“Bondiola?” I pointed at the entry on the menu card. “What is bondiola?”
I was about to order the bife de lomo, the Argentine tenderloin steak, at El Cucharon when my gaze fell upon this mysterious word, especially since the price tag was similar to the one behind the lomo. The menu card indicated that it was pork, but that wasn’t nearly enough information for me, so I looked up expectantly at the waiter, even as my mind started to wander off. Bondiola. The very word conjured up images of the tough gauchos of Patagonia, sitting steadily atop their mighty steeds while their eyes never averted from the herd of cattle they were attending to. Bondiola. I could almost hear my imaginary gaucho whisper the word softly, all alone in the wide open pampas with only his dog, his horse and his cattle to keep him company, as the wind rustled across the dry, desolate desert landscape. The word itself was pregnant with solitude. And with longing. Longing for his home and family. Longing to consume his next hot meal together with his loved ones.
“Ah! Bondiola!” the waiter exclaimed, a wide grin appearing on his friendly face. He formed a ring with his hand by bringing together the tips of his thumb and forefinger, while the other three fingers were pointed toward the ceiling. He brought the tips to his lips and made a soft smacking sound as he kissed them. “It’s pork shoulder. Excellent quality! Muy bien!”
It has been almost a full week since I have returned from my holiday in Argentina and I cannot avoid the inevitable anymore. You will notice for instance that the last entry in my blog is dated January 17th 2011, meaning almost a full month has elapsed since I last updated it. And apart from a couple of individual free-writing sessions, I have not made much progression on the fiction front either since my writing classes ended, which was way back in the end of November. I have come up with many excuses: the stress of work, the holiday, the lack of energy, and even the need just to feel lazy this past weekend. Now I don’t want to downplay these reasons, as they were for a large part justified in my opinion, except obviously for the feeling lazy part. But the reality is that despite the effects of the post-holiday depression and the huge pile of laundry on my couch waiting to be straightened out,* I haven’t felt this relaxed and content for a long, long time, and it would be a shame to let such a state of mind to go to waste, especially since if the past is any indication that it won’t be long before I get caught up again in the everyday stress at work. The time has come to once again pick up my writing where I left off and be more serious and conscientious about it, and ride this wave of relaxation and contentment for as long as possible before it all inevitably goes downhill again. Continue reading