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Spanish talk radio is playing in the kitchen where Julian’s mom and abuelita are doing laundry. The little open-air courtyard that connects to the kitchen and the dining room is filled with flowering plants, drying shirts and the smell of soap.
The laundry soap in Colombia has the same scent I remember from México. Every once in a while, I smell it somewhere in the U.S., and it affects my brain like all sentimental smells – with an immediate rush of memories and feelings.
Julian’s dad is upstairs practicing on his little guitar, the back of which is the shell of an armadillo.
There is a soup bubbling on the stove and filling the house with smells of chicken and spices. The moment the boys made it known they weren’t feeling well, production of the remedy soup began.
Having asked if I could help and subsequently being shooed out of the kitchen and encouraged to relax, I retired to the sitting room with my book. It’s a small Spanish novel that I’m hoping I will be able to understand.

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