vamos a trabajar, fall 1994

-¿Mami ya es hora de trabajar? I ask my mom in the middle of the night.

-No Karen, todavia falta. Duermete.

But I’m too awake and too eager to start our day. ¡Vamos a trabajar!

When it’s time to get up, I’m so excited that I almost forget the order in which we do things: first get dressed, then pack our things, and lastly brush our teeth. We’re going to Malibu, I jump on the bed, reaching for the ceiling. We’re going to Malibu!

The bus-ride is grey and gloomy. We must’ve changed busses somewhere because we’re now on PCH riding along the misty ocean. When we step off the bus we’re in a different world. The roads are wide, quiet, and clean.  Slowly, we start our silent ascend. There are no cars in sight and when we hear one my mom says

-Stick out your thumb

I turn around and stick out my right thumb to the passing truck. We’ve already walked a lot because I see the ocean and bus stop are far below us.

When I turn back around I notice that neither my mom nor the truck have stopped and I run to catch up.

Inside Robert and Amanda’s house I touch and explore everything. My biggest amazement is how the kitchen connects to the hallway, the hallway connects to the living room, and the living room connects back to the kitchen. I run in circles through these rooms, over and over again, passing my mom at the kitchen sink with each lap.

But the real fun starts when Robert and Amanda wake up. Robert is the one who eats his boogers and Amanda is the leader in our group. I run back and forth between the siblings and my mom, asking my mom to translate their phrases. At some point I give up on the translations and simply do as they do. We try petting the fishes in the fish tank. When that doesn’t work, we pretend the dogs are horses and attempt to ride them.  When the dogs run away, we run all around the house, making a mess, and making sure to give my mom plenty of work.

We get to Robert’s room and Amanda puts a white cloth over my head. She starts singing. Something, something…

-Holy matrimony! Now kiss!

We laugh hysterically.

We watch sing-alongs, we play with Robert’s toys, we watch Robert put his boogers into his soup, and meanwhile, my mom watches us (and her watch).

It’s been a long day and we’re all tired.

-¿Ya terminamos mami?


I jump on her back and fall asleep on her shoulder as she walks down toward the ocean.

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