A small preface
After spending two weeks on a eurotrip with the women of my life, I felt the need to give a little tribute to my grandma and her kick-ass determination and write a little bit about her. I started the post while on the plane to Paris and just finished it now. A post to honor my mom will follow sometime soon. Here it goes…
We’re on our way to Paris…
My grandma and mom arrived from San Diego last Sunday. It has been quite a week so far. Perhaps I should first mention that it’s not only their first time in Germany or Europe, but they’re not much travelers at all. My grandma decided she didn’t want to move during the 12 hours of flight from San Diego to Frankfurt. She arrived with a partially paralyzed intestine in terrible pain. She couldn’t move, she couldn’t eat. It was scary. Thankfully, after a visit to the doctor and a series of check ups, she was much better and cleared for travel just in time before our previously booked trip to Berlin and other European cities.
I’ve always thought of my grandma as a super woman. A true lotus flower – rising from the mud, from adversity. She was born to a very poor family. Her mother forced her to go sell bread on the streets and clean houses. She only finished elementary school and later did a training on basic admin. and accounting. But her circumstances never were an obstacle for her. By the time she was 17, she was working as a secretary and later in the accounting department. She married young and had four children.
When my mom was 7, my grandfather left them for another woman along with a mortgage. So what did grandma do? She founded the first school transport for the local kinder garden. Turned her VW combi into a little school bus and collected kids from their homes every morning and took them to school and back. On the side, she made dresses, always flexible of her time so she could be around my mom and uncles. She also drove down to León, a very famous city in Mexico because of their leather, bought shoes in wholesale and sold them back home. Somewhere in between, she also lost a son when he was only 12 years old.
Years later, she finished paying the house, sold it, moved to the city with mom and one of my uncles and bought a flat there so that they could go to university. She didn’t remarry until all of her kids were married and out of the house and kept her dating life to herself. The man she re-married to is the only one I recognize as my grandpa. I was 5 or 6.
Not even her new life as a house wife could stop her from continuing working. Since I have use of reason, she has been making bridal dresses (forgot to mention that she is self-taught) and even made my and my cousin’s quinceañera dresses. She also taught this at the local school to women and young girls.
At the age of 60, she decided to finish secondary school and take computer lessons. She also took classes to finish high school and just needs to take the final exam to get her certificate. Nowadays, she has finally retired from the dressmaking and only occasionally does it for the family. Takes painting lessons and is as fit as a 50 year old – goes for walks every morning and drives like a mad man through the cities of Tijuana. She’s also a happy great-grandmother of eight! AND finally got to see Paris AND she’s only 72 years old!
I can’t wait to see what else she pulls off by the time she is 80. My grandma, a true wonder woman.