Saturday, September 8, 2012

Response to Judith Ortiz Cofer "Casa"

The Importance of Communication
In a Family

My Granny lives with my parents in the city now, but she used to live in the village, where it takes 6 hours by bus from the city to get there. We used to go visiting her once a year when she was living there. It became a tradition in our family that whenever it came to a long vacation, we either chose to spend it by staying at home or going to Granny house in the village. With absolute hundred percent, we all always chose to go visiting Granny instead of staying home, because obviously in the eyes of teenagers, it is such an irritating thing when they stay home and help parents doing the housework for the whole vacation. However, that wasn't a strong reason for me why I chose to go visiting Granny in the village. There were several other reasons I chose to stay in the village whenever I was in vacation rather than stay in the city. For example, I could hear many stories such as fairy tales or true stories from Granny. 

I remember the day when we all went together visiting Granny. That time, we were intended to persuade her to live with us in the city, since my moms brother left Granny alone in her small house to another city with his wife, so did moms younger sister. Granny was quite healthy and energetic despite her old age, but we were still worried about her because she always tried to make herself busy by doing things although there was nothing left to do. We thought that its our turn to work for her and look after her. 

I felt so happy whenever I went to Grannys house, because I could stay by Granny side without being bored while Granny did her work in the day, and at night I could go to bed earlier and sleep well, like a baby. However, one night, the last day before we went back to the city, I started to feel like I couldn't sleep well. The voices and the laughs came slowly and closer, until my ears caught them, and then I noticed some familiar voices. These brought me to the decision that I should wake up. I opened my eyes, and walked through the cold to the direction where the noises came from, and I found my mom with her cousins and Granny were sitting around a fire and busy talking about their stories. 

Different from Judith Cofers Casa, where her Mamá, mom and aunts were together talking all about men; Granny and her daughters were talking about their fellow women, who are my uncles wives and tried to compare them. I was sitting in the middle, eating grilled corn while listening to every single word they spoke. One of my moms cousins talked about her brother, praised him, and talked that my uncles wife, an Indonesian woman, who she called a lazy wife. My mom did the same thing, praised his brother rather than her sister in law. I just didn't understand why they liked to compared their brothers wives who are just the same as they were, who stayed at home doing the housework and taking care of their children every day. Granny listened to what they were talking about and joined me in eating grilled corn, but she actually didn't understand any words. Granny speaks a dialect, while my mom and aunts weren't using the dialect. Pitying my Granny, I decided to help her understand by translating the words that came out from those talkative women. 

Whilst I delivered my mom and aunts words in dialect to Granny, I unexpectedly sensed something strange, I felt like I was frightened by their conversation, and started to think a lot of things. How my life is going to be in the future? How my future husbands family is going to accept me??? What if I get married to a foreigner and live in other country. Will his family judge me like what Im seeing and hearing now? Those questions suddenly came into my mind. I couldn't hear those voices and laughs for a while. They disappeared, and I stopped my translation. I felt like I was in a world of confusion, although my real body was sitting between those women. My brain grew up, worked so hard to find the answers, and then something whispered in my ears and said What if you knew that your future will be bad? Just stop thinking about something that is still really far away. You are just little! and Granny woke me up from my dream by hitting a mosquito that was biting my chicks. I took a deep breath in and out, while thinking in a conscious world Ok, Natha, you are only 12. It is not fun anymore if you knew how your life is going to be in the future. It is still the best to live the present, to do what you feel is right; and fill the pages of life with beautiful memories. Let everything in the future to stay as a mystery, and I stopped. 

After the whole conversation, my mom and aunts grabbed their coffee and drank. Granny did drink a drop of coffee too, but she got a little bit upset, and said You live in the city, but why your mind is so conservative? You should find out differences in culture. Granny sounded assertive, but she wasn't that angry. Whether they did the housework or not, whether they are lazy or diligent, its none of your business. It is their husband business. I was scared when I heard Grannys voice, but my head was nodded as the same time signaled that I agreed with her. Good granny. Go!!! without opened my mouth. Likewise, my mom and aunts were silence, thinking that Granny was getting mad. 

From that time, my mind was opened by the strong words from Granny. I found the idea that judging people is fine because everybody has the right, but you will look smart enough if you dont judging people when you dont know their reasons. People might see others from different perspectives, and they judge people based on their opinion. However, to keep your good image in the eyes of others, then dont ever try to judge people without knowing anything first, because you will be so embarrassed later when you found out that you were wrong. As what the native American say, "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his Moccasins".

Back to the Cofer's Casa, I clearly see that the way how her Mamá led them is different from Grannys, but they both purposed to educate their children on what it was like to be a woman. The best thing I like about is although Granny couldn't understand the language that her children were using to talk but, she joined her children, sitting with them and listen carefully to what they were talking. It shows that a strong relationship in a family is important, and this is a way how to keep the relationship in the family strong through an effective communication.


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