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AN AMAZING LIBRARY HAS BEEN LOST

Dedicated to Leo Roache

On the second of April, when I mentioned to our Rwandan flatmate that our best friend Leo had passed away he told me “in my country we believe that when an elderly person dies a big library is lost; all his knowledge is gone”. I thought it was the most beautiful expression to relate to losing Leo.

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I met Leo on the 22nd of October 2006, and from that moment he was interested in knowing more about Colombia, and it is going to sound ironic, but if someone had asked him about Colombia he would have known more than me and would have been able to answer almost any question. For nearly ten years he wanted to learn about my family, about my culture, about my traditions, about my crazy country, about our politics, about our corruption, about our food, music, books, and even TV. Because I came from Colombia he wanted to know more.

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The almost ten years of friendship we shared were wonderful. We had a larger number of tintos (coffee in a little cup), went to many cultural events: movies, concerts, exhibitions, conferences, etc, cooked together, drank wine, and enjoyed each other’s company. My knowledge grew with each conversation with Leo, each meeting was like an academic lecture for me, an educational interchange of information. As a teacher and philosopher he was always concerned about teaching our younger generations to learn, to teach them to give their own opinion and think critically about the ‘facts’ they were given.

I always admired Leo’s love of learning. He always wants to know more and more. He mentioned a number of times that his most prized possession was his mind. He didn’t want his body to keep going if his mind failed him. As it happened, his body began failing him twelve months ago, but his mind remained sharp right up until the end.

His wife Shannon, passed away almost exactly twenty years ago, was always mentioned in our conversations with Leo. He would talk about her like she had just left the room and was a regular feature of our conversations. I never had the blessing of meeting her, but I really felt like I knew her from how Leo described her. I have read in the Bible the following passage: “There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman (Proverbs30:18-19)”. The last part of this verse reflects the love between Leo and Shannon, an example of pure and real love. When we saw Leo on his last day I remember that he still had on his wedding ring – he was a devoted husband for 65 years.

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This time has been very hard for us, but we are so grateful to God for the time we had to spend with Leo and the wonderful moments we shared. He will always be in our hearts and we are sure another great angel is looking after us from now on. Knowing Leo, he did not like to be made a fuss about. He would say “Stop it Erika, I’m a simple person”. So I will stop there and share with all of you a few things about Maya.

I am now calling Maya “our little earthquake”. She has grown so much, and is now walking and running. Her love for climbing has certainly developed, any table, chair, cabinet, steps, box, ... she looks, plans how start, and goes…no hesitation. Her determination to do things is unbelievable, there is very little that can stop her when she wants something, it scares me sometimes how focused she can be. Simon says she has my focus sand his grip-strength. When she has a hold of something she is NOT giving it back!

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It has also been lovely hear how much she is talking, and I am impressed that most of her current words are in Spanish. I have an ongoing bet with Simon about how many words Maya is going to speak in Spanish or in English, and currently I am winning (I hope this trend continues).
Maya’s ability to run has really improved thanks to Simon, who scares her every night before bed-time and she runs through the house looking for me to save her. She loves this game, and laughs hysterically as she runs. It’s really funny seeing Maya running around the house trying to find me. Sometimes Simon uses this game to distract Maya from doing naughty things, or to burn off a little excess energy before we try and put her into bed.

On another hand, Maya has won special prizes in March. A photo that was taken by me was chosen by a children magazine. She was famous for a month and won two gorgeous toys. I felt so proud that I was who took the photo, hahaha

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Maya is now at the stage where she wants to tests our boundaries all the time. She knows (most of the time) what she should NOT do, but we can see in her gorgeous little face that has an expression that says “look mum and dad I am doing this thing that will upset you” (drawing on the walls, dancing on the coffee table, throwing the cutlery, etc). Simon and I are definitely still having fun with her and we are not expecting things to change any time soon. There are more challenges just around the corner.

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I will finish this blog here, otherwise you are all going to get tired of reading.

Many thanks and all our love,

Simon, Maya and Erika.

Posted by erika_simon 15:53 Archived in New Zealand

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