|Dec 2005 Nadia, me and Luis|
According to Luis, Nadia was cremated. I thought in Cathoric world burial is more common, but Sylvia told me in Mexico it is half-half.
I vaguely remember that Nadia preferred cremation over burial. She might have thought she would want her ash in the ocean, but I do not know. My bad memory. But I kind of remember about cremation and she was treated as she wished.
After I attended the services on Thu 26th, the funeral and cremation was taken place on Fri 27th. The following Sat 28th, Sun 29th and Mon 30th were the regular mass at the church and they called Nadia's name in the ceremony.
After the lunch gathering with Sylvia on Sunday afternoon, I shared the picture of Sylvia and I to Luis and said "You owe us one good meal next time!" Luis apologized that he could not make it and he promised he will treat us next time.
Luis also said he will join the last mass on the Monday evening. That seemed like the last event of Nadia. I told Luis that I will be there because I wanted to see her family once again and I wanted to beside her spirit.
Luis and Nadia are kind of neighbors and probably the friends from university. They are from UABC and also the exchange students to SDSU.
They spent 3 hours in a car every early morning to commute to SDSU. People even now ask if they were something more than friends, but in the real world they are like a brother and a sister. (Age-wise Luis is the big brother, but actually Nadia was like the big sister. Nadia's family know Luis very well also.)
I got off from work early and drove my car to the west. I parked my car at the paid parking lot near San Ysidro border and walked crossed the border to the south. The coffee shop chain D'Volada was the meeting point. Luckily I checked on Google Maps before I left, I was able to find the little shop even it was hard to find. Luis was waving me from inside the shop.
Luis is sharp on time. "I came early just to avoid any trouble." Nadia was a typical P-person. Time punctuality was not her first priority. I trained myself well through her Mexican time. I even asked friends "So it says 7pm but actually what time it would start really?" for the last few days.
|Luis made funny face as he was shy on photos|
In Mexico, people kiss on their cheeks once as a greeting. This day Luis gave me a kiss on my cheek and gave me a hug.
"Ohhh, sorry May! I forgot again! You do not do this in Asia! It is my habit! Even at the services I did the same in front of your husband and I was like Oh Shoot!! but it was too late!"
"That's no problem! We are in Mexico, we do Mexican way. It is me always forgetting Mexican way. My husband is okay with it, he has been working here for 15 years. He understands."
We met early enough to sit and talk before the mass. We moved by his car. His car was a white Nissan. Looked pretty new. He said he bought last year. He seems to be successful in his business.
And he asked "Did you eat yet?" and this confused me again. He asked this question at 430pm and I was not sure if he was talking about lunch or dinner. He said "I had late breakfast." I am still far from understanding Mexican meal time culture.
Anyway I just agreed him as he suggested to eat and talk even it was a little early dinner for me. It did not really matter.
Luis studied finance both in UABC and SDSU. After graduation, he got an opportunity to work for Merill Lynch in the US with his working visa support. It sounded like a perfect opportunity to everybody, but he declined the offer. (Nadia was convincing him hard on this, but it did not happen and she was pretty upset about it.)
Luis passed the background check and worked for the Mexican major banks such as Banamex or Santander. Luis knows how to talk with people and always smiling, and of course smart. (Well, according to Nadia, Luis is lacking of caring others or forgetting things, but let's put that aside now!) He went up the corporate ladder to a fairly good position, but then he left the bank couple of years ago.
He ran ice cream shop afterwards and I was slightly worried, but this time I learned he is doing real-estate business (renting houses) with his partner. Sounded pretty lucrative. I work in Tijuana, I know it is a great business now. It is always great to know that my friends are successful.
|Open-air, relaxing restaurant in TJ|
Luis took me to the brand new mall in TJ where there were only restaurants. The place was open concept and modern. The menu was Mexican, but each taco was over 4 dollars, it was such a luxuous restaurant.
I told him that I never had such a fancy tacos in my life (Except in Japan). We laughed. We ordered two tacos each with soft drink, and talked until 15 minutes before the mass starts.
Luis was interested in Bushido or Buddhism since he was a student. His email address back in college was "bayushi", which is a fake Japanese name that he made up... He said he recently read a book about Native American culture and he was just thinking about death.
Death is always aside you. And you will never know when the next guy will pat your shoulder and say "it is time to go". So we should be conscious about the existence always at the side of you when you make your decisions in your daily life. That is the contents he read recently.
I replied that Native American thoughts are very similar to Asian ones. Like respect the nature, etc. He agreed and said he read that too in the book. It is not us who control the nature, but we are the part of the nature.
(Although he can talk deep like this, he is 37 years old single. Nadia set up blind dates for him in the past, but Luis said he did not click to any women he met...)
Also he had some tragic news to his family friends and he was mentally prepared to death lately. he said he did not have to be shocked as he imagined.
|Shrimp and Cheese taco. Fancy.|
But I said "Do you have some other friends like Nadia who you can easily call up and say "hey, let's meet up!" and actually hang out?" I dared to ask this knowing the answer.
He thought and said "I do not have other friends like Nadia. She was somebody who is OK to talk about just anything. She just accepted anything."
"I am not the type of the guy who say "Somebody help! I am so down!! HELP!!" but Nadia understands it and just gave me words. Yes, I will miss her."
It is for sure that Luis is facing a big loss too, of course.
Surprisingly Luis heard the news from Vereniz the same friend who passed me the news. "Considering stories I heard from multiple people, it seems it was doctor's malpractice. Our family was saying we will know the truth if we go to the hospital and ask them, but I am not the type of person..."
I was believing Luis heard the news from Nadia's family and it was a little shocking to me. But then for Nadia's family it would have been difficult to call each one of her friends to tell that nearly impossible tragic news. It would have been like admitting the nightmare if they pass it by their own.
At the same time, it was Nadia who was the bridge between the family and outside friends that the family literally would not have the contacts of her friends.
Luis is not the type of person who stands in front of people and leads and organizes things. But he had to be in the middle of the loop in this case just because everyone knew he was close to Nadia and her family. He said it was tough.
"The funeral was tough too. Each person had different mood." Some of their school friends who had not met her for a long term after their graduation was relatively OK and they enjoyed the reunion with the other friends. But at the side I saw Nadia's mom was crying. It was horrible." I was the latter side of person...
I asked him some of the questions I hardly asked the family, but Luis did not know. "I cannot ask that considering their feelings." We still do not know where Nadia sleeps now. I said we will know eventually and we do not rush to ask them right now. We both agreed.
I also asked Nadia's relationship with her mom and her sister because Sylvia was worried about this as Nadia once shared her frustration. In my personal opinion, the frustration was a short-term thing. Everyone experiences disagreement with family members. But I wanted to make sure for me and for Sylvia.
Luis said "There are some people who are happy about their relationship with their family, and some are not. It is about how you feel about it." Luis said it was not a serious issue.
"Do you think Afra was close to the mom than Nadia was?" " Yes, mom loves Afra. Afra is the special kid. Their relationship was closer than Nadia. But you know, each parent has favorite kid. It is cruel but it is the reality. Of course most parents say that's not true we love everyone the same, but that's not true. I have a big brother and a younger sister, but my brother has fair skin and sister got blue eyes and used to be a model. It is apparent that each parent has their own favorite."
"Could be. Parents are human being too." "But you do not need to get upset about it. The reality is the reality. I know my good points. I am smarter than the other two. I am more clever. These are the reality too." That's right.
For me, being the first child and first grandchild, it might not be easy to actually put myself into Nadia and Luis' standpoint. Both Nadia and Luis are middle child. Another common thing of them.
One of the reasons I liked Nadia and also the one big reason that we were able to keep our good relationship was that Nadia was not the person who envies others or takes a grudge on others. I am very confident about this.
Whenever Nadia introduced me to her friends, they paid respect to me maybe just because I am Japanese (the impression towards Japanese are generally fairly good in Mexico), simply outstanding because of the different look, and I was treated much better than I actually deserved, maybe just because I had fairer skin or maybe I did not speak Spanish. (Skin color matters A LOT in Mexico. They talk a lot about it.)
She never got jealous or upset about the situation. She even seemed to be proud of being my friend. It is, of course, because she knows the reality that she has lots of good things in her that I do not have. She would not have had the idea of being jealous or upset. After all, she was easy going and cool, like I agreed with Sylvia.
Thus Luis and I left the restaurant and went back to the car, moved to the church for the last mass.