Friday, June 26, 2009
roots pt 1
"Where are you from?" is the question I'm faced with constantly. There was a point where I got so sick of the question I have been willing to settle with "Filipino" because of sheer laziness, but I won't. When I'm in the mood for fun I respond "guess," challenging them to guess the impossible (only one person has ever guessed correctly by the way). Other times, I get "which side do you relate to most?" which can be a tad more difficult to answer until now. I am both Guatemalan and Vietnamese, both cultures have a wealth to offer despite having suffered much. Along my journeys my path has crossed with people who are proud to be Guatemalan/Vietnamese, who love the lands they call beautiful, which I can attest to because indeed beauty is one thing I have witnessed in both countries. Our most important resource, water, is "not safe" to drink in either of the two and it is bothersome to constantly have to buy bottled water (2L for less than $1) that I now know not many can do. My dad has told me this before and I know now that I have been fortunate enough to have been born in the U.S. and the opportunities I have been able to latch on to and take advantage of here I probably could not have found elsewhere.
I did not imagine myself writing about Guatemala from Vietnam, but it would make sense that once you step away from something it's much easier to view, observe, and criticize it. Going to Guate and drawing in every experience is in a sense...more rewarding because communication is not a problem. From what I have lived and known in my short 21 years Latinos are generally kick ass hosts; when I was in high school I realized this after visiting friends' homes to work on projects and analyzing how we would be welcome versus the way my mother approached the situation. And situation it certainly was, you see I was slightly embarrassed of my mother and her personality when it came to having people over. After I had friends over in high school I was left stunned when my mother turned out to be, as friends say, a pretty rockstar host. She goes all the way to ensure we're fed and have everything we need. My grandparents are the same as well, it just took me a while to actually realize. Now what I am not saying is that every culture is void of a certain charm as a host, simply that los Guatemaltecos flourish as hosts from my experience. A part of me feels like I have missed out and should have spent even more time in Guatemala. Finca de Ixobel was gorgeous, I would have loved to have been able to make that six week commitment asked of volunteers (they provide housing & food. Although I don't miss the packed chicken buses, bumpy roads, sticky political state, or lack of decent vegetarian food & vegetables for that matter...good fruit though. But I also can't really complain, the rest of the summer is looking to be action packed especially now that Nicaragua is confirmed with USFT. This brings the total to six countries in one summer, not bad eh?
One goal I'm thinking of adopting is filling up my passport before it expires in 2014. I've got my eyes set on South America for next summer and hopefully a travel mate to share experiences with...