frequently.
Men who make funny and negative comments about this subject, are hurting women more than they realize and sometimes even more than the woman realizes herself. Well this is and could be wrong:
1. The way you feel is related to how you look (see number 2). Feeling dead tired: carrying many kilo´s, hormones kicking you around, healing after giving birth, if lucky: only torn, stitched and maybe even a little bit physically and emotionally traumatized here or there. And what´s sleep?
Now, with all this try to feel and look at your most sexy. Raise your hand if you can... I thought so!
Worst thing: there are men that can really make you feel opposite from beautiful when pregnant… and then give the blame on the hormones if you act upset and angry.
I was so lucky to get a kind remark when having a huge beautiful belly: "you look good from the back." UH! Wrong remark! Not horny! Anything but!
I know some say and think that the hormone change changes your sexuality. True, but it can even make you become more sexual.
If people suddenly make you feel like you are less or even not beautiful anymore or expecting on the other hand that your sexual feelings are exactly the same, arouses all but.
I´ve heard in rare cases, that the love actually grew between the couple, for they had now a beautiful family together. Seems logical to me. However, more often I´ve heard about negative stories such as separations, just shortly after the baby was born. 2. The way you look when pregnant and as a starting mom isn't always that awake, that fresh and that healthy. Tired, morning sick, carrying weight, not having energy, makes also less men look and flirt with you. (They think you're taken anyway, which is mostly true, not always.) Oh yeah, there are exceptions, of shining women and all, but let´s focus on the more realistic situations, shall we? Mostly of you hardly having any time to even comb your hair properly.
Oh yeah, I have felt sexy with my 6 months belly. But hee, those hormones woke her up and she beat the crap out of me. So, I decided: NO FLIRTING for now! 3. Your focus is on the baby, especially when you've just become a mom.
You listen to your baby's every sounds and needs. You can't use, even if you want it, a hand on your butt or really flirt, especially at those I-need-to-focus-moments, which are in abundance. I've noticed personally it makes me feel bad, restless and losing fun of being a mom when I lose focus. 4. Giving and getting love.
I love giving her the best of me. I love her to bits. But that doesn't mean I do not need love myself, actually I need it even more so, now that I am a mom.
I need a little bit of the so much love I give to my baby in return from a man. You can say, bad luck Viviane, you're (still) a single mom, but guess what, not getting that love you so much need when in a relationship is even worse.
I was talking to my good friend on the chat about this and I could almost hear the tears coming into her eyes, when she said how she recognized this.
We women just want a little back of what we give. First thing is love and not as a trick of getting us into bed. We can be stupid perhaps at times, but not that stupid!
We women, I feel, need more, or call it a different kind of love then before we became moms. We want to see the love in your eyes, also towards the baby. 5. Expectations.
If beforehand someone says: oh, she´s going to be less sexual when pregnant or with a baby, then you have a big change it will be the case. That remark is not romantic at all! The guy (or woman :)) however, who understands, listens, reads, dares to change (or call it: develop) with the change his love goes through, being pregnant and becoming a mom, will win a lot!
I think women do not always understand the changes they are going through themselves, or how to put it into words. That´s why they can't always make clear what´s going on or what they need.

In any case: it takes two! Also the woman has got to understand how a man feels in the process of it all. Though, I think we've heard that (accepted) story more often, than the one I've been writing about. I hope at least it makes you think about it… and to be more kind, more loving towards one another.

 more in ´A mother´s philosophy´ will follow: the pressure of society to be a working mom (to work or not to work) and short philosophies summed-up.