The plan for September 19th, 2017 was to get organized and to be productive. After much dilly-dallying with my affairs, weekend escapades to paradise lands and loafing around, that Tuesday was to be devoted to completing long-avoided errands. By 1 pm, I made the decision that in 15 mins I would begin arranging after I showered. By 1:13 pm, I was in the bathroom, when I noticed a change in my vision. For many years, I have “suffered” from low blood pressure and mild dizziness is quotidian. The swaying rapidly gained force and in a slight second I realized, this isn’t a flaw in my circulation, but rather a grievous adjustment of the Earth. I held on tightly to the sink, calming myself by repeating the sole mantra I will never forget, “this will end soon,” concentrating on the small window drowning the shower in white light. I paled at the sight of the walls moving like elastic, back and forth like a slow-motion video of gelatin on a plate. Somewhat late, but just in time, my reflexes to remove myself from a potentially crumbling building kicked in, and I ran down the steps. Everything after those estimated eternal twenty seconds and the days that followed can only be described as a helplessly confusing and a dreadfully long nightmare.
You are: generous, jubilant, quirky, avid and a tenaciously amazing tennis player (even though I’ve never seen you play, sorry), naive, cheery, family oriented, oblivious, and the happiest person I know.
Of the many times I’ve seen you, the most momentous memories have been listening to you speak about your ancestors and the history of your country. Your storytelling time is sparse, and when you speak with much passion on the many folklore, foods, historical happenings and truths about your country your eyes glaze over, as if you yourself had seen it all unfold. And even with my insistent questioning, you always absolve my curiosity with patient answers and knowledge.
You give you give and give.
Your nature of being a genuinely valuable and good person is unique. You forgive freely and would rather let others step on you than for you to ever cause harm. Your resilience is one to envy, always snapping back quicker than a rubber-band to your usual state of peppiness, without sulking for long. I fear anyone is to take advantage of your rarity and damage you, I pray you only find and surround yourself with people who only want the best for you, people that elevate your esteem and encourage your goals.
You need support, you need positivism, and I apologize if at times I am harsh with my words, but know that it is always because I love you.
The older we get the less prevalent gifts are. Even the pair of socks we despised receiving when we were children are a glorious gift nowadays. Yet, my parents being the incredibly considerate (and slightly spoil me…) people they are, always intend on giving me something on my name day. Touching, I know. This year, as I have been doing for the past 5-6 years, I asked for nothing. I don’t need anything materialistic, I have all that I want and need, so please don’t buy me anything.
Mom: “Okay, what about a class?”
Me: *my ears perk up* (my mom has a knack for finding underground art courses that are wildly enriching and fuel my creativity), “I’m listening…”
Of course, half of this great continent is on the flipside of the equator, which means winter solstice actually falls in late June rather than December. According to Peruvian chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Inti Raymi (or “Festival of the Sun”) was established in the early 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacutec and was celebrated every year until it was outlawed by Catholic priests in 1535.
Traditionally the new years celebration lasted nine days and involved dances and animal sacrifices to Pachamama. In more remote indigenous communities throughout the Andes, the celebration has been preserved through the ostensibly Catholic festival of San Juan Bautista, while a recreation of the original pre-Columbian festival takes place every year at the archaeological site Saksaywaman on June 24th.