Our 18-year-old daughter has fallen
head over heels in love here in
Mexico. We've all learned a lot
from the experience, but Tara has
been forever changed because of
her relationship with Gustavo.
In the beginning, we had our doubts.
Tara first saw Gustavo when she went
to Black House, a local store selling
band t-shirts and body jewelry. She
went to get her nose pierced, and
despite the fact that she bled a bit
more than she expected, she was
completely smitten by the piercer.
Now, most parents of 18-year-old
daughters don't take it too seriously
when they hear that someone is
"so cute" and "so nice".
completely dismissed her
initial interest. However, Tara
started going to Black House almost
every day to "check out the t-shirts"
and it became apparent that she had
a crush on the piercer.
After a few weeks of this, Tara's
no-nonsense German friend, Lisa, got
sick and tired of the swooning and
decided to take matters into her own
hands. On one outing to Black House,
she asked Gustavo what he was doing
that night, and then dragged Tara to
Jungle Juice where she proceeded to
knock their heads together.
It was the beginning of a truly
beautiful and unique relationship
with someone Tara would never have
even talked to two years ago. It turns
out that Gustavo is a 22-year-old high
school drop-out from a very poor family.
But he's not at all what you'd think of
based on that description.
This is a guy who reads the works of
Shakespeare, Kant, and Nietzsche.and though he isn't at all religious,.he has read the Bible three times in.order to, as he puts it, "know what it's.
all about." He writes poetry. He keeps.notebooks full of drawings and ideas.He memorizes lyrics--in English--even.though he doesn't speak the language at
He looks up each word he doesn't
know so he will be able to
understand what the songs are
meant to convey.
Tara's previous crushes tended to be
very white-bread suburban American
boys who played soccer, went to their
parents' church, and planned to
study sports medicine in college.
Tara was always a straight-and-
narrow kid with little tolerance for
those she might regard as slackers
At 16, she spent a year
in Brazil, which gave her a much
greater appreciation for cultural
differences and a zest for nightlife
and international friendships. Still,
she came down to Mazatlan
thinking she'd spend what would have
been her senior year (she graduated
early) improving her Spanish with no
chance of meeting anyone worthy
of her time or interest.
She never expected to connect with
anyone deeply, and she certainly
didn't have any idea that love would
come and pierce her heart.
Gustavo (we dubbed him "Pierce" for
obvious reasons) is a deep thinker
who is romantic, gentle and
kind. He has a warm and loyal group
of friends who are also self-educated
and passionate about ideas.
very close to his sister and brother,
and works extremely hard to earn a
living and help his family while his
father remains unemployed.
Because of Pierce, Tara has been
introduced to a world she never knew
existed. She has become part of a
group of friends who love and support
each other and live their ideals. They
have intimate all-night gatherings on
the beach to talk, laugh, drink beer
and watch the moonlight reflected
on the ocean.
Back in Oregon, Tara would be having
intimate all-night gatherings of girls
in pajamas watching chick movies and
giggling over pizza and ice cream.
She viewed the whole black t-shirt
crowd as too angst-ridden, and was
so focused on her education that
she'd never consider going out with
someone who had dropped out of
school in the ninth grade.
A month from now, our family will
be moving to Argentina and Tara will
be on her way to Europe, where she
will reconnect with the Belgian and
Austrian friends she met in Brazil and
spend a semester going to the
University of Marburg in Germany.
From there, she'll head to college in
Canada, where she is likely to enter
as a junior.
Tara was born in Japan, has traveled
in India and Nepal, lived in Brazil and
Mexico and is likely to explore a
dozen more countries. Pierce has
never left Mexico--and probably
never will. Tara speaks English,
Portuguese, and Spanish and is
Pierce speaks only
Spanish. Tara corresponds with her
friends around the world daily via
email and IM. Pierce has no computer--
nor any computer skills.
Tara has learned about privilege and
She sees that she was born
lucky, essentially winning the global
lottery by virtue of her U.S. passport
and American middle-class family.
She knows that school isn't the only
way to learn, that money doesn't make
you smarter or kinder, and that
income has nothing to do with the
quality of your relationships
or the depth of your soul.
I've watched Tara's heart expand
exponentially these last few months.
I've seen her grow from a cynical
teenager to a tender, thoughtful adult.
As a mother, I am deeply grateful
to have had Gustavo in our lives this
He has stretched our minds, .Maya Talisman Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her playful, eyes-wide-open approach to mindfulness has been featured in over 150 publications worldwide.
expanded our views, and pierced our
There's sure to be some excessive
bleeding as we say goodbye.
To read her free tips and tricks for practical awareness, visit http://www.Real-WorldMindfulness.com.
By: Maya Talisman Frost