Archive for October, 2007

Letter To The Atlanta Journal Constitution

October 31, 2007

Dear Editor, I am writing to you because I once lived in Atlanta. My beautiful condo foreclosed in November 2005. I was a victim of predatory lending and mortgage fraud and am now living in Argentina. The experience of losing my home is something I can never forget. It was so bad and traumatic that I am still suffering because of it, to the point of not being able to sleep at night. Not only is my financial score ( once around 754) ruined, but I have found it extremely difficult to start all over again. I loved that condo in Buckhead and tried everything I could to save it. I contacted realtors in Atlanta, contacted HUD, got in touch with the lender but nothing worked. There was no possibility of a short sale as far as Novastar Mortgage was concerned and the price of the condo had gone down quite a lot.

The funny thing is that the people responsible for this have not been punished. The realtor recommended the loan officer. She said that she had worked with him before. The loan officer paid somebody to tell the lender that I was making $120,000 a year and had my own publishing company. He did this without my knowledge or permission and when I found out about it, I thought it was too late to back out.

The letter I wrote the GA Attorney General has not received a response. It is clear to me that I, the consumer who was defrauded, whose savings are gone, don´t count. For some reason that I don´t understand the realtor and the loan officer are protected. They can go on with their lives, keep doing their thing and I am left holding the bag. Sincerely, Eugenia Renskoff

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Slave Trade

October 29, 2007

Dear Editor, I agree with Bob Herbert in the article Today´s Hidden Sex Trade. This is also happening in Argentina. Women are kidnapped, deceived tricked and forced into becoming prostitutes. They are kept as slaves and often moved from provincia to provincia. Sometimes these women are sneaked out of the country. Their international destinations are Spain and Italy where they are forced to work for practically nothing. Their families never hear from them again. Eugenia Renskoff Argentina

Buenos Aires

October 25, 2007

I appreciate the beauty of Buenos Aires, especially the old-fashioned homes still remaining in parts of the city (like in Belgrano around Calle Ciudad de la Paz). They’re so beautiful and interesting that I would buy one of these homes and furnish it as if it were fit for a queen, if I had millions of dollars right now. These old-fashioned houses with their balustrades and balconies and colonial roofs are authentic as well as a part of the history of this city. I look at them and I can’t get enough of them. Just like I can’t have too many

Celibato

October 24, 2007

Celibato, por Eugenia M. Renskoff

–No. Discúlpeme, Juana, yo no estoy de acuerdo con usted. Para mi, los curas deberían poder casarse.
–El celibato esta bien, Celia. ¿Si se casan, que seria de nosotros? ¿Cómo nos la arreglaríamos si los necesitamos y no están porque tienen que atender a su familia? Porque uno de sus hijos tiene fiebre y no pueden escuchar nuestras confesiones?
–¿Y los médicos, entonces? ¿Acaso ellos no se casan? Igual pueden tener un montón de pacientes, y hasta hacerse ricos, por lo menos algunos.
–Celia, vos no entendes. Sos muy inocente todavía. El celibato va a quedar. Para siempre.
Celia hizo un movimiento con la cabeza.
–No, Juana. Ojala que no sea cierto. No lo soportaría.
Juana la miro de arriba abajo.
–¿Qué te pasa, Celia? No me digas que te has fijado en un sacerdote.
Celia se agacho para recoger un sweater que se le había caído de las manos.
__ ¿Yo? No, claro que no. ¿Cómo se le ocurre? Es que pienso en esa pobre gente que se enamora de un cura y después sufre. ¿Vio El Pájaro Canta Hasta Morir?
–Si, la vi anoche. Esa mujer se lo merecía, Celia. Todo lo que le paso fue un castigo de Dios por amar al Padre Ralph.
–¿De que castigo me esta hablando? Si mal no recuerdo, Juana, el también la amo a ella.
–Bueno, si porque es una película, pero no dejo la sotana por ella. Su vocación fue más fuerte.
–Lo siento, porque ese Padre Ralph habrá llegado a ser cardenal y todo eso, pero como hombre lo considero un gran cobarde. No arriesgo mucho por su amor.
Juana intento una sonrisa, pero no pudo.
–Acomodemos más ropa, ¿queres?
–Si, Juana, por supuesto. Empezó a doblar algunas sabanas y fundas que alguien había donado. No, gracias, ya tome un poco de café en mi casa. No, no tengo ganas, en serio.
¿Como no voy a saber lo que te esta pasando si lo he visto en otras mujeres? Algunas hasta eran más chicas que vos, y algunas eran mujeres de mundo, algo que vos no serás nunca. ¡Mira, en todos mis años de trabajo de voluntaria para Caritas he visto a tantas pasar por lo mismo! Es la misma historia.
Ya se que no queres que nadie lo sepa. Tenes razón porque casi nadie te entendería. Todo el mundo lo sabe: los sacerdotes son hombres pero no deben comportarse como hombres. No se preocupe, Juana. Yo me di cuanta de que usted sospecha algo. Hace mucho tiempo que lo se. Tan tonta no soy por mas que lo parezca. No estoy ofendida, solamente un poco triste. Igual la aprecio. Hasta el viernes.

New Novel In Spanish

October 22, 2007

                                                       Nueva Novela: La Vecina 

                                                        Por Eugenia Renskoff

 

-¡No! Discúlpeme, Elena, pero no lo voy a hacer. No quiero ir hasta allá. Imposible.

 Elena la miro extrañada. Esta era una Teresa que desconocía por completo. La mansa y dulce mujer que conocía desde hace años definitivamente había desaparecido.

-Pero, Tere, tenes que pensarlo bien. Se va a poner muy contento al verte.

-No, por favor, no insista más.

Elena intento tocarle las manos. Abruptamente, Teresa se levanto de su silla y se fue al otro lado del living.

Había experimentado tanto sufrimiento por ese ser viviente que estaba tan lejos, y ahora Teresa parecía desinteresada. De repente estaba muy fría.

-¿Le sorprende mi cambio, no? Es que estoy muy cansada. Siempre hice lo que querían los demás. Ahora quiero cambiar y hacer lo que yo quiero.

-¿Entonces que va a ser de el? Lo vas a abandonar?

-No, ya le dije que no. Le voy a seguir mandando plata a la gente que lo cuida. Los euros siempre son bienvenidos en todo el mundo, especialmente allá.

–Te hago un café, ¿que te parece?

Teresa se encogió de hombros.

–Si, esta bien. En la cocina hay café molido y en bolsitas.

Al rato Elena volvió con 2 tazas grandes de café con leche.

–Te lo hice porque se lo mucho que te gusta. No es cuestión de seguir con lo mismo, pero el ya es grande, y necesita de vos. Otra persona no lo va a cuidar tan bien.

Teresa cerró  los ojos. Le contesto a su vecina sin abrirlos.

–Si, Elena, de acuerdo, me necesita. Nadie lo conoce como yo. Cambiemos de tema, ¿quiere?

Cuando Elena se fue para su casa, Teresa se quedo en la silla pensando.

Seria tan lindo si todo esto pudiera desaparecer como por arte de magia, si se pudiera volver atrás, antes de que todo esto apareciera en mi vida, en nuestras vidas. Ahora la angustia es demasiado grande  y no se que hacer. Elena tiene buenas intenciones, pero eso no va a ayudarme a resolver el problema.

Busco un número de teléfono en su agenda y lo marco.

–Hola, ¿Marcos? Si, soy Tere. ¿Como estas? Regular, no tan bien como quisiera. Te llamo para consultarte. Si, es acerca de ese problema, el que vos sabes. No, parece de nunca acabar. Si, lo extraño pero no soy la misma. Y sentiría tanta culpa si le llegara a pasar algo. Parece ser mas bebe que un bebe de verdad. .

–No. No vale la pena, ya se. Pero vos ya me conoces. Soy muy sentimental. Esa es mi mayor desgracia. Si, vos siempre me lo decías, ¿te acordas? No puedo pensar y tener la sangre fría, por lo menos una vez en mi vida. ¿Tranquilizarme? Mira, lo he intentado todo—leer, caminar por un lugar lindo y con mucho ruido, trabajar hasta tarde, cansarme hasta que se me cierran los ojos, pero nada funciona. Si, pero es un viaje que no quiero hacer. Vos me entenderás. Estoy como si acá estuviera fuera de todo eso, en otro  planeta. Esta bien. No, después espero a que me llames. Gracias. Chau.

¿Ahora que? No puedo dejar que esto me coma, me esta amargando la vida. Ya no puedo dormir. Cuando lo veía todos los días, lo mimaba, le daba de todo. Ahora también, aunque desde muy lejos. Pero no le tengo confianza a esa gente. Si voy, no va a ser por unos días y nada más. Y entonces ¿Qué hago? Lo último que me puedo dar el lujo de hacer es cometer otro error. Ya han sido demasiados en poco tiempo. Es eso lo que me deprime. No solamente el, sino tantos errores juntos. ¡Que carga resulto ser todo esto!

Intento irse a dormir, pero no pudo. Tomar pastillas para descansar un poco no le gustaba, esa idea nunca había sido una de sus favoritas, pero lo prefería a mirar el techo toda la noche.

¿Que estará haciendo? ¿Lo estarían tratando bien? ¿Por lo menos una persona en esa casa seria bondadosa con el?

Sabía que las respuestas a estas preguntas tal vez nunca le llegarían.

 

       

    

Forbidden Love in Argentina

October 22, 2007

                                            Forbidden Love in Argentina: My Story                                                 By Eugenia Maria Renskoff   I was living in San Francisco when the phone call from Western Union changed my life. Your Uncle Juan has died, the voice said. Uncle Juan in Argentina? But he was always so full of life, so dynamic, a man always ready to help his neighbors, help anybody who needed it. Ihard to believe he was gone. I called my aunt and after talking with her for a few minutes, I decided I had to drop everything and go down there. My life was in need of a change and I was eager to help my favorite (and only) aunt.When I arrived in Buenos Aires, I knew I was right to have made the trip. My aunt had changed from a robust, happy-looking woman into someone who was haggard and very thin. Padre Luis had been a good friend to my uncle before and especially, during his illness. My aunt said she wanted me to meet him, so she took me to the local church where he was the parish priest. He was around 27, only two years older than me, with dark brown eyes, fair skin and and an outgoing personality. For me, it was love at first sight. When I saw him, I felt something that I had never felt in my life. I seemed to recognize him from another life, I had net him before, long ago. Taking care of my aunt kept me busy for a few days at the same time that it gave me time to start denying that I felt what I knew I was feeling. But it was no use. Try as I might I always ended up thinking about Padre Luis. One day I went to the church and signed up to be a volunteer for Caritas (Catholic Charities). I thought that if I saw him often, my feelings would go away. I would get rid of them once and for all.Padre Luis was loved by everyone. They called him Luis or Luisin.I couldn’t. I started to hate the word Padre, but I used it as often as I could, for the most part to keep him and my own feelings, at a distance. Once he asked me why I didn’t dispense with formalities, but I just played dumb and said that in the United States people never called their parish priests by their first names. Give me time, I asked him, lying. He tried to engage me in conversation several times, asking me questions about my life in California, what I had studied in college, but my answers were brief and to the point.  When he spoke to me, I never dared look him in the eye. Whatever I was afraid of; it was something that I didn’t want to deal with  Being near Luis was very enjoyable, like going to a great big party, were we were the most important guests. I looked forward to my Caritas duties more and more. My aunt even joked about the possibility of my becoming a nun, and I laughed with her. Except for my father, our entire family was Catholic, but we hardly ever went to church. Now helping people (even if there wasn’t much I could actually do) became really important to me. I was happy and I never wanted that happiness to end. I didn’t care if we were almost never alone, or if his small office was so crowded that it reminded me of a busy train station, like Grand Central in New York. Time went by and my aunt’s landlady asked her to move out. The news came as a shock because my aunt and uncle had lived there for over 16 years and had never missed a payment. We felt comfortable in the house and in the neighborhood, but there was nothing we could do except look for another place. My aunt began to suspect the truth about my feelings and suggested I go back to the United States. I refused. There was no way I could leave her. Her situation was a hard one and my uncle’s family could not be counted on to do anything for her. I could not leave him, either, even if he wasn’t actually mine. One time, just before Christmas, my aunt and I were invited to a gathering. The small parish house where Luis and the other priest lived was packed. My aunt was talking with a neighbor when Luis walked by me. I blushed and looked the other way. He was holding his young niece by the hand. Why priests can’t be married, I thought. Why not give them the chance to be husbands and parents, just like rabbis or Protestant ministers? What great big harm would that do the Church?  It was a Saturday afternoon. My mother was saying that my father was very ill. It had happened with no warning. He was very weak, not himself anymore. I had to go back to California to see him, probably for the last time.Before taking the plane back, I went to see Padre Luis. I felt that if I did not say I loved him I would explode. My secret could no longer be just mine alone. Besides, he had a right to know. I didn’t expect him to tell me he loved me, too, but I was young and in love. I couldn’t help it. I wished for that to actually happen. Maybe I also wished that he would go to the United States with me. It was Sunday after the 12 noon Mass. I was very scared when I opened the door of his office. Now or never—it had to be done before I lost my nerve. Every one had already left. I swallowed hard, and looking him in the eye, I told him about my feelings.  When I got back to San Francisco, I discovered that my father had terminal cancer. I spent as much time as I could with him. I felt guilty about having been away all those months in Argentina. A few times I wanted to tell him about Luis, but I didn’t dare. Not that my father would have been shocked, or have said something like How dare you! But I just didn’t want to tell him anything as serious as that in his condition.A month or two later, I wrote a letter to Luis. When I told him I loved him, he hadn’t said anything and that had made me feel confused and angry, like he didn’t care, like he heard declarations of love every day of his life. Even if he didn’t love me back, why not say something? Anything would have been better than silence. Silence was cold and gray. I needed him to speak to me, to tell me thanks, but no thanks, if that was what he had to do.My father died. About a week after the burial, I called my aunt. She still knew nothing about my father’s death. I could not tell her over the phone. The awful moment she and I had dreaded had finally come: Her landlady was suing her for eviction. I had to return to Argentina and see if there was anything I could do to help her. The thought of seeing Luis again did not seem to worry me. My mind tried very hard not to think about it. I hoped to feel nothing when, and if, we ran into each other again. I would probably not see him anyway. He had not even bothered to answer my letter.My aunt asked me to go with her to see Luis. There was a lawyer he knew who could help at the trial. She was young, but very good with tough cases.When he attempted to shake hands with me, I almost hid mine behind my back. But my aunt was there watching me closely, so I pretended that it didn’t bother me at all. I managed to give him the tips of my fingers—the best I could do. Touching him even slightly made my body tremble all over. It was like an electric current going through me. I hid my feelings by looking at the floor while he and my aunt talked. When I was able to, I asked him about the letter. Why hadn’t he answered it? It wasn’t a long letter. I hadn’t written and sent it just because I had nothing better to do with my time. My aunt started to say that that was no way to talk to a priest, but Luis interrupted her and told me he had received the letter and would answer it in person.After my aunt lost the lawsuit, our search for another house became more desperate. We only had three more months in the house, and then what? Where would we go? Where would she go? A nursing home was out of the question. To take a break from our problems, my aunt suggested that I go visit one of our old neighbors. She would be fine, she assured me smiling, and all she needed was a little rest.  I came back to the house. I called to her, but she didn’t answer. She was dead in the bedroom. Later the doctor said she had simply fallen sleep. My world was over, my friend was gone. My Aunt had been more than a relative, more than my mother’s only sister. She and her neighborhood had become a very special place to me, and now I had lost them both. A neighbor invited me to go stay with her and her family and I accepted. I needed time to think, to see what I would do with myself from now on. I had to know where I belonged and why. The only place that offered me any real comfort was the parish church. The Virgen Maria had been my Special Friend. I had gotten used to talking to Her as if to a woman my own age. The church was empty. I was sitting on a pew one afternoon when Luis came up to me. I did not want to speak with him, but he insisted I go with him to his office. He seemed nervous and a little shy, quite unlike himself. Now I can answer your letter, he told me. At first I didn´t want to read it, but I got curious. Temptation got the better of me, he added laughing.I told him I was glad I’d sent it. I had no regrets, none at all. I would do it again, if I had to do it over again.He told me he loved me. I didn’t believe him. I didn’t dare believe him—it was like a dream come true and so far, in my life, none of my dreams ever had come true. Luis looked at me, took off his priestly collar and kissed me not gently and not hard. That white collar had been the second thing I had grown to hate because it separated him from me. It had been a barrier, a stain that could not be washed off, not even with the best laundry detergent.What if he went back to the Church after a while? What if he regretted not being a priest anymore? His favorite uncle had been a priest, and one day, without any warning, he had left everything to get married. There had been a scandal and that had shaken Luis badly. His uncle had been a man that he had looked up to, someone he had respected. These thoughts ran through my mind and Luis, watching me closely, seemed to guess every single one of them. He was reading me like a book. No, that wouldn’t happen, he told me, because he was sure of his feelings. He would miss being a priest at first, but he loved me.But I was afraid. What of, I wasn’t sure—maybe afraid of all I had just thought, afraid of loving him too much. Suddenly I started to cry. I shook my head violently. Luis started to come near me, but I pushed him away with my hands. No, it wouldn’t work out. I looked at him one last time and said goodbye. Without bothering to close the office door behind me, I ran all the way to my neighbor´s. I did not want to tell her what had happened, so when she asked me what was wrong, I simply said I had decided to go back to California. I knew that if I told her she wouldn’t have been surprised or said anything to make me feel guilty for loving a priest, but it was best not to confide in her. I told her that my aunt’s death had made up my mind for me: nothing in Argentina would ever be the same for me without her. I would be leaving for California as soon as I sold her belongings.  Two weeks later I packed my bags and went to the airport. I never saw him again. I loved this man more than I have ever loved anyone. Through him I learned what love, passion and emotional involvement with another human being meant. I discovered that I was a sensual, caring and vibrant woman. I grew up as a person because I loved him. If I have one regret its having sacrificed myself and my love for something I didn’t really believe in. I was baptized in the Catholic faith, but I had stopped going to Mass after my arrival in the United States at the age of 10. Now, looking back, I think that rejecting Luis was a silly, immature thing to do. Even if it had only lasted one or two years, it would have been worth it. Real love doesn’t happen very often and this was as real as it gets.There were other men after Luis, men I could have married, but he left a mark on my life that no one else did. I did not fall in love again after him. I wanted to because I would have wanted a husband and children, but if I had married any of my suitors, it would have been a marriage of convenience on my part. I wrote a novel called Different Flags based on my love and am currently finishing a screenplay version of the book in both English and Spanish. To me, loving Luis was worth it. I had nights when I couldn’t sleep, nights and days of great guilt, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and pacing the living room of my aunt’s house. When I went back to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat and I lost weight.I would try to stay away, not go to church for days at a time, but I always came back. Luis was like a magnet. I felt like a fool, not because I had fallen in love with a priest, but because I couldn’t tell anybody. I pretended I had a boyfriend back in California and that I missed him. The feeling of secrecy, of wondering what would happen if his parishioners found out, was very hard to deal with. But it—my love—was stronger. I had never expected to fall in love with anybody during my trip to Argentina. Denying it took a lot of energy, energy that maybe I could have put to use elsewhere. Self denial, however, was worse. It complicated things even more.  

Ejercicio de Literatura

October 22, 2007

                                                     Nadie

                                         Por Eugenia Maria Renskoff

                                          18 de Octubre 2007

   

El hombre entro a la cocina sin que nadie se diera cuenta. En el living comedor estaba una mujer hablando con una amiga.

–Es algo que todavía no logro entender. No se como pudo haberme pasado a mi. —decía la mujer.

–Perdóname que te lo diga, pero vos no tenes coronita. Lo que te paso a vos, le pasa a mucha gente.

La mujer miro a su amiga, y se encogió de hombros.

–Puede que no tenga corona, pero igual esto es increíble. Hasta vos te darás cuenta de lo que ahora significa para mí.

De repente, el hombre camino hasta el comedor.

–Adriana, recién vengo del abogado. No se como decírtelo.

La mujer se enderezo en su silla.

–Rápido seria mejor. Lo prefiero así.

El hombre respiro profundo y la miro a los ojos.

–Es muy difícil. Si esta persona realmente ha intentado hacerte algún daño, como lo pensas probar?

–No se.

–Adriana, hay cosas que no me estas diciendo, cosas que no me queres decir.

–No es necesario que lo sepas todo.

El hombre fue hasta la ventana del living y se quedo largo rato mirando a la gente que pasaba. No entendía como se había comprometido a buscar algo que pudiera salvar a esta mujer de la ruina. Adriana ya no era una mujer hermosa, pero algo en ella le despertaba cierta compasión. Se imaginaba en su lugar.

    

New Letter To NY Times

October 19, 2007

I have read today´s op-ed by Sheila Bair and I agree. Rates should be lowered. Not everyone has equity to help them refinance. In my own case, there were two loans for a $170,000 condo in Atlanta, GA. One of these loans was for $134,000 at 9.75%. the other for $36,000 at 13%. I tried refinancing time and time again, but shortly I bought the condo, I found out that I had overpaid by at least $20,000, so refi was not an option. Unfortunately, my condo foreclosed in November 2005.
I urge those people who have no equity to call their lender and do everything possible in order to save their homesI did, but at that time there was no talk of a mortgage crisis, subprime or otherwise. Foreclosure is a terrible thing. It affects a person, that person´s family not only financially but also psychologically and emotionally. It is not something that a person can get over quickly. Sometimes you never get over it. I know that I am still struggling and I do not others to struggle. Eugenia Renskoff

Celibacy in the Church

October 18, 2007

, My comment is this: I hope that in my lifetime (and yours) Catholic priests can have the option of marrying or not. Maybe this is a dream with my etes closed. Maybe not. But I hope that, anyway. And maybe there should be no more ordinations, no young men entering the seminaries. Maybe this is another eyes closed dream. Or maybe a great big scandal (bigger than the sexual scandal of recent years) involving a cardinal or a bishop or someone very high up. A scandal so big that no amount of settlement money can hide.
Yes, I believe that the people running the Church have stopped caring about souls and saving souls a long time ago. They just care about not changing anything even if events are crying out for changes, radical ones. Eugenia

Sued So Far Away

October 16, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007: Today I had a court date in Norfolk, VA. I was sued by Jormandy, LLC, a collection agency. They bought an old credit card debt from Bank of America. The amount of the debt was around $1200. Because I have no way of getting back to the United States, I was able to go to court at 9 A.M. I wrote the General District Court in Norfolk a letter asking for a continuance.
I feel that this lawsuit is most unfair. If the debt was really mine, I could not pay it because my financial situation is very serious. And I am totally alone. There is no one who could have loaned me the money. There is no family member who could have offered to speak with this collection agency on my behalf. This morning all I thought about was what must have gone on in Norfolk. Did the judge read the letter? Was the continuance granted? I will call this afternoon and find out.
This incident is a new example of the GA tragedy. This personal tragedy came about because of my unfortunate trip to Atlanta in 2002. I hate myself for having gone there, though I obviously did not know that the condo I was going to buy would be foreclosed or that I would become a victim of predatory lending and mortgage fraud.
It is very ironic that someone can sue me for a relatively small amount of money, but that no government official is doing anything to punish the people I dealt with in Atlanta. I was misinformed by them and I feel totally abused. I feel abused morally, financially, psychologically. Because of this GA tragedy my life has become a financial nightmare.