Thursday, October 2, 2008


Lately, my father's native country has been consuming my every thought. My every day dream. I cannot stop Wikipedia-ing names and places. My Google toolbar automatically reads Nicaragua when I type the letter "n". I have seen thousands upon thousands of pictures via photo sites like Google Images and Flickr, taken by travellers, activists, artists. And my mind will not stop racing: Why haven't I been there yet? Why do I still not know Spanish? Why did my dad choose that knowing English alone was better than my being bilingual? These questions will not stop, but it's not like this is the first time I have had one these "episodes". Every few months I get this kick where all I can focus on is getting to Nicaragua, and when the right time to go would be, or if it would be better to go on a trip with friends and family or a program? Would it be emotional for me? If I went with a program, would I want the others to know the history of my family in Nicaragua?

And that's where my emotions dive deep into murky, dark waters and I come out and gasp for air. I decide I will think about it later. And then later turns into this all over again. Right now, I am wrestling with mind all over again. This time is different though. I have taken it a step further. I am pushing my doubts, my shame and my pride to the back of my head and I am doing something. I have researched and Googled and website-hopped for the last 24 hours and I think my mind and my heart have finally come to an agreement: I am going to Nicaragua as soon as it is academically and financially possible. To determine whether it will be an internship, a volunteering expedition, or a strictly academic excursion, I am compiling a list of links- a long list of links. Slowly, I will go through these links and cut the ones that do not give me "that feeling". I hope to come out with a few options, apply and pray. And pray like I have never done before. I obviously can wrap my head around this process.

But, then my heart starts beating and I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I am still ashamed. I don't even know what I am ashamed of, really. I loathe the fact that I don't speak Spanish. I am both embarrassed and hurt by this daunting fact. I remember lying in my bed as a little girl and not being able to fall asleep, so I would start praying about two specific things to a God that I was pretty sure existed: the first, begging God that He existed because in all my heart I really wanted Him to; the second, praying that I could wake up the next morning and be fluent in Spanish. That is the kind of longing and hurt that is embedded in me. I have no idea why I care so much about it. I just do. So, when I start thinking about taking on a trip to a country where I would be ashamed to claim ancestry to because I have no personal proof (because anyone will tell you that I don't look like your stereotypical Latina), I feel sick and anxious. In many ways, it would be easier to let everyone assume that I was some upper-middle-class-white-girl from California going to some expensive, private, Christian university in Seattle that just happens to have a heart from Central America. If I were to do this, I would not have to explain my terrible Spanish, nor would I have to reveal that I am closely related to the grossly unpopular Somoza lineage. It would be easy, yes. But, could I do it? Probably not. It would be such a misrepresentation of the life that I have experienced and the life that I continue to lead. It would be deceitful, but most of all it would be ridiculously difficult for me. My whole nineteen years of life have been semi-obsessed with my heritage. So, what makes me the most anxious, I guess, is the fact that I know that I will have to be truthful and deal with the embarassament and shame and judgement- oh the judgement. To be completely truthful, though, it would be worth the uncomfortable situations and I now feel incredibly at peace with the idea of going, and coming back and sharing my stories.

Absolutely nothing can change my mind at this point because it's not longer my choice. Now, it's God pulling me and pushing me and forcing me to follow His plan.


1 comment:

Catty said...

This is something you have to do. As daunting and scary as it may be, you have to go. You have to see the sights, hear the sounds, smell the smells of where part of you exist. I do not think one can truly know themselves without first seeing where their blood began. This is a journey you must take, and you must take it alone.

I love you, and I'm praying for this!