Inspired by our mission to ignite kindness worldwide, The Cuban Laverne & Chur-Lee, who make up the hilarious sketch comedy duo “My Abuela in Miami”, offered to become our first official PARKner!
What’s a PARKner, you ask? Great Question!
Listen to this BONUS EPISODE to find out and get ready to enrich your day with inspiration, laughter & joy for celebrating life – even in the midst of loss.
Episode PARKner & Featured Guest:
My Abuela in Miami
Visit MyAbuelainMiami.com to sign up to their email list for a FREE GIFT and check out My Abuela’s 12 Days of Christmas & other hilarious videos
Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities
Hola. I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode #8. I’m so excited to share this bonus episode today because we’re celebrating our podcast’s one month-versary, can you believe it?
I’ve got a big announcement and not one but two very special guests to help us celebrate today. Joining us is the Cuban “Laverne and Chur-Lee”, the hilarious grandmother granddaughter duo who star in a sketch comedy series called My Abuela in Miami.
I should clarify, she’s not really my biological grandma, but she’s become my abuela and hopefully yours too by the end of the episode. She’s actually my best friend’s grandma who after listening to our show was inspired to reach out to me and offered to sponsor our podcast. That’s our big announcement my friends. Just one month into our journey together we have our very first podcast PARKner!
And what’s a PARKner? Great question!
Way more than a sponsorship of dollars, we’re looking to create lasting PARKnerships with people, companies and organizations who give the currency of kindness. Our PARKners, not only generously contribute monetary resources to support our podcast, they also live our mission to inspire and ignite kindness worldwide.
Which is why today I’m so excited to make time to be kind with My Abuela in Miami to celebrate our first podcast PARKnership and invite you to consider becoming a podcast PARKner too. If you’re interested, just visit marlyQ.com/parknerships and connect with me because I’d love to explore PARKnership opportunities with you too!
So, without any further ado, allow me to introduce our two special guests today. My Abuela in Miami stars, Louise Alvarez, she was born in Havana, Cuba and fled to New York when she was only 16 years old. She married her love and had three children before moving to Miami with her growing family, which now includes grandchildren and great grandkids too.
Monique Alvarez is the “Chur-Lee” to her grandma’s “Laverne”. She’s a classically trained actress, writer and filmmaker from New York who grew up on cortaditos and pan Cubano in Hialeah Florida, in the heart of Miami, where we both went to high school together and have been best friends since. I hope you’re ready to laugh, be inspired, and let My Abuela in Miami enrich your day with the currency of kindness. Let’s listen.
[02:32] Marly Q: So, just thank you so much for making the time to be kind today and just sharing some kindness and positive energy with me and our PARKers listening today. I’m just so happy to have you both on the line because I think you have such a beautiful story to share and I just kind of want to jump right into it. Who are Laverne and Chur-Lee? And how did My Abuela in Miami come to be?
[02:59] Monique: Well, first we want to say thank you for having us here because your ongoing spreading of kindness, you know, has always come from such a genuine place, and building relationships with our community, with our family with friends and so, that’s kind of very similar to what the inspiration was that started my and my grandma’s shenanigans of being Laverne and Chur-Lee. We just kind of wanted to celebrate joy and celebrate that it’s never too late to go have fun. We wanted to celebrate our community, you know, my grandma came from Cuba, and long story short, landed in New York City, and then became a resident of Hialeah for 45 years where my dad and his brothers were raised, and Hialeah, Florida is where me and my siblings were raised. And so, it’s a place that is, it’s such a part of our life story. You know, when it all started Marly?
[03:58] Marly Q: What was that? That’s what I want to get start with, what was that spark of inspiration that started these shenanigans?
[04:03] Monique: Well, it was my beautiful grandpa Charles Alvarez, grandma’s late husband, who passed December 2015. And I– you know, he lived such an amazing, amazing, great, long life, what a joyful life he lived and is in our hearts present every day. But I remember that when I went back to Miami, you know, when it happened, when grandpa passed, and I stayed with grandma, and that was our first Christmas together, starting our new journey really. And I remember sitting in grandma’s room and I slept over her house, and we sat there on the twin beds and grandma was next to me on her bed and I was sitting on the bed where grand pop used to sleep, and we looked at each other, and we said, “What now Laverne?”, and she goes, “I don’t know Chur-Lee.”, and we said we should go put some rollers in her hair and go have some scotch and ginger ale in the living room and watch some Laverne and Chur-Lee.
[05:10] Louise: Oh, my goodness, yes, you cannot put it any better.
[05:17] Marly Q: Oh, my goodness. Well, you started off by saying how, you know, the whole purpose of My Abuela in Miami series was to celebrate life and spread joy, and what a beautiful acknowledgment of that. And in that moment when there’s sadness and there’s grief, to be able to share that moment and that spark of just, joy and celebrating life, I am so inspired by that.
[05:40] Monique: So true, huh Grandma?
[05:42] Louise: Yes, that’s right. And Monique, this one inspired me because she’s such a great granddaughter, and this, doing what we did, it was some of fun, and at the same time, that was something that she wanted to do.
[06:02] Monique: And you know when it happened organically Marly, like it’s exactly what– it’s exactly what the three of– we’re saying the same thing but what you said about, you know, in a moment of grief is when we can find great joy, and we held on to each other, huh grandma? We said, we’re going to get through this together, and it gave us a reason to keep– because grand pop always liked celebrating life, you know, if there’s a problem, turn the music on and dance and deal with it, but dance, and we just, it was her– can I say the beginning of a new chapter in your life? Huh, Grandma?
[06:38] Louise: Yes. I will say yes, especially at my age.
[06:43] Marly Q: Well, I think what you just mentioned right now, Louise, you know, especially at your age, I think that many people that are listening, and that can relate with family members, whether it be their mom or their grandma, sometimes when they reach a certain age, they start to think you know, that they’re too old to start something new, maybe when there is death and passing they think that you know, “Am I ever going to find joy and happiness again? And you know, do I deserve to have this new chapter in my life?”, and that is super inspiring to me and it’s I’m not about your age, right?
[07:17] Louise: Yes, that’s right. I forgot about my age because of something that I was doing with my granddaughter that I love very much, and that was fun, and we accomplished everything we wanted to do. And I never thought that I can do it at my age, but I really enjoy it, and Monique was because of all that.
[07:37] Marly Q: If you don’t mind sharing, what is your age? Is that okay, if I ask directly?
[07:42] Louise: Well, I tell you, please, just between you and I–
[07:49] Monique: No Grandma, this is going on the air.
[07:52] Louise: Oh, this is going on the– Oh, my God, can I lie? Listen, I’m 91 years old.
[08:03] Marly Q: No, I don’t believe it.
[08:07] Louise: I don’t believe it myself and I’m very– if I can feel like I feel at this age, I think I can be 100 but don’t tell anybody please. Too late.
[08:26] Marly Q: I’m sorry I put you on the spot. But honestly, the reason what I did is because I feel that it is so awesome and inspiring. Sometimes, not everybody has a you know, the blessing and the privilege that Monique does to have a grandmother at your age that is such a positive role model at your age. Sometimes when we think of old people or our senior citizens, we think of you know, “Oh, the little old lady that’s, you know, like, in her house not doing anything.”
[08:55] Louise: No, no, no, no little old lady here.
[08:56] Marly Q: Exactly, and that’s why wanted to share it because it’s so important to have a positive role model and when I think of you know, who I would like to be like when I hit 91 years old, it’s going to be you, it’s going to be you Louise.
[09:13] Louise: Well, I don’t feel my age, I still have all my mind and everything. I think I am blessed in having to, at my age, doing what I did with Monique, it’s incredible, and I enjoyed every minute let me tell you.
[09:31] Monique: What we did– we decided to put on, I mean to take it back for a moment you said like, what inspired the concept of grandma and I running around making sketch comedy videos and funny videos, and it was you know, grandpa passed and then a few years, we just wanted to celebrate the moment, celebrate life. So, her showbiz, her entertainer came out and I would just be there next to her with my camera, on my iPhone, recording a lot of these hilarious moments and the most mundane things that we’d be doing around Miami, I would end up capturing and it would be a lot of fun.
So, then November of 2019, we decided that we were going to make a series of sketch comedy videos to celebrate exactly what grandma is saying, right? That saying, being young is a state of heart, it’s a state of mind, she can speak better to that than I can. But that really was this joie de vivre, this seizing the moment was really what inspired us to like, go make these sketch comedy videos and just to have some fun and shoot some funny stuff guerilla-style.
[10:45] Louise: And I tell you, I have never had so much fun that I did those five days, that’s what I can tell you. I was myself in, just, changing clothes in a room and running and doing so much in the middle of the street, she and I, dressed up. Let me tell you, oh my god, I have never had so much fun in my own life.
[11:12] Monique: What was the schedule? Do you remember what the schedule was like Grandma? We would wake up, it was serious work, we would wake up at 6AM, get ready, Marly’s, little sister, Melanie Quincoces was our cinematographer.
[11:23] Louise: Oh my gosh, she was great, that girl.
[11:27] Monique: And we would wake up at 6AM and get there highly 8:00, we’d be shooting till 6:00, 7:00, changing locations from the arts district to Hollywood Boulevard, you know–
[11:39] Louise: Running all over the place.
[11:42] Monique: Running everywhere. We would– what was that– like, I remember grandma woke up like on the third of our six shooting days, and she says, “I think I broke my toe but no matter, that’s okay. I can still walk, let’s keep having fun.”
[12:00] Louise: I have never had so much fun in my young age.
[12:05] Marly Q: I love that so much. How can people check out these videos and bring some spark of joy in their life today?
[12:13] Monique: Myabuelainmiami.com. And while she’s My Abuela, I will share my abuela with you, Louise Alvarez.
[12:22] Marly Q: Oh, I feel like she’s my abuela. She’s everybody’s abuela.
[12:27] Monique: Grandma, you know what was amazing? Marly, you know what we discovered along this journey? Because I just was like, “Grandma, you’re hilarious, you’re a comedian.”, and then she says, “Oh, well, you know, I used to act in New York, a bit.”, and then she revealed to me this in a sense, huh Grandma? This lifelong dream of being an entertainer.
[12:48] Louise: Yes, yes.
[12:50] Marly Q: So, were you inspired in a way because you know, your granddaughter, Monique is an actress and a producer, and story writer. So, how cool was it for you to have that experience all these years later, to have your granddaughter be the spark of you being able to kind of relive this dream that you had? How was that for you?
[13:11] Louise: Oh, incredible. First, I didn’t expect it, and you know, like everything came out, every day is very natural, we just went along, and the things that Monique did, and has helped me to do, that was incredible. I never thought I was going to stay in the middle of the street, stop the car and talk to Monique like, the people were looking at us, they were laughing, they were having fun. This was not work, this was fun from day one. So, I enjoyed every bit and Monique is the cause of all that because she was the one guiding us in like, I said, we were dancing in the middle of the street, on top of what was there, and the cars start honking because we were making noise and we start running.
[13:56] Monique: In Abuela’s 12 Days of Christmas starring Ryan Rodriguez, that made the cover of the Miami Herald, that was hilarious.
[14:04] Marly Q: That one, I truly enjoyed that video. I enjoyed that video greatly, being that I’m also Hialeah, and I know those streets, and Ryan Rodriguez is one of my very best friends as well. I truly enjoyed the 12 Days of Christmas, that was really fun. And now, you’re a star and you’re on my podcast, think kindness and positivity, and I’m so grateful. Is this your first zoom experience? Is this your first time being on a podcast interview?
[14:37] Louise: Oh, yes, yes. Well, I’ve been there but I was younger.
[14:41] Monique: She’s talking about the podcast now, Zoom.
[14:44] Marly Q: Yeah. So, right now, Louise, you are on a podcast which is going to be reaching an audience, potentially a worldwide audience, who will tune in and listen to this. In essence, it’s kind of like a radio station, if you will, but that you can listen to–
[14:59] Louise: Oh, I see. I understand what you’re saying. Yes, this is great.
[15:03] Marly Q: Yeah, so, you’re a guest on my podcast, and not only are you a guest on my podcast, you and Monique are my very first PARKners!
[15:15] Louise: Thank you so much to choose us to do that. I love it.
[15:23] Marly Q: Thank you for choosing me. And Monique, first, thank you, so much gratitude for you reaching out to me and supporting my podcast and supporting me and everything that I’ve done for all these years that we’ve known each other. I know that we are each other’s biggest fans and we support everything that we do. But this in particular, this podcast was a brand new and kind of scary venture for me. In essence, it was a calling that I decided to pursue, a dream, if you will, that I didn’t even know I had, is to start this podcast. So, when Monique reached out to me and offered to be our first sponsor for the podcast, it truly made me emotional and it brought me to tears and I’m not going to blame it on my pregnancy, it wasn’t hormone tears; it was true and genuine, just gratitude. So, I’m really thankful for your support and for you guys being this bonus episode where we get to share some fun and positivity with everybody listening.
[16:16] Louise: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. We are so happy that we can do that for you and for us because this moment too is incredible, and I have so much fun with Monique and I know that you’re very good friend of Monique. So, you know, whatever we can do.
[16:32] Monique: And, that’s exactly it. It’s– I remember when you first told me about wanting to do this podcast and it was something that would be a real adventure to take on, right? You get on that boat and you have your compass, but you’re not really sure what you’re going to find along the way, and then you go anyway. I just think that it’s amazing. Just the word kindness, right? And the mission of spreading kindness. What better way to communicate that than through people’s individual stories and how they’re doing that, how they are living the spreading of kindness through what they do and in different ways. I think when anyone just follows their calling, that is spreading love, anything that is coming from a place of love, gives love, you know. You be the light; you spark the light in others. To me, your podcast and the spreading of kindness is what I feel grandma does in these videos too. She’s sharing her love; it just brings joy to one’s heart and we could use a lot of that these days.
[17:30] Louise: You cannot put it any better way.
[17:33] Marly Q: In these times that we’re experiencing worldwide, this health crisis, this time of quarantine, so many of us, are quarantine maybe at home with our families, but some of us are quarantined alone, and I know that you’re quarantined alone, and I’d love to hear just your experience as to how you are keeping yourself positive during this time.
[17:55] Louise: Well, first of all, I hear from my kids every day, the three of them call me. And I got involved because of my sister, soap operas, and believe it or not, that all I’m doing, watching all day, and they and so nice. And so, that made me forget what’s going on because I’m happy, I’m usually happy anyway, but listen for my kids every day and watching these soap operas, I don’t need anything else.
[18:26] Marly Q: The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’m just so grateful that we’re having this conversation right now because some people have a practice of keeping their mental health healthy, right? And I think you have, the reason that it sounds that it comes so naturally to you is because you have a practice of keeping your mental health healthy. And for those people listening who may not have an aware or a purposeful practice of keeping themselves mentally healthy, I think that what you shared is very important, is asking or making it known that you know what? Phone calls throughout the day from people that you love and care about you is really important to mental health, would you agree?
[19:07] Louise: Right. Yes. Oh, definitely. And watching something nice is nice too. I don’t want to listen to the news, I watch the soap opera, they’re very funny, they’re very nice. And like I said, I’m pretty positive, I have to be, and as long as I hear from my kids, I’m fine.
[19:24] Monique: And people could also watch you in some funny videos on My Abuela in Miami.
[19:30] Marly Q: Exactly. That’s exactly right, that’s why this is being offered as a bonus episode in my podcast so that while people are quarantined, while people are maybe consuming more negative news, and they should, here’s an opportunity to have a spark of kindness, to have a spark of positivity and to watch something that’s going to make you laugh, because laughing is healthy for you.
[19:53] Monique: And I love that people can take this and what I love about your podcast is that anyone can be the spark, people can take and they can be the spark that ignites joy and kindness in the hearts of someone they love just by maybe picking up the phone and saying, “Hey, how you doing? Let’s FaceTime, let’s WhatsApp, let’s make a home video, let’s use our iPhones, let’s express ourselves.”. It’s amazing because anyone can make a positive contribution.
To be a PARKner feels like a no brainer. I mean, for companies, individuals, organizations, entities, to be able to sponsor positive programming, that’s just the direction that we’re headed in, and it makes such a huge impact on a person to person level. So, I’m so happy that we got to join forces.
[20:41] Marly Q: Thank you both so much. I’m giving you a big, big virtual hug from our virtual living room here where we are together. Thank you for making the time to be kind today. Thank you for sponsoring our podcast and bringing– being that light and that spark of joy for everyone listening today. Big hugs.
[20:59] Monique: Right on. Thank you for having us.
[21:01] Louise: Okay. Bye-bye.
That was so much fun. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did!
To connect with My Abuela in Miami just visit marlyq.com/8 for this episode’s show notes with the links to connect with My Abuela, and watch the 12 Days of Christmas video and others which will surely spark laughter and make you want to adopt My Abuela too.