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New Life Cafe

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New Life Café

Rosa: We met in computer class at …

Ying: …the community center.

Rosa: I went there to study computers for my new business, my new café!

Ying: And I was looking for a wife for my son.

Rosa & Ying (together): On the Internet!

Rosa: Look. He likes our shoes.

Ying: Oh yeah? You like our shoes? I bought them for her.

Rosa: Yes. It’s the new me.

Ying: Tell him … tell him. New café, new love, new life.

Rosa: It’s a long story!

***

Rosa: Put that camera down! And taste this. So…? Does it need more salt?

Eddie: Too much salt, Grandma.

Luz: Eddie, let’s go. You’re late for school.

Eddie: I love you, though. You’re the best.

Luz: Mami, don’t forget. You have a doctor’s appointment today.

Rosa: Luz, I’m very busy today.

Luz: Mami, this is important.

***

Rosa: Hello, Fernando.

Fernando: Good morning!

Rosa: Everything will be ready, I hope?

Fernando: You can count on me. You cooked all of this for us? You’re so kind. Will you join us for lunch later?

Rosa: I can’t. I have to go to the doctor. It’s just a check-up.

Fernando: Of course. A check-up is always a good idea, Rosa.

***

Rosa: Hello.

Receptionist: Good morning.

Rosa: My name is Rosa Dominguez. I have an appointment.

Receptionist: No, no, Mrs. Dominguez. This is New York! You don’t need a Social Security card to see the doctor. Just fill out all of these forms, and a doctor will be right with you. What insurance do you have?

Rosa: Insurance? I don’t have insurance. Can you tell me, please. Is there a program … a special program that can help me?

Receptionist: There sure is. Just fill out this form, and a doctor will be right with you.

***

Young Man: Excuse me…To see doctor…I no speak English.

Rosa: Let me help you. You have to put your last name, first…here. And your first name, last – there. First name, Rosa. Last name, Dominguez. First name…?

Young Man: Rosa!

Rosa: Excuse me! This young man needs some help.

Receptionist: Oh, does he now? Sir, do you need an interpreter?

Young Man: No money. No papers.

Receptionist: Don’t worry, honey. You don’t need any money! The interpreter is free! That means no fee. You see?

Young Man: Free? No charge? I love you, New York!

***

Doctor: (to Rosa) I think…(Blah, blah, blah …) Understand? Get your lab tests … tomorrow. Then come back and see me.

***

Eddie: We are in Washington Heights, the Dominican capital of New York. My name is Eddie Perez, and I’m going to show you the real New York. This is my grandmother. Here we call her ‘Buela. She’s opening a cafe next week. ‘Buela, tell us what’s happening.

Rosa: Ay, Eddie, not now!

Eddie: What’s wrong?

Rosa: I just came from the doctor.

Eddie: What did he say?

Rosa: “Blah blah blah,” I should do this. I shouldn’t do that. I didn’t understand what he said!…Lab tests. He said I need to get lab tests tomorrow. I don’t have time for this. I have a cafe to open … I have menus to write.

***

Ying: Come on! Come on, my turn.

Eddie: I have to finish this, Auntie Ying. We open next week.

Ying: Next week is next week. I have to find a wife for my son, now.

Eddie: Why?

Ying: He’s too busy at work. So, I’m helping him.

Rosa: What’s going on here?

Eddie: It was her idea.

Luz: Mami …there’s someone here to see you!

Fernando: You left these at the café.

Rosa: I did?

Fernando: I mean, you left these at the café.

Luz: Oh, I’ll take care of this. Eddie! Don’t you have something to do?

Eddie: Something?

Ying: Don’t you have homework to do?

Eddie: Oh, homework. Sorry.

Fernando: So … Did everything go all right at the doctor’s office? Everyone was worried.

Rosa: Everyone?

Fernando: Well, I was worried. So, will you come for lunch tomorrow?

Rosa: No, not tomorrow. I have to go for lab tests.

Fernando: Well, how about dinner, then?

***

Rosa: Ying! My menu! I have my menu!

Ying: And I have great news…I found a girl for my son!

Rosa: Oh, you mean the girl from the Internet?

Ying: Yes, she’s just what I was looking for! She’s pretty, she’s smart. She teaches English to immigrants! She likes opera! She’s perfect!

***

Doctor: Your lab test results show your glucose level is high, and the concentration of…

Rosa: Could you please slow down? I’m nervous, and when I’m nervous, I have trouble understanding English. Last time I was here, I didn’t understand anything you said!

Doctor: Okay, Mrs. Dominguez. Do you know what diabetes is?

Rosa: Diabetes?

Doctor: Diabetes, ‘Buela.

Rosa: Oh, the “sugar disease.” So that means I have to eat less sugar, right?

Doctor: Yes, but that’s not all. You have to get exercise, every day. And take your medication, every day. And you must change your diet – what you eat and what you cook.

Rosa: What I cook? But, I am about to open a café!

Doctor: Well, you have to cook with less sodium. Less salt.

Rosa: But my recipes!

Doctor: Your blood pressure.

Rosa: My rice and beans!

Doctor: Smaller portions!

Rosa: My famous cakes! All my Dominican recipes?

Doctor: Make your recipes low-fat. It’s good for your heart.

Rosa: What will I do? How can I open my new café?

***

Rosa: Why are you so concerned? The doctor told me that it’s not that serious.

Luz: But Mami …There’s so much to learn about diabetes. You have to exercise thirty minutes every day. Mami …Maybe you should try some low-fat milk with your Avena.

Eddie: And … you have to watch what you eat, ‘Buela, every day.

Rosa: Every day?!

Luz: And, you have to take your medication every day. You have to take care of yourself.

Rosa: Diet! Exercise! Pills! I have a cafe to open.

***

Rosa: You look so handsome, Fernando. I’ve never seen you in a suit before.

Fernando: And you always look lovely. Come here. I want to show you something. The new stove is here. You can start cooking. Rosa! What is it?

Rosa: I can’t cook anymore. All my recipes are bad.

Fernando: But Rosa, your recipes are delicious! Everybody loves your food. I love … your food.

Rosa: Fernando, I have something to tell you. I went back to the doctor today. I have diabetes. I can’t eat the way I used to. I can’t cook the way I used to. Fernando, I can’t open this café! And if I can’t cook my Dominican dishes, I’m not me! This is the end of all my dreams.

Fernando: Rosa, that’s not true. You’ve worked so hard to open this cafe.

Rosa: I have to change everything. I can’t do it!

Fernando: You packed up our whole life in the Dominican Republic to come to New York. If you made that change, you can change a recipe. (dancing to music) See? Your feet are still Dominican.

***

Luz: I made some for you too, Mami. Mami, please try! Little by little, one day at a time. Don’t forget to take your pills.

***

Ying: We’re celebrating.

Rosa: Celebrating?

Ying: My son’s going on a date with Katherine!

Rosa: Katherine?

Ying: The English teacher. From the Internet. Here, take one!

Rosa: I can’t. It’s not good for me.

Ying: They’re delicious … eat one.

Rosa: Ying. I have diabetes.

Ying: I know a lot of people who have diabetes. They manage it. They do just fine. Come!

***

Eddie: Abuela …

Rosa: What’s all this?

Eddie: It’s fresh and healthy.

Rosa: You always liked my cooking! Why do I have to change now?

Eddie: Why don’t you try something new? Abuela, you’re a great cook. All your food tastes good. You know that. I love you.

Rosa: Turkey sausage?

***

Rosa: What am I supposed to do with turkey sausage … With broccoli?

Ying: You’re the cook. … Cook!

***

Ying: Speech! Speech!

Rosa: Okay, okay. Thank you all for coming here tonight. My family. My friends. My dream has come true. All the food … all the healthy Dominican dishes we’re going to eat are part of my new life, and my new café!

Fernando: To Rosa!

All: To Rosa!

***