Can you ever really come back home again?
It is hard for me to let my guard down, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. I am fiercely independent and I value this immensely. I also, up until this moment in my life, have not wanted to sacrifice my own desires to compromise with another person. But fight it as I might, I have fallen for someone and that means letting go a little.
My Aunt Dawn Marie recently said, “Kate, I hope you start blogging about the two of you.” I thought, ‘Oh man, why would I do that?!’ How silly and cheesy. Maybe it is. But then I thought, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ In fact, my blog is a place to share my experiences. Right now, it’s about sharing my experiences from El Salvador and my relationship with this person has influenced my time here. Immensely. Also, I wanted to write something to let him know that he is special to me. Is that a bad?
Chris was just here visiting me. Well his family and me. He is from El Salvador, but left for the United States when he was 18-years-old. He had not been back here in about 7 years, I believe. So this was a big deal for him and I knew that. I watched his emotions as he saw people and places he had not seen in years, with new eyes.
We visited Chris’s old neighborhood in Soyapango- his school, his house. We ate his favorite Salvadoran food. I met a lot of his family. It was great to share all of this with him. He had told me a lot about the country before I left. He has good memories of his childhood here. So even before he came, I saw him in a lot of what I was seeing and experiencing.
He told me so much has changed. His neighborhood is more dangerous, more impacted by gangs. The U.S. influence is more apparent in the higher prices and international businesses that have replaced traditional Salvadoran ones. Friends and family have grown up, gotten married, gotten sick.
I watched Chris face all of this overwhelming change, watched him take in everything that was once so familiar. He has changed too. Still, he tells me, this is home. On his last day we were at his Aunt’s house where he was saying good-bye to a family member who is very sick and he will probably never see again. He was staring out of the open front door of the house with the sun on his face. I asked him what he was thinking and he told me “I don’t want to leave.”
Now I would be completely egotistical if I thought this response was only for me. Yes he would miss me, but I knew he was going to miss all of it. This is the land of his roots, his language. The events that passed here helped shape him. We all know ‘home’ has a significant impact. Whether the thought of home brings happy memories, anger or sadness, it is powerful. It has a way of moving us and making us feel vulnerable in a way nothing else can.
I can’t understand all the emotions he felt or what it must be like to have to leave your country and all you know for a better life. I mean I am still adjusting and I am only going to be here for 6 months. I will go back home. But Chris knew when he left that he wasn’t going to come back again to live.
This is what is beautiful about life. We connect with people from different worlds and we learn from them. We fall in love with them.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know we have this. This experience. I hope he knows how much I care for him. I respect him. That’s not cheesy. That’s real.
I know my Aunt Dawn reads my blog. She is one of my few avid readers. Thank you for the suggestion. He also always reads my blog so, te amo mi amor.