Saturday, August 29, 2009

El Tegelberg Glare-o

I present to you a cautionary tale for all who may fall under the Tegelberg Glare and a difference of readings in body language. We all get confused by it sometimes; unfortunately, we seem to have a deeper misunderstanding between Canada and Bolivia. No one ever says this in Canada:

Morning, the office. R is sitting at one of the desks. Enter K.
K: Buenos días
R: Hola Kiki… (looks up) oh Kiki! Why are you so sad?

And there you have it. Unless you work with your therapist or your granny (if your grandmother is the cuddly, emotional type that talks in an insidiously high voice and over analyzes your every movement for emotion and passion. I mean, mine wasn’t, but yours might be), you are unlikely to hear those words out of your coworker’s mouth before you even sit down at your desk. Ah yes, in Canada you are blissfully unmoved by another's facial expression. And it is not because you don’t care. Perhaps you don’t care much for that girl who is slightly smarter, definitely thinner and just that little bit nicer than you are, but if she came in bleary eyed with tears from a disastrous breakup or other woebegone tales, you’d offer her a sympathetic look and some scratchy brown paper towel from the office bathroom. Of course, unless anyone, including that girl, came in with anything less than tears you would know that the proper decorum of allowing one to sit down, arrange their papers uselessly and get one – more likely two – cups of coffee, are in order before ever approaching a subject that might relate to one’s emotional state.

But that is only in the case where it is evident she is indeed sad. There are traces of tears, giant bags under her eyes. Her mouth is in a permanent puppy pout. And a great deal of pausing and gripping the desk while her back is turned to everyone else are indicators that something is amiss. Without a multiplicity of these indicators though, you have no case. The fact of the matter is that Canadians know that unless several minutes, if not the entire morning, are taken for keen observation, then such a question is over-zealous and clearly out of place.

But here in Latin America, it is a flippant greeting – thrown out to accuse you covertly of being anything less than passionately and ardently happy with life in that moment. It is said with a thin veil of care and concern, but really it means “How could you not love waking up on this glorious morning that you brings you here to this tiled space of generic office-ware? You – you do not want to dance? I do not understand” and a hurt look of a smacked puppy ensues.

But how, oh how, do you say in Spanish: “I’m not sad, this is just how I look at 9am when entering my place of work and beginning my concentration for the day. Leave me alone you bloody fool.” It is my dilemma probably twice, maybe thrice a week. How do you explain across that great cultural divide the Tegelberg Glare? In English it is simple so allow me and maybe google translator will do the work for me.

I inherited it from my father, Eric Tegelberg – or as he is known by the “peeps” in the “hood,” ‘Eazy E.” The Tegelberg Glare though is something that most of the Tegelbergs share. We don’t flaunt it, but perhaps there is something of a quiet satisfaction in partaking in it. It is our musing face: our pondering and wandering face.

Unfortunately, it is the glare that, once it settles on you, may well strike the fear of God into you more than anything else you’ve ever experienced from another human body. And now I should clarify something – it is a glare when perceived from an outsider, but a stare when given. Inwardly, the Tegelberg may be thinking about a golf game or what type of coffee they are going to order at Starbucks or maybe pondering which day to make laundry day. Unfortunately, the poor schmuck on whom our gaze has settled perceives that the Tegelberg is thinking “I want to rip your arm off and beat you with the bloody end.” Eric maintains that occasionally that is his thought, but that is such a rare occurrence that I believe he says it only to maintain fear in any potential gentlemen callers. I am fairly certain it hasn’t actually been thought since the boyfriend of 2002 – a good seven years, so you are likely clear.

Simply put, it is our concentration face. I guarantee that 99% of the time we are not concentrating on you – you should be so lucky. And yet… these people just don’t get it. They don’t get that I am not sad, and I am not mad.
I just look like this.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Escapades of the Gallery's Members Part 1

Marcee and Adreana, my housemates, work for Cristo Viene Hogar de Ninas (Christ Comes Home for Girls). I got to come with them all to the zoo (because I had been such a good little girl lately!)

Marcee and the Jaguar

Vendors outside the zoo

Front gate to our house and our neighbour, Greg's
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Escapades in the Gallery Members Part 2

A 'despulpador' - a hand-cranked or bicycle-cranked depulping machine for coffee beans

Artisan shop in Buena Vista, close to the main coffee processing plant, Agricabv, which supplies to Level Ground/Ten Thousand Villages

Santa Cruz's main cathedral. It's not too shabby from the front either.

Extremely excited to go to the zoo!
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