I never feel like I get enough time in Miami to see all the things I want to and visit with all the people I want to. (sigh)
But my mom (yes, Luza, the 94 year old), has been there all summer. Which means she has connected with lots of people from her life. When she arrives in Miami the first thing she does is pull out her address book, sit by the phone and she starts dialing.
She calls friends that she knew from summering in Varadero in the late 50's. She calls her first next-door-neighbor in Miami, the wife of Evelio el Barbero, the daughter of her 2nd cousin. She calls my dad's nephew, my brother's best friends from high school, an ex-husband of one of my cousins. Seriously. The list goes on and on. Until she's dialed from A to Z in that book and has made appointments with everyone to see them.
What's very cool is that all these people are just delighted to hear from her and they all came to visit her while she was there. One of her visitors, was my cousin's daughter, Yllien, whom I hadn't seen in years. But leave it to my mom to connect with her after all this time. She reported that they had such a nice visit and that she was particularly interested in what I was doing. So I asked for her number and promised to call before I left Miami.
Sadly, it was on my last day in Miami that we were able to connect and not until 10 o'clock the night before my early morning flight.
So, Yllien very graciously picks me up and takes me to nearby Denny's because we didn't want to waste precious time driving and trying to find someplace that was open at that hour on a Sunday night. We get seated and she begins this incredible story:
She was visiting my mom and asking about her and about all of us when my 94-year-old mother (please keep this in mind as I tell this part of the story) starts asking her if she uses the internet.
I'm used to my mother, and if you've been reading my blog for a while this doesn't surprise you, but I can only imagine Yli's shock as she nods her head in assent and is thinking to herself, "Is this 94-year-old really teaching me about SEARCH ENGINES??"
When she is sure that nothing could shock her further, my mother then proceeds to ask her if she's heard of Babalú blog. This is the point that Yli described as completely surreal. "Could she be talking about THE Babalú Blog?? The top-rated Cuban blog? That I read EVERY SINGLE DAY??"
Yes, of course it's that same Babalú. You know what's coming next, of course - my mother proudly announces that I am the cook for them - "La Cocinera." And as if in slow-motion, the dots connect for Yli:
"My cousin, Marta, and the one from Marta's Cuban-American Kitchen on Babalú are ONE AND THE SAME."
This photo of us was taken by the night manager at my hotel at around 2 am which is when we reluctantly parted ways. I can't tell you what an awesome delight it has been to re-connect with my adorable cousin. (from my dad's side of the family, no less - the Verdés side - notice we have the same cheeks, but that's not important right now.)
I had to be at the airport at 4 am, so I never went to bed that night. (I know!) In fact, I'm still not sure I have recovered. Not just from the jet lag, but from the wonderfully mysterious ways that God works in my life.
(A big Hat Tip to my amazing 94-year-old mother for being the catalyst for this very cool reunion and this accidentally cool story, and also to Babalú blog for just being The-Best-Must-Read-Cuban-Blog-On-The-Web. =D)