Memories of home: the dream and reality of coming back

With my mom and my dad, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 1992.

“In a way, the destiny of the immigrant is to always be missing somebody, wherever you are.”

Jasmine Garsd

I came back to live in Santa Cruz after 16 years because, ever since I left, I was trapped by a feeling of being uprooted, a feeling that never left my side. No matter how much I tried I felt out of place. I was not able to identify myself with anything. Everything was foreign. With the few things that were mine, I felt the need to watch over them with ferocity, it was as if the consolation of my uprootedness was to protect and appreciate the few things I got left (my language, my culture, my memories). It was hard to share my life with other people. With the exception of the ones I loved. I did not share myself with sincerity with anybody, for the fear of loosing myself in the life of other people, of loosing myself in unfamiliar places, for the fear of distancing myself from the memories of the place where I grew up. How wrong I was, that was going to be inevitable––my futile effort to avoid it blinded me.

Opinion Writing

Surviving the United States

Two years after arriving a snowstorm lasted two weeks, that was one of the longest winters my sisters and I had lived through until then. Virginia, USA December 2009

I am I and my circumstance; and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself.

José Ortega y Gasset

The circumstances that forces a family, or a person, to emigrate can vary. In my case, the circumstances that led my life to go from being in Bolivia to being in the U.S. didn’t make much sense. It would take me years to unravel that mess and understand why my family decided to emigrate.

At that time the idea I heard, from adults, before traveling; it was that life is better there, that you are going to live with your dad. The only thing I came to understand from those words was that there was an immense expectation, the anticipation was all around me. No one sat down to explain to me what did they mean by ‘life is better there‘? or why would we stop living with Mom?