Venezuela

I’ve lived out of my country for over a decade, but on a daily basis phrases like these will come out of my mouth when speaking to my husband: “babe, in my country people party until 6am,” or “I used to listen to Shakira when I was in my country,” or “we eat our Arepas like this in my country,” and the list goes on. My husband constantly reminds me, in a joking manner that “babe, this is America.”

When I speak of MY country I’m referring to Venezuela. No matter where I am now or where I have lived in the past, Venezuela is and will always be MY country; it’s where I was born, and it’s where my heart is from.

My husband always jokes that he forgets where I’m from until he hops in my car and Franco De Vita is on full blast…well, he doesn’t know who Franco De Vita is, he just says “Mexican music,” because it’s the Mexican music station that plays all my favorite Latin music artists. I laugh.

Every night before bedtime as I get my daughter ready for bed and massage her little legs I sing to her “Clavelito Colorado,” by Simón Díaz; the same song my mother used to sing to me when I was a little girl growing up in MY country. I also sing to her “con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belen, con mi burrito sabanero voy camino de Belen…” and “Los pollitos dicen pio, pio, pio,” sneaks in there on a daily basis. I talk to my little half Korean baby girl in Spanish every day, and my whole body is transported to MY country.

On Sundays after church I make Arepas at home. I make them like my mom used to make them when I lived in MY country.

I often visit the Venezuelan restaurant in Santa Ana, and upon entering everything is “epa chama!” and besitos and abrazos, and I stare at the pictures on the wall and I know those beaches and hills. I know those little colorful houses and streets. Those are the pictures of MY country. I’m overtaken, in that restaurant, by the smell of MY country.

And so, when I log in to FB and read feed after feed of what is happening in MY country, I can’t help but feel compelled to say something too…and then I get scared. I get scared because I’m HERE and they are THERE. And, my emotions get jumbled.

For the past few days some very intense political unrest has taken over MY country. A peaceful student protest against the military/socialist regime turned deadly and since, people are determined to receive justice and not just for the innocent deaths, but for everything that needs to change in MY country. I see feeds on FB with minute-to-minute updates. I see pictures posting “live” from the site shots. I see articles and comments. People are asking…no begging…for support, for change, for peace. Venezuela has never been the same since Chavez took power, and now with Maduro it’s in rapid decline. Those students were protesting not just for themselves, but for the future of a country that is still MY country. They got shot.

I sit here in the PEACE of my quiet room. My princess daughter sleeping. My husband out to dinner with friends. My life so quiet. My parents immigrants to another country. My best friends gone too. Those who remain, my cousins, my aunts, my extended network of high-school friends and childhood friends all marching, there, in the warmth of those streets, tweeting, texting, FBing, calling out on all accounts for someone to listen. I know I’m comfortable. I know I’m far. I know I’m blessed. I know I can’t truly understand. But I’m listening. And I’m sad. I’m so sad in my core that since Wednesday I’ve felt a heavy load. I’ve come to tears in private several times thinking of the students who died, because of what they represent, because it takes death.

I left Caracas when I was 17 years-old and always thought I’d return for good but never did; just to visit. For many years I cried myself to sleep because of MY country: I cried because I missed my family. I cried because of a broken heart. I cried because I missed la playa. I cried because I missed my friends. I cried because I felt like a stranger everywhere – misplaced. I cried because my childhood memories had been erased by violence and with every Juan Luis Guerra song that played on the radio, I cried.

It feels like it took a lifetime to heal from all of what felt to me like a great loss.

But loosing Venezuela is NOT an option. To think of what a rich and beautiful place it is brings my whole chest to rise with a great sigh. And those who are there, on the streets, mobilized, armed with strength, are my heroes. And I’m sitting here, fingers and toes crossed, that they don’t give up. I want my daughter to know the smell of that tropical rain. I want her to hear the sea of crickets at night. I want her to feel the music in her bones, las maracas, el tambor, that she can know that side of the ocean and she can understand where I’m from.

Venezuela.

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73 thoughts on “Venezuela

  1. Thank you for putting into words what has been in my mind and didn’t know quite how to express. 🎶Llevo tu luz y tu aroma en mi piel, y el cuatro en el corazón….🎶

    • Luisa – Casi agrego las letras de esa canción pero pense que con Los Pollitos Dicen, Burrito Sabanero, y Clavelito Colorado, ya la mitad de la audiencia no tendría ni idea de que estaba diciendo 🙂 Pero esa canción de Venezuela es una de mis favoritas…

  2. This is beautiful! In 1983 I spent some time in Venezuela. I hold a special place in my heart for this wonderful country. I also pray that the people do not give up; Venezuela is too beautiful to be lost to oppression and fear.

    • Deborah – Thank you for your comment. I love when people say they have visited. You will never truly know what it’s like unless you do 😉 What was your favorite part that you remember? Ps – I was just 2 years old when you were there…And yes, “too beautiful to be lost to oppression and fear.”

      • [Deborah – Thank you for your comment. I love when people say they have visited. You will never truly know what it’s like unless you do 😉 What was your favorite part that you remember? Ps – I was just 2 years old when you were there…And yes, “too beautiful to be lost to oppression and fear.”] AREPAS CARNE MECHADA!!! I loved the beauty of the country and people. They were so friendly and welcoming when I was there. Many of the people that I met were eager to keep up contact when I had to return to the US. I wish there had been a Facebook back then! We probably would still all be in contact with each other. I have many friends here that are Venezuelan, and they, too are so friendly and warm.

      • Ummm carne mechada! que rico! My favorite food is: Chupe and Polvorosa de Pollo. Have you had? Yes, I think Venezuelans have always had this love of people and adventure. We are a fun culture and value friendships. FB is a blessing because we can stay connected and more so now!

  3. I could not find your name…just to call you by yours, but whoever you are…we got the same feelings. I left OUR country 24 years ago and never went back…different reasons. I am sure many of us that live abroad feel the same…homesick syndrome. Thanks for sharing. Sheyla

    • Hi Sheyla – My name is Natalia ❤ 24 years is a long time, but I keep saying I've been in the US for 9, and it's been more like 11! I feel like one day I will say "I've been here for 40 years" and it will feel like yesterday was when I left because I have such deep and distinct memories of my life back HOME. Thanks for your comment and for reading my post.

  4. Gracias por este mensaje tan lindo. Yo también soy venezolana pero llevo 10 años viviendo en Oklahoma. Todo lo que escribiste es exactamente como me siento en estos momentos. Hasta me hiciste llorar. Gracias por el blog.

    • Que linda Diana, gracias por leerlo. No puedo creer la cantidad de gente que lo leyó. Lo escribí calladita con lagrimas en los ojos, me alegra que pude transmitirte mi corazón y que también sientes lo mismo. Nunca he estado en Oklahoma…que tal?

  5. Es bueno que estes a salvo, pero desde lejos te pedimos que si, por favor, de alguna manera, puedes ayudarnos, esparciendo la palabra haciendo saber a las personas que pasa aqui porque los medio de comunicacion normales nos han abandonado, estas haciendo algo por tu pais.

    • Gracias Jan Carlos, te agradezco que digas eso, porque la mitad del tiempo me siento inútil. Pero si, los medios de comunicación están full justo ahora con noticias verídicas de lo que pasa alla, por fin!

  6. Me has conmovido con tus palabras, se que lo haces de corazón, porque Venezuela, se lleva en el alma como una hija.
    Estamos enfrentando tiempos difíciles que esperamos que pronto terminen.
    No dejen de orar por nosotros.

  7. Chama you made me cry like a baby… I guess almost every Venezuelan immigrant feels the same. I felt so identified with your post that I thought “I couldn’t say it better”. Venezuela was (and I think it still is) a great country, it’s just that we were taken by the wrong hands. I feel exactly like you when you talk about the music, some artists, some songs (a lot of them) brings me back to my childhood in an amazing country where I grew up incredibly happy surrounded by the Caribbean sea, el Ávila and the smell of our typical food. Venezuela was the paradise on earth and to see what’s happening right now breaks my heart. Let’s pray for the change in our country. God bless those who are fighting for the change!

    • Oh Ariana – I know. It’s hard not to get nostalgic when listening to the music that made us so happy when we were younger. I’m a total 90’s baby and 90’s “Venezuelan” music was AMAZING haha…and the Avila…my mom always talks about El Avila. I miss the mountain. Thanks for leaving a comment and reading my post. I’m right there with you.

  8. I read this and it is the same way i feel
    I am with you and you may me cried. I am out of MY counter but my family and my heart is always there!!

  9. We almost had the same life…and now we share the same feelings. I hope one day I can show my little girls all the beautiful things Venezuela has to offer. I hope things change this time….I really hope so. Gracias por escribir este articulo!

    • Claudia – So many of us, I find, have had similar experiences. I feel like OUR parents really fought for us to go out and see the world. I think many of them hoped we would become GREAT people that could come back and FIX things…only they didn’t expect things to turn so sour. I think I felt angry for so long because I didn’t have the guts to go back and make changes, because the day to day was so hard, and future seemed dull for young people. Now I really pray that those who are there will be brave enough that one day we can go back and thank them.

  10. Thank you !! This article that by now is mostlikely going viral totally represents thousands of us living outside of OUR country.. Thank you for writing it! Another Venezuelan living outside of my country

  11. I RELATE TO EVERYTHING. It makes me so angry that they are there and I am here and all I can do is share as much as I can, but I wish I was fighting for MY country.

  12. Natalia, tus sentimientos los compartimos muchos alrededor del mundo. Y sí, te escribo esto en español, porque esa es el idioma de NUESTRO país Venezuela. Tus lágrimas son NUESTRAS lágrimas, tu dolor es NUESTRO dolor, tu amor a VENEZUELA es NUESTRO AMOR. Dios te bendiga y nos permita un día regresar a nuestra tierra amada!!!

    • Si prima – ya lo se. “nuestra tierra amada” podría haber sido el titulo de este blog post también. Pensé escribirlo en Español pero en parte quiero que la gente de ESTE país entienda lo que esta pasando allá. Las noticias son tan confusas. Te quiero! Gracias por leerlo.

  13. Me siento igual. Me fui a los 15. Nunca regresé. Tengo 2 hijas pequeñas. Toda la familia allá y casi ni las conocen por el miedo de esta sombra negra que ha tapado a nuestro país por 15 años. Lloro como tú. Rezo como tú. Cruzo los dedos como tú. Tengo esperanza como tú.

    • Que bella Vero, me dieron escalofríos leyendo tu msg. Es demasiado fuerte la separación, y es como si en Ingles soy una y en Español soy otra. Sobre todo cuando tuve a mi chiquita que apenas tiene 5 meses, wow, que fuerte la primera vez que le empece a hablar en Español, me sentí extraña al principio, y luego ya no puedo parar…me di cuenta que llevo muchos anos expresando amor en otro idioma pero fue un gran despertar de cariño poder expresarlo en mi idioma natal. No se cual fue tu experiencia con eso. Que lindo dos chiquitinas…esto cambiara por ellas!

  14. Pingback: Venezuela | starmixjourney

  15. Hello there! We have open an international petition so everyone around the world support the Venezuelan cause condemning the atrocities of the illegitimate government. Please sign and share! goo.gl/hd3yDn

    Cheers

  16. Those who live away like you can help by spreading the word in every social media, as you must now know we are passing trough a media blackout, fighting in the streets and we truly appreciate the effort and the help of every venezuelan brother and sister in a foreign country. Venezuela is carry on the heart and the skin no matter where you are and now the way you have to help is letting the people all over the world knows the true about our situation, thank you for care and help. God bless you and your family, we are going to keep fighting for all venezuelans can visit and enjoy this beautiful country again. We are fighting for people like your daughter, so she can love this country as you love it, so she can feel it and enjoy it.

    • Desiree – Yes. I can see that social media has really RISEN up for Venezuela. Many many people are being present and sharing stories. There is so much controversy abroad. Here in the US there is so many mix messages. It’s sad, but I’m glad that through FB and Twitter, people are starting to open their eyes to what is really happening there. Thank you for sharing!

  17. You just captured my exact feelings. I hope that one day our children will get to see Caracas as we did and fall in love with her as well. God I miss it.

    • Thanks so much Gigi. I miss it too so much. I feel like I can taste the rain and smell the cachapas cooking anytime I think about Venezuela. It’s like I miss it from the deepest place in my heart.

  18. As a Venezuelan woman living in California I feel your pain. All the memories of growing up, having tequeños for breakfast, listening to gaitas around Christmas, learning to dance salsa and merengue with our high school friends are memories that make all of the events happening back home so painful.

    All I can do from here is repost videos or share someone’s FB status, or post a news article. But it’s our brothers and sisters that are suffering. We might not have the same parents, but we are all children of our mother Venezuela. All I can do is cry and pray to God that he will protect our people.

    • What I would give to have tequeños and Frescolita right now! (even though I’m gluten-free lol and even saying that feels like a luxury – who was ever gluten-free back home eh?) I miss the gaitas too! Christmas was so special always. And salsa?! Merengue?! que rico! I completely understand how you feel. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I can relate so much with your message. Like you, I miss MY country every single day. And even though I live in Panama and the culture is similar, we are far away from HOME. I always talk to my kids about Venezuela and it hurts terribly that they cannot see the place where I grew up. All my family is still there and I fear for their safety everyday. But most of all I feel guilty and disconnected because I know they are going through such a historically rough time and in the meantime I’m here, comfortable and well fed and missing them and wanting to go through everything with them as well. So hard, so very hard. Thanks for sharing and let’s pray all our kids will be able to know OUR country for what it was, and for what it could be very, very soon…

    • Anabella – DITTO. I feel you! I really understand. I wanted so badly to express how I felt, but felt so guilty too because we are in such a different world. I have dear friends in Panama too, you probably know them 😉 I’m so happy you read my blog, thank you, and yes, it’s OUR country and the change needs to happen. I remember my mom showing me a little bottle of olive oil that costs over $10 and it was the size of my hand…that was the day I knew something was truly messed up over there. Ever since I’ve been praying and hoping that things change. I feel like somehow everything that’s happening now IS that change…and social media has never been stronger.

  20. Beautifully written! We’re going to make it. I’m a young Venezuelan in the US. I so want to go back, but with each year, it seems like that dream keeps moving further and further away. I’m just like you, fingers and toes crossed, hoping that our people keep fighting. Best of wishes, and makes sure your daughter learns real good Spanish (Venezuelan Spanish).

    • Hahaha Nelson, I love the “real good Spanish (Venezuelan Spanish)” comment, because it’s true that it does sound different. She will definitely have that special accent. I feel the same way that you do. Every year I feel like I get further and further away from being able to visit, which is why finding FREEDOM now is so important. I want to go back!

  21. Even though I’m not Venezuelan, 2yrs of temporary residence is all I needed to fall in love with this beautiful country, and I too miss it from time to time. It’s truly sad what’s going on down there.

  22. Gracias por compartir estas bellas palabras. Yo tengo 13 años viviendo en Australia y mi esposo que es Australiano me dice las mismas cosas que el tuyo. Mis hijos me piden que algún día los lleve a Venezuela y les tengo prometido que algún día lo haré…

    • Hola Elisa – Si, es muy divertida la dinamica entre parejas multiculturales. 13 años! Ya yo voy para 11. Mi bebita todavía ni habla 🙂 pero estoy segura que cuando hable me pedira que la lleve…y la llevaré 🙂

  23. Wow, todos sabemos que hay muchos venezolanos que viven fuera, pero no habia escuchado de ninguno las cosas que tu dices. Que extranaste a tu pais y a todas las cosas y personas que Venezuela tiene de esa manera. Cada vez que yo tengo que irme de Venezuela siento que no hay en ningun otro lado el calor y la alegria de los venezolanos. Que no hay en otro lado la misma confianza, bromas y miradas. Pero cada vez que vuelvo a Venezuela tambien me doy cuenta que la gente esta acosada por un miedo creciente al crimen que uno no entiende hasta que sabe de las noticias dia a dia. Y vivir con miedo no es vida.

    • Rafael – Vivir con miedo es vivir enfermo. Mi vida en Venezuela estaba llena de estrés y miedo, y por muchos años no dejaba ni una ventana abierta en mi casa de noche (todavía no lo hago) pero mis amigos se ríen y me dicen que por que soy tan paranoica…es el tipo de miedo que no se borra facilmente. Si te soy sincera, tengo increíble nostalgia por mi infancia y mi vida alla. Siento que descubrí mucho sobre mi misma en Venezuela. Creo que deje muchos lazos abiertos alla, y recuerdos dolorosos y por eso me ha costado tanto sanar. Pero amo MI país. Es cierto que es gente cálida, que es una cultura enteramente única y especial. Ay me voy a poner a llorar otra vez!

  24. Muchas gracias por tu mensaje, definitivamente el sentir de todos los que nos encontramos fuera, es el mismo. Yo hace 7 años que me fui y ahora me encuentro en Argentina (que lamentablemente le sigue los malos pasos al nuestro) y este mismo año me voy a otro. Cada año voy a Caracas así sea 2 semanas, creo que no soporto estar tanto tiempo lejos y tomo “el riesgo” de subirme a un avión casi rezando porque no me pase nada durante mi estadía y que triste tener esa sensación. Como quisiera volver y no tener miedo, miedo a que me roben, a que me secuestren, miedo a perder la vida. Como quisiera volver y caminar por las calles, disfrutar con mis familiares y amigos sin que la política sea un tema de conversación en la mesa, ir a la playa y comerme una empanada, subir el Avila, disfrutar de un concierto en el Teresa Carreño, trabajar y tener un sueldo digno, ir al supermercado y encontrar variedad de productos (made in Venezuela) a precios justos y en fin, la lista de cosas es interminable.
    Venezuela: mi lugar favorito en el mundo y lo llevo conmigo a donde quiera que vaya

    • Marianna – Tengo un viejo amigo alla en Argentina…y si, siento exactamente lo mismo que tu. Ojalá fuera así de divino estar alla. Es mas, si lo fuera, tal vez nunca me hubiera ido. Pero si, ese miedo del que hablas, wow, que sentimiento tan horrible. A mi mami la robaron dos chiquitos de 14 años con pistolas hace dos años…que fuerte…la hubieran podido matar. A ver, no se si extraño mas los conciertos en el Teresa Carreño o las subidas al Avila; la Colonia Tovar, o Choroní. Umm o las polvorosas de pollo, los chupes, arepas a las 3am, o empanadas en la playa. Creo que voy a escribir otro blog…sobre todos los recuerdos. Son demasiados!

  25. Hermoso hija, y muy emotivo, a la venezolana, gracias por todos, los que por una u otra circunstancia, no estamos mas en MY country.
    Soy abuela, se lo que sientes, yo al igual que tu, espero que muy pronto mi nieta pueda conocer el pais de sus abuelos y de su madre.
    Un beso grandote y que Dios Te Bendiga y a los tuyos tambien.

    • Que linda Sol – Gracias por tus palabras. Ojala que mi esposo y mi chiquita puedan ir algun día sin miedo y que mis padres puedan volver. Mi mama sobre todo que tanto extraña a SU país amado. Un besote cybernetico a ti tambien!

  26. Gracias por este mensaje. Yo también soy venezolana me fui de Venezuela a los 16 y no he regresado mas que de visita. Todo lo que escribiste es exactamente como me siento en estos momentos. Espero poder mostrarle algún a mi hija el país en donde crecí y guardo los más lindos recuerdos

  27. Que lastima me da ver lo que esta ocurriendo en un pais, que aunque no mio, siento como si lo fuera, pues alla vivi 10 anos. Forme grandes amistades. Espero que el sacrificio del pueblo de resulatdos positivos y que Venezuela llegue a ser lo que fue antes. Paz, salud y felicidad, que lo merecen..

  28. Natalia, muchisimas gracias por tus palabras.. veo que ha muchos nos llego al corazon. Vivo en Australia y tengo una chiquita de 4 meses a la que le canto Venezuela para dormir.. tengo un cuadro del hermoso Avila sobre mi cama y ella le llama mucho la atencion.. y podremos subir el Avila algun dia.. son dias muy duros los que vivimos, yo tengo a ms hermanos aqui pero mis padres, suegros etc aun en Venezuela.. lo unico que nos queda es rezar y rezar mucho.. manana en la manana mis suegrs que tienen 3 meses aqui se devuelven a Ccs.. estan aterrorizados.. pero hay que tener fuerza y darle fuerza como podamos a los que estan alla! Voy a echarle una ojeada al resto de tu blog, por que me imagino que habran muchas areas con las que me identifique ya que nuestras pequenas tienen casi el mismo tiempo.. Un abrazo!!!! y sorry por lo largo!

    • Diana! Que linda! Que emoción tu beba…yo estoy enamorada y obsesionada con mi Olive. Como se llama la tuya? Siempre he querido ir a Australia. Tengo una tia y una amiga alla. Conoces a Alexandra Gonzales? Yo amo el Avila. Queria llamar a mi hija Avila, tal vez la segunda 😉 Y si, acabo de hablar con una amiga que tambien es Venezolana y vive aqui y las dos coincidimos que llevamos dos noches sin dormir pensando y recordando nuestro bello pais. Que tristeza, bendiciones a tu familia que esta alla.

  29. Que bello post! Creo que resumiste lo que muchos Venezolanos en el exterior estamos sufriendo. To también cuando voy en mi carro tengo a Franco De Vita a todo volumen! Cuando escucho un “chevere” o “chamo” me congelo y volteo, y encuentro a un Venezolano que se montó en un autobús, empujando al compañero, y se sientan los dos en medios de risa y desorden. Y me viene una sonrisa al rostro, mientrás los civilizados canadienses, voltean la mirada. Gracias por ser una voz de nuestra Venezuela querida!

    • Que linda Marielvis! A mi me paso algo comico y parecido: estaba en el automercado y a la chica al lado mio se le cae un cambur al piso. Yo lo recojo y me dice “ay gracias!” yo por supuesto le digo “de donde eres?!” porque le reconocí el acento, “de Venezuela!” y bueno, pasamos dos horas en el automercado hablando y no comprando (como buenas Venezolanas) y desde entonces somos grandes amigas 🙂 Gracias por leer mi post…

  30. Pingback: What is happening in Venezuela? | BabyKimsMommy

  31. Venezuela se lleva en la piel. Y en estos momentos dificiles cuando más se nota. Yo nunca había sido nacionalista, tengo 20 años -casi 21- y mi memoria no llega tan lejos como para recordar como era esto antes de que este desastre político se apropiara de todo lo bello y mágico de esta tierra, pero a pesar de toda la desesperanza que yo como jóven siento cada vez que me veo obligada a cohibirme de hacer algo por miedo, de hacer colas de horas por un alimento, de trabajar un mes entero para poder comprar algo tan sencillo como una camisa, a pesar de todo eso yo respiro a Venezuela, y la amo profundamente. Dios es grande, y sin duda debe estar escuchando los ruegos de millones de corazones que desde aquí adentro o desde el exterior quieren recuperar ese país que se nos fue arrebatado, esa gente cálida amorosa y comprensiva, que queremos que se cambien armas por libros e insultos por canciones de amor. Esto tiene que tener una salida, y confío en que ya estamos cerquita.

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