lunes, 30 de agosto de 2010

He died; and I passed by

About a year ago, probably a bit longer, I had a job interview in the same building where OAS office is located. I noticed a man at the left corner of this building entrance, laying on a stretcher, covered with blankets and surrounded by posters that explained why he was there. I read them at a glance, something about lands, and private property, another rough poster that declared he was making a hunger strike. I thought on talking to him moved by curiosity but I didn't do it. Then I thought maybe he was sleeping under those blankets. But I didn't do it because I was too shy to approach him, or too coward. I passed by, entered the building, and had my job interview. I didn't got the job so I didn't know what happened to that man, until a few weeks later when he appeared at the news. Then I knew his name: Franklin Brito (read about him here) He died today. I passed by when his fight was only starting, when I had the chance to say something. I went to this crappy job interview instead. I'm so sorry. My prays go to him and his family.
- there is no rest -

miércoles, 25 de agosto de 2010

To my expats coffee mates

I know. I should be writing about violence - ¿Again? -. I have written on the subject before, so if you want to read about the topic check the label at the bottom of this page called “Insecurity”. I know, I should be writing about the upcoming elections, but I don’t have any particular topic on the subject to share. Instead, I’m going to talk about friendships. –Friendship? No politics, no violence, no Chavez, no campaign? No, I’m going to talk about friendship. Because even here, in a country filled with violence and political radicalism, one has friends. Or used to.

I know. We are getting older. We are not 18 anymore. We do not see each other every day at class and call at night to tell the news about this boy we like. Important news, such as if the boy actually noted our existence or if we were able to talk in complete sentences with him.

I know we have 8 hour jobs, which, added to Caracas traffic, became 10 hour jobs and we don’t have time for coffee during weekdays. I know it gets worse during the weekends, because we are adults and we have family and serious relationships to look up to. It’s not about that guy who looked at us or not the day we put our favorite shirt to class to call his attention. It’s about sharing toothbrush or plans to share the toothbrush any time soon.

I know we have let the weeks pass by, and weeks became months and soon we see each other only a few times a year for your birthday, one casual dinner, one day trip to the beach, my birthday and your good bye party which sometimes matches your wedding.

I know everyone must make the best with their lives and move on, and make decisions. I know we didn’t see or talk each other everyday so what difference does it make that you used to live ten minutes away and now we are in different time zones? We talked more now than when you were here. You feel lonely over there, and you use Facebook and Skype more often. You, the one who always criticize those who have “no life” update your Facebook status to let us know you just saw a bird outside your window...Like you didn’t see any birds outside your window when you lived in Caracas. And since even with Web cams we don’t have a street to look at anymore, a shopping mall to discover, a movie to share; all we left its our dialogues in Times New Roman font style.

I know I have friends. I have many good friends. Once you have reached a certain age, you have the friends you have, the ones who knows the worse part about, the ones you can trust, and you have to take care of that. But I only see must of my friends on Skype and no matter how often I talk about them; it doesn’t get any less weird. For some reason, I still prefer one random walk through a Shopping Mall discovering the new Zara Collection without talking about anything productive than those long talks on Skype about how life is over there, how is Chavez over here and our endless complains about work here and work or graduate school stuff there. I still prefer the old face to face style.

I know Internet its amazing. And it does have its own way to put us together. But it is not my daily life. My daily life is out there and does not always include a computer. More often than not, includes a simple place, a few tables, a waitress, a coffee, a friends and a dozen stories we heard before, but we want to hear again and again. I want to complain about silly acts my boyfriend makes, and even sillier prohibitions my mom takes. I want to criticize the brides maid dresses of last night Wedding that you also attended, not for the blurry pictures you talked in Facebook. I want a coffee talk. With just coffee, just ourselves. No cables, screens and microphones in the middle.

I know you are all happy and well. You all have great lives. Some of you found a great man to share your life with, and I’m so glad you picked a husband I could get along with because this is for life you know. Some of you are into graduate school and its so exciting to hear all those new things you are learning, and all the interesting people you are meeting. Some of you have found great jobs. You all tell me it is so quiet over there, so worry less. I don’t wish for any of you to have a life any different than the one you have now.

I know all that. But I’m not asking for much. I just wish you were available for a coffee on Saturday night.

You might laugh, but this long whine about all of you started because of something as simple as a coffee on a Saturday night. My boyfriend knows how much I love to talk to you, and he asked me why I haven’t had a “only girls night out” lately. “I don’t know” – I answered first. And then started to recount, to make the list of the people I usually call for a coffee. Out of five, there was only one left. Only one- Turns out, I did know way: most of you have gone. There’s only one of you left here. And I just wondering, what is it with this country that keeps pushing the ones I love away?

I know you are all my friends and you will always be. Since that, I know you will be in heart in the important events of my life for now on. But I don’t know if you can afford to be in person. Same works for me.

I have always dreamed about my wedding, just like any girl. After many years “in the closet”, I’m not afraid to admit it, of course it makes me feel a bit embarrass. I don’t know when this is going to happen, but I know someday it will.

I dream about a life made of two, because I think life should be made of two, three, and so on, depending in the situation. But I don’t conceive a life made of just one person. And of course, I dream about the event, the illusion and the excitement. Between the dress and the church and the party and the kiss, I have always had one particular dream, an image. I’m sitting at one café – months, or weeks before the wedding - and all of you are there, and we are talking about it. The already married ones are giving “experienced recommendations” but the whole atmosphere is filled by inside jokes. You are all there, flesh and bones, not just a small box in a computer corner. You are all really there. You are all smiling.

I know this whole sentimental letter is closer to hypocrisy than what I would like to admit it. Not because my feelings are not genuine, because they are. Neither is because my sadness isn’t real. It is because I will probably do in the future – not sure when – the same you did; at least for a while. I will be gone too. I just wonder, when I’m gone, will someone attend my good bye party? Or it would be another Skype conference?

I dream about a place where we all can be, we are all fit. I dream about shared moments in the old fashioned way: with actual hugs, not emoticons. I dream about here, with us smiling again.

And while I’m doing that, looking at the message you left in my Facebook wall; I’m hopelessly missing some real coffee breaks.

Back to the blogging world (Again)

Hi readers. I’m reopening my blog after being closed for more than a month. Back then, I decided to close it for a while because I felt it was unsafe for me to keep publishing. Here, you must trust your guts to guide your decisions. Our president chooses his targets very randomly. One day can be Polar and the next day he forgets about Polar and attacks the church. In any case, the fears that conducted me to close the blog proved to be unfounded; at least for now.

But I’m not reopening the blog because my feelings toward fear have changed. I’m reopening this blog because I couldn’t stand to see it closed.

I closed this blog hoping that would make me feel freer and safer.

It didn’t happen. It didn’t work.

I didn’t felt freer. I’m not behind bars or anything, I have never been close to that situation so I can only have an idea of what is it like. But not being able to speak out at least to some extent doesn’t feel any different.

I didn’t felt safer. I mean, I’m at risk because I’m a blogger and I’m an open minder (or at least I try to be one of those). But I won’t be out of risks if I stop being a blogger. The risks are just everywhere. The danger and the feeling of being unsafe didn’t stopped when I closed the blog.

So the plan is… I really don’t know. The plan is to keep blogging because at the end that’s what I am. I’m not a writer, I’m not a political fighter, I’m not a reporter, I am a blogger. If I choose to ignore it, I will lose a part of me. I don’t know if in the future I have fears again, strong enough to make me close my blog again, but I hope to learn to beware of those feelings.

The plan is to keep giving you a unique perspective on the Venezuelan situation. There are many incredible good blogs about Venezuela in English, written by Venezuelans, most living here like me (check my links section). I think each and every one of those blogs provides something new, valuable and different to the blogosphere. My contribution, which has been done with not a lot of constancy and loads of interruptions (at least two major ones), is to provide an first hand account of the Venezuelan situation, as I live it, and as I feel it.

I’m proud of what I have done in that direction so far. I’m ashamed of the way I interrupted conspiring against my own work. All it remains for me now is to be honest. And to hope my readers can consider that this blogger is as human as the blog she tries to deliver. Mistakes and hesitation do happen, more often than what I would want to.

This is my way to say, to who ever read this: I’m sorry. I will try to keep being a blogger. I hope you can still be my reader.