Some of you might recall the post I wrote about my neighbor, Julieta. Today, we planned to have an outdoor dinner at a local restaurant. My husband and I met Julietta outside of our door and she wore black furry boots with a Kangol bucket hat and her fingernails were painted a blush pink. Julietta could be old enough to be my mother.
During dinner I learned a lot about her: she believes, at a certain age, eat all the sugar and sweets you want, especially if you’re old. Her exact words were: “if you’ve lived this long, might as well indulge. Just take a shot if you’re diabetic.” She was not joking. She truly meant what she said. I also learned that she taught her children to never accept food from strangers, even from family. If they were served food, they would have to get permission from her first- usually indicated by a slow and stern nod. Julieta also shared that it was a culture shock when she and her sons immigrated to Los Angeles from the Philippine in 1990. Her sons cried almost everyday, homesick and longed to be reunited with their grandparents and cousins. They were 11 -years old at the time and just started public school for the first time. They couldn’t believe how the girls dressed-tank tops with spaghetti straps, skirts and shorts high above the knees. “They couldn’t handle it” Julieta said. Then she licked the salt from the rim of her strawberry margarita.
This is the first time my husband and I broke bread with Julieta. In addition to the time she came over unannounced with a bottle of wine in September, this is the second time we spent a substantial amount of time together. It’s too early to determine what kind of friendship we’ll have- a fleeting or lasting one. I can say that I’m enjoying the company, especially learning about the life of a remarkable woman who lets me believe that eating the second helping of dessert is good for the soul, that accepting food from strangers isn’t dangerous but mildly rude and that no matter what age you are you should can dress in faux fur and don pink fingernails, while sipping on expensive tequila. Her stories may be wild, but like her adage about age- if you’ve lived this long, might as well indulge- fur, tequila and all.