For the longest time, I felt like I was chasing after her, trying to catch up to her. Don’t know if she ever knew it, but I often felt I couldn’t catch her. In school, I hardly met teachers that didn’t first know my sister, who had certain fame you could say. Teachers met me with an “Oh, you’re ARACELI’S SISTER”. Sometimes the undertone was oh no, trouble. Other times, it was with the undertone here comes another smart mouth. And still other times they meant another bright girl with a thirst for knowledge. It didn’t matter which tone they meant, THEY ALREADY HAD EXPECTATIONS OF ME. . . OR OF HOW I WOULD OR SHOULD BE.
Occasionally, it’s good to have a reason to chase. I chased her because I didn’t want to be left behind. I chased her because she motivated and inspired me too. Who doesn’t want to be like their older sister/brother when they are young? As the younger siblings, we have our eyes on the older ones because they can show us things; they are just a little bit bigger and wiser than us. So thank you Sister for all those years of the chase, more than a decade that you served as my mentor. You taught me how to multiply before the rest of the kids my age knew how to. Thank you for having your head in your books so regularly, inspiring me to read because you loved to. Thank you for being so damn smart and independent.
Girls/Women don’t always get celebrated for having the ability to express themselves, to speak all their truths, to ask questions without fear, to challenge teachers (or any adult really), to be authentically who they are.
BUT YOU DID ALL THOSE THINGS SISTER (and more) so thank you for paving the way for me!
I won’t pretend our relationship was without tension and raucous. . . Listening to The Land Before Time soundtrack on Spotify the other day, I was reminded how my sister used to call me CERA whenever we watched the film as kids… (the bratty Triceratops Dinosaur who was LOUD LOUD LOUD and BOSSY TOO!)
Clearly the one in charge in the group of Dinosaurs, I wonder if she really saw me like this, like CERA. . . I was/am the younger sister! And if she saw me that way, how many others did too? I never really saw myself that way, until we were much much older, perhaps not until these recent years. I wonder if much has changed (I still like to be in charge; in control). I believe that we both have grown and developed into our own respective Women. I believe now we understand each other better than ever and are more sensitive to the other’s way of being. My strengths are certainly in leading, in making decisions, in planning (for our trips and such for example, My Virgo Rising talents for sure). Her strengths are talking to strangers, to anyone of any age or background. She’s a people person. People are drawn to her and she engages with them with such ease. She has a child-like quality too. Forever Young, she often plays in the world like a child would. Curious little one, she laughs and plays daily and invites others to do the same. It helps keep her looking young too, as they always confuse me for the older sibling when we are together. Another strength is that she doesn’t care what people think of her. This attitude is something she’s been perfecting for over a decade or so. She really doesn’t worry about what other people think of her appearance, personality, decisions, etc. I mean, when she decides to go hiking in a dress and sandals in Morocco and you try to impose your opinion on the situation, she won’t hear it; you are wasting your time.
Something else I admire in her is how she’s taught me to look at my life like one big PERFECT RIDE, where there aren’t any wrong turns, mistakes, early exits off the highway, or accidents. EACH LIFE LIVED IS PERFECT. Yours, and yours, and mine and yours. Everything that happens along the way is meant to happen. Mistakes don’t exist. Replace that idea with Perceived Mistakes and Errors and you’ll start to understand what I’m getting at. Even our journey as sisters has been PERFECT. We have grown closer with maturation. We have recently healed a lot of wounds from our childhood and adolescent years as sisters. We have become women of the world, who support each other and want the other del Río queen to SHINE as bright as she is meant to.
I’m happy to report Sister, that I’m no longer chasing after you. I don’t have to anymore. You gave me a great head start in life and I’m now on my own trail.
This year, my sister CELI flew far and wide not once, but twice to see me. I am grateful and blessed to have you in my life, to have someone who doesn’t mind going on adventures with me and soaking it all in, all of life’s gifts and lessons. We traveled in 4 countries together and after reflecting on all those travels here are:
MY FAVORITE MOMENTS WITH YOU FROM 2016:
SEEING FADO PERFORMED LIVE IN LISBOA, PORTUGAL
I know why this is on the list. During our 2 week Road Trip throughout Portugal with our Momma, my sister and I butted heads a lot. I’m not exactly sure why, but we spent most of the first week separated. My mom and I explored together, and my sister mostly recovered in the hotels/hostels from a cold she had. On top of that, there were stupid fights had in a few parts of the city of Lisboa which solidified we were at odds. Finally, after a full day apart we went to go see traditional Fado performed by MARTA SUAREZ. In the coolest little restaurant in the Alfama District, we wined and dined and heard the power of a Woman’s voice front and center. Marta was an absolute riot too! She had 3 wardrobe changes and worked the crowd speaking several languages including English telling the patrons “You are Fantastic, Five Stars!!” And then she’d belt out another passionate Fado song for us, her adoring and fantastic fans. I loved this night sister and I’m happy we shared it together.
GETTING LOST ON THE MOUNTAIN TRAIL OF MONTSERRAT, CATALUNYA, ESPAÑA
It was the Hike that never ended. . . and I’m not exaggerating, because we never made it to the end of the trail. I planned a trip to for my sister’s belated 30th birthday, and she chose the destination of Barcelona. We didn’t realize that the best part of the trip would be the day we ventured by train out to the mountain of Montserrat. We are women happiest in nature, at home when we are climbing things and standing at the edge of cliffs. It seemed a great idea to do this hike up the mountain, just two sisters, a baguette, the most delicious fresh artisan cheese with rosemary you will ever eat, and a goal: to reach the Top. Never Happened though! We started our hike, and realized along the way that we were out of shape, and out of breath so often, and no matter how much we walked, we were still kilometers and kilometers away from the top of the mountain. Shit! We stopped trusting the signage that would tell us how many kilometers and how many minutes were left to finish, because no matter how much we walked, there was always another 3 or 2 or 1.5 hours left. The great news though is, we laughed and played like we used to when we hiked together as little girls in the hills of Los Angeles. . . All along that hike, we praised the beauty of the mountains, and those rocks that looked liked FINGERS! There is an inside joke we shared having this English Teacher Kiddie Song in our heads that entire day: (click here) but you are warned, you’ll be singing Daddy Finger Daddy Finger where are you? for days, or even weeks. Even when you don’t “make it” somewhere, you’ve lived beautiful moments along the way. Take the pressure off yourself to have certain results, and just flow with it. We hiked hours and hours and will always have that magical day in the mountains of Catalunya to look back on.
ARTISTIC BREAK TO DRAW THE TILES AT PARK GÜELL, BARCELONA, ESPAÑA
Everyone who knows of GAUDÍ, famous Spanish or better said Catalán Artist and Architect, knows that Park Güell is a must-visit site in Barcelona. It’s colorful. It’s cooky. It’s whimsical. It’s up high on a hill giving you great views of the whole city and coast too. I had been there twice before and I knew I had to take my sister there. I packed for us some paper and colored pencils so that once there, if inspired, we could sketch a small section of the intricate tiles. It was my favorite thing in Barcelona because I felt like a true artist and because you too were inspired to let your creativity flow. You don’t always honor the artist inside of you sister, but this day you did!! Alá! Thank you Gaudí for designing such a fun and beautiful space for us commoners, ahem Artistas!
BEING SCRUBBED DOWN IN A HAMMAM TOGETHER IN ESSAOUIRA, MOROCCO
I heard we had to experience a Hammam in Morocco, a complete bath. . . A steam, hot water poured upon the body, a scrub down with soap, then essential oils on all our essentials! Did I mention we were in a small hot and steamy stone room wearing just a bathing suit bottom, sisters together, and bathed by a Moroccan Woman? Well it was not something I’ll likely forget. It was utterly relaxing, something I’d like to soon return to Moroccan to repeat. I have gotten massaged by professionals, and gotten haircuts, but I’ve never been bathed with such detail and care in my adult life. It was love at first Hammam. Shukran! Lucky we experienced this together.
Sorry if I’m bossy when we travel. Sorry if I have to plan things out and schedule things too. Traveling in the world with my only sister, the other del Río Queen has been so gratifying. We got to do more soul work during those weeks in Portugal together, and Barcelona too. Morocco was like the cherry on top of that summer of travel cake. We saw that as travelers and sisters, as gorgeous women, we could do anything together.
LOVE YOU CELI!! HAPPY EARLY 31st!! SHINE YOUR LIGHT SISTER! I SUPPORT YOU FROM WHEREVER I AM IN THE WORLD!!! BICOS/BESOS, from your little Sister