Friday, May 29, 2015

Literally Fascinating Mennonites

Saturday morning I sat on my balcony and watched the sunrise as I enjoyed my usual instant coffee. I thought, “I am twenty years old now and I like it.” I even noticed things I hadn’t before. I thought, “Why haven’t I sat out here before?” My balcony was the perfect place to watch the sunrise.

I dragged a thick blanket out there, spread it out on the floor of the balcony, made myself another coffee, and brought my workbooks and dictionaries out and started working in my homework. I had a hard time concentrating -- my thoughts just kept going back to the night before and how much I enjoyed myself.

I used the birthday card I got from George as a bookmark, and once in a while I just stared at it with a big smile on my face. I thought about how scared I had been of him and how I could have been so wrong about him. Mark was the one who I thought was the good person because the way he looked, but he was turning out to be the creep.

I got overwhelmed thinking about how I would figure people out and how the heck I could learn to know which ones were the good ones. I wondered, “How many more great people might I be missing out on because of the way they look on the outside?”

Once I a while I thought, “What if my mom finds out that I went on a motorcycle ride with George?” I had to work really hard not to let that suck the joy right out of me. I reminded myself of what I had learned the week before. That I could think about things the way I decided to, not the way I had always thought I should.

I had to work really hard to pull my thoughts out of all the scary “what ifs” and get my attention back to all the learning I had ahead of me. I convinced myself that I had to get better at reading books and that would help me figure out the rest.

I spent all morning working long and hard on the workbook my teacher sent home with me. I decided I needed a break and put Enigma on, lay down on the blanket, and closed my eyes and embraced the warmth of the sun on my face. I fell asleep and had the most amazing dream about George.

I was so tempted to go over to his place I had to work really hard to keep my thoughts on the books. To distract myself I thought, “Now that I know how to use this dictionary, I can learn anything that is in it. All I have to do is find whatever I want to know.”

I wished that I could learn more about my “nerve” condition so I looked up the word “nerves” in the dictionary. I understood about half the words that explained it, but I got a sense that it might be something different altogether and my condition continued to be a mystery to me.

I decided to put that aside for the time being and continued to work on my school work for the rest of the day. I didn’t even clean my already-clean apartment even though it was Saturday.

Sunday morning I tiptoed down the stairs to get the newspapers and cut out five articles and wrote down the five w’s for each of those articles. I practiced spelling the words and continued to work in the workbook until it was done.

I felt so good and accomplished when I closed that book. I closed my eyes took a deep breath and thought, “I did this.”

By mid-Sunday afternoon I started feeling really stiff. My neck was sore from looking down at a book for so long. I decided to go for a walk and tried really hard not to remember Jake Dyck and the smell of his breath, but that was hard work. I noticed some of the leaves turning yellow. It seemed like everything I was looking at was more beautiful than it had been before.

I picked a few yellow leaves to take with me to remind myself that change could be beautiful and a good thing, especially for me. I kept a close eye on my surroundings remembering Mark and that I might have really pissed him off.

I was still tempted to go visit George. I wished I could continue asking him about so many things I was curious about. Since the motorcycle ride and asking him about his teeth. I felt like I really could ask him anything.

I wanted to ask him if he really thinks that I grew up in a bubble and if he could explain why he thinks that. When I approached the front door of the building I heard a motorcycle pulling up and it was George. I turned around as he walked toward me.

“Has Mark stopped by or called you back or anything?” he asked.

“No,” I answered.

“Okay good, I was worried about that,” he said.

“Would you like to walk with me to the store and grab a cold drink?” he asked.

“Ahh… sure, I would love to, but only if I can ask you some more questions,” I told him.

“Absolutely,” he answered.

We walked to the store, he paid for our drinks, and we walked to a park nearby and sat down at a picnic table. He took a sip from his drink, pulled his fingers through his hair, looked me right in my eyes, and winked as he said, “So what would you like to ask me about, Anna?” I couldn’t think let alone speak English after that.

I forgot what I was going to ask him and just said, “Thank you for the bookshelf. It’s perfect, I love it.”

“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, what were you going to ask me?” 

“You distracted me, and I forgot what I was going to ask you,” I told him.

“Oh yeah? How so? Tell me about that how am I distracting you.”

I turned all red from head to toe and just looked at his hands as I asked, “Ahhh, what did you mean the other day at the walk-in clinic when you said that I grew up in a bubble? Can you explain that a bit more?”

“Yeah, about that. I am sorry, I thought about it later on after I learned that you take everything a bit more literal than I am used to. What I meant was where and how you grew up is like a bubble because you stay within the colonies and you don’t learn much else than what is happening right where you live. Am I right?” he asked.

“Ahhh, yes, you’re right. That is how it is. How do you know about that?” I asked.

“I read a book about it,” he answered.

“You read books about Mennonites?” I asked.

“Yes, I do.”


“Because it is so fascinating that so many people choose to live like that.”


“So you thought that I thought you actually grew up in a real bubble?” he asked.

“Ahhh, sort of. I thought of ways I could explain to you that there was a lot of flat wide open-spaced land and we could see endless mountains. I didn’t think it was like a bubble at all, but I thought you probably wouldn’t get it,” I answered.

He laughed so hard he choked on his drink and I was thinking, “My homework for tonight: lookup fascinating and literal.”

All of a sudden it got really windy, the leaves started blowing all around us, the clouds rolled in and it started raining. We got up and threw the drink containers in the garbage and started walking back to the apartment.

About halfway home it started pouring down but we just kept walking like it was sunny and warm. By the time we got through the front door, we were completely soaked. We parted ways. I went home, put dry clothes on, wrapped my hair in a towel, and checked my messages.

Sure enough, there was a message from Mark, “I see that you are spending a lot of time with George. Is he your boyfriend now or what? If you think that that is going to keep me from calling, or looking for you, you're sadly mistaken. I miss your face, babe. Call me back, I mean it.” 

I didn’t erase the message. I thought, “As long as he doesn’t come over . . . oh crap, I hope he doesn’t come over.” 

I continued with my learning. I looked up the word ‘literal’ in the dictionary and it made a bit more sense to me -- I had a bit more of an idea of what that meant. I sat there and processed everything. I was beginning to get what he meant by living in a “bubble.”

My phone rang and I got scared right away and thought, “Oh no! I don’t want to answer it, what if it’s Mark? But it could be my mom.” So I picked it up and said “Jo?” (“Yes?”).

“Hello, Anna?” said a really deep voice. Click here to continue reading my story.

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Perfectly Happy Birthday

Continued from Mennonite joy ride

I took a bite of the quesadilla and started telling him how I learned about why a girl in one of the colonies who wasn’t married suddenly got a big stomach. I was told that she had eaten watermelon seeds and they were growing inside her.

I took another bite and dared to look at him. He was eating and looking at me with one eyebrow raised and a big smile on his face and asked, “And then what happened?”

“Well, I had eaten from a big watermelon and swallowed a bunch of seeds and I was terrified. I thought a watermelon as big as the one I ate from was growing inside of me. I had nightmares about that for a long time,” I explained.

He had a hard time keeping a serious face as I continued telling him, and the more I talked about it, he noticed that I was still freaked out by it.

I continued. “The mother of this girl who ate watermelon seeds who was a widow. They told us that she had a baby soon after but when the girl got married she took the baby with her because the widow was ‘too old’ to take care of the baby.”

I was ready for him to start laughing but he didn’t. He wasn’t even that surprised about that story at all.  He just said, “Wow, that is quite a story.” He thought a minute. “But you don’t still think that watermelon seeds will grow inside your stomach, do you?” he asked.

We both started laughing. I didn’t know where to look, I was so embarrassed as I answered him.

“No, my friends and I figured it out, but every time I see a watermelon seed I think about the nightmares and I just automatically take it out and put it aside, just to be safe.”

“Okay, so that wasn’t so hard, was it?” He asked.

I lowered my head as I answered, “No.”

“So what do you think about the quesadillas, do you like them?” he asked.

“They are very good. I haven’t eaten this much in a long time, thank you,” I said.

“So what would you do if Hillary calls you and asks if you want to come back to work at the factory?” he asked.

“I would have to go back to work so I can pay my rent,” I answered.

“I heard that they are getting busier again and they might start calling people back soon,” he said.

“I hope I get to work the afternoon shift if they do call me back. That would be perfect. I could go to school during the day and work at night -- that would be great. Don’t you think?” I asked George.

“Woooo I don’t know, don’t you think that might be a bit much?” he asked.

“I think I could do it. I would at least give it a try,” I said.

The beach was getting emptier, most of the motorcycles had left, and the sun was about to set. George asked if I was okay to go for a long ride yet. He said that evenings were his favorite time to ride.

“Sure,” I said.

We got back on the motorcycle and rode off again. This time I had no problem holding on to him. I was getting comfortable on his motorcycle and really enjoying it.

“Make sure you hold on tight because I am going to go faster than I was before, okay?” he said.

“Okay,” I replied.

When he took off I felt like my stomach stayed behind and the rest of my body went with George. We got to a part of the beach that was hidden. He parked the motorcycle and helped me off. We went for a walk again.

“How are things with you and Bree?” I asked.

“Well, there is no more ‘Bree and I,’ we are so done. I can’t handle her and the drama she brought every time I saw her, it was getting exhausting. I feel so light since we broke up, I can’t believe it went on for this long,” he said. “What about you, do you have any Mennonite breakup stories?” he asked.

“Interesting that you asked. Since we are talking about stuff like this, I feel like I can tell you now. Remember that time we picked up my money from the variety store, and I was a bit weird after you put your arm around me, and I needed a minute to put my thoughts in order?” I said.

“Yes,” he said with a big smile on his face.

I told him about that year and a half ‘relationship’ I was in with the man who put his arm around me because I was too scared to tell him not to come and visit me anymore.

He laughed and said, “No shit, he put his arm around you and that meant that he was your boyfriend? He visited you for a year and a half? Holy shit, that is insane. Oh crap, no wonder you were worried when I put my arm around you. I’m so glad you told me and I’m sorry that I scared you. Around here we put our arms around people who are just friends. People who are just friends even hug.”

I thought, “Wow that is awesome. Now I don’t have to worry about that so much anymore and I can just enjoy this, whatever it might be.”

“Should we get back on the road?” I asked.

“Yes we should, Anna, let’s go,” he replied.

I couldn’t wait to get back on that motorcycle and cozy right up to him without any worries. On the way back to the apartment I thought, “This is by far the best day of my life, I had to fight off thoughts that suggested that it was wrong to selfishly enjoy myself as much as I was.

I secretly wished that my birthday would be on a Friday the thirteenth every year if it would be like thas every time. I wished I had a way to make time stand still and stay in that moment for a long time.

When we got back to the apartment he walked me to my door and said, “I have something for you, I’ll be right back.”

He went to his place and shortly came back with the bookshelf he was building that day when I went over to ask him to write the note in the card for the nurse.

It had a big red bow on it with a card attached to it. He brought it inside and put it down with a big smile on his face and said, “Happy birthday, Anna. Now that you are going to be reading a lot, I wanted to be the one to make you your first bookshelf. Thanks for letting me be part of your special day.”

I didn’t know what to say. I loved it. It was the perfect gift for me. I thought, “This is the perfect time to hug him.” I walked toward him, said “thank you,” and opened my arms, hoping he would respond and give me a hug.

He smiled leaned in and wrapped his arms around me, pulled me in right close to him, and said, “Wow, your French braid is still perfectly intact.”

I was shaking as I put my arms around him. I just held on as long as I could and thought, “I should let go now before this gets awkward.”

I pulled away a bit and he loosened his arms, took a deep breath, and said, “Well, I better get going,” and walked toward the door.

I followed him to the door like a lost puppy.

“Good night, Anna, have a good sleep,” he said.

“Okay, you too, thanks. Good night, George,” I replied

I closed the door and locked it. I immediately put all my books on the shelf and just stood there admiring it for a while. I sat down and opened the card, it said:

I thought, “I’m not sure what I am, but he sure is an amazing person.”

I went to sleep with the biggest smile on my face. Thanks to George this had been the best day of my life. I was so happy and felt like I was on my way to greatness.

I didn’t have a headache and I fell asleep with my own voice in my head. I didn’t need Enigma to put me to sleep, I was able to it all by myself and it was an amazing feeling. Click here to continue reading my story.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mennonite joy ride

As I walked beside George through the hallway and down the stairs, I started feeling really nervous about someone seeing me get on the motorcycle with George. I couldn’t even imagine how that phone call would go if my mom found out about that.

When we got to the street where the motorcycle was parked, George turned to me and said, “When we get on the motorcycle you have to put your arms around me and hold on to me really tight, okay?”

“Ahhh, okay,” I replied nervously with a shaky voice.

George took the helmet out of my hands and put it on me to make sure it was fitting right and snug. He put his helmet on and got on the motorcycle.

I put my hand on his shoulder to help me get over the seat. I slipped and fell on to the seat and slid myself away from him to the back of the seat, as far as I could, so I wouldn’t touch him.

He turned the motorcycle on and just sat there waiting for me to hold on. I worked up the nerve to put my index fingers on his sides barely touching him.

He waited for a while and then just took matters into his own hands. He grabbed my legs and pulled me right up against him, so close that there wasn’t even air between us, he reached back, grabbed my hands, pulled them around his waist and just held them there for a while.

“This is how you have to hold on to me. It is very important that you do not let go of me, okay Anna? Now lock your fingers into each other and stay like this until we get there.”

I moved my lips but no sound came out until I cleared my throat. “Yes, George. I got it and I will.”

“Okay, ready?” He asked.

“Ahh… I… am…” I replied.

“Uh, Anna?”


“Breathe!” he ordered.

“Okay, George.”

He slowly pulled onto the road and took off. I was thinking, “I don’t even know where we are going but we are on our way,” as I held on even tighter. I didn’t look at the road I just focused on breathing and the smell of George.

Before I knew it we arrived in Port Stanley at the beach. I recognized it -- I had been there the summer before. George pulled up to GT’s parking lot where a long line of motorcycles were already parked.

He parked the motorcycle and got off, then helped me get off. I held onto his shoulder as he helped me take off the helmet because I had no balance -- I was too shaky.

“Well, what do you think? How was that?” George asked as he smiled and winked at me again.

I couldn’t even look at him with an honest face. I was afraid that the combination of the heat and the butterflies in my stomach were going to melt my insides as I answered him, trying desperately to hide the obvious, “It was very good.”

He put the helmets down and said, “Let’s go to the beach.”

There were a lot of bikers with big beards, lots of tattoos, and long hair everywhere. They all said hi to us as we walked past them to the waterfront. We walked a long way to an isolated area with a pile of rocks. We sat down on them and just stared at the waves for a while.

“Well, Anna; how does it feel to be twenty?” George asked.

“Not much different except I just feel like I am starting my life now and these whole twenty years have gone to waste.”

“What? Oh Anna, stop being so negative. Those twenty years are not a waste at all. You learned many valuable life skills that a lot of people who went to school will have to learn later. Try to look at it like you are just doing it in a different order than most people, and there is nothing wrong with that,” he said.

“That sounds way better when you say that than when I think about it. I will try to think about it the way you say it.”

He just looked at me and winked and that was his answer to that.

“Why is Friday the thirteenth so important and what do all the motorcycles have to do with it?” I asked.

He explained what Friday the thirteenth was all about and that Port Dover Ontario was the place where hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists ride to every time a Friday is on the thirteenth. “Some of us occasional riders just go to a local beach closer to home.”

My Low German thoughts couldn’t process the idea behind a superstitious day that people celebrated. I took mental notes to look up in the dictionary and superstition was the word I was going to look up first. I wanted to learn more about it, especially because this mysterious date also happened to be my birthday.

“Okay, let’s go get something to eat at GT’s. I hope you are hungry, they have these amazing chipotle quesadillas. That’s what I always get, you want to try them?”

“Sure, sounds great,” I replied.

We walked through big crowds of people lying in the sun, kids playing in the water. A lot of half-naked people playing volleyball. The air smelled like coconut mixed with fried onions.

There were big groups of biker people with tattoos and long beards sitting at the bar drinking beer. They all nodded their heads at George as we walked by them.

“Do you know all of them?”

“No, we just have this thing where we all acknowledge each other. It’s just what we do.”

We sat down at a table on the patio across from each other, close to the beach. The waiter came over and George ordered the chipotle quesadilla plate with fries and an icy watermelon drink for each of us with no alcohol.

While we waited for the food I looked at the beach a lot. I tried not to make eye contact with George because every time I did he smiled showing off his perfect teeth and winked at me. I wasn’t sure how much more of that I could handle, he knew it and enjoyed it immensely.

I had always wondered if his teeth were real and thought, “Since this is already awkward I’m just going to ask him.”

“Hey George, can I ask you something?”

“Sure, ask away. Anything you want to know about.”

I got really nervous, but I worked up the courage and went for it. “Are your teeth real?” and made eye contact.

He tried really hard not to laugh because he could tell I was being serious. He cleared his throat, smiled, and said, “Yes Anna, yes my teeth are real.”

I could tell he wasn’t expecting a question like that at all. I felt like I had to explain why I would ask him something like that. I told him that in my colony in Mexico a lot of people have really bad teeth and most of them get dentures at a fairly young age. I think a lot of people don’t want to bother fixing their teeth and just get dentures because that way they think they will have perfect teeth for the rest of their life.

“You thought I had dentures?”

“Yes, teeth like yours don’t just grow, do they?”

“Well, I guess mine did, but with regular dental visits of course. I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about that and no one has ever noticed my teeth before,” he said, trying so hard not to laugh.

The waiter brought our drinks over. George grabbed his drink, held it up, and said, “Happy birthday, Anna,” as he winked at me again.

I blushed and said, “Thank you. Thank you for all of this and everything you have done to help me.” I wanted to say so much more but I just didn’t know how to say what I was feeling.

“Anytime, Anna. It really has been my pleasure. You have been a good distraction. I have enjoyed helping you figure things out up to this point and I’m looking forward to doing more of it,” he answered.

I took a sip of the drink and noticed a small white watermelon seed in it. I fished it out with the straw and put it on a napkin.

“Okay, that’s it! Now it’s my turn to ask you something and I’m not taking you home until you tell me what the story behind your watermelon seed phobia is.”

I felt my heart skip a beat as I turned red like a tomato and thought, “Oh, crap -- how am I going to tell him about this? He can see right through me. He is not going to accept some bullshit answer because he already knows there is something about this that I can’t get over.”

I thought I was saved when the waiter brought the food. I bowed my head and said my mealtime prayer. When I finished I didn’t lift my head I just opened my eyes and glüpst (glimpsed) at him through my eyelashes. He was looking right at me and winked again.

I thought, “Oh man, I already have a hard enough time looking at him as it is. How the heck will I be able to look him in the eyes after I tell him about this? This is going to be the most awkward meal ever.”

He got all comfortable in his seat, took a bite of a french fry, and said, “Well, Miss Wall, how long are you going to keep me waiting? what’s it going to be -- are we going to spend the night here, or are you going to tell me?”

I took a deep breath, ate a fry, and said, “Okay, I will try, but I don’t think you will get it. It’s a really long story and it won’t make any sense to you.”

He pulled his fingers through his hair and said, “Well, I don’t have any other plans for the whole weekend.” Click here to continue reading my story.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Low German Chicken Noodle Soup


1 chicken (cut into 8 pieces)
1 onion piled 
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
1 star of star aniseed
1/2 a cinnamon stick
a small handful parsley
salt to taste


I use a whole chicken from Country Poultry Processing. Cut off the chicken legs, wings, breast put them into a pressure cooker cover with twice as much water add a peeled onion and a tablespoon of salt.

Pressure cook for 20 minutes then let the pressure release naturally (this can take another 15 minutes or so)

If you use a chicken from the groceries store then you wouldn't need to pressure cook it just simmer it, those chickens cook a lot faster than the ones from the farm.

Remove the chicken from the broth, if the broth has a lot of fat floating on the top I remove some of it.

Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, star anise, parsley, salt to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.


Egg noodle dough Serves 4 people

2C plain flour
2 eggs


Mix eggs with flour using hands, knead the dough for a while adding a bit more flour until It is quite hard.

Cut dough into four pieces, press each piece of dough into a lot of flour and roll each piece of through the flat part of the pasta machine. Put more flour on and roll each piece through five times until it is really flat and hard.

Cut the flattened dough into five-inch strips and roll the dough trough the noodle part of the pasta maker.

Bring to boil a pot of water and add tow tablespoons of salt to the boiling water and add the fresh noodles bring back to a boil and take the noodles out.

You can also just buy these (dried egg noodle) in some Mennonite stores.

Add the chicken broth to the cooked noodles just before you serve it. If you leave the noodles in the broth for too long they get soggy.

Dip the cooled cooked chicken in plain yogurt, seasoned breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a side of the baked chicken.

You can always add some of the boiled chicken back into the soup as well as baking some of it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Joyfully letting go of nineteen years

“So tell me, Anna, do you have any plans for your birthday yet?” George asked.

“I sure do. I am going to finish a whole workbook so I can hand it to my teacher on Monday morning and start the next one on Monday night.”

“Holy! Slow down. I think you still need to have some fun on the side or you’re going to finish school in a month. I know you are ambitious and anxious to get things done but you are only turning twenty once. Your birthday won’t be on a Friday the thirteenth again until 2002 when you will turn twenty-six. You know that doesn’t just happen to everybody, right? And if you keep this up you will be off to some university by then.”

I thought, “University . . . that’s an interesting big word . . . and how the heck does he know all this?”

“Since I never got a chance to answer the question about whether I would take you on a motorcycle ride, can I ask you a more important question? Would you even want to go?” he asked.

“Well, I had lots of time to think about what it might be like, and yes, I think I would like to go, if you want to take me,” I answered.

“Okay, it’s settled then. After school on Friday come to my place and I will go over some things with you before we go. You will have to wear pants, you know that, right?”

“You mean I can’t wear my ‘purple dress?’”

He looked at me with his head tilted and one eyebrow raised. I couldn’t keep straight face for long and I burst out laughing.

“That’s a good one, Anna.”

Just thinking about it gave me the butterflies. I was so excited I forgot all about Mark.

On Thursday right after school I went to the walk-in clinic and got a couple of needles that were to protect me from some strange disease I had never heard of. The nurse told me that everyone who lives in Canada has to get them, and since I lived in Canada now, I had to get them too.

She asked about school and how it was going. She was so happy to hear that I was doing alright.

“I think they haven’t figured out what level I am at, because they know I have a learning disability,” I said.

“You do not have a learning disability, Anna. Everyone learns in different ways and you just haven’t had a chance to learn how you learn. You are really smart.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond to that, I just loved the sound of her voice telling me exactly what I needed to hear in exactly the right way.

“If anyone ever tells you that you have a learning disability again, do me a favor and just ignore them. I am friends with many of the teachers at that school and your teacher is really impressed with the progress you have made in such a short time,” she said.

My eyes started to water when I realized that she was the first person to ever say that I was smart. When I was ready to go, I gave her a hug and said, “Thank you for everything you have done for me. If you wouldn’t have said ‘why don’t you go on Tuesday?’ and called the school to let them know I was coming, I probably wouldn’t have started going to school yet.”

“Any time, Anna. From the first day I met you, I knew if I could just get you into that school that’s all it would take and the rest would be history. Have a wonderful birthday and call if you need anything.”

I asked her if she would have something for my headaches and she gave me a bottle of Tylenol.

“Thank you so much, I don’t know what I would do without you,” I said.

“The good thing is you don’t have to do without me. You can call me anytime you feel like it. Take care of yourself.”

When I got home I took a Tylenol and did my homework. I wrote about the best nurse I had ever met in my journal. I tried on the new-to-me jeans, ankle boots, and the jacket that Bree had brought me. It all fit me like it was made for me. I was so excited to wear it the next day to go on the motorcycle ride with George.

I lay in bed and said my last nighttime prayer as a nineteen-year-old, thinking about being sad about it, but I wasn’t. I was happy that those nineteen years were over. I had a feeling that things wouldn’t get easier anytime soon but I had high hopes that I would at least get a bit better at handling it.

Friday the thirteenth, I woke up early and feeling lucky to be alive and that I had made it to twenty. There were many times I thought that I wouldn’t. I was starting to look forward to going to school.

I had an hour before I had to be at school. I decided to paint my toenails and fingernails pink. I figured I could because George told me that this was a very special birthday and that would make me feel special.

“Happy birthday!” my teacher said as soon as I walked through the door at school. At the first break the principal brought cupcakes into the classroom and I felt a little embarrassed -- I had never gotten that much attention on any day before. I reminded myself to try and just enjoy it more than I was.

At the end of the day, I hurried home and put my dark blue Guess jeans with sparkly back pockets on and a white V-neck tee-shirt that said Guess in sparkly letters on the front of it. I put my ankle boots on.

I wasn’t sure what to do with my hair so I just put it into a bun. I put on some pink lip gloss and I was ready. While walking to George’s apartment my stomach hurt -- that is how nervous and excited I was.

When I walked into George’s apartment he looked relieved when he saw how I had dressed. I had surprised him so many times with the way I dressed. I imagined him being worried about it. He had no idea how I might show up ‘ready’ for a motorcycle ride.

“Only one thing though, that bun won’t fit into the helmet and you don’t want to leave it open either because it will get all twisted with knots and stuff. I think you need a French braid,” he said.

“A French braid, what is that? How is it different from dietscha ssoppen?” (Mennonite braids.)

“You have never seen a French braid?”

“No, just dietscha ssoppen, not French ones.”

“I could put your hair into a French braid.”

“You know how to make ssoppen?

“I’m guessing when you say ssoppen you mean braids, and yes I do. Have a seat on my tattooing chair so I can turn your hair into soapmmmn or however the heck you say that.”

I giggled as I walked over, took my jacket off, and sat down in the chair. I hadn’t thought of how strange It was until I sat in George’s tattooing chair and realized that a man was about to braid my hair. That was such a foreign concept. Such a thing had never crossed my English, Spanish, or Low German thoughts before.

I thought, “Okay, I’ve got to see this. I don’t think he can actually do this, he’s probably just messing with me and my hair might be blue when he is done.”

I was facing a window. I could see him coming toward me in the reflection. He had a big smile on his face. I closed my eyes and held my breath as he slowly pulled my hair out of the bun. I felt warm shivers going all the way down to my toes.

“Breathe, Anna!” he ordered.

I took a deep breath as he began by parting my hair on the top of my head. He pulled out a few strands on each side to leave out and continued to part strands of my hair and started braiding. He was so careful that he wouldn’t pull too hard. Once in a while, I felt his hand touch the skin on the back of my neck and every time I felt goosebumps forming on the bottom of my toes.

All I could think about was, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“All done. Do you want to see it?” he asked.

“Okay, yeah. Sure.”

I felt so weak in my knees I had a hard time getting off the chair. He noticed and gave me a hand and winked at me as he helped me down.

I thought “Oba, how and the schistjat am I going to make it through this?”

He handed me a mirror and said, “Come with me, I’ll show you how you can see the back.”

I followed him to the bathroom and he positioned a mirror so I could see it from the back. When I saw my new braids I was shocked and impressed that he had such good ssoppen-making skills.

George went to a closet and grabbed two helmets, handed one to me, and said, “Here, try this one on and see how it fits.”

I picked it up. It smelled just like George as it slid right over my French braid. He checked it and said, “looks good, Anna.”

He picked up his helmet and rested it against his hip as he looked at me with his head tilted with one eyebrow raised and said, “Ready?”

“Oaahh . . . I think so.”

“Okay then, let’s do this,” he said. Click here to continue reading my story.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Torta pan


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package of active dry yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 Tbs salt
½ cup white cornmeal

1 egg white 
1 tablespoon of milk


In a large bowl combine, all the dry ingredients then add water knead the dough until it is combined well then with oily hands make a ball. Put a towel over the dough and let it rise for 1 hour.

After the dough has risen for an hour. Punch the dough down and dump it onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 8 portions.

Make the buns and place them into a cookie sheet, press down the middle with a knife, brush with the wash mix, sprinkle cornmeal over, cover them with a towel and plastic, let them rise for an hour or until they are almost double in size.

Bake at 375°F until golden brown.

Tortas de pierna toppings:

Mayonnaise, mustard, avocado and cooked pork tenderloin.

Sliced tomato, onion, red and green pickled peppers.

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