Well Guadalajara seems a distant memory of sitting in the bar of the Hilton Hotel catching friends as they flew past from one film or party to another. We did a press conference, we met some of the recent graduates, we saw old friends from Mexico, Guatemala and everywhere. I ate too much spicy food as usual, probably even more as now I live in Cuba where there ain’t much spice!
I forgot how the dry desert climate and the pollution of the big city irritates my eyes and makes them water for 3 days. They usually get used to it just before I leave. I was also horrified by the amount of shops and the fact that everyone seemed to have big huge monstrous new cars. Have I been Cubanised or is Mexico getting even more Americanised? Obscenely huge four wheel drive vehicles with darkened sinister windows and huge growling wheels. I was persuaded by the reception of the Hilton against my better judgement, that we should go to the new bigger and better shopping mall. We waded through spaghetti junction streets packed with traffic and spotted in the distance the biggest Office Depot of my life and a huge Walmart and a Zara that looked as though it could disconnect itself from the Mall and conquer the world. I want to do some shopping, but I don’t want this I wailed pathetically to Rafa, who hates shopping at the best of times. We did a U turn and fled back to the hotel.
But hey I still love Guadalajara and Mexico. The Mexicans full of smiles and good service and great food. After my aborted attempt to check out the new shopping centre, I did my usual run to Grand Plaza to power shop, get a much needed new wardrobe for Rafa, taking the plunge into kiddy technology and buying an XBox for the boys late Christmas and Birthday presents from us and Grandma. Also a quick trip to Walmart to do the usual supermarket basics that only us Cubans have to do. We even bought new smart luggage to use one day when we can travel like normal people. Now I still have to take my big old suitcases everywhere to fill them up, even on the shortest trips.
We got home to a Cuba decidedly chilly, and cold front after cold front blowing down from the north and through the windows of my beach house. I tried to see if I could turn my aircon into a heater last night but with no success, so back on with the cashmere cardy and Rafa’s socks. I know I shouldn’t be complaining as most of the UK is still suffering snow, sub-zero temperatures and winds blowing in from Siberia, but this is not normal for March in Cuba. But maybe just as well as I have no air con in my car, and we are not sure when we can get hold of the parts to fix it. Also recently butter, lemons and bacon have been tricky to get hold of. The ebb and flow of products here in Cuba always keeps you on your toes but I am missing my bacon and tomato sandwiches.
I have also been enjoying time with my children and trying to get them back on track. Saskia is hitting tantrum time and I am learning how different little girls are, especially this little princess manipuladora who rules the roost but in such a charming fashion. The boys tantrums revolved mainly around fights over toys and were resolved by time outs. Like two wild puppies they would fight and scream and yap and I would be constantly breaking them up and separating them. Things have improved but still the same model applies: Paulo is a total wind up merchant and knows how to press all his brother’s buttons, especially as he is verbally adept in 3 languages. Nico is reduced to an emotional mess of injustice but his shouts and tears drive us all crazy.
Saskia on the other hand knows how to play all of us and Mummy has to be the one to stand up to her, although her brothers too are beginning to loose patience and have been caught swiping or pushing their dearly beloved little sis. When I am dealing with her tantrums and trying to be consistent (the hardest parenting conundrum) her favourite thing right now is to wail for her Papa or anybody else she can think of, which I have to admit is sometimes hard to ignore and rise above. Anyway a list was drawn up for Paulo and Nico 2 nights ago and there have been some slight improvements. Also I have been strict with the nanny that she has to make them clear up toys and wash up their plates otherwise she is not helping me.
Drama at the film school never abates and Rafa has been having a tough time trying to resolve everyone’s problems with little help from the Cuban authorities, and students at their tense emotional time of pre shooting their thesis have been creating dramas of their own which inevitably have to involve us. The injustice of one particular drama has upset me so much that I haven’t wanted to go to the school this week, I don’t trust myself, I may just have to give a few people my opinion and that is probably not my place.
We had promises of donations of cameras in Guadalajara but it all came to nothing in the end, and we are having to leap through burning hoops whilst playing bagpipes to get cameras here in time for the students to shoot.
The French school visited the Film school and for one morning my two worlds came together. The children had a great time and asked lots of questions like ….How do you make blood? How do you make it look as though someone’s head has been chopped off? How did they do the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park?
Anyway all is going well for our preparations for our trip to New York which is not easy as we have to fly through Mexico or Canada depending on which flight we get. We will be there for the Havana New York Film Festival organised by our dear Colombian friend Diana and I am looking forward to it so much. We already have meetings with 3 Film schools and a lot of interesting people who support and love the school. I feel very positive about the people in New York and the good connections we will make but frantically organising things so that the children won’t miss us too much the 4 nights we are escaping. I can’t believe I am doing it again but feeling happy in the knowledge that we are all going to the UK and France for our summer this year. The boys can’t wait, they love going to the land of their mother and it has been a couple of years since they last went. They also want to try out their new language in situ and go up the Eiffel Tower and through the tunnel ……… and up the Elephant and round the Castle.