I got an email this morning from my mom with a link to a video. My mom is constantly sending me links to videos, articles, and the sort about Venezuelan news. This one was a group of reporters and news people from Globovision, singing a song to Venezuela. At the end, one of them says “and here we continue, and we will never leave, because our commitment is with Venezuela”. I teared up a bit. Because of all the injustice occurring in Venezuela, it’s not hard for me to tear up. But something that always hits home for me, is to be reminded that I left, that I’m not there fighting the fight. And because my parents retired, sold their house, and now live in Miami, I don’t really have a home to go back to and visit. I haven’t been back to Caracas since July 2010.
As we were driving out of a parking garage this weekend, I got the sense I was exiting el Sambil, and it hit me, I miss Caracas. I miss the people, the city, the weather, el Avila, the food, just being there. It’s a little unsettling not knowing when and if I will go back. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t really have anywhere to stay, and since my immediate family is here, I rather spend my time and money visiting them in New York or Miami.
I’ve lived abroad plenty of times before. I’ve missed my country when I was away and missed New York, when I was back in Caracas. But since there is no return date this time, the longing and missing feels a little more permanent. And the guilt of not being there to help, to fight, to make things better, really stings sometimes.
As we celebrated Memorial Day this weekend, and we thought about those who fought and still are fighting for this country (agree you with the fight or not), I think about how I left and how a part of me feels like I let my country down, and now I live in a country in which I will always be a foreigner, an outsider, not because I can’t blend in, but because it just doesn’t feel like home.
Happy Memorial Day. And thank you to all of you who fight the fight, who stand up for your country, who don’t leave, and who make it possible for someone like me to leave my country and live here safely.