Venezuela, my soul, my heart... I am Venezuelan, I look Venezuela, I might sound American, I might be very bi-cultural, but I wouldn´t be me without my yellow, blue and red flag waving inside of me at all times. Some of you might have read in the news all that is happening here, if you have, you might not understand this blog... because how can a person living here can see the colors of the rainbow and believe in Unicorns?!?! Well we do exist, hard to believe but we pull though!!
We are living the worst time of our history, politically, economically and socially. A journalist from the NY Times described our economy as the first time he has seen war economy in a country that is not in war. Our president you can say is a Dictator, corruption is ridiculous, we are the unsafest city in the world... about 70 dead per weekend, basic salary is $30 a month... this is not a typo, it is really 30... inflation is at about 900% per year, scarcity is unimaginable.... people have to wait in line for hours to buy basic goods such as milk, flour, rice, bread, eggs, chicken, diapers... and to those of us who will not stand in those lines.... well we pay ten times what is worth to what we call ¨bachaqueros¨ which are the people that do the line, buy the goods at a fixed price and then resell it to people like me.
Things like having to drive armored cars were something that I resisted to a couple of months ago, I simply didn´t want to accept it, it was absurd, uncomfortable, expensive. Now I thanks God that we are of the lucky few that at least have some sense of protection when out and about, and at least I can take my thirteen year old to a party (when they have one) and not feel we are tempting fate. Still, there is no going out freely, you have to think twice about were you are going... and in a city of 10 million people, not hearing a car after 9pm in the streets is sad, unnerving!
So in the middle of all this, in a country were we prouded ourselves that we were not inmigrants, Venezuelans lived in Venezuela, and we would go study abroad for a masters degree and come back because this was the place were we belonged in this planet. Now our friends are leaving, many many have already left, our youth has left, and our Universities which for years were of the best in the world don´t have the quality professors we once had, because they have also left. And so here I stand, my husband has his company here, a lot of heart, sweat and effort invested there, and it is what puts the bread on our table... should we close up and go? be a stranger in another land? Sometimes I feel that we were left alone here, but no, there are still some brave people that have stayed in spite of all odds, hoping, wishing, and believing that we still own our country and that we will get it soon back. To make everything harder if we were in our 30s we would leave, if we were starting life, or ending it, if we didn´t have the house we have, pr the job we have, if our children were grown up, maybe so too.... but the decision we make now will forever change their lives.
I want my girls to belong anywhere in this world, but as Venezuelans!! I want them to love this place, their family, their roots. I want them to be loud, fun, quick with words, savvy, fun, colorful, cheerful, I want them to live in houses were we don´t need AC because our weather is perfect, I want them to grow up woth their cousins and grandparents 10 minutes away, I want them to know Sunday is family day where there are no other plans than lunch with family, I want them to be different, and the upside of leaving in these era in Venezuela, is that they will be strong women, capable of solving problems with creativity, possitive because they will know that anything is possible, responsible for their own happiness! Responsible for how they choose to live their lives!
So when I feel as falling into the deep... I look at them, and hold on just a bit more, Try to make things normal inside our house, have Friday night movies and popcorn, make this place a safe haven and show them that we can be happy anywhere, that this is their country, that our government does not represent us. And as I always think the last 15 years in Venezuela have been its worst... but during this years I have been the happiest of all my life, I became a MOM, the mom of three pretty amazing girls, I have made a home, we have laughed, and cried, and their childhoods have been happy. It´s then when I just look up, thanks God and just smile. We´ll keep writing our story one day at a time!