Monday, June 28, 2010

Traditional Ending...or is it a Beginning?

Last week, due to a scheduling conflict, I alone took my youngest daughter Trinity and Justice to her 'end of the school year' festa.

And what an opportunity it was!

It was hosted by the "mother" school in our district and was THE event to attend this Saturday evening. Classes from each represented school had an opportunity to put on a "show" of their choice. Some of the other kindergarten classes dressed up in precious flower, bumble-bee or cloud costumes and pranced around the stage with bent petals and falling off stingers. They were cute, don't get me wrong, but the real treat came last. (I think they knew, and saved the best for last!)

For weeks Trinity would come home from school and complain about the practice they had to do in preparation for the party at the end of the year. She fussed about how long she had to stand there, and how her arms were so tired they were going to 'fall off' from waving her flag so much.

I had no idea what this party was all about, I just knew that there were seamstresses involved, many 'fittings' and there was going to be a hefty price tag attached to the 'beautiful green dress' she was getting to wear. The seamstress came to the school on several occasions, would pass me in the hall and tell me how beautiful Trinity was going to be. Everything seemed to be quite secretive actually.

Well, the night finally arrived. The party, as does everything else in this country, began at 9:00. (PM!!!!) We arrived with her hair in a ballerina ball as I was told and as usual, we waited on everyone else to show up.

Finally the time came when we were allowed to move into the dressing area and we finished off the costumes with bows, sashes, and flowers.

Right before the children took their places on stage in front of a crowd of about 1500 people, Trinity was handed a Portuguese flag.

The night was cool and there was a strong breeze coming in from the Atlantic. She took her place on stage, wrapped the flag around herself and then looked out at the crowd......

I just knew she was about to cry and take off running. But instead....the music began and the little girl up front began to lip sync a song in traditional Fado music....

....and then Trinity came alive!

She was so sweet....and I cried during the whole thing.

The music, although I understood very little, was beautiful. Many were singing along and crying as well as they understood the meaning behind the song. I wish I knew the name so I could better understand and translate some of the lyrics for you.

The gist was this.......This is Portugal. We are Portuguese. We are proud.

But not in a yelling, in-your-face type song....but a heart felt, longing.....traditional Fado music. (here is a link for a sample of this type of music)

And Trinity's little blond head was on that stage waving that flag the entire time. That was her sole purpose.... to wave the Portuguese flag for all to see.

Now...last week I cried while standing in the butcher's (I know..I'm weepy lately) when on the TV came the American National Anthem as the USA was about to play in the World Cup. Before I knew who was playing, I had no interest in anything except for the man in front of me to hurry up. But after I heard 'my anthem' played....well, I was glued to the screen and saw people dressed in costumes like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington...I couldn't help but to feel proud.

But on this Saturday night, I was experiencing the same type of feeling. It wasn't 'my anthem' playing, but it was the realization that I have fallen in love with this beautiful country. With it's people, with it's traditions, with it's rich history. My children will be more Portuguese than they are American. I'm okay with this. They're almost to that point already....I mean what American kid doesn't know what Reese's Pieces are?!

So here I am today...spilling my guts in a way too long blog post about my lovely 'adopted' country....and my precious blond headed 'Portuguese' daughter.

Portugal has it's problems, but so does America...and I still love her.

"Thank you Lord for putting us here. Please bless our efforts and open hearts so that we can share of your amazing love."


Jill said...

A beautiful post! And what a beautiful little girl. I understand that feeling. An overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace that you're exactly where you're supposed to be. And you're happy to be there. Thank you for sharing.

Tori said...

Nina, I loved this post. I'm so happy for Trinity, it looks like she had a ball and she was so cute.

Anyhow, I can totally relate to this post. I know what it's like to be torn between America and Croatia during a soccer game. My heart is also stirred when the Croatian anthem plays and "our" flag waves. The love we have for our second home surely only comes from God and only a missionary can understand it. When we hold this country and her people in such high esteem how can we help but love them.

We're blessed Nina, we have three homes: American, our fields and a Heavenly home.

Beautiful post!

Heather Wheelock said...

It is an amazing feeling to love a people and a country that God chose for you! It's His love that makes it so remarkable.

Anonymous said...

This post was so beautiful that you made me cry.

Trinity looked lovely.

I'm glad God put you in Portugal to reach the people. Praying for you all the time.

Pam said...

Nina, that was beautifully put! and I popped in here to see if you watched Portugal play their hearts out against Spain today! What an appropriate post to read on such a day as this. Even tho Spain won in the end, (1-0) it was evident to me that Portugal played with all their hearts and made Spain work for that win.

by the by, I finally posted an update on my blog!

Kay said...

Trinity is so cute!!!

Anna Ruwersma said...

Wow - that was so heartfelt. I nearly cried! It brought back memories of when we would do similar things growing up in Portuguese school. I will never forget the good times. Trinity will have very special memories to cherish forever. It's ok if your kids are Portuguese-American! :) It's actually a good thing.

Mom said...

Lets see... how does a Grandmother respond to this post.. one who is so proud of her daughter and son in law for doing what the Lord would have them do... but then her heart is breaking because she knows more likely than not her grandchildren will probably never come home to the states to live.
I hold on to that statement Brooklyn made the last time I was there.. she said she was coming back to the states to attend college. I have clean sheets on your bed Brooklyn!
Love all of you! Mom

Marytoo said...

All of my early years were spent in Ecuador, and junior high/high school years in the Azores, with one year in between spent in Washington D.C. It was like a field trip. We spent every evening, weekend, holiday of that year soaking up American history.

My dad, a second generation American, and my mom, a legal immigrant who gave up her country when she became an American citizen, wanted us to be American, even though we hardly lived here.

I love America like no other place in the world, but I will always have a special place in my heart for Ecuador and the Azores.

The Hat Chick said...

Finally checking in after a long blogging hiatus. Your photos in the last few posts are amazing! Your getaway, Trinity and the family and friends you are surrounded with....all gifts of the Lord. Enjoy your blessings!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

What a beautiful post! I would have loved to have seen a video of Trinity and her classmates' performance. My hubby's uncle has a copy of an old recording of his my hubby's great grandfather singing one of these style songs about his love for his wife. And that old guitar that was brought over from Portugal and that that great grandfather used to sing with, is now passed down to our son...his great, great grandson.

Blessings & Aloha!

How sweet and awesome it is how the Lord works His love in and through us to those around us.

Kami Gimenez said...

I just found your blog, and I am so glad! This is what I pray my family and I will have and feel when we arrive to the French West Indies.
Thank you for the encouraging post!
Kami Gimenez