I'm trying to start 2014 off by reading more since I did not meet my goals for the number of books to be read in 2013, see that post HERE.
I just finished a book for my online book club, From Left to Write. As a member of this book club I don't actually do a review of the book but instead write a post inspired by the book itself. The book is A Well-Tempered Heart, a sequel to a book I read in 2012 called The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker.
Most of the story in this book takes place in Burma, a country that I know very little about, which reminded me of a family vacation my mom and dad took us on when we were small children to Mexico, another country that I knew very little about even though it was the country of my dad's birth.
Here's a picture of my sister and I during that trip. As you can see, we were just little girls. The older one is me of course.
What I remember most about this trip was learning about how my dad grew up and where he lived and how he suffered and how hard he worked to make himself a success and to make a better life for us, his wife and children.
I saw where he grew up in a small two room house with a dirt floor. I remember his Tia Luz asking me to sweep the floor and handing me a broom and how I almost dug a hole to China trying to get all the dirt off of a dirt floor! The harder I swept, the dirtier it got!
I saw the well where my dad would go to get water and had opportunity to drink that water out of pottery called Botellon or Jarro.
The water was so sweet and cool and had the underlying flavor of dirt. I know that doesn't sound good, but for some reason it was and I remember that taste to this day!
I remember using an out-house and squatting to urinate. That was one of the things that I really couldn't get used to. I've always been very finicky and don't like to be dirty and I never did figure out how to squat to pee without getting it all over my shoes!
I remember my dad taking us to go watch a cow being slaughtered, in the street...right there in front of our eyes! I don't know that my dad would have let his grandchildren see that, but at that time it still wasn't such a shock to him.
I remember them leading the cow down the street and cutting it's throat and the blood flowing and women with pots and pans fighting to catch some of the blood. It was something that I will never forget, the sound of the poor cow as it was dying! And it took a long time for it to die!
I remember my dad taking us to a nearby river to bathe and watching the local women do their laundry in buckets at the edge of the river, some with washboards and some using the rocks!
This book inspired these memories because in the book the main character actually chooses to leave her high powered life as an attorney in a big law firm in New York City and all the amenities that come with the money she was making, to stay in Burma because of true love!?! I don't know that I could do that, could you?
It made me really appreciate my dad so much more remembering how humble and poor he was growing up and how lucky I was to have born his daughter. He struggled so hard to make sure his children had a better life. Judging from the picture of my sister and me above you can tell that we were cherished and happy!
This post was inspired by the novel, A Well-Tempered Heart. Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a strangers voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice's story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4th as we discuss the book, A Well-Tempered Heart. As a member I received a copy for review purposes.