(Top Left: Abuelo Coco in the military; Top Right: Abuelo Samuel as a handsome young man; Bottom Left: Abuelita Jercia as a young mother; Top Right: Abuelita Ely and Myself in 2011 ).
It is a cloudy Thursday afternoon and I can finally breathe, be lazy and relax. For a few weeks now I’ve been wanting to write this post but could not find the time or the right words to piece it all together.
The entire time spent in Spain now seems like a blur. I try to remember everything Brianne and I experienced there; truthfully, now it all feels like a dream, distant memories that will be re-lived through the million pictures I snapped. Being there reminded me that I have so much more to feel, live and see. Walking through Sevilla’s streets my past and baggage were never an issue; I felt like I could start fresh, not knowing anyone there but my dear friend Brianne. It was a relief to not know what we would do that day expect go to class, the rest was all up to us. I felt like I had actual control over my life, not being tied down to a work schedule, or having to run errands, or having to pay bills. etc. As the days and weeks went by, anxiety kicked in and I was feeling too free and careless. My “American” mentality decided to wander my mind and I was drifting away from the dream I was still in. I began thinking of my friends and family back in the U.S. and my dad and sister in Chile and I felt sad for not having them there with me. I started thinking about work and school; I was not allowing myself to fully enjoy the experience. In the many nights that insomnia kicked in, tossing and turning in those hot Spanish summer nights; I thought to myself “I am in Spain!”. I repeatedly reminded myself that I was in Europe, having an amazing experience I never thought it would be possible. I also thought of all the times that I stopped myself from pursuing something because I was too scared to do it or say it. When I came back from having met amazing people and seen amazing places, I didn’t think things had changed back at home
Driving down Jupiter Road in East Plano ( my usual back-street route to get anywhere), I passed 14th Street and immediately noticed the cemetery I drive by everyday and night going to and coming back from work. It had been a week since I had been back from Spain and just now I was noticing that the cemetery seemed fuller. For the oddest reason, I got extremely sad thinking that I had been having an amazing time abroad while people here died. It might seem like an absurd thought but that thought made my heart sink and I felt sick. That moment made me appreciate all that I lived even more, never having truly grasped the concept of death and how close we are to it.
I remember growing up and being terrified of cemeteries. The only times I would go in a cemetery were with my grandma Jercia. My dad and I would take a bus to Quillota to visit her and she would drag me to the cemetery with her to leave bouquets of flowers on my grandfather Coco’s grave. I would never be scared going with her; she would hold my hand and tell me stories about my grandpa. As the years passed, I would go holding my dad’s hand to visit my grandmother’s grave. She was my everything growing up and when she passed away that was the first time that I understood the concept of death. Many times in Spain I thought of her, how happy she would be for me and how incredible it would have been to share those moments by her side. I also thought a lot about both of my grandfathers, abuelito Samuel and abuelito Coco, for they parted when I was four years old. I always tell my mom that it would have been a true honor to grow up by their sides. I would have loved to have intellectual conversations with my abuelito Coco as he was always so serious yet so sweet to his grand kids. It would have been incredible to sit with my abuelito Samuel and talk about all his projects and ideas as he was a man that barely made it through middle school yet had many successful businesses and entrepreneurship adventures. And how could I forget my abuelita Ely? Thank god she is still alive and making me laugh with her adorable anecdotes. Ely made all my childhood summers in Quitratue unforgettable, filled with laughter, music, amazing home-made meals and teaching me about our family.
And so I finish this post by dedicating it to my ancestors, the men and the women who shaped and molded my parents, and without them I would be no one. Coming back from Spain I realized that even though I am young I am closer to death and I will live my life accordingly; making my grandparents and parents proud and still seeing the places I want to see with the people that matter the most to me in life. And so I see travels ahead, perhaps South America, where I will see a dearly beloved friend. I see a successful college graduation in the Spring with a hard path to find a job, but time will allow me to pursue my dreams….
“With the courteous bow of another generation, he walked down the steps and off into the obliterating moonlight” -F. Scott Fitzgerald (“At Your Age”).